Dr. Veronika Williams received her Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching in 2016 and her MA in Russian Studies in 2010 from the University of Arizona. Her doctoral research focuses on learner autonomy in language learning; specifically, the effectiveness and the benefits of targeted learner autonomy training for language learners. Other areas of interest include methodology in Russian language teaching, intercultural competence, and intersection of Russian language and culture. Currently, Dr. Williams is exploring the connections between Russian rap and politics in the regime of Vladimir Putin.
Russian Rap introduces students to a more recent history of the Russian Federation and various political, social, and cultural changes through exploration of the development and rise of Hip Hop culture within a newly reshaped country. In particular, the focus is on the global phenomenon of rap music and Hip Hop as it enters and adapts to local contexts in Russia. Beginning with an overview of Russian history up to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the course spans over near four decades of Russian history and a way of life of modern Russians (1990s - present). Students will engage in exploration of Russian rap music from a variety of prominent musicians, as well as analysis of their significance from socio-political and cultural perspectives. Particular emphasis is on a comparison between rap within Russian and American contexts as well as connecting it to an idea of Hip Hop as a global phenomenon. As an outcome, students should develop an understanding of recent Russian history and culture along with an ability and tools for understanding how musical artifacts represent historical, societal, and cultural changes and aspects of the region.
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.