Fall 2020 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.

BCS 115: South Slavic Cultures
Instructor: TBD
TR 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM 166 Bevier Hall

Exploration of South Slavic cultures in the historically rich and complex region sometimes referred to as “the Balkans,” focusing particularly on those groups found within the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. Critical look at the traditional view of the region as the crossroads or the bridge between East and West, and at the term Balkanization which has become a pejorative term used to characterize fragmented, and self-defeating social systems.

HIST 259: The Cold War
Instructor: Felix Cowen
MWF: 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

The course explores the history of the second half of the 20th century through the prism of the Cold War, a conflict between the two Super Powers- the USSR and USA — which brought the world to the threshold of mutually assured destruction.

HIST 260: Russian History from Early Times to the Present: Experience, Imagination, and Power
Instructor: Mark Steinberg
MWF: 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM

The history of “Russia” (Rus, Muscovy, Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation) from medieval times to the present. Although an introductory “survey course,” my aim is that we look beneath the surface of events to explore how individuals and groups experienced, interpreted, and made their own history. Most readings are primary texts, created at the time, so that we can listen to the past in its own voices as we try to understand, explain, and interpret. Three large (and related) interpretive questions are at the center of our exploration—experience (especially the experiences of everyday life); imagination (ways of thinking, feeling, seeing, and dreaming as expressed in ideas, ideologies, religion, and art); and power (rulers and their ideals as well as dissent and rebellion).

HIST 262: Zionism: A Global History
Instructor E. Avrutin and M. Ruiz
Online Course

Examines the history of the Zionist movement. The course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of Jewish, European, or Middle Eastern history. The goal is to survey how Zionism emerged as a widespread political movement and, in the process, helped create an independent state for the Jewish people. In addition to familiarizing students with the backstory of a globally significant movement, this class will teach students historical interpretation skills.

HIST 353: European History 1918-1939
Instructor: Peter Fritzsche
TR 9:30 AM – 10:50 AM

This course examines the political and cultural environment of Europe from the demise of the continental empires after World War I to the dawn of the thousand-year Reich at the start of World War II. This Age of Extremes saw the rise of liberal democracies, the flourishing of new artistic movements, and the birth of new technologies such as film. At the same time, this period was also marked by the ascension of dictators, crises in colonial empires, and one of the largest economic crisis in history. Perhaps more famous (or infamous) than these events are the individuals we will cover, which includes the likes of Neville Chamberlain, Francisco Franco, Adolf Hitler, and Joseph Stalin. We will explore the period through a variety of sources, including speeches, contemporary films, and a novel concerned with an even greater threat: newts.

HIST 439: The Ottoman Empire
Instructor: Maria Todorova
TR 11:00 AM – 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 land 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 502: Problems in Comparative History: Microhistory
Instructor: Maria Todorova
R 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM 318 Gregory Hall

What does it mean to change the scale of perspective in history? In science, observation through the telescope or through the microscope, in addition to the naked eye, are equally legitimate, as well as complementing. In history, there is still the tendency to prioritize certain approaches, to pronounce their scale of perspective as more “significant.” The goal of this graduate seminar is to serve as an introduction to a relatively new historical field – microhistory – which has been flourishing since the late 1970s. What paradigm did the first microhistorians challenge? What traditions did they step on? What new directions has microhistorical research taken in the past decades? How does it differ across chronological, geographical and social boundaries? The course consists of class discussions on readings, book reviews and a final historiographical or research paper. The readings draw on a variety of historical schools and aim at providing a solid introduction to the scholarly literature. They are clustered around a list of mandatory books (at Illini Bookstore), an extensive list of books on reserve, supplemented by articles and reviews that will be available during the course. We are going to read the work of the original Italian school (Carlo Ginzburg, Giovanni Levi, Guido Ruggiero, and other historians around Quaderni Storici), the antecedents to the microhistory in historical anthropology and the Annales school, the cultural approach in the work of early modernists (Natalie Zemon Davis and Robert Darnton), as well as examples of microhistorical research from different locales and from different historical eras: India, China, Latin America, the Atlantic, Eastern Europe, Russia, and Africa.

