Russian

Website: russian.sewanee.edu

Russia retains its significance as the meeting point of East and West.  Designated as a critical language by the United States Department of State, Russian is a powerful tool in a swiftly changing world.  As the fifth most widely spoken language in the world (with over 277 million speakers), one of the six languages of the United Nations, and the lingua franca for much of Central Europe and Central Asia, Russian is a language of undeniable importance.

Whether you decide to study Russian because of its rich history, Nobel Prize winners, current sociopolitical configuration and G-8 membership, development of democratic institutions, growing role in business and the energy sector, or efforts to combat global terrorism; because of its immense influence on dance, drama, film, literature, mathematics, music, physics, and many other disciplines; because of family heritage; or because of curiosity about Russia’s language, people and culture, you can expect a thorough and engaging education offered in Russian at Sewanee.  Our small, tightly-knit department allows for plenty of individual attention to our students and the opportunity to pursue individualized study in addition to our courses in language, literature, and culture.

Russian House

Students may consider residing in the Russian house in order to maximize opportunities for conversation with a native speaker of Russian. All students are encouraged to attend co-curricular and extracurricular events such as the weekly Russian table, Russian tea, Russian film screenings, and other cultural activities.

Language Laboratory

The E.L. Kellerman Language Resource Center provides an opportunity for students in the modern foreign languages to immerse themselves in the sounds and culture of their target language. The facility features a state of the art Sanako Lab 100 system for practice with listening and speaking; a Satellite TV with stations in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish; wireless Apple Macbooks which can be checked out; a Sympodium for multimedia displays; and a cozy reading and viewing lounge with a library of foreign language books, magazines, and videos. Students can also access subscriptions to web-based language learning programs for reinforcing what is being taught in class as well as for learning languages not currently taught at the University. There is also Rosetta Stone software for Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish. Faculty and students alike take advantage of the language center’s audio- and video-editing equipment and analog-to-digital-conversion facilities in preparing engaging presentations for class. The Language Resource Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. except for Fridays when it closes at 4 p.m. and then reopens Sunday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Requirements for the Major in Russian

The major requires successful completion of the following:

Course Requirements 1
RUSN 301Advanced Russian4
RUSN 309Russian Culture: Study Abroad4
or RUSN 310or Russian Civilization
Select at least three of the following:12
Readings in Russian Literature
Introduction to Russian Verse
Contemporary Russian in Cultural Context
Representations of the Caucasus in Russian Literature and Film
Composition and Conversation
Russian Language through Film
The 19th Century
The 20th Century
Senior Seminar
Select at least two of the following:8
19th-Century Russian Literature in English Translation
20th-Century Russian Literature in English Translation
Real Men, Real Women? Gender in 20th and 21st-Century Russian Literature and Culture
Russian and Soviet Film
Nabokov
Tolstoy in English Translation
Dostoevsky in English Translation
Environmentalism and Ecocide in Russian Literature and Culture
Putin's Russia and Protest Culture
Select one additional course from the previous two lists4
Total Semester Hours32
Additional Requirements
A comprehensive examination

Honors

The requirements for honors in Russian are: 1) a minimum of a B+ average in courses offered for the major, 2) demonstrated excellence on the comprehensive examination, and 3) presentation of an outstanding honors thesis during the senior year.

Requirements for the Minor in Russian

The minor requires successful completion of the following:

Course Requirements
RUSN 309Russian Culture: Study Abroad4
or RUSN 310or Russian Civilization
Select at least two courses from the following:8
Readings in Russian Literature
Introduction to Russian Verse
Contemporary Russian in Cultural Context
Representations of the Caucasus in Russian Literature and Film
Composition and Conversation
Russian Language through Film
The 19th Century
The 20th Century
Select two additional courses in Russian (RUSN) numbered 300 or above8
Total Semester Hours20

Russian Courses

RUSN 103     Elementary Russian I  (4)

An introduction to the fundamentals of the language and culture with emphasis on communicative proficiency, clarity of pronunciation and basic skills in reading, writing, and conversation. Use of language laboratory required. Four hours of class each week, plus an additional conversation meeting with a native speaker.

RUSN 104     Elementary Russian II  (4)

An introduction to the fundamentals of the language and culture with emphasis on communicative proficiency, clarity of pronunciation and basic skills in reading, writing, and conversation. Use of language laboratory required. Four hours of class each week, plus an additional conversation meeting with a native speaker. Prerequisite: RUSN 103 or placement.

