Course Descriptions

Course Attributes

For the student with no previous experience in Russian.

For the student with some knowledge of Russian.

The goal of the course is to provide students with important tools to help them become successful foreign language learners. Students will become familiar with basic elements of language such as parts of speech and the pronunciation of new sounds as a means of enabling them to anticipate and effectively deal with problems in pronunciation, vocabulary building, and sentence formation that often come up in foreign language study. They will also learn about the intertwining of culture and language, such as how expressions of politeness and body language differ across cultures. They will also be exposed to different language teaching and learning styles, typical mistakes language learners make, and strategies for making language learning more effective. This information will be presented in the context of the wide variety of languages taught at the University of Arizona

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.

This course explores the diverse ethnic, linguistic, religious, and cultural identities of Russia's population, including the history of how such identities have evolved over time. We will discuss encounters and conflicts between mainstream and minority cultures, as well as the ways such encounters are viewed on the global stage and within Russia. By analyzing works of literature, films, historical documents, linguistics, works of art, musical recordings, and scholarship from the humanities and social sciences, students will become familiar with the most pressing debates on diversity, post-colonialism, and plurality in contemporary Russia.

This course is designed to familiarize students with Russia--its culture, history, politics, economy, peoples, languages, traditions, and role in the world today. Upon completion of the course students will be able to understand and discuss intelligently past and current events relating to Russia. They also will have gained a familiarity with the many perspectives available for studying a country that continues to play a significant role in world events. And beyond all this, they should have a good background for discussion of major events relating to Russia and problems in the twentieth-century world.

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 will introduce students to Russian history and culture as reflected in the country's music. Students will examine Russian folklore, religion, history, and literature; they will survey how key Russian narratives have been embedded in folk and religious music, opera, ballet, film scores, pop, rock, and rap music, and how such music articulates Russian values.

"Kazakhstan- Heart of Eurasia" is a one-unit colloquium on Modern Kazakhstan - the ninth largest country in the world, located at the crossroads of Europe and Central Asia. This great, yet largely unknown country, a home for more than 100 ethnicities, and ruled by a feeling of understanding and harmony, has served for centuries as a bridge for Europe and Asia through the Great Silk Road. Today, Kazakhstan continues to be central in providing modern ideas in sustaining peace, democracy, and economic growth in our Global World. In the first half of the course, we will explore extraordinary rich traditional Kazakh culture, music, oral traditions, clothing, yurts, and food- capped with celebration of National and Traditional Holidays. The second part of the course will be based on the historical events of great importance in Kazakhstan during the Soviet Era, which include starvation, arrests, exploitation of resources, deportation and return, and modern Kazakhstan's strategic efforts in building a new nation.

This course will introduce students to the Russian cultural world so that they may begin to solve the riddle, unwrap the mystery, and understand the enigma that is Russia. It is an introduction to Russia's natural beauty, her unique language, and her cultural achievements through the centuries to the present day.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

Third semester Russian.

Fourth semester Russian.

This course focuses on advancing students' knowledge of spoken Russian and their understanding of linguistic registers. The goal is to expand student's vocabulary and improve students' speaking fluency as well as their ability to speak in Russian with nuanced diverse speech acts. This course will build upon students' foundation of Russian language obtained in RSSS 101-102 Elementary Russian and will teach students to apply the knowledge of Russian grammatical structures to various cultural contexts by involving students in various interactive activities, role plays and class presentations.

"Mythic Russia" is an invitation to consider a non-Western--Russian--culture's belief system as expressed in its folklore. This course comprises four major themes, articulated in the following categories of texts, both verbal and visual:(1) a survey of Russian demonology, which illustrates the animistic nature of Russian popular beliefs about the world that persist to this day; (2) a large selection of the best-known Russian fairy tales, to be compared with German and English tales; (3) scholarly articles analyzing the differences between folklore and literature and representing various theoretical/critical schools: Structuralism, Marxism, Freudianism; and feminism; (4) literary fairy tales. Visual materials (film, paintings, graphics, and handicrafts) and music inspired by Russian folklore and fairy tales figure regularly in the course. Through examination of such materials and experiential learning activities, students will develop hermeneutical skills, specifically in analyzing fairy tales in order to understand what underlies their strikingly simple yet enigmatic surface. In addition, they will master the principles of various schools of criticism, in the process assessing their relative explanatory power vis-a-vis sundry texts. Finally, students will develop their understanding and appreciation of the intellectual benefits of diverse perspectives and cross-genre continuities provided by an interdisciplinary, multi-media approach to the cultural phenomenon of the Russian folk tale.