HIST 560: Problems in Russian History – Politics, Society, and Culture in Modern Russian and Soviet History, 1881-1939
Instructor: Mark Steinberg
R 1:00 PM – 2:50 PM

Major themes in the history and historiography of late imperial and early Soviet Russia and the USSR from 1880s through the 1930s. Topics to be explored include social and cultural experience, diversity and difference, power and transgression, cultural construction and interpretation, gender, empire, capitalism, socialism, and revolution. Central to the course are questions of historical methodology and theory as well as interpretation of the Russian past.

JS 320/CWL 320/ENGL 359/REL 320/YDSH 320: Lit Responses to the Holocaust
Instructor: R. Harris 
TBA

Course introduces a variety of Jewish literary responses to the Holocaust written during and after the Second World War (from 1939). The discussion of Holocaust memoirs, diaries, novels, short stories, poems, and other texts will focus on the unique contribution of literary works to our understanding of the Holocaust. In addition, the works and their authors will be situated in their Jewish cultural historical context. Taught in English translation. 

LAW 656: International Law
Instructor: Francis A. Boyle
Time: TBA

The International Law course examines the variety of roles played by law and lawyer in ordering the relations between states and the nationals of states. The course utilizes a number of specialized contexts as a basis for exploring these roles. The contexts include, among others, the status of international law in domestic courts; the efficacy of judicial review by the International Court of Justice; the effort to subsume international economic relations under the fabric of bilateral and multilateral treaties; and the application — or misapplication — of law to political controversies that entail the threat of actual use of force. The course proceeds through an examination of problems selected to illuminate the operation of law within each of these contexts.

MUS: Balkanalia (Balkan Music Ensemble)
Instructor: Donna Buchanan
T: 6:30 PM – 9:20 PM Recording Studio Music Building

Balkanalia Ensemble – course number and more details coming soon. For more info, please contact Dr. Buchanan at buchana1@illinois.edu.

MUS 418/518: Regional Studies in Musicology: Eurasian Musical Excursions 
Instructor: Donna Buchanan 
MW 3:30 PM – 4:50 PM 2334 Music Building

Startling vocal polyphonies and shimmering string ensembles. Gymnastic dancing and chivalric epics. Mythologies of musical magic and medicine. Songs of valor, love, and anguish. This interdisciplinary course explores the legacy of traditional musical life in Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and Ukraine—four contemporary Eurasian countries that are, on the one hand, nations with lengthy and complex political histories, and on the other, recently established post-Soviet states that are also the site of ongoing strife and ethnic conflict. Although the syllabus is organized by country, at least five factors will emerge as intercultural links across this complicated area: shared Christian heritage; a history of sharply delineated gender codes; a legacy of Russian and Soviet imperialism; the contemporary experience of postsocialism on the cusp of a rapidly changing Asia, Europe, and Middle East; and cultural repositories of indigenous beliefs whose folkloric, ritual, and musical manifestations intertwine fundamentally with the natural world. Course topics will survey the history, regional distribution, popularization, and social significance of vernacular musics in diverse media and venues—from the fields to the festival stage to flashmobs. Course materials will draw upon recordings, music videos, literary works, and films in addition to anthropological, area, and ethnomusicological studies. Whenever possible, students will engage first hand with representative instruments, vocal practices, and regional specialists. While the ability to hear, identify, and understand the significance of regional genres and their distinguishing features is a primary course objective, students from both within and outside the School of Music are encouraged to enroll; instructor expectations will be modified accordingly. Graduate students from outside Music who wish to register for MUS 518 should contact the instructor for permission.

*Please note that although Course Explorer currently lists this course under Topics in Opera History, the 518 course number is in the process of being reassigned to Regional Studies in Musicology for Fall 2020. 

REES 116/RUSS 115: Intro to Russian Culture
Instructor: Richard Tempest
MWF 3:00 PM – 3:50 PM

Introduction to the culture of Russia and the USSR. Course addresses two central themes. First, the very distinctiveness of Russian culture, and the functions of that notion within Russia and for outsiders; Second, Russia as a cultural space between East and West. We will explore Russian culture through the following, the language(s); foundational narratives of collective memory going back to the medieval times; the cultural impact of colonial subjugation both by and of peoples to the East, South, and West; Russian Orthodoxy’s connection with the political and cultural spheres; peak achievements in literature, music, architecture and visual arts. 