RUSN 151     Russian Language Abroad  (4)

Intensive language study completed as an essential part of the Sewanee Summer in Russia program. Emphasis in the course is on speaking and writing. With departmental approval, a student who completes this course may be eligible for higher level placement in Russian language, or, in the case of a student who has already completed RUSN 301, may count the course toward the Russian major or minor. Prerequisite: Approval of the Summer in Russia program director.

RUSN 203     Intermediate Russian  (4)

Continued study of grammar and review of basic grammatical structures; readings in Russian with emphasis on acquisition of vocabulary and continued development of conversational and writing skills. Four hours of class each week, plus an additional conversation meeting with a native speaker. Prerequisite: RUSN 104 or placement.

RUSN 301     Advanced Russian  (4)

Completion of grammar; intensive readings from authentic materials in Russian with emphasis on continued development of conversational and writing skills. Required weekly conversation meeting with a native speaker. Normally the terminal course for the language requirement. Prerequisite: RUSN 203 or placement.

RUSN 302     Readings in Russian Literature  (4)

Short literary and cultural readings from various authors, periods, and genres. Relevant grammatical structures and stylistics are studied along with the readings. Prerequisite: RUSN 301 or placement.

RUSN 303     Introduction to Russian Verse  (4)

An introduction to Russian verse with emphasis on further development of vocabulary and grammatical skills. Close readings of the texts will be augmented by lectures and supplementary material concerning the creative context that gave birth to them. Attention will also be given to poetic translation in theory and practice and to varying approaches to literary scholarship. All readings are in Russian. Prerequisite: RUSN 301 or placement.

RUSN 304     Contemporary Russian in Cultural Context  (4)

Students engage in advanced study of contemporary standard Russian by examining issues relevant to current Russian society. Special attention is devoted to post-Soviet Russian culture through analysis of newspapers and television news, selections of recent prose fiction, and cinema. The course emphasizes problems of syntax and idiomatic Russian. Prerequisite: RUSN 301 or placement.

RUSN 305     Representations of the Caucasus in Russian Literature and Film  (4)

Students engage in advanced Russian language study by examining the most emblematic representations of the Caucasus in Russian cultural productions of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Works by Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Pristavkin, Pelevin, and Politkovskaya, alongside several relevant films, feature as the center of the course. Students examine how Russian writers and filmmakers have used the image of the Caucasian 'Other' to address the issue of Russia's self-representation and to what degree contemporary Russian artists have transformed the image of the Caucasians. Prerequisite: RUSN 301.

RUSN 309     Russian Culture: Study Abroad  (4)

Selected topics in Russian culture: architecture, film, fine arts, literature, music, theatre and dance. The course is conducted in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement. Prerequisite: Approval of the Summer in Russia program director.

RUSN 310     Russian Civilization  (4)

An historical, cultural, and linguistic survey of Russian civilization and culture from its ancient proto-Slavic beginnings to the present. The course is conducted in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 311     Composition and Conversation  (4)

Emphasis on communicative ability in contemporary written and spoken Russian. Intensive practice in conversation to develop language skills appropriate to various spheres of academic, business, and social life. Audio-visual materials will be used extensively. Prerequisite: RUSN 301.

RUSN 312     Russian Language through Film  (4)

Students engage in advanced Russian language study by viewing, discussing, and writing about films and about Russian and Soviet culture. Emphasis is on increased linguistic and cultural proficiency, including refinement of oral and written Russian with focused study of selected grammatical and stylistic topics. Prerequisite: RUSN 301 or placement.

RUSN 340     Reading Russian  (1)

With a goal of improving reading proficiency in Russian, this course focuses on strategies for efficiently deciphering sophisticated texts, reviews grammar, and explores the art of translation from Russian into English. This course may be repeated for credit three times. Open only to students pursuing programs in Russian. Prerequisite: RUSN 203.