For centuries, Latin America has attracted expansionist superpowers. In relatively recent times, Soviet penetration into the region -- which peaked during the Cold War -- affected it economically, militarily, politically, and culturally. Even today, the Russian Federation follows a course set by the USSR, gradually expanding its influence in Latin America. "USSR/Russia - Latin America: Empowerment and Repression" will investigate the complex Soviet/Russian and Latin American strings-attached camaraderie, addressing in particular how the USSR adopted a position in Latin America as a counterweight to US influence, ultimately leaving a strong historicocultural imprint on Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador, as well as (to a lesser but notable extent) on Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and other Latin American countries. Focusing on what many see as an uneven relationship, this course explores the communist superpower's goals, impacts, legacies, and cultural influences in Latin America and subsequent post-Soviet interests in the region.

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to Eastern European and Balkan cultures, primarily those of Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, and the former Yugoslavia. When most people think of this region today, images of the most recent wars and chaos of post-Communist times come to mind. However, hidden behind these images is a region rich in history and culture: Viennese cafe culture meets the Mediterranean; world religions meet and intermingle, and the region's contemporary arts have influenced global culture. In this class we will explore this region's turbulent history, cross-cultural interactions, and common traditions and customs.

For almost 100 years, the Soviet Union and Russia have used large sporting events for both geopolitical and domestic purposes. In the Soviet Union sport was not only a means of entertainment, but also a key element of state propaganda. Through sport, the new Soviet person was to be made. By 1956, the Soviet Union took home more Olympic medals than the US team, setting the stage for a rivalry between capitalist and socialist states that would last throughout the Cold War era. This course will explore the birth of sport in Russia and Eastern Europe, trace how the Soviet system created a propaganda machine out of international sporting competition, and how the Soviet legacy continues into the modern day. We will also discuss contemporary sporting issues--such as doping scandals and the hosting of international events--to analyze how sport is used as a projection of identity, resistance and/or power in the global arena.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

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.

Although Arizona and Russia have vastly different climates, cultures, and histories, there are more shared traditions of food cultivation, preparation, and consumption than we might assume. This is a comparative course in Russian and Sonoran foodways that not only explores food preferences, recipes, and cooking as part of human identity but also examines power structures behind food economies; the significance of ancient recipes and remedies in indigenous cultures; and the effect of oppressive policies/ideologies, such as colonialism or communism, on foodways. This course offers an in-depth study of food culture, traditional cuisine, agriculture, and "locavore" movements in Russian and American (particularly Sonoran) contexts. Through a variety of readings, films, lectures, and experiential learning activities, students will investigate how foodways serve as markers of inequalities or oppression (but also resistance and liberation) that inevitably leave a deep imprint on cultures, with additional emphasis on contemporary issues of sustainability, environmental impact, and global interconnectedness.

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.

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.

This course studies a selection of the best and most influential fantastic, marvelous, and uncanny works from the region that brought the world rocketry, Sputnik, and the robot. Students will analyze a variety of media (in translation) from Eastern Europe that posit situations based in a "fantastic" space, time or world to compare how broader cultural concerns are expressed through the genre of science fiction. We will discuss the development of the genre in Eastern Europe from the era of Romanticism to the modern day, with emphasis on the historical-cultural context of the Space Race between the US and USSR and its impact on the genre. This course will explore the view "from the East" of such topics as progress, imperialism, human perfectibility, gender constructs, the nature of communication, human/other identity, and the limits of knowledge as humanity pushes further into the final frontier. Students will read all texts in translation; all films will be available with English-language subtitles.

This course examines the portrayal of prostitution in visual and print culture of the nineteenth century. We will determine how writers and artists conceptualized commercial sex in French, Russian, and German contexts. For the era's writers, artists, thinkers, and social activists, the prostitute became linked with urban decay and the disastrous effects of industrialization. In our discussions of works by Alexandre Dumas fils, Emile Zola, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Frank Wedekind, we will uncover how these writers utilize the female body to discuss issues of deviance and attraction. In analyzing paintings by Edouard Manet, Ilya Repin, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, we will determine how the courtesan and streetwalker appear as emblems of modernity.