REES 200: Introduction to Russia and Eurasia
Instructor: TBA
TR 9:30 AM – 10:50 AM

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 495/550: Senior Seminar/Graduate Seminar in REEE Studies
Instructor: TBA
W 3:00 PM – 4:50 PM

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 322/522: Dostoevsky
Instructor: Harriet Murav
TR 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM Online

Dostoevsky’s Russia was beset by violent terrorism, political and economic uncertainty. Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1821-1881), one of the world’s greatest authors, wrote Poor Folk, The Double, Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons, The Adolescent, A Writer’s Diary, and The Brothers Karamazov. He grappled with the major questions of the modern era in a boldly experimental style. Politics and religious and ethnic tension are explicit themes of his works. He was a political radical as a young man, sentenced to death for crimes against the government, but was reprieved. By the end of his life he shifted to the right politically. He suffered epileptic seizures during which he experienced mystical ecstasy. The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoevsky’s last novel. If there is no God, is everything permitted?

*No Russian required. This course focuses on The Brothers Karamazov.

RUSS 511: Russian Literature 1800-1855
Instructor: Valeria Sobol
W 2:00 PM – 4:20 PM

Graduate-level study of major literary trends and developments in Russian literature from 1800-1855, from early romanticism to the emergence of a realist tradition, in criticism, drama, poetry, and prose. Prerequisite: Ability to read in Russian.

SLAV 117/CWL 117: Russ & Euro Science Fiction
Instructor: Richard Tempest
MWF 11:00 AM – 12:50 PM 134 Armory

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.

SLAV 501/CWL 511/EALC 511/GER 511/TRST 501: Applied Literary Translation 1 
Instructor: Roman Ivashkiv
M 3:00 PM – 5:20 PM 3072E Foreign Languages Building

No description given.

SLAV 576/CWL 576: Methods in Slavic Grad Study
Instructor: L. Kaganovsky
M 2:00 PM – 4:50 PM 3150 Foreign Languages Building

Comparative, interdisciplinary methods and theoretical issues crucial to studies in Slavic literature, history, and culture. Theoretical bookshelf followed by specific case studies from Slavic.

TURK 270/ANTH 272/GLBL 272/SAME 272: Language and Culture in Turkey
Instructor: A. Ozcan and E. Saadah
TR 2:00 PM – 3:20 PM 2147 Gregory Hall

As a country located at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa, Turkey has always been under the spotlight. In this course, we will study the dynamic relationship between language and culture in Ottoman and modern Turkey through a timely analysis of its transition from a long-lasting empire to a young “secular” nation-state. We will examine the complexities of Turkish modernity from a holistic perspective to better comprehend how central Asian and Middle Eastern cultural influences, continuities, and transformations gave birth to modern Turkish language. The course should help you not only in developing an understanding of the Turkish language within a cultural framework, but also in gaining insight into Turkey’s history, politics, literature, and media. No former knowledge of Turkey or the Turkish language is required.

REEEC-Affiliated Faculty Receive IPRH Fellowships

Three REEEC-affiliated faculty members have received 2020-2021 fellowships from the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH): Zsuzsa Gille (Professor of Sociology), Harriet Murav (Professor of Comparative and World Literatures and Slavic Languages and Literatures), and John Randolph (Associate Professor of History and Director of REEEC) were among those awarded for the upcoming academic year. In partnership with the Illinois Global Institute, the theme for this year’s program is “The Global and Its Worlds.”

Their projects are as follows:

Zsuzsa Gille, IPRH fellowship: “The New Globals: Anthropocene and Capitalocene”

Harriet Murav, IPRH fellowship: “Archive of Violence: The Literature of Abandonment and the Russian Civil War (1917-1922)”

John Randolph, Training in Digital Methods for Humanists (TDMH) fellowship: “The Classroom and the Future of the Historical Record”

 

For the complete list of fellows and projects, please see here.

