Fall 2019: Select Courses in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Note: The courses listed below are not an exhaustive list of courses being offered on the REEE region.
Please see course explorer for additional classes.
ANTH 488: Anthropology of Modern Europe
Time TBD, location TBD
In recent years the Anthropology of Europe has produced exciting and innovative contributions to some of the most central debates in the discipline. At the same time, changing geopolitical relations in the post-Cold-War and postcolonial world have challenged Europe’s once privileged status as the arbiter of political and social modernity. Using ethnographic case studies, film, and primary source material, we will interrogate modern Europe as an ideological, cultural, political, and economic project. We will ask how the ethnography of this contemporary Europe-in-crisis sheds light on key themes in Anthropology, including: Labor, value, and neoliberalism; consumption and material culture; immigration and citizenship; the politics of race and gender; secularism; state and governance; and democracy and counter/publics.
HIST 354: Twentieth-Century Europe: Cultural History of Eastern Europe: The Best Novels and Films
TR 2:00 – 3:20 pm, 321 Gregory Hall
This interdisciplinary course is devoted to the examination of the cultures, politics and societies of the nations of Eastern Europe during the 20th century. Eastern Europe in the context of this course is understood as East-Central Europe and Southeastern Europe (the Balkans). Russia, given that it has a hefty presence in the department’s curriculum, is not included, although it is considered to be a part of Eastern Europe. Located at the intersection of the three traditional contiguous empires – the Habsburg, the Ottoman, and the Romanov – Eastern Europe emerged as a zone of nation states after the collapse of these empires at the end of the First World War. Beginning with a historical overview of the region, this course will offer an introduction to the major topics that have characterized its development in the course of a century, as well as particularly evocative case-studies. This will be achieved through a close analysis of some of the most important “cultural texts” coming out of this region (including novels, films, plays, and poetry). Major topics include: empire and imperial legacy; modernizing ideologies and projects; war and revolution; ethnic diversity; memory and identity, especially the Holocaust in Eastern Europe; the 1989 revolutions; the Yugoslav crisis and wars of secession; economic, political and cultural relations with the West and Russia, and European Union accession; everyday life during communism and post-communism; and post-communist nostalgia.
HIST 439: The Ottoman Empire
TR 11:00 – 12:20 pm, 307 Gregory Hall
This course introduces the history of one of the great imperial formations of the early modern and modern period, which had long-standing repercussions on the development of Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. It covers the whole span of Ottoman history, and will pay special attention to some of the following problems: the political rise of the Ottoman state since the thirteenth century and how it became an empire, its social and administrative structure, the classical Ottoman economic system, Ottoman impact on the societies, politics, economies and cultures of Byzantium and the medieval Balkan states, the spread of Islam in Europe, the transformations of the Ottoman polity and society, aspects of what has been conventionally named as Ottoman decline, the Eastern question in international relations, the modernizing reforms of the nineteenth century, and the spread of nationalism as a prelude to the final demise of the supranational empire in the twentieth century.
HIST 467: Eastern Europe
TR 9:30 – 10:50 am, 327 Gregory Hall
The political, economic, and cultural history of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania; particular emphasis upon the post-World War II era.
HIST 560: Problems in Imperial Russian History
F 1:00 – 2:50 pm, location TBD
By 1649, the Romanov dynasty claimed most of the territory of today’s Russian Federation. Yet the place that would be occupied by Russia in modern politics, culture, and society had yet to be determined, not least because the modern world was itself rapidly evolving. Tracing this history forward over two hundred years, this reading course will examine major problems in Imperial Russian cultural history, 1650-1850. Drawing on theories of empire, communication, and performance, we will analyze historical scholarship as well as classical Russian literature and art to understand how the space claimed by Russian empire became the place called modern Russia. Coursework will include seminar presentations, short reaction papers, and a longer research project, based on either secondary or primary sources.
MUS 252: Ethnomusicology Performance Ensembles: Balkanalia
T 6:30 – 9:50 pm, 25 Smith Memorial Hall
Balkan performance ensemble.
POL 245/CWL 245: Survey of Polish Literature
MW 11:00 am – 12:20 pm, 219 David Kinley Hall
Critical survey, in translation, of Polish literature from the Middle Ages to the end of the nineteenth century; special attention given to the works in their cultural context.
PS 300: The Comparative Politics of EU Enlargement
Time TBD, location TBD
PS 398: Strategic International Relations
TR 3:30 – 4:50 pm, 120 Architecture Building
Examination of basic concepts and tools for analyzing foreign policy and understanding international politics and economy. Simple game-theoretic models will be used to explore the logic and the mechanisms behind key policy issues in international economy, cooperation, security, and institutions.
REES 200: Introduction to Russia and Eurasia
TR 9:30 – 10:50 am, G46 Foreign Languages Building
Survey of the societies and states formerly constituted as the Soviet Union. Interdisciplinary and team-taught. Combines lectures, discussions, and films covering the history, political science, economics, sociology, and culture of the area.
REES 495: Senior Seminar
W 3:00 – 4:50 pm, 1051 Lincoln Hall
Interdisciplinary seminar normally taken in the senior year. Involving faculty in a number of disciplines, this course approaches understanding Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia and the methodologies of its study through questions of identities, cultural values, and change.