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

This course introduces students to the vibrant history of Russian theatre and performance from the nineteenth century to the present day. Our discussion will consider the general principles of theatre theory as well as the material, sociopolitical, and historical contexts in which works were written and performed.

In contemporary Russia -- marked by extreme inequality; political prosecutions; government discrimination against racial, ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities; extensive corruption, and prisoners' human rights violations -- the illegal has permeated the legal. "Criminal Russia" centers on the concept of power, and specifically, on the process of its consolidation and application by legitimate and illicit structures, and on the effect these processes have on different populations. To do this, the course begins with considering the influence of crime on the government in imperial Russia and the nation's fascination with a glorified criminal archetype. Then, moving to the more recent period, "Criminal Russia" explores the oppressive nature of the Soviet state, realized in unlawful mass incarcerations into Gulags; the interweaving of the criminal code into Russian politics; the rise and (alleged) fall of the Russian mafia; the country's penitentiary system as a reflection of societal power verticals and the collective sense of right and wrong; and the paradoxical place of the criminal culture within the national consciousness. Upon completing the course, students will be able: (1) to critically analyze issues of power (and power abuse) by the state and by its shadow using various disciplinary approaches, (2) to address issues of freedom, oppression, incarceration, and human rights, in Russia and elsewhere, and (3) to explain how counter cultures subvert dominant ideologies.

This course focuses on the history and doctrine of Eastern Christianity from its origins in the early Church through today, emphasizing the cultural manifestations of Orthodox doctrine: liturgy, iconography, pious practice. We will compare Eastern Orthodoxy to Western Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), and will examine various different national Churches within Eastern Orthodoxy (i.e., Byzantine, Bulgarian, Serbian, Modern Greek, the older "Oriental" Churches, etc.), with a primary focus on Russia. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is often perceived as being one of the more 'mystical' of Christian traditions, and we will explore the Orthodox vision of 'the mystical life', examining its basis in history and contemporary experience. We will also ask about the significance of Church doctrine and practice for the development of culture as a whole in the areas of the world in which Eastern Christianity predominates, and the ways in which that culture both differs from and relates to what we (perhaps inaccurately) call "Western" civilization. In general, Orthodox practice relies heavily on the senses, and the course is designed to be experiential. To that end, we will make at least one field trip to a local Orthodox Church during the course of the semester.

Images of Russian women as reflected in literary, historical, and religious texts. Cultural attitudes revealed help to understand the status and role of women in today's Russia.

Situated in the heart of Europe, Ukraine has incredibly rich history and culture. Its current capital, Kyiv, was the cradle of Christianity for East Slavic civilization; imperial powers shifted Ukrainian borders countless times; and the country's natural resources are so rich that Ukraine became the breadbasket for the whole Soviet Union. As a result of anticolonial rebellion, Ukraine gained its independence in 1991 and then it underwent a series of tremendous challenges over the next three decades: several economic crises, two revolutions, the annexation of Crimea, the military conflict in Donbass and Lugansk, and in 2022 the Russian invasion. These perturbations not only led to Ukraine's powerful urge to free itself from Russian and Soviet history and influence but also forged a new national identity. In How Ukraine Was Tempered students will often be asked to compare events in Ukrainian history or concepts in Ukrainian pop culture and art, such as the anticolonial rebellion, the genocide of Crimean Tatars, the power of war memes, art as antiwar protest, etc... with their American counterparts. This course focuses on building knowledge that increases intercultural competency, using multiple formats and modalities to guide students toward understanding and evaluating the development of the Ukrainian nation that has rejected a shared past of apparent Slavic brotherhood.

Space, place, and ecology have long played the part of actors - rather than backdrops - for human action in Eastern European arts; by adding the concept of health, this course explores the intersection of the human person, culture, and the environment in Eastern European literature and film. By analyzing the "humanistic geography" created by artists from the region, this course will endeavor to understand how the health (broadly understood) of individuals is affected by place, and vice versa. This course will also explore how authors have contributed to creating a "cultural biography" of some of the major health and environmental issues - the legacy of Chernobyl, migration, accessibility, etc. - facing Russia and Eastern Europe today.

