Select Courses in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Spring 2018

last updated: 12/7/2017

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.


ARTH 541/SLAV 525: Aesthetic Technologies of the Russian Avant-Garde
Lilya Kaganovsky and Kristin Romberg
M 2-4:50 pm, Flagg 404

This course takes as its primary focus the radical transformations of aesthetic technologies in painting, photography, film, literature, poetry, and related media produced by the Russian avant-garde in the period from the 1917 Russian Revolution to the beginning of the Second World War. This course is organized as a primer on the technologies of seeing and representing as they appear in Soviet film, literature, poetry, and the visual arts of the 1920s and 1930s. Topics will include: “trans-sense” (zaum), estrangement (ostranenie), montage, collage, attraction, factography, mastery or conquest of space through vision (osvoenie), and socialist realism.

HIST 463: The Modern Balkans Through Film and Literature
Maria Todorova
TR 9:30-10:50 am, 113 Gregory Hall

This course covers the history of the creation and development of the independent Balkan states (Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and later Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and partly Turkey) during the 19th and 20th centuries. This process, whose obverse side was the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, can be approached as a case study of the larger and general process of dissolution of multinational empires into nation states that dominated much of Europe’s experience in this period. Special attention is given to Balkan nationalism, its roots, evolution and various manifestations. The modernization of the rural societies of the Balkans, their state and nation building are major problems of comparative analysis. Other topics cover ethnic conflict and/or accommodation, inter-Balkan relations, and the role of the great powers in the region. Finally, a close look will be taken on contemporary developments in the Balkans, especially the Yugoslav crisis, the fall of communism and post-communist development. By reading and discussing fictional work and showing several films by Balkan authors, the course will provide a look also at the intellectual production of the region. Books for discussion are assigned on a weekly basis. Additional texts, maps and other materials will be provided by the professor.

HIST 551: Jews and their Neighbors in Global Contexts
E Avrutin
T 12:30-2:20 pm, 318 Gregory Hall

This course is an interdisciplinary graduate-level introduction to the encounter between Jews and their neighbors in global contexts, including early modern Germany and Poland, Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Europe in the 19th and 20th Centuries. It focuses on the significations and transformations of Jewishness through a wide range of recent writings by historians and cultural theorists. We will consider the pre-modern roots of the position of Judaism and Jews in Christian thought and society, but will more closely focus on the modern re-articulation of this relationship in the aftermath of the Enlightenment. Key themes will include the varied pathways of Jewish modernization, the emergence of modern Jewish political, cultural and religious formations, constructions of Jewish otherness, everyday neighborly relations, and both Jewish and non-Jewish responses to the Holocaust. Students are required to lead two seminars. The writing assignments include one short response paper and a longer critical review essay or an annotated bibliography project. The bibliography project is designed to help students prepare for preliminary examinations and/or begin preliminary background reading for a future, long-term research project.


LAW 657: International Human Rights Law
Francis Boyle
3-4:15 pm, location TBA

Based primarily on a series of contemporary “real world” problems, the course introduces the student to the established and developing legal rules and procedures governing the protection of international human rights. Its thesis is that there exists a substantial body of substantive and procedural International Human Rights Law, and that lawyers, government officials, and concerned citizens should be familiar with the policies underlying this law and its enforcement, as well as with the potential it offers for improving the basic lot of human beings everywhere. Additionally, the course presupposes that the meaning of “human rights” is undergoing fundamental expansion, and therefore explores Marxist and Third World conceptions of human rights as well as those derived from the liberal West.


NPRE/GLBL/PS 480: Energy and Security
Clifford Singer
T 12:30-1:50 pm, Transportation 101; R 12:30-1:50 pm, Transportation 101 OR R 2:00-3:40 pm, 340 Armory

Security and supplies of energy, mineral resources, and water. Evolution of the importance of various fuels in conflicts (including coal, oil, uranium, and natural gas) starting with the Franco-Prussian Wars. Theories of international conflict and examination of the role of individual leaders versus institutional factors in the precipitation and outcome of pivotal wars. Econometric analyses relevant to past and projected future energy use.


REES 201: Introduction to Eastern Europe
Judith Pintar
TR 12:20-1:50, 11 Psychology Building

This survey course explores the part of the world that falls under the broad term “Eastern Europe,” a problematic label that is defined in various geographic, political, and cultural ways. Taking a socio-historical approach to a region and its empires which stretch from the Balkans to Sibera, we will travel through 2000 years of transformational history. You will have the opportunity to choose one country to be the focus of your personal research. You will also participate in scholarly, cultural, and creative activities within a larger regional group.


SLAV 399: The Life and Times of Vladimir Putin
Richard Tempest
MWF 1-1:50 pm, Gregory Hall 205

This course examines the figure of Russian president Vladimir Putin against the backdrop of imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet culture while exploring his connection to real-life characters and plots from a variety of Russian and Western sources. The defining traits of Putin’s Russia as well as the poetics of his charismatic national and international presence will also be explored. A representative selection of relevant artistic productions is covered, from classic Russian poetry and prose to gangster movies, rock, pop, and hip hop. No knowledge of Russian required.


SLAV 525 G: Medieval Epics and Modern Forgeries: The Igor Tale in its Contexts
David Cooper
W 2-4:50 pm, 1032 Foreign Languages Building

Since its discovery in the late eighteenth century, the Slovo o polku Igoreve (the Igor Tale) has occupied a central but isolated place in Russian literary history. Received as a secular national epic, Slovo stood out as unique in the canon of medieval Russian literature and as singularly important to the forging of a modern Russian national literary identity. These features led to suspicions concerning the authenticity of the work from the very beginning. In this course, we will read the text of Slovo closely (in the Old East Slavic/OCS) and examine its features as a literary work in comparison to related Kievan period texts, to other “authentic” medieval epics, to oral epic traditions, and to later “forgeries.” We will examine the debates over Slovo’s authenticity and explore how arguments on both sides shed light on the nature of medieval literature and how that literature was received (and transformed) in the age of developing nationalism.


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