Message from REEEC (Remote Work / Suspension of Programming)

 Dear REEEC Community,

 Following University guidance and also the example of the other IGI Centers, REEEC has suspended all of our in-person public programming and events through the end of spring term. We look forward to a time when we may reschedule these events and, in the meantime, we will plan ways to maintain our REEEC community online.

As you no doubt know, the University moved all instruction online, closed most campus buildings, and instructed faculty and staff to work remotely to follow CDC guidelines on social distancing. The goal, if we all pull together and limit physical interpersonal contact as much as possible, is to slow the spread of the virus through our community and temper its impact on local health care providers.

In keeping with these guidelines, and to ensure everyone’s health, REEEC has shifted to remote work and closed the office to walk-in visitors. Since the situation is still rapidly evolving, we are still developing full plans for our work. However, should you have any immediate needs (of any kind), please reach out to me by e-mail (jwr@illinois.edu).

On that note, I want to say that while we all should stay physically apart, there’s no reason not to find other ways to stay together, by phone, online, by text, and in other ways. We’ll be making plans at REEEC to help us all stay in touch as we get through this. April’s Midwest Russian History Workshop (for example) is being rescheduled into a virtual workshop, and we’ll be posting information on how to participate. We’ll also be thinking about other ways we can help each other personally in the coming weeks (and I welcome your suggestions on these lines.)

In short, though we have to suspend in-person programming for now–and although we should keep our physical distance in the coming weeks–I do hope that we will find ways to continue to interact and support each other, and to continue our community and our work.

Warmly,

On behalf of REEEC,

John

 

Some campus resources on current events:

COVID-19

http://mckinley.illinois.edu/covid-19

https://grad.illinois.edu/covid-19-updates

Judith Pintar Named CITL Faculty Fellow

REEEC faculty affiliate Judith Pintar (Teaching Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences) has been named a Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL) Faculty Fellow. The fellowship period lasts September 2019 to August 2020. The new program “draws upon Fellows’ unique perspectives and academic interests to assist CITL staff in identifying faculty needs and reducing barriers to participation in CITL programs, workshops, and events.” Dr. Pintar’s research focuses on Social Informatics, interactive AI, the development of tools to foster programming literacy through collaborative game design, and social narrative approaches to trauma and memory studies. She teaches a course at the iSchool called IS 490PD: Playful Design Methods and is the director of Games @ Illinois: Playful Design for Transformative Education.

To view the announcement, “Knox and Pintar Named CITL Faculty Fellows”, please see https://ischool.illinois.edu/news-events/news/2019/11/knox-and-pintar-named-citl-faculty-fellows

For more information about the Center for Innovation in Teaching & Learning (CITL), please see https://citl.illinois.edu/

The Adventures of Little Sharp Ears: Opens on Friday!

The Adventures of Little Sharp-Ears opens on Friday! The Lyric Theatre @Illinois will perform The Adventures of Little Sharp Ears  on November 15 – 17 at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801). Family-friendly entertainment with beautiful music and fabulous costumes that incorporate Moravian folk elements!

Czech composer Leoš Janáček wrote the comic opera, which incorporates Moravian folk music and rhythms, in 1921-1923 based on a serialized novella, Liška Bystrouška, by Rudolf Těsnohlídek, which was first published in the newspaper Lidové noviny accompanied by illustrations by Stanislav Lolek. In fact, Lolek’s sketches of a story he overheard in the 1880’s served as the basis for the opera. The University of Illinois Library has several copies of Těsnohlídek’s publication in English available for checkout and a Libguide for the production.

