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Williams, Veronika A

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.

Currently Teaching

RSSS 101 – Elementary Russian I

For the student with no previous experience in Russian.

RSSS 301 – Advanced Grammar and Composition

RSSS 315 – Vampires and Werewolves: Slavic & East European Folklore in our Culture

This course will examine the ways in which the vampire and werewolf serve as metaphors for human fears and desires. Starting with East European peoples, we will explore how the folklore around the monsters symbolized "the other" and cultural taboos. We will trace how Western cultures engaged with, adopted and transformed the East European beliefs to reflect evolving conception of identity, social conflict, gender/sexuality, and the nature of good and evil

RSSS 150B1 – East European Cinema in Social Context

East European Cinema in a Social Context (RSSS150) introduces students to a variety of excellent films that have come out of Eastern Europe in the last 100 years or so. Students will learn about the socio-political and cultural contexts of these films, the societies in which they were produced, and the events and situations that they depict. The goal of the course is to increase students' understanding and knowledge of Eastern European societies, cultures, and history while at the same time enhancing their appreciation and understanding of particular film masterpieces and cinema in general. By engaging them in the close study of these films, the course should help students develop analytical and viewing skills. Students should emerge from this course with a strong understanding of cinematic terms, an enriched understanding of diverse cultures of the region, and the tools for further exploration in a variety of academic disciplines (language, film, history, etc.). For purposes of this course, Eastern Europe includes the geographical area bounded by the Czech Republic in the west, Russia in the east; Poland in the north, and the former Yugoslavia & Greece in the south. We will watch a selection of movies from different areas.

RSSS 306 – Russian Rap from Love and Sex to Propaganda and Protest

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.

RSSS 308 – Communicating in a Cultural Context

An oral communication course designed to give the student the opportunity to develop their ability to effectively communicate in Russian. Students create a fictive yet culturally grounded world, assume the role of a self-developed character, and collaborate with fellow community members. Students will focus on improving listening and speaking skills primarily but extensive reading and writing will also be required.