Spring 2019 Courses in REEES
PLSC 127 Case Studies in Russian Foreign Policy
Professor Thomas Graham
Examination of the personal, ideological, political and socio-economic, and geopolitical factors that have shaped Russian foreign policy since 1800. Understanding how these factors interacted in specific cases, to identify permanent and contingent elements in Russian foreign policy, and to consider continuity and change in Russian foreign-policy behavior during the past two centuries.
GLBL 883 Challenges to Security and Stability in Central and Eastern Europe
Professor Yuriy Sergeyev
This course examines the geopolitical, political, military, socioeconomic, and ideological factors that are challenging security and stability in the region of Central and Eastern Europe after collapse of the USSR. The goal is to give students a broad understanding of the reasons for the worsening security and stability in the region, particularly the Baltic states, Visegrad states, and GUAM member states, and to model further potential developments. The influence of the global players—United States, European Union, Russia—on the security situation in the region is considered.
HIST 222 / RSEE 222 Russia and the Eurasian Steppe
Professor Paul Bushkovitch
A study of Russia’s interaction with the nomads of the Eurasian steppe. Topics include the Mongol invasion, the Mongol Empire in Asia and the Golden Horde, Islam, nomadic society, and the Russian state. Focus on conquest and settlement.
HIST 677 Russia in the Age of Peter the Great
Professor Paul Bushkovitch
An introduction to the principal events and issues during the transformation of Russia in the years 1650 to 1725. Topics include political change and the court; Russia in Europe and Asia; religion and the revolution in Russian culture.
RUSS 714 / FILM 630 Soviet Cinema and the Distribution of Perception
Professor John MacKay
Soviet filmmakers and theorists in the 1920s were preoccupied with the way that the established cinema harnessed perception in socially determined, class-specific ways, and sought a variety of alternatives. This course examines those alternatives and their limitations, as postulated in theory and realized on film, as well as their long-term, global influence on theoretical and moving image practice. We examine films and writings by such figures as Vertov, Eisenstein, Shub, Pudovkin, Kuleshov, Room, Ruttmann, Liu Na’ou, Grierson, Buñuel, Cavalcanti, Peixoto, Deren, Jacobs, Dorsky, Godard, Farocki, Burnett, Akerman, and Wang Bing.
ANTH 738 Gender and Politics after Socialism
Professor Dominic Martin
Gender is an intensely politicized fault line that runs through post-Soviet society. In Russia, both political protest and political reaction are played out in overtly gendered terms (from Pussy Riot’s punk prayer to Putin’s bare-chested machismo). This seminar considers, from an ethnographic perspective, how gender has become a site of explicit politicization and contestation in post-Soviet societies. The first half of the course examines the changing circumstances of women and men in the post-Soviet economy; the post-Soviet crises and reformulations of femininity and masculinity; and the social effects provoked thereby, such as violence, homophobia, and new activism. The second half examines the various intersections of gender with other domains of social difference including class, age, race, religion, nationality. How gender is problematized in certain sites, workplaces, the home, and family is a topic of discussion, as is how certain ways of inhabiting gendered norms might give rise to forms of self and person, to modes of agency and freedom. Each post-Soviet case study is juxtaposed with comparative ethnographic examples in order to discern whether the post-Soviet region has its own gender dynamic, or instead partakes in broader global trends. These ethnographic cases are read alongside texts in feminist, gender, queer, and postcolonial theory to think across empirical examples in creative ways.
MUSI 453 Russian Opera
Professors Patrick McCreless and Julia Titus
This is an introductory course to Russian opera, from its first masterpiece in 1836 (Glinka’s Life for the Tsar) to the first widely popular Soviet opera (Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, 1930-32), which Stalin’s regime condemned in 1936, exactly 100 years later. Along the way we also study Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (1869), Chaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (1877-78) and The Queen of Spades (1889), Prokofiev’s The Gambler (1915-17), and Shostakovich’s The Nose (1928). We analyze how each opera unfolds dramatically and musically—attending, on the one hand, to the libretto and its source in Russian literature; and on the other, to the expressive import and formal structure of the music. Throughout the course we endeavor to understand the Russian culture that gave birth to these fascinating musico-dramatic works.
PLSH 246 Polish Communism and Postcommunism on Film
Professor Krystyna Illakowicz
The Polish film school of the 1950s and the Polish New Wave of the 1960s. Pressures of politics, ideology, and censorship on cinema. Topics include gender roles in historical and contemporary narratives, identity, ethos of struggle, ethical dilemmas, and issues of power, status, and idealism. Films by Wajda, Munk, Polanski, Skolimowski, Kieslowski, Holland, and Kedzierzawska, as well as selected documentaries. Readings by Milosz, Andrzejewski, Mickiewicz, Maslowska, Haltoff, and others.
