Russian Language and Area Studies
Chair, 2013-14: Marc Robinson, Russian language, Russian literature, film and theater
Faculty, 2013-14: J. Patrick Dale (Political Science), Central European and Russian politics; Anna Kuxhausen (History), Russian and Soviet history, enlightenment; Irina Walter, Russian language, culture, and literature
The Russian Language and Area Studies Department, in keeping with the college mission to provide a “global perspective,” offers a variety of courses that build upon Russian language proficiency to give students the knowledge and tools for a successful career. Recent graduates have entered professions in higher education, business, government, the church, law, and the arts.
Russia continues to be a major player in the global community in many areas: politics, economics, space-age technology, and the development of new computer software. As the new Russia opens itself to the outside, college graduates are increasingly sought after for positions in government service, business and investment, journalism, education, and social service.
The department offers a major in Russian language and area studies and a major in Russian language, as well as courses on Russian literature taught in English. Taking Russian at St. Olaf means more than just studying a language. The study of Russian introduces you to one of the great cultures of the world — the culture of Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Kandinsky, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, and many others. Russian language is the key to reading more than one-fourth of all the published scientific literature in the world.
Students may satisfy general education requirements with Russian studies courses such as Russian 265: Introduction to Soviet & Russian Film. Russian Language and Area Studies 231 or a higher numbered course taught in the Russian language or demonstrated proficiency satisfies the foreign language requirement for all students. Upper level students may participate in the CIEE program in St. Petersburg, or with St Olaf programs in Novgorod and Irkutsk (Siberia).
OVERVIEW OF THE MAJORS
The Russian Language and Area Studies Department offers two majors: Russian language and Russian area studies. The aim of both is to prepare students to understand, interact with, and work in the Russian area from a foundation of cultural literacy. The multidisciplinary Russian area studies major provides students with a comprehensive view of the culture, history, and contemporary problems of the area.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN RUSSIAN
Russian Language and Area Studies 111, 112, 231, 232, 251, 254, 372, plus two additional courses taught in Russian, normally taken in Russia during the senior year.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN RUSSIAN AREA STUDIES
To major in Russian area studies, a student must complete:
- a minimum of four semesters of Russian language (Russian Language and Area Studies 111, 112, 231, and 232), though more is encouraged;
- five courses from the political science, history, literature, or film courses approved for Russian language and area studies credit. For students who are not simultaneously working toward the Russian language major two advanced Russian language courses (251, 254) may be counted toward the Russian area studies major.
- a senior project (this may be taken for course credit as Russian Language and Area Studies 398: Independent Research). Guidelines are available from the department chair. The project is due on April 15th.
Russian Area Studies courses
Students must complete any five of the following courses to fulfill the requirements for the major:
History 230: Imperial Russia
History 231: 20th-Century Russia
Political Science 282: Russian and Eurasian Politics
Russian Language and Area Studies 250: Topics in Russian Literature (in English translation)
Russian Language and Area Studies 251: Conversation and Composition
Russian Language and Area Studies 254: Russian Culture and Civilization
Russian Language and Area Studies 256: Theater in Russia: Interim Abroad
Russian Language and Area Studies 261: Introduction to Russian Literature (in English translation)
Russian Language and Area Studies 262: 20th-Century Russian Literature (in English translation)
Russian Language and Area Studies 265: Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film (in English translation)
Russian Language and Area Studies 371: Dostoevsky (in English translation)
Russian Language and Area Studies 372: The Russian Press
This course offers an introduction to grammar and reading through oral and written work, supplemented by reading of graded Russian prose. Offered annually in the fall semester.
This course offers an introduction to grammar and reading through oral and written work, supplemented by reading of graded Russian prose. Prerequisite: Russian Language and Area Studies 111 or equivalent. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Students continue their grammar, oral, and written work with an emphasis on conversation and reading selections from classical and contemporary Russian authors. Offered annually in the fall semester.
Students continue their grammar, oral, and written work with an emphasis on conversation and reading selections from classical and contemporary Russian authors. Russian Language and Area Studies 231 or equivalent is prerequisite to 232. Offered annually in the spring semester.
This course examines the development of differing approaches to some aspect of Russian life and culture as presented in the classical texts of Russian literature. Actual topics vary according to year and instructor. Offered occasionally.
This course facilitates oral and written use of the language through conversation and composition, English to Russian translation, selections from Russian literature, and original themes. Prerequisite: Russian Language and Area Studies 232 or special permission of instructor. Offered annually in the fall semester.
This survey of Russian culture and civilization uses original Russian texts on history, the arts, religion, and education, as well as documentary films and selections from literature. The course fosters the acquisition of the language of Russian cultural and intellectual discourse. Prerequisite: Russian Language and Area Studies 251 or special permission of the instructor. Offered annually in the spring semester.
Students study drama and theater through the reading of dramatic criticism and plays. Students attend approximately twenty productions, group discussions, master classes, lectures, and tours. Language barriers are used to our advantage to address issues of staging, acting, and audience reactions. Texts and all lectures are in English. Students look at Russian and Western classics and a variety of theatrical styles from opera to puppet theater. Counts for Russian Area Studies and Theater elective credit. Offered every 2-3 years during Interim.
This course traces the development of Russian literature from its medieval beginnings to the end of the 19th century. Students study a variety of genres including sagas, the novel, the short story and lyric poetry. Major authors to be studied include: Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Taught in English. No prerequisites. Offered in alternate years.
This course traces the development of Russian literature from the end of the 19th century to the present. A variety of genres are studied, including the novel, the short story, drama, and lyric poetry. Major authors include: Chekhov, Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, and Nabokov. Taught in translation. No prerequisites. Offered in alternate years.
This course considers masterworks of Russian and Soviet cinema from the Bolshevik revolution to the present. Students examine significant Russian contributions to world cinema. Readings and topics include basic cinema analysis, Russian cinema criticism, and Russian film theory. No prerequisites. Offered in alternate years. Counts toward film studies concentration.
294 Academic Internship
298 Independent Study
Students read and discuss Dostoevsky's major novels from Poor Folk through Brothers Karamazov. Russian majors may take an additional section in the Russian language for major credit in this course. Prerequisite: completion of BTS-T. Offered in alternate years.
Since perestroika the Russian press covers a variety of topics that are both culturally and intellectually challenging. The goal of this course is to explore a variety of topics significant for Russian society and culture as well as to further develop the language of intellectual discourse through the treatment of complex issues in the press. Prerequisite: Russian Language and Area Studies 254 or special permission of the instructor. Taught in Russian. Offered annually in the spring semester.
394 Academic Internship
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
398 Independent Research
Independent Research is required for all students seeking credit for a senior project.