Introduction to Russian Civilization
Russia is in the news a lot…
This course is designed as an introduction to the rich and complex culture of Russia, the world’s largest country. Topics for class meetings and assignments are deliberately interdisciplinary. They range from medieval Russian art to twentieth-century Socialist Realism, from the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky to the balladeers of the 1970s, from the poetry of Alexander Pushkin and the soul-searching of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky to contemporary, post-Soviet Russian writers including Svetlana Alexievich and Mikhail Shishkin. We will focus on learning to analyze and interpret key works of Russian literary, artistic, musical, and cinematic culture, with particular focus on the historical and stylistic development of Russian cultural life. Want to learn more about Ivan the Terrible? The Romanovs… and Rasputin? Russian ballet and film? Siberia? Stalin? The Cold War? Vladimir Putin? This is the course for you!
Students will be able to
- Exhibit familiarity with main trends and practitioners in Russian culture over a 1000-year period
- Show awareness of major events and figures in Russian history during the same period
- Appreciate and communicate the connections between Russian historical and cultural events during this period
- Demonstrate knowledge of crucial criteria for the interpretation and analysis of cultural works
- Demonstrate discipline-appropriate critical skills by communicating lucidly and convincingly on Russian cultural styles, development, figures, and works.