Will Sturman, the costume designer for The Adventures of Little Sharp-Ears, explains how he incorporated traditional folk dress into the costumes:

“A show like this poses an interesting design challenge, because it could be anything. How do you approach something this fantastical, and even more than that, how do you make it feasible to dress an opera in which most of the characters are animals? My strategy with this kind of challenge is almost always to ground it in something real, and historical, and in this case the cultural roots of the opera led me to traditional Eastern European folk dress. The folk dress of the regions which inspired Janáček’s story—with its bright colors, intricate patterns, and sometimes startling silhouettes—provided more than enough inspiration to work with, adapting traditional clothing into animal-esque shapes. The wide, lace-edged sleeves of a Slovak man’s shirt become the jay’s wings, and the dense, stiff pleating of Moravian skirts and puff sleeves becomes, in iridescent fabrics, an insect’s carapace. As the main character, Sharp Ears herself is both the most realistic animal, and one of the most authentically dressed, in a style of embroidered bodice common all over the region. The overarching traditional style provides consistency, within which characters can be distinguished by unconventional colors and textures. The goal is not realism, but to invoke the liveliness of both folk culture and the forest scene.”

To find out more about the opera and the genre of animal folktales, please come to a Dessert and Conversation at 2 PM on Sunday, November 17th, in the Krannert Room of the Krannert Center. It will be a discussion with members of the opera’s artistic team and David Cooper (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures) before the 3 PM performance that day.  For more information on this event and to purchase tickets (separate from the performance):
https://krannertcenter.com/events/dessert-and-conversation-adventures-little-sharp-ears

For more information about the performance and to purchase tickets, visit https://krannertcenter.com/events/adventures-little-sharp-ears. You can also view an interview with the opera’s artistic team on WCIA at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbMbu6wogbo

And don’t miss the opportunity to see one of Lolek’s paintings of a fox at the Spurlock Museum’s exhibit! National Treasure: The Art of Joža Uprka from the George Drost Collection is on display November 5th – December 1st.  A public opening reception will take place on November 16th, 1:30-3:30 PM at the Spurlock Museum (600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, IL 61801). At 2:00 PM, the collector George Drost and David Cooper, Associate Professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, will speak. Czech refreshments will be served. All are welcome!

REEEC Receives Competitive State Department Title VIII Grant

The Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center at Illinois is pleased to announce that it recently was awarded a $225,000 grant from the State Department’s Program for the Study of Eastern Europe and the Independent States of the Former Soviet Union (Title VIII).

The grant provides support for REEEC’s innovative Summer Research Laboratory, and will provide 55 short-term fellowships for researchers who wish to come to Urbana, consult with our Slavic Reference Service, and work in our famous library collections.  The Summer Research Laboratory also features training workshops, mini-conferences, and other scholarly programming.

The new grant will also support short term grants for researchers who wish to come to Urbana during the Fall and Spring semesters, in a new program called the Open Research Lab.

In awarding the grant, the Title VIII Advisory Committee praised the Summer Lab and the Slavic Reference Service as “a unique, cost-effective program.”

We owe a round of congratulations to our colleagues across campus–at REEEC, the Slavic Reference Service, and beyond–whose collaborative work on this grant led to such a well-deserved success.  Thanks to their efforts, Illinois continues to serve the most basic mission of a public research university: to make advanced study in any field accessible to the largest possible pool of scholars.

– Dr. John Randolph, Director, REEEC

Student News

REEEC congratulates the following student award winners and the Summer 2017 FLAS fellows:

2017 Yaro Skalnik Prize for the Best Graduate Essay in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies:

  • Felix Cowan (PhD Student in History) for his essay, “Beyond Urban Boundaries: The Penny Press and Lower-Class Integration in the Russian Empire”
  • Daria Semenova (PhD Student in Slavic Languages and Literatures) for her essay, “A Robinson for an awakening nation: a case study on a translation which is not one”

Summer 2017 FLAS Fellows:

  • Tyler Dolan (PhD Student in Slavic Languages and Literatures) for Russian
  • Jacob Goldsmith (PhD Student in Slavic Languages and Literatures) for Russian
  • LeiAnna Hamel (PhD Candidate in Slavic Languages and Literatures) for Yiddish
  • Douglas Heintz (MS Candidate in Library and Information Science) for Russian
  • Marco Jaimes (PhD Candidate in History) for Czech
  • Jennifer Jenson (PhD Student in German Studies) for Russian
  • Benjamin Krupp (PhD Student in Anthropology) for Russian
  • Thornton Miller (PhD Candidate in Musicology) for Russian
  • Hannah Werner (PhD Student in History) for Yiddish