Dr. Benjamin Jens received his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is happy to return to the Dept. of Russian and Slavic Studies at the University of Arizona, having held a visitingposition here from 2012-2014. He has previously taught Russian language, literature, and culture courses at The College of New Jersey and the University of Vermont. Dr. Jens's main area of research is the use of silence as a mode of communication in 19th-century Russian literature; he also has research interests in Russian and East European cinema, Eastern Orthodoxy, and cultural ties between the Western Balkans and Russia.
This course examines contemporary Russian culture and politics in a historical context, determining how the country's past influences present day culture and politics. We will learn of Russia's recent cultural and artistic triumphs within the context of Russia's rich history. In discussing Russian literary and cinematic works of the early 21st century, we will assess the impact of history on Russian consciousness and identity, noting how Russia presents itself around the world, and how it is perceived by other nations.
This course examines the cultural and historical context within which cinema was produced in the Soviet Union. Among the topics to be discussed are: ideology, the image of Stalin, World War II, the sexless Soviet cinema, daily life Soviet style, and the search for Russianness in the wake of the empire's collapse.
The course will examine supernatural figures who find their folkloric and historical origins in the Slavic and East European tradition. Through legends, chronicles, novels, films, and music, the course will consider how and why these creatures come to reflect contemporary fears.
Survey of advanced Russian grammatical concepts. (In Russia)