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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 143 (GH;IL) (GER 143) The Culture of Stalinism and Nazism (3) The culture of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany in comparative perspective.

RUS (GER) 143 The Culture of Stalinism and Nazism (3)
(GH;IL)

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

The regimes of Stalin and Hitler have decisively shaped the 20th-century historical experience not only in Russia and Germany, but in much of Europe and the world at large. At the same time, there is no consensus about how to classify these systems, whether the term " totalitarian" is appropriate to describe them, and whether Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany are essentially similar or essentially different historical phenomena.

Espousing a comparative perspective, this course will explore the culture produced by both Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. The main focus will be on works of literature, but it will also take into account the visual arts, architecture, music, film, and popular culture. The classics of Stalinist socialist realism and Nazi propaganda, such as Nikolai Ostrovskii's How the Steel Was Tempered or Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will will be analyzed both as political statements and works of art. The course will also include a reading of authors who attempted to create artistic representations of life in Stalinist and Nazist societies, such as Yevgeny Zamyatin, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Bertolt Brecht, or George Orwell.

The course will be team-taught by faculty of the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures. Additional faculty from the Departments of Spanish and Italian and Comparative Literature (Japanese) may be invited to lecture about the totalitarian culture in their respective societies, and members from the Department of History may be invited to lecture about the historical context of Stalinisn and Nazism. A knowledge of Russian or German is not required, as class lectures and discussions as well as all reading assignments will be in English.

At the end of the course, students will have a summary knowledge of the cultural history of Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany and of the aesthetic and philosophical issues raised by these cultures. Requirements for the course will include a research paper. The course grade will be based on the average score on the mid-term and final exam (using definitions and essay questions) and the grade for the paper, which will be evaluated both for content and style.

This course will fulfill the General Education and Diversity requirements. It complements courses on the politics and history of totalitarian regimes offered by the departments of Political Science and History, and it will provide a background for students wishing to study Holocaust literature or Soviet Literature.


General Education: GH
Diversity: 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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