New & Select Spring 2017 Courses – Russia, East Europe, & Eurasia

(Note: this list is not a complete list of REEE courses offered in Spring 2017. Visit course explore for more classes! )

BCS 215 “Yugoslavia and After”
Judith Pintar
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 PM – 1:50 PM
Description: Exploration of the effect of traumatic events, shifting cultural narratives, and social transformations on the construction of collective identities in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will read historical and sociological works as well as fiction and poetry.

HIST 300b “Film and Revolution: From ‘Battleship Potemkin’ to ‘Doing the Right Thing’”
Mark Steinberg
Tuesdays 7:00 PM – 9:50 PM
Description: An exploration of how filmmakers and actors, from the 1920s to the present, have portrayed, often in revolutionary ways, revolutions and revolutionaries—from the 1700s to the future and from the Soviet Union to China, Paris to Algiers, Poland to Cuba, Chicago to New York. Students will be able to influence the final selections of films. The course emphasizes the collective experience of watching and discussing films together each week and immediately interpreting, though inspired by selected written texts, mostly primary historical sources, read in advance of each screening. And we will constantly question the logic of the course: what is the relationship between films and history? Each week, students will write weekly analytical response essays of the films and readings.

HIST 560 “Graduate Seminar on Soviet History”
Diane Koenker
Thursdays 3:00 PM- 5:00 PM
Description: This readings seminar will examine key historical and historiographical issues of the 70-year history of the Soviet Union. Weekly discussions will be based on extensive common and supplemental readings, including both new work and “classics”. We will consider substantive, methodological, and theoretical aspects of the field. Topics to be addressed may include: the 1917 revolution, Civil War, NEP, Soviet subjectivity, identity-formation, the Communist party, Stalinism, gender, collectivization and peasants, industrialization and labor, the terror, ethnicity and nationalism, war and Cold war, cultural revolution and popular culture, destalinization, and the everyday life of developed socialism. Four papers will be required, including a survey of one of the weekly discussion themes, one scholarly introduction to a particular primary source for Soviet history (novel, memoirs, reportage), one review essay of 2-3 novels or memoirs on a particular topic, and one brief scholarly book review. Ability to read in Russian is expected for those specializing in Russian history, but not necessary for others.

PS 351 “Government and Politics of Post-Soviet States”
Carol Leff
Monday/Wednesday 3:00 PM- 4:20 PM
Description: Examines the evolution, structure, and functioning of post-Soviet governments. Prerequisite: PS 240 or PS 241, six hours of Political Science credit, or consent of instructor.

SOC 196 “Introduction of Central Asia”
Cynthia Buckley
Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 PM- 1:50 PM
Description: We focus on three overarching questions to structure our exploration of Central Asia. In the first section, we focus on approaches to the question, “What is Central Asia?” Comparing and contrasting how we identify the area historically and by familiarizing ourselves with the basic geography of the region and key social, cultural, political and economic issues. In the second section we will focus on the question, “How can we analyze the region sociologically?” highlighting issues of basic social theory and comparative analysis. The third section of the course turns to the question, “Why does Central Asia matter?”, providing participants with the opportunity to link what we have learned about the region and social theory into evaluating global issues concerning gender, human rights, citizenship, and civil society.

SOC 196 “The HIV/AIDS Global and Local Perspectives”
Cynthia Buckley
Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 AM- 10:50 AM
Description: The HIV/AIDS pandemic has drastically altered the global social, political, economic and demographic landscape. Delivering education concerning the virus, expanding prevention programs, monitoring the needs of countries and communities affected by HIV and AIDS, making treatment accessible and providing care continues to challenge the capacities of families, communities, countries and international organizations. While based within a socio-demographic tradition, this course draws on literatures from many disciplines to highlight the general contours, continuing debates, and ethical challenges related to the pandemic globally, nationally and within Illinois. As an introductory course, we will share strategies to enhance core academic skills focusing on effective approaches to college level reading, note taking strategies and formal writing skills. Participants will become more informed of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, learn core social science theories and develop a strong tool box of academic skills.