This course is designed to be an introduction to the "Golden Age" of Russian literature. We will read a selection of classic Russian texts, with representative works from "canonical" authors like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, among others. The writers we will read not only played a key role in the development of Russian literature, but their handling of life's greatest issues (the existence of God, the meaning of life, struggle for gender equality, the organization of society, the mystery of death, etc.) have influenced cultural, intellectual, and political movements throughout the world. The course readings are organized chronologically and by theme, and we will trace the progression of the major literary movements of the era (sentimentalism, romanticism and realism) while exploring the individual style/technique of each author. Works will be considered within their cultural context --historical, social, ideological and intellectual --in order to provide a better understanding of Russian thought, culture, and literature. All readings, discussions and written assignments will be in English.

A cultural exploration of the Soviet experience of WWII, "The Great Patriotic War." Students examine how the Soviets shaped the narrative of this conflict in poetry, prose, speeches, music, posters, paintings, monuments, and film.

Readings and discussion in English of representative Russian literary works from the 20th century.

Since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution our understanding of East European and Russian art has been defined by utopian ideas of revolutionary transformation. This course will trace the historical development of East European and Russian art from the medieval era to the modern day, focusing primarily on the Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet periods to reveal the social and cultural forces behind artistic change, transgression, and transformation. We will investigate artists and art movements in Eastern Europe and Russia, critically assessing artistic influence, production, avant-garde experiments, reception, and cultural interaction in their historical context. We will also discuss how the changing ideologies in the 19th-, 20th-, and 21st centuries led to the re-assessment of artistic production in relation to discourses of nationalism, identity, gender, politics, modernity, propaganda, and mass media. The course analyzes the artistic practices, styles, interpretations, and expressions of recurring themes in East European and Russian art and culture more broadly, such as utopia, spirituality, anarchy, satire, and the collective.

Survey of contemporary Russian literature. (In Russia)

Survey of contemporary Russian literature. (In Russia)

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

Russia has always been an enigmatic place for the West, with its globe-shaking politics and its rich contribution to the world culture. Topics in Slavic and Eurasian Culture is an attempt to overcome the Western puzzlement with Russian contradictions; the topics offer a glimpse into a variety of cultural, social, and political features of Russian society. The course materials, lectures, and discussions will provide a wide variety of insights to the particular contexts and modalities in which Imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russia has operated, thus revealing the true meaning behind the seemingly perplexing "for the West" beliefs, attitudes and customs of the Russia's population and the interrelation between the national consciousness with the country politics.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

A variable topics course taught in English or Russian (depending on subject material).

This course explores, through a range of topics and theoretical lenses, the relationship between language, identity, and larger social and cultural contexts in Russia, the Post-Soviet geopolitical arena and beyond. We will first examine the ways in which language is used to create personal and group identities and how different cultural, social, and national identities are set off against one another, and against the criteria for inclusion or exclusion within and across national boundaries and various human communities of practice. We will then examine how particular forms of speech, language varieties, and accents are tied to specific traits of speakers and the ways in which the perception of particular people and the way they communicate impacts the projection of social and cultural characteristics. Finally, we will explore the critical dimensions of the language-identity relationship, looking at the function of language to build and divide nations, define peoples, create inequalities, and shape ideologies and local literacy practices in communities, digital spaces, and educational settings. Students will examine various approaches to theorizing identity in sociolinguistics and second language acquisition studies, and will learn to disentangle such constructs as multilingual identity, national\local\ethnic identity, subjectivity, self-concept, mobile identity, digital identity, the self-system, etc.

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

This course examines, through a range of topics and research frameworks, a relationship between language and digital media and the many ways language communication dynamics operates across changing mediascapes. The course provides a solid foundation in relevant theoretical concepts balanced with practical exercises and creative projects. The course adopts a broad interpretation of the term "media" focusing on existing online media platforms as well as on the issues that arise from various uses of digital media for social, political, and cultural purposes, including virtual community building, digital semiotics, memes, viral spreads, surveillance, political opposition and oppression, and propaganda, marginalization and liberation, participatory cultures, production dimensions, etc. The course is designed for graduate and undergraduate students in Russian sociolinguistics, and (second) language studies interested in learning how to research digital media discourse. The course is taught in English; no knowledge of Russian language is required.

An honors thesis is required of all the students graduating with honors. Students ordinarily sign up for this course as a two-semester sequence. The first semester the student performs research under the supervision of a faculty member; the second semester the student writes an honors thesis.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.