REES 496: Topics in REEE Studies – The South Caucasus
M 3:00 – 5:50 pm, G20 Foreign Languages Building
Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, the countries of the South Caucasus, are perhaps best known historically as a geographical (and geological) fault zone “between East and West” that is set against stunning mountain backdrops, imposing stone architecture, and strong traditions of hospitality. Today, the region is attracting refugees, adventure tourists, and international energy corporations, even as each country continues to deal with periods of stagnation, conflict, and rapid change following the collapse of the U.S.S.R. This course will take an anthropological perspective on the South Caucasus, drawing on archaeological and ethnographic studies as well as interdisciplinary texts (geography, history, political science, sociology) and media (dance, film, artwork, song) to explore the foundational myths, historical landscapes, and cultures of the South Caucasus from the Paleolithic to the Roman period and the Medieval to the Post-Soviet present. Importantly, we will read and discuss authors and artists from the region and diaspora to critically engage with Western and Russian conceptions of the South Caucasus. Together as a class we will explore the intersection of history, politics, religion, and the arts with identity, ethnicity, and subjectivity.
REES 550: Seminar in REEE Studies
W 3:00 – 4:50 pm, 1051 Lincoln Hall
Interdisciplinary seminar involving faculty in a number of disciplines. The course examines Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia and the methodologies of its study through questions of identities, cultural values, and change.
RUSS 220/CWL 227: The Golden Age of Russian Literature
Time TBD, location TBD
Survey of Russian literature in the long 19th century; romanticism, realism, nationalism, orientalism, empire; writers may include Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Pavlova, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and others; reading and discussion in English.
RUSS 320/RUSS 520/CWL 321: Russian Writers: Nikolai Gogol
Time TBD, location TBD
This course will explore the literary art of Nikolai Gogol. Gogol’s texts are remarkable in their demonstration of the power of language to create a reality, and equally remarkable in their resistance to comprehension, finality, closure. Gogol’s is a highly self-conscious art that constantly challenges the reader as a self-conscious co-creator. The texts continually offer up models of bad and good readers and endlessly challenge the reader’s assumptions (that narratives have plots, have characters, have a definable perspective, etc.). In order to read Gogol well, one has to be open to learning new reading strategies suggested by the text, but also self-aware enough to understand how one is being shaped and to question that shaping. In learning to read Gogol, then, we are learning to do the hard and complicated work of good reading.
RUSS 461/CWL 466: Russia and the Other: The Caucasus in the Russian Cultural Imagination
W 2:00 – 4:20 pm, location TBD
From the nineteenth-century Romantic fascination with this beautiful, dangerous, and exotic region to current racial profiling and fears of terrorism, the Caucasus has kept its hold on the Russian cultural imagination as Russia’s ultimate “Other.” The course will explore the representations of the Caucasus in Russian literature and film and their historical and theoretical contexts. No knowledge of Russian is required.
RUSS 512: Russian Literature 1855-1905
M 2:30 – 5:15 pm, 1032 Foreign Languages Building
Graduate-level survey of Russian literature of the second half of the nineteenth century, tracing the emergence, blossom, and decline of the great Russian realist novel, as well as the social and ideological debates of the 1850s and 1860s that were that form’s most significant context. Explores the emergence and varied meanings of the term “realism” in Russian literature and criticism of the nineteenth century and will cover the rise of the short form in the 1880s and then, of Russian Decadence/Symbolism in the 1890s. Key developments in Russian drama will also be covered: Ostrovskii, Sukhovo-Kobylin, Chekhov and the Moscow Art Theater.
SLAV 117/CWL 117: Russian and East European Science Fiction
MWF 11:00 am – 12:50 pm, 236 Wohlers Hall
Survey of the science fiction writing of Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe since 1750, with particular emphasis on the post-World War II period. The role of the Science Fiction tradition in the respective national cultures. The influence on Russian and East European Science Fiction of Anglo-American Science Fiction. All readings are in English.
SOC 366: Postsocialism in Eastern Europe
Time TBD, location TBD
The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the sociological realities of state socialism and postsocialism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
What was state socialism and what is coming after it? Can we even evaluate the recent radical transformations in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union from just one perspective? How do people belonging to different social groups experience and make sense of these changes?
What is it like to be a former party member in Germany? Why are Western feminists received with suspicion in the Czech Republic? What happens to your working conditions when your old company in Poland is bought up by an American firm? Why don’t Russians who don’t get paid for six months go on strike or demonstrate in the streets? How do you keep the value of your money if you cannot trust new financial institutions in Romania? What do American businessmen see as the greatest problems of their East European counterparts? What is the appeal of nationalism during and after state socialism? What does it feel like not to be able to buy your favorite old brands now replaced with western ones? What can you do when a French company wants to build an incinerator in your village? What does it mean to be a Jew in Hungary? What does it feel like to be a Bosnian woman refugee? What effect does Western aid have on postsocialist society? Are you better off in capitalism if you are a Roma?
In this course we will find the answers to these and many other questions and analyze what their relevance is for joining the global economy and for building a new society and in former socialist countries.
UKR 113: Ukrainian Culture
TR 2:00 – 3:20 pm, G24 Foreign Languages Building
This course situates Ukrainian culture in the broad context of Slavic nations. Acquaints students with Ukrainian culture from the origins of Kievan Rus’ in the Middle Ages to the present. Includes highlights of historical-cultural events, an overview of literature and of the arts, as well as an outline of Ukrainian folklore. No knowledge of Ukrainian required.
Note: An asterisk indicates courses that may count towards a degree or FLAS requirement, but must be approved by the REEES advisor or FLAS coordinator.