SOCW 325 International Development with Grassroots Organizations
Benjamin Lough
March 13 – May 03
Tuesday 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Description: This is an 8-week course in the Spring and uses a blended learning approach. In addition, students complete a service learning placement with a grassroots organization in Russia or an Eastern European country for two months during the summer. Students apply for these service experiences from within the Omprakash network of over 40 Partner Organizations in Russia/Eastern European countries. Alternatively, the student can work with existing department or university-level partnerships in the region. During their service learning experience, participants engage with local communities, document local perspectives, and work with the grassroots organization to promote social change. Each student develops this experience into a final Capstone Project.

Fall 2016 Course Offerings

REES 116, Intro to Russian Culture: Instructed by Prof. Richard Tempest.

Topic: Putin. This course will meet with RUSS 199 C. Students interested in this topic and who have taken REES 115 previously should register for RUSS 199 C.

MWF, 1:00-1:50PM, 370 Armory

REES 200, Intro to Russia and Eurasia: Instructed by Maureen Marshall. 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.

Tu/Th, 2:00-3:20 PM, 104 Talbot

REES 550, Seminar in REEE Studies: Instructed by Dr. Judith Pintar 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.

Meets with REES 495, Senior Seminar. M, 3:00-4:50 PM, 1020 Lincoln Hall

LIS 490, Social Media and Global Change: Instructed by Dr. Damian Duffy.

This course covers the impact of global and national computer networks on politics, culture, and social relations during a time of upheaval and revolutionary change. Topics may include the new social media, the politics and culture of the internet, hacktivism, cyber warfare, and mobile telephony and their role in the formation, dissemination, manipulation, and suppression of public opinion in Russia/Eurasia, the China/Pacific region, Central/South America, as well as Africa, Iran, and the Middle East.

Tu/Th, 9-11:20 AM, 109 Graduate School of Library & Information Science (Tu) and 242 Graduate School of Library & Information Science (Th)

HIST 260, Introduction to Russian History: Instructed by Prof. Diane Koenker.

This course explores the main themes and problems of Russian history from earliest times to the present.

MWF, 10:00-10:50 AM, 146 Armory

HIST 400, War, Politics, Society, and Culture: From the War of the Austrian Succession to the War on Terror: Instructed by PhD Candidate in the Department of History Stefan Djordjevic.

This course explores the relationship between warfare, culture, and society beginning in the Enlightenment and culminating with the recent Yugoslav Wars and the on-going War on Terror. During the semester, we will discuss battles seared in the popular imagination such as Antietam, Omaha beach, and Waterloo as well as lesser known, yet equally significant, killing fields including Königgrätz, Lucknow, and the Masurian Lakes.

Tu/Th, 2:00-3:20, 315 Gregory Hall

HIST 560, Problems in Russian History: Politics, Society, and Culture in Modern Russia, 1901-1917: Instructed by Prof. Mark Steinberg.

Major themes in Russian history from the early nineteenth century to the revolution of 1917, especially the exercise and justifications of authority, intellectual and cultural trends, and social life and experience. Central to the course are questions of methodology and theory as well as of the interpretation of the Russian past. The emphasis is on examining new work and new approaches. Topics to be explored (which may evolve depending on student interest) include practices and representations of power, cultural construction and experience, the intelligentsia, cities, the province, peasants, civil society, gender, sex, religion, and empire.

Tu, 1:00-2:50 PM, 318 Gregory Hall

SOC 196, Introduction to Central Asia: Instructed by Prof. Cynthia Buckley.

We focus on three overarching questions to structure our exploration of Central Asia. In the first section, we focus on approaches to the question, “What is Central Asia?” Comparing and contrasting how we identify the area historically and by familiarizing ourselves with the basic geography of the region and key social, cultural, political and economic issues. In the second section we will focus on the question, “How can we analyze the region sociologically?” highlighting issues of basic social theory and comparative analysis. The third section of the course turns to the question, “Why does Central Asia matter?”, providing participants with the opportunity to link what we have learned about the region and social theory into evaluating global issues concerning gender, human rights, citizenship, and civil society.

MWF, 4:00 PM-5:00 PM, 1002 Lincoln Hall; “Flipped Friday” sessions (online)

SOC 270, Population Issues: Instructed by Prof. Cynthia Buckley

Examines the current world population situation; the historical and current patterns of birth, death, migration, marriage, contraception, and abortion; and the world food and energy resources, crowding, and problems of overpopulation.

