Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook

Russian (RUS)

RUS 1022  (c, FYS)   "It Happens Rarely, Maybe, but It Does Happen"---Fantasy and Satire in East Central Europe  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Explores the fantastic in Russian and East European literature from the 1830s into the late twentieth century. Studies the origins of the East European fantastic in Slavic folklore and through the Romantic movement, and traces the historical development of the genre from country to country and era to era. Examines the use of the fantastic for the purpose of satire, philosophical inquiry, and social commentary, with particular emphasis on its critiques of nationalism, modernity, and totalitarianism. Authors include Mikhail Bulgakov, Karel Capek, Nikolai Gogol, Franz Kafka, and Stanislaw Lem.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2015.

RUS 1101  (c)   Elementary Russian I  

Alyssa Gillespie.
Every Fall. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 18.
  

Introduction to the Cyrillic writing system and to the fundamentals of the Russian language. Emphasis on the gradual acquisition of active language skills: speaking, understanding, reading and writing. Students will learn to introduce family members and explain what they do for a living; describe their room, possessions, city, and culinary preferences; discuss their daily activities and travels; talk about their studies and what languages they speak; ask simple questions, voice opinions, make invitations, and engage in basic everyday conversations. Authentic multimedia cultural materials (cartoons, songs, poems, videos) supplement the textbook and serve as a window onto the vibrant reality of Russian culture today. Conversation hour with native speaker.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015.

RUS 1102  (c)   Elementary Russian II  

Every Spring. Enrollment limit: 18.  

Continuation of Russian 1101. Introduction to the case and verbal systems of Russian. Emphasis on the acquisition of language skills through imitation and repetition of basic language patterns and through interactive dialogues. The course includes multimedia (video and audio) materials. Conversation hour with native speaker.

Prerequisites: RUS 1101.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016.

RUS 2117  (c)   Dostoevsky or Tolstoy?  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Compares two giants of Russian literature, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and explores their significance to Russian cultural history and European thought. Part I focuses on the aesthetic contributions and characteristic styles of both to nineteenth-century realism through examination of the novelists’ early work. Compares Dostoevsky’s fantastic realism with Tolstoy’s epic realism. Part II considers the role of religion in their mature work: in Dostoevsky's “The Brothers Karamazov” and “The Diary of a Writer”; Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” and “Resurrection.” Topics studied include gender dynamics in nineteenth-century literature, the convergence of autobiography and novel, and the novelist’s social role. (Same as: GSWS 2217)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2015.

RUS 2203  (c)   Intermediate Russian I  

Reed Johnson.
Every Fall. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 18.
  

Continuation of Elementary Russian. Emphasis on the continuing acquisition of active language skills: speaking, understanding, reading and writing. Students will improve their facility in speaking and understanding normal conversational Russian and will read increasingly sophisticated texts on a variety of topics. Authentic multimedia cultural materials (cartoons, songs, poems, videos, websites, short stories, newspaper articles) supplement the textbook and serve as a window onto the vibrant reality of Russian culture today. Conversation hour with native speaker.

Prerequisites: RUS 1102.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015.

RUS 2204  (c)   Intermediate Russian II  

Every Spring. Enrollment limit: 18.  

Continuation of Russian 2203. Emphasis on developing proficiencies in listening, speaking, reading, and writing and on vocabulary development. Builds upon the basic grammatical competencies acquired in first-year Russian and completes a thorough introduction to the case and verbal systems of the language. The course includes multimedia (video and audio) materials. Conversation hour with native speaker.

Prerequisites: RUS 2203.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2018, Spring 2017, Spring 2016.

RUS 2217  (c, ESD)   Anti-Heroes in Russian Literature from Pushkin to Chekhov  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Nineteenth-century Russian literature abounds with figures whose nonconformity is a danger to themselves or perceived as a danger to their society. Through analysis of these anti-heroes in works from Pushkin to Chekhov, explores the historical, political, and social contexts for this literary trend, as well as the religious and social values underlying the unconventionality of such figures. Focuses on the strangest of Dostoevsky’s characters, the epileptic hero of "The Idiot," as well as Tolstoy’s bleeding-heart nobleman in "Resurrection," who spurns high society in exchange for redemption with a ruined maid-turned-prostitute. All course content in English.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2016.