RUSN 351     19th-Century Russian Literature in English Translation  (4)

A study of the emergence and development of the Russian literary tradition in the nineteenth century, with special attention to the intersection of Russian history and literature. Novels, novellas and short stories by Pushkin, Karamzin, Lermontov, Dostoevsky, Durova, Leskov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov and others feature as the center of the course. This course is taught in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 352     20th-Century Russian Literature in English Translation  (4)

During the twentieth century, Russian literature transformed itself many times, evolving through prescriptive literary norms, a renewed interest in "truth-telling", and experimentation with form and subject matter. Students analyze examples of the avant-garde, Socialist Realism, experimental prose, the literature of emigration, youth prose, urban prose, Gulag literature, and dystopian literature. This course is taught in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 354     Real Men, Real Women? Gender in 20th and 21st-Century Russian Literature and Culture  (4)

An exploration of the contentious topic of gender in a Russian context through the examination of an array of representations of masculinity and femininity in Russian prose, poetry and film of the twentieth century. Students assess what it means and has meant to be a Russian man or woman; in the process, they may challenge some Western assumptions about gender constructs. Through analyzing and identifying the characteristics of ideal/real men and women, the course considers how and whether gender stereotypes are reinforced in the works of contemporary authors. This course does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 355     Russian and Soviet Film  (4)

A survey of Russian cinema from the 1920's to the present day. The course approaches the analysis of film from the perspective of technique and methods, form, content, and cultural context. Students acquire a cinematic vocabulary while studying the genesis of Russian cinema, montage, propaganda films and socialist realism, nationalism, Stalinism, thaw and stagnation, glasnost, the post-Soviet period, and the enormous Russian and Soviet impact on world cinema. Films by Vertov, Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Mikhalkov, Muratova, and others are studied. The course is taught in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 356     Nabokov  (4)

A study of the major novels and selected short prose fiction, poetry, and literary criticism of Vladimir Nabokov. As a means to developing understanding of Nabokov's aesthetics and to situating him in the context of world literature, students investigate the author's approaches to such themes as "reality," the construction of the author within the text, literary translation, emigration and transformation, identity, totalitarianism, and American popular culture. This course is taught in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 361     Tolstoy in English Translation  (4)

The course surveys Tolstoy's two masterworks, Anna Karenina and War and Peace; shorter novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich, The Kreutzer Sonata, and Master and Man; and provides an introduction to the author's writings on topics such as education and art. Students move toward an understanding of Tolstoy as a novelist and thinker and situate him within broader literary, social and intellectual traditions. This course is taught in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 362     Dostoevsky in English Translation  (4)

The course surveys the major novels of Fyodor Dostoevsky, including Crime and Punishment, Notes from Underground, The Brothers Karamazov, and others. In examining Dostoevsky's reputation and legacy as a psychological novelist, the course explores the author's treatment of politics, religion, philosophy, and ethics. This course is taught in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 363     Environmentalism and Ecocide in Russian Literature and Culture  (4)

A study of representations of the natural world in selected Russian and Soviet texts and images. Students examine the development of nineteenth-century pastoralism and nature writing, emergent environmentalism, Stalinist industrialization, and the threat of environmental decimation (exemplified by the Chernobyl disaster) in the twentieth century and beyond. Topics explored include the political appropriation of natural motifs; ecology, nationalism, and national identity; totalitarian culture and the environment; health, food, and ethics; "hero projects" glorifying technological achievement and the mastery of nature; and demographic crisis. This course is taught in English and does not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

RUSN 364     Putin's Russia and Protest Culture  (4)

This course examines the relationship between individuals and the state in Putin's Russia. Students analyze a variety of texts -- fiction, cinema, journalism, and popular culture -- dealing with the chaos of the "wild 1990s," Putin's subsequent solidification of power, and the rise of a prominent protest culture. A special area of focus is the EuroMaidan revolution and the ongoing "hybrid war" in the Donbas, Ukraine. This course is taught in English and does not satisfy the language requirement.

RUSN 401     The 19th Century  (4)

A study of short prose in Russian from the 19th century. Authors studied may include (but are not limited to) Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Chekhov. Prerequisite: One course in Russian numbered 300 or higher.

RUSN 402     The 20th Century  (4)

A study of short prose in Russian from the 20th century. Authors studied may include (but are not limited to) Babel, Zamyatin, Olesha, Zoshchenko, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, and Petrushevskaia. Prerequisite: One course in Russian numbered 300 or higher.

RUSN 420     Senior Seminar  (4)

A preparatory course for written and oral comprehensive exams. Includes a substantial research paper on a significant Russian literary or cultural topic. Special attention is given to research methods, Russian stylistics and academic writing, and oral presentation skills. Open only to seniors pursuing majors in Russian.

RUSN 440     Advanced Readings  (2 or 4)

Variable topics for students who need to complete reading in a particular area. May be repeated for credit. Open only to students pursuing majors in Russian. Prerequisite: Professor consent and prerequisite override required.

RUSN 444     Independent Study  (2 or 4)

For selected students. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Professor consent and prerequisite override required.