Course Information: Same as RSOC 270. MWF, 2:00-2:50 PM, 1002 Lincoln Hall

RLST/SAME 401: Gender and Hinduism: Instructed by Dr. Jessica Vantine Birkenholtz.

This course explores the traditional identities, roles, and expectations of Hindu women, men, and the ‘third sex,’ as well as popular Hindu beliefs and lived practices in both the divine and earthly realms, from the ancient period through the present day. We will assess the ways in which these normative ideologies and gendered practices are being challenged in the modern world. Our sources will include authoritative texts and treatises, myths and other historical narratives, contemporary ethnography, and film.

Tu/Th, 2-3:20 PM, 346 Davenport Hall

RLST 481, Muslim Ethics in the Global Age: Instructed by Prof. Valerie Hoffman.

Many Westerners are highly critical of Muslims and allege that they embrace values that are contrary to Western liberalism; some promote fear of Islam itself. Are Muslims necessarily tied to a tradition that alienates them from today’s global society? How are Muslims incorporating, changing, and analyzing their tradition and their place in the contemporary world? This course explores the ideas and writings of contemporary, often revisionist, Muslim scholars on a broad range of ethical issues that face societies today, such as human rights, gender and sexuality, religious pluralism, just war, and bioethics.

Th, 4-6:30 PM, 1068 Lincoln Hall

LAW 656, International Law: Instructed by Dr. Francis A. Boyle.

The nature, sources, and subjects of international law and its place in the control of international society; includes an examination of the law of jurisdiction, territory, recognition and succession of states, rights and immunities of states in foreign courts, diplomatic immunities, treaties, protection of citizens abroad, settlement of international disputes, war and neutrality, the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice.

M/Tu, 3-4:15 PM

PS 549, Topics in Comparative Politics: Instructed by Prof. Carol Leff.

Selected research topics designed for graduate study in Comparative Politics.

Tu, 9:30-11:50 am

Fall 2015 Course Offerings

The following courses will be offered in the fall to interested students.

ARTH 541: The Russian Avant-Garde
Kristin Romberg, Assistant Professor of Art History, School of Art+Design
Tuesday, 2-4:50pm, 15 Art and Design Building

Interest in art produced in Russia between 1908 and 1930 has often been motivated by the particularities of its revolutionary political context, yet interpreted in terms of Western European notions of modernism. In this seminar, we will attempt to develop a more “glocal” understanding of the work by situating it in relation to ideas like Alexander Bogdanov’s tectonic systems theory, Mikhail Bakhtin’s aesthetics of answerability, Leon Trotsky’s perpetual revolution, and Aleksei Gastev’s scientific organization of labor, as well as familiar modernist aesthetic models, such as the avant-garde, medium-specific formalism, and the Gesamtkunstwerk.

LAW 656: International Law
Francis Boyle, Professor of Law
Monday and Tuesday, 3-4:15pm

The nature, sources, and subjects of international law and its place in the control of international society; includes an examination of the law of jurisdiction, territory, recognition and succession of states, rights and immunities of states in foreign courts, diplomatic immunities, treaties, protection of citizens abroad, settlement of international disputes, war and neutrality, the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice. Please contact Prof. Boyle at fboyle(at)illinois.edu for further information.

LIS 530: REEES Bibliographic Research Methods
Christopher M Condill, Slavic Acquisitions Specialist
Friday, 2-3:50pm, 109 Graduate School of Library & Information Science

The LIS 504 prerequisite is WAIVED for this 530 section. Description: This course is designed to provide graduate students in both area and information studies with a comprehensive introduction to research techniques in the Russian & East European field. Depending on enrollment, course content is designed to cover a broad range of interests–for example, Central Asia as well as Russia–while demonstrating that many tools serve more than one specialty. The course will also discuss the resources and skills required for digital scholarship, as well as traditional approaches.

EPS 533: Global Youth & Citizenship
Linda Herrera, Professor of Politics of Education
Wednesday, 7-9pm

Discusses youth and citizenship in a global context. Covers the social construction of children and youth, the sociology of global generations, education and social media, and new youth movements in the digital age. Draws on a diversity of case studies from North America, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and Latin America.

The development of this course (EPS 533) was made possible through generous support from the Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center (NRC) program. This course is a lasting outcome of a cross-center initiative for Global Informatics research and training at Illinois NRCs.

Uzbek offered at Illinois This Summer!