RUS 2222  (c, VPA)   Russian Cinema  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Since Lenin declared cinema the most important art, Russian film often walks in the shadows of political change. Despite or because of this tension, Russian directors have created some of the finest cinema in the world. l Investigates Russia’s innovations in film technique and ideological questions that result from rewriting history or representing Soviet reality in film; attention to film construction balanced with trends in Russia’s cinematic tradition. Directors studied include Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, and Vertov. Topics covered include film genre (documentary, comedy, western) and gender and sexuality in a changing sociopolitical landscape. All course content in English. Note: Fulfills the non-US cinema requirement for cinema studies minors. (Same as: CINE 2601)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2016.

RUS 2224  (c, IP)   Novelizing Nationalism: Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Russia is a massive country, and it is no surprise that its novels are equally as large. The masterpieces of nineteenth-century Russian literature not only attempted to represent the vastness of the nation, but also strove to capture what Nikolai Gogol called “the wide, ranging sweep of the Russian character.” Novelists even hoped their works would elevate, enlighten, and transform the country's soul, for, in the words of one of Dostoevsky’s protagonists, “beauty will save the world.” Interrogates the tension between the majesty of the Russian novel and the rise of Russian nationalism by analyzing the literary masterpieces of Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Taught in English.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

RUS 2240  (c, IP)   One Thousand Years of Russian Culture  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Winston Churchill famously called Russia “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” This introduction to the mysteries of Russian culture from medieval times to the present includes the study of Russian art, music, architecture, dance, cinema, folk culture, and literature. Explores the ways in which Russians define themselves and their place in the world, and how they express their cultural uniqueness as well as their ties to both East and West. Literary readings will range from the ancient historical chronicles to short works by such classic Russian authors as Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and Tolstoy, as well as works by several contemporary authors. All course content is in English.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2016.

RUS 2242  (c, ESD, IP)   Hipsters, Rebels, and Rock Stars in Russian Literature and Culture  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Images of dandies, fops, and rebels have resurfaced in Russian art and literature during periods of major political and cultural change creating a striking counter-narrative to established social norms and shaping new currents of thought. Examines the development of the figure of the outsider in Russian literature, film, visual art, and music from Romanticism to the present. Focus on this ambiguous, counter-cultural “hipster” in turn maps out the imperial, totalitarian, and capitalist mainstreams. Texts include some of the great Russian classics by authors such as Dostoevsky, Pushkin, and Turgenev in conversation with cinematic works from the late twentieth century. Taught in English.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2017.

RUS 2245  (c, ESD, IP)   Rebels, Workers, Mothers, Dreamers: Women in Russian Art and Literature since the Age of Revolution  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Although the Russian cultural tradition has long been male-dominated, this paradigm began to shift with the advent of brilliant women writers and artists prior to the Russian Revolution. Since the collapse of the USSR, women have again emerged as leaders in the tumultuous post-Soviet cultural scene, even overshadowing their male counterparts. Explores the work of female Russian writers, artists, and filmmakers against a backdrop of revolutionary change, from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. Themes include representations of masculinity and femininity in extremis; artistic responses to social, political, and moral questions; and women’s artistry as cultural subversion. (Same as: GSWS 2249)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

RUS 2310  (c, IP)   Modernity and Barbarism  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

All forms of modernity are acts of violence. The creation of the new entails the destruction of the old. But in Russia, whose cultural development has proceeded in fits and starts, the tension between dreams of the future and the weight of the past is especially pronounced. This course explores artistic and literary reactions to the paradoxes of modern life, from the building of St. Petersburg to Putin’s Russia, in four units: Making Russia Modern (the everyman in the imperial capital, emancipation of the serfs, and early stages of capitalism), Modernism and the Avant Garde (the metropolis, machines, and the mass destruction of war and revolution), Modernization and the Five-Year Plan (the industrial revolution, utopian town planning, and class war), and Modernity Now (art and cinema of post-Soviet Russia). Works by Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Eisenstein, Gogol, Malevich, Marx, Mayakovsky, Popova, Pushkin, Rodchenko, Stepanova, and Tolstoy.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

RUS 2315  (c, IP)   Love, Sex, and Desire in Russian Literature and Culture  

Reed Johnson.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 35.
  