RSEE 300 Milan Kundera: The Czech Novelist and French Thinker
Professor Karen von Kunes
Close reading of Kundera’s novels, with analysis of his aesthetics and artistic development. Relationships to French, German, and Spanish literatures and to history, philosophy, music, and art. Topics include paradoxes of public and private life, the irrational in erotic behavior, the duality of body and soul, the interplay of imagination and reality, the function of literary metaphor, and the art of composition.
RUSS 689 Russian Symbolist Poetry
Professor Marijeta Bozovic
This graduate seminar explores Russian Symbolist poetry in cultural and international contexts. We study the philosophical foundations (Nietzsche, Solovyov); the preoccupation with various temporalities (modernity); the longing for total art (Wagner) bounded by lyric form; aestheticism; utopianism; decadence; and other topics. Our readings include the works of Vladimir Solovyov, Valery Bryusov, Konstantin Balmont, Fedor Sologub, Zinaida Gippius, Mikhail Kuzmin, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Andrei Bely, and Aleksandr Blok—as well as of “post-Symbolists” Nikolai Gumilyov, Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam, and Marina Tsvetaeva. Our approach emphasizes prosody, genre, and medium as well as the dissemination of ideas across media and cultures. Weekly practices involve close reading, research, theoretical reframing, and ongoing collaborative participation and presentations.
FILM 360 / RUSS 380 / LITR 301 Putin’s Russia and Protest Culture
Professor Marijeta Bozovic
Survey of Russian literature and culture since the fall of communism. The chaos of the 1990s; the solidification of power in Putin’s Russia; the recent rise of protest culture. Sources include literature, film, and performances by art collectives. Readings and discussion in English; texts available in Russian.
CPLT 677 / RUSS 699 The Performing Arts in Twentieth-Century Russia
Professor Katerina Clark
Covers ballet, opera, theater, mass spectacle, and film. Theory of the performing arts, including selections from the writings of some of the most famous Russian directors, such as Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Eisenstein, and Balanchine. Their major productions and some of the major Russian plays of the twentieth century (e.g., by Chekhov, Mayakovsky, Bulgakov, and contemporary dramatists). No knowledge of Russian required. Students taking the course for credit in Comparative Literature can write their papers on texts in other languages.
HIST 251J The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Empire
Professor Sergei Anotonov
Crisis and destruction of the Soviet Union, question of continuity with today’s Russian Federation. Political power after Stalin’s death in 1953; Gorbachev’s democratic reforms and challenge by Boris Yeltsin. Economic crisis from “socialist market” to neoliberal reforms. Technogenic and natural disasters; war in Afghanistan; the last spiral of the Cold War. Ethnic tensions and conflicts, national independence movements. Competing explanations of the Soviet collapse. Readings combine key scholarly articles and book chapters and representative primary sources. All readings and discussions in English.
HIST 255 Imperial Russia, 1801-1922
Professor Sergei Anotonov
Russian Empire from the Napoleonic Wars to the Revolution and Civil War of 1917-1922. Main themes include autocratic political culture and challenges of liberalism, conservatism, nationalism; institutions and practices of serfdom and the development of capitalism and industrialization; main cultural trends from Romanticism to Silver Age; great-power politics, the “Great Game” competition against Britain, and the Eastern Front of the First World War. The three Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Émigré culture and politics after 1917, politics of remembering imperial Russia in the twentieth and twenty-first century.
PLSC / SOCY / RSEE 385 Contentious Politics and Political Mobilization in Post-Soviet Russia
Professor Andrei Semenov
This course aims at exploring and discussing the patterns and trends in collective actions in post-Soviet Russia; it also aims at unraveling the interplay between contention and regime dynamics. Students examine the ebbs and flows of mobilization, its cross-temporal and cross-regional specifics, and its impact on the political processes.
RUSS 651 Chekhov
Professor Edyta Bojanowska
Detailed study of Anton Chekhov’s writing in all genres: fiction, nonfiction, and drama. Focus on Chekhov’s formal innovations, literary polemics with contemporaries and predecessors, and his works’ embeddedness within the social contexts of late imperial Russia and late Victorian Europe. Attentive close reading of texts is combined with interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Chekhov, such as ecocriticism, performance studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, theories of the spatial turn, and medical humanities.
RSEE 246 Love and Death in the Russian Short Story
Professor Edyta Bojanowska
A brilliant counterpart to the expansive Russian novel, the Russian short story is held in high esteem by the genre’s connoisseurs and practitioners. This course explores both the classics and the hidden gems of the Russian short-story tradition from the 19th century to today, focusing on the most universal themes of story-writing: love and death. The course poses the following questions: What is distinctive about the short story form? How do stories “talk to” other stories in a tradition? What narrative twists and complications do authors use to keep readers hooked and spellbound? The readings cover most major Russian writers and movements, so the course provides a good overview of modern Russian literature. All readings and discussion in English.