Lydia Catedral

Lydia Catedral

Uzbek is a language spoken in Central Asia and Afghanistan, and is only taught at a handful of universities in the U.S. However, this past academic year, Uzbek classes have been held three times a week in classrooms in the Foreign Languages Building here at the University of Illinois.

The students in our class at Illinois came to learn Uzbek for a variety of reasons including research, travel plans, curiosity, and personal connections. In class, we have learned how to barter for cheaper prices on carrots, write in Cyrillic and Latin script, break down words into their morphological components, compare our classmates to Superman and/or Alisher Nava’i, and recognize words and phrases in fast speech and slightly outdated pop songs.

This summer, Uzbek will be offered as an eight-week class through the Summer Institute for Languages of the Muslim World (http://silmw.linguistics.illinois.edu/schedule.html) here at the University of Illinois. Students enrolled in this intensive language class will receive 10 credit hours and will participate in the equivalent of an academic year’s worth of language learning. The structure of the program will also allow for culture and language practice activities. The class is “LING 404: Elementary Uzbek” and will be open for registration after spring break.

I am very excited about teaching this summer course as I can honestly say that teaching class everyday so far has been a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. It has been enjoyable because I have a class full of intelligent and entertaining students. And it has been worthwhile because in teaching and learning Uzbek, we are contributing to a knowledge base of the under-researched region of Central Asia and the diasporic community of Uzbeks around the globe.

We are looking for students to sign up for summer the Elementary Uzbek class this summer. If you are interested in more information about Uzbek or the summer classes, contact me at medill2@illinois.edu.

Lydia Catedral is a MA/PhD student in the Department of Linguistics. She researches issues of identity and language in Central Asia, and in situations of conflict mediation. She lived in Uzbekistan from the age of 9 to the age of 15 and currently teaches Uzbek at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Fall 2014 Courses

Introduction to Central Asia (SOC 196)

The course is designed for students interested in international politics, energy policy, conflicts in the region (Afghanistan), postcommunism, gender studies, and human rights. There are no prerequisites. If you are interested in enrolling, please contact Cynthia Buckley (Professor of Sociology) at buckleyc(at)illinois.edu for more information and a preliminary syllabus.

Introduction to Russian Culture (REES 116)

Introduction to the culture of Russia and the USSR. The 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.  Taught by Richard Tempest (Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures). 3 hours.

International Law (LAW 656)

The course will explore the nature, sources, and subjects of international law, and its place in the control of international society. It includes an examination of the law of jurisdiction, territory, recognition and succession of states, rights and immunities of states in foreign courts, diplomatic immunities, treaties, protection of citizens abroad, settlement of international disputes, war and neutrality, the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice. 3 professional hours. 4 graduate hours. Please contact Francis Boyle (Professor of Law) at fboyle(at)illinois.edu for further information.

REEES Bibliography and Research Methods (LIS 530)

The course will introduce students to the University of Illinois’ large library collection on Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia. They will learn how to search for academic sources, and navigate the various databases and library guides on the region. Taught by Kit Condill (Slavic Reference Service). 4 hours.

New Sociology Graduate Course in Spring 2012

SOC 596ZG: Global Ethnographies—Prof. Gille

The purpose of this course is to help graduate students develop an analytical and methodological toolkit with which to embark on their research projects.

We will address the following questions.

  • How can we give an account of people’s diverse experiences of globalization?
  • How can ethnography, traditionally understood as the study of the here and now, be relevant for the study of communities and cultures whose boundaries are seen as increasingly porous?
  • How do we study issues, people, places without ignoring connections and links among multiple sites but without fetishizing the global?
  • How do we choose the appropriate level of analysis when social relations stretch beyond national boundaries?
  • What implications does the conceptualization of globalization carry for methodology and political conclusions?
  • What is the role of historical analysis in studying globalization ethnographically?
  • What changes are necessary in qualitative research for a critical analysis of social processes associated with globalization?
  • What are the theoretical implications of recent conceptualizations of neoliberal globalization for interpreting our data?

We will start with a brief overview of ethnography as method then we will compare and evaluate different conceptualizations of globalization in social theory and research. From the middle of the semester on we will focus on how various scholars have conceptualized the social and the spatial—whether implicitly or explicitly. We will explore the political and methodological implications of each of these approaches.