Russian Studies

David Thompson (department head), Laurie Iudin-Nelson (section leader, program director)

The Russian studies major is intended to provide students with sufficient background in Russian language and culture to permit consideration of graduate work in related fields. It is also intended to prepare students in such diverse fields as economics, business, political science, history, anthropology, international relations, the sciences, medicine, law, social work, and education to enter their vocation prepared to contribute to decisions and issues which relate to Russian-American interactions.

The Russian studies minor may be taken in conjunction with any major of the student's choice. Students should consult with the appropriate department for details regarding those majors. Courses normally do not count for both a major and a minor. Russian language study is a central component of both the major and the minor in Russian studies.

The following courses are approved as electives for the Russian studies major and minor:

List A: FCUL 241/RUS 241, 341, HIST 254
List B: FCUL 243/RUS 243/WGST 243, FCUL 350/RUS 350

Requirements for a major: 36 hours including RUS 201, 202, and RUS 345; three elective courses from the preceding list of approved courses in Russian studies, including one course from list A and one course from list B; a language immersion experience; a senior project. Writing requirement completed with FCUL 243/RUS 243/WGST 243, FCUL 350/RUS 350, or RUS 345. Russian Studies majors who choose to complete a senior project in a second major are not required to complete the senior project in Russian Studies.

Requirements for a minor: A minimum of 20 hours including RUS 201, 202, and at least three courses selected from the preceding list of approved courses in Russian studies.

Appropriate special topics courses, Paideia 450 courses, and study-abroad courses are reviewed by the Russian Studies Board and may be approved for the Russian Studies major and minor. Students may petition the Russian Studies Board to have relevant courses meet degree requirements.

Language immersion experience: For majors, a minimum of a semester of academic study (minimum of 12 credits) in a country where Russian is an official language. For minors, a language immersion experience is strongly recommended, but not