Russian culture is rich with depictions of the fundamental human experiences of love, sex, and desire. And while these depictions have often been subject to various forms of censorship, they have just as often served as expressions of dissent against rigid social, political, and artistic norms. This course explores the ideological and aesthetic significance of such themes as romance, lust, yearning, sexual violence, adultery, prostitution, religious passion, poetic inspiration, unrequited love, celibacy, gender identity, sexuality, masturbation, pornography, body image, sexual frustration, castration, and witchcraft in Russian literature and the arts from medieval times to the present day. Not only do the works studied inscribe “difference” on the bodies of their subjects, but Russia also functions as a social “other” against which students examine their own cultural assumptions. Authors may include Avvakum, Bulgakov, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Gogol, Nabokov, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Tsvetaeva, Turgenev, and Zamyatin. Taught in English. (Same as: GSWS 2315)

RUS 2410  (c, ESD, VPA)   Post-Soviet Russian Cinema  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Newly freed from censorship, Russian filmmakers in the quarter-century between 1990 and 2015 created compelling portraits of a society in transition. Their films reassess traumatic periods in Soviet history; grapple with formerly taboo social problems such as alcoholism, anti-Semitism, and sexual violence; explore the breakdown of the Soviet system; and critique the darker aspects of today’s Russia, often through the lens of gender or sexuality—specifically addressing subjects such as machismo, absent fathers, rape, cross-dressing, and birthing. Central are the rapid evolution of post-Soviet Russian society, the emergence of new types of social differences and disparities and the reinvention of old ones, and the changing nature of social roles within the post-Soviet social fabric. Taught in English. (Same as: CINE 2602, GSWS 2410)

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2017.

RUS 2447  (c, IP)   Nature and the Environment in Russian Culture  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Introduces students to major works of Russian/Soviet/post-Soviet literature (by authors such as Pushkin, Turgenev, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, Alexievich, and others), supplemented by films and visual art, within the thematic context of a focus on nature and the environment in the Russian geographic and cultural space. Topics include the role of nature in the Russian Romantic sublime; artistic constructions of the exotic in Russia’s borderlands (Georgia, Mongolia); representations of the peasant village; feminization of the land and related metaphors of violent conquest; testaments to the instrumentalization of nature (St. Petersburg, Belomor Canal, Gulag); and the cultural legacy of environmental decay and disaster (pollution, Chernobyl). (Same as: ENVS 2460)

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

RUS 3077  (c)   Russian Folk Culture  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

A study of Russian folk culture: folk tales, fairy tales, legends, and traditional oral verse, as well as the development of folk motives in the work of modern writers. Special emphasis on Indo-European and Common Slavic background. Reading and discussion in Russian. Short papers.

Prerequisites: RUS 3055.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2015.

RUS 3099  (c, IP)   Words that Scorch the Heart: Readings from Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

The nineteenth century is referred to as the golden age of Russian literature with good cause. During this period figures such as Dostoevsky, Gogol, Pushkin, and Tolstoy laid the foundation of the modern Russian literary canon and brought Russian literature to the world stage. These writers fomented rebellion, challenged the status quo, and dared to tell the truth in a repressive and conformist society. As a result, many of them became prophets, pariahs, or both. Students read and analyze important works of poetry and short prose from this era, paying attention to the texts' social and cultural context, the specifics of their construction as works of verbal art, and the nuances conveyed by their creators' linguistic choices. All primary texts, discussions, and presentations in Russian, as are the majority of writing assignments. Emphasis on vocabulary development, stylistics, and the ability to articulate sophisticated arguments in both oral and written Russian.

Prerequisites: RUS 3406.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018.

RUS 3100  (c, IP)   My Beautiful, Pitiful Epoch: Readings from Modern Russian Literature  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 16.  

