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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Russian (RUS)

RUS 083S (GH;US;IL) First-Year Seminar in Russian (3) Russia's cultural past and present.

RUS 083S First-Year Seminar in Russian (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Russia, the world's largest country stretching over eleven time zones in Europe and Asia, is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation. For the past hundred years, Russia has served as a laboratory of gigantic dimensions as various social ideals were implemented with unprecedented radicalism. At the same time, Russia's great writers raised "ultimate questions" about social justice, the existence of God, and the meaning of human life with an unparalleled acuity and intensity.

This course surveys Russia's cultural past and present. Although it touches on aspects of Soviet culture, the main emphasis lies on what some people would call the "real Russian culture," eclipsed for seventy years under the Communist regime and now about to be resurrected. At this crucial juncture in the history of Russia, the notion of a "real" culture remains highly problematic and controversial. The course surveys the various attitudes of Russian thinkers and authors toward the question of national identity and national destiny. Examples of Russian high culture (philosophy, literature, art, music) and the Russian religious faith (Orthodoxy) are discussed alongside with daily life in post-communist Russia. Special emphasis will be placed on the in-depth study of a few seminal works of Russian literature. The course also includes some Russian films. A knowledge of Russian is not required. Each section of this course will be limited to twenty students who will be instructed by an experienced professor. Questions and discussion are strongly encouraged.

This course can be used to fulfill the General Education or Bachelor of Arts Humanities requirement, the United States and International Cultures requirement, and the first-year seminar requirement. A series of short papers will train students in the skills of information gathering and written expression. The course grade will be based on oral participation and on the grade for the papers, which will be evaluated both for content and writing. This course will help to prepare students for a variety of additional courses in the fields of literature and Russian/East European area studies. In addition to the academic topic and issues of this course, students can expect to gain a general introduction to the University as an academic community and have the opportunity to explore their responsibilities as members of that community. Students will develop an understanding of the learning tools and resources available to them, including the opportunity to develop relationships with faculty and other students who share their academic interests.

General Education: GH
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Summer 2005

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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