Russia has experienced a number of staggering transformations since the close of the nineteenth century, and these dramatic upheavals are mirrored in its national literature. This course will serve as an introduction to the evolution of Russian literature from the turn of the twentieth century, through the Revolution and the Soviet decades, to the contemporary post-Soviet period. Students will read and analyze important works of poetry and short prose from this era of radical change and experimentation, paying attention to the texts' social and cultural context, the specifics of their construction as works of verbal art, and the nuances conveyed by their creators' linguistic choices. All primary texts, discussions, and presentations will be in Russian, as will the majority of writing assignments. Emphasis on vocabulary development, stylistics, and the ability to articulate sophisticated arguments in both oral and written Russian.

Prerequisites: RUS 3406.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019.

RUS 3201  (c, IP)   Pushkin  

Alyssa Gillespie.
Non-Standard Rotation. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 12.
  

Introduction to the lyric verse, narrative poetry, drama, fairytales, and prose of Alexander Pushkin, the “father of Russian literature.” Students will gain an appreciation for Pushkin's extraordinary literary imagination and innovativeness, and for the complexity that underlies the seeming simplicity of his works. Attention to Pushkin's evolving understanding of his role as Russia's national poet, including such themes as the beauty of the Russian countryside, the poet’s sacred calling, political repression and the dream of civic freedom, the dialectic between chance and fate, St. Petersburg and the specter of revolution, poet as historian, inspiration and eroticism, poet vs. tsar, and the subversive power of art. All primary texts, discussions, and presentations and most writing assignments will be in Russian. Emphasis on learning to read and appreciate complex literary texts, vocabulary development, and the ability to articulate sophisticated arguments in both oral and written Russian.

Prerequisites: RUS 3406.

RUS 3224  (c, IP)   Novelizing Nationalism: Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 35.  

Russia is a massive country, and it is no surprise that its novels are equally as large. The masterpieces of nineteenth-century Russian literature not only attempted to represent the vastness of the nation, but also strove to capture what Nikolai Gogol called “the wide, ranging sweep of the Russian character.” Novelists even hoped their works would elevate, enlighten, and transform the country's soul, for, in the words of one of Dostoevsky’s protagonists, “beauty will save the world.” Interrogates the tension between the majesty of the Russian novel and the rise of Russian nationalism by analyzing the literary masterpieces of Nikolai Gogol, Leo Tolstoy, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Taught concurrently with Russian 2224.

Prerequisites: RUS 2204.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2018.

RUS 3245  (c, ESD, IP)   Rebels, Workers, Mothers, Dreamers: Women in Russian Art and Literature Since the Age of Revolution  

Non-Standard Rotation. Enrollment limit: 12.  

Although the Russian cultural tradition has long been male-dominated, this paradigm began to shift with the advent of brilliant women writers and artists prior to the Russian Revolution. Since the collapse of the USSR, women have again emerged as leaders in the tumultuous post-Soviet cultural scene, even overshadowing their male counterparts. This course explores the work of female Russian writers, artists, and filmmakers against a backdrop of revolutionary change, from the turn of the 20th century to the present. Themes include representations of masculinity and femininity in extremis; artistic responses to social, political and moral questions; and women's artistry as cultural subversion.

Prerequisites: RUS 2204.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2017.

RUS 3405  (c, IP)   Advanced Russian I  

Reed Johnson.
Every Fall. Fall 2019. Enrollment limit: 10.
  

Continuation of Intermediate Russian. Emphasis on the equal importance of speaking, understanding, reading, and writing for free and expressive communication in the Russian language. Course materials focus on topics in Russian literature, history, film, or culture to provide a broad conceptual base for students to practice and refine their language skills, improve their mastery of advanced grammar concepts, and expand their vocabulary. Course requirements include grammar practice, oral presentations, participation in class discussions, written compositions, and written and oral quizzes and tests. Conversation hour with native speaker.

Prerequisites: RUS 2204.

Previous terms offered: Fall 2018, Fall 2017.

RUS 3406  (c, IP)   Advanced Russian II  

Every Spring. Enrollment limit: 10.  

Uses a four-skill approach (reading, writing, listening, speaking), emphasizing these skills' equal importance for free communication in the target language. Course materials focus on topics in nineteenth-century Russian history, advanced grammar concepts, and vocabulary development. While the content of the readings is historical, their language is modern and authentic. Course requirements include oral presentations, written compositions, and oral and written exams.

Prerequisites: RUS 3405.

Previous terms offered: Spring 2019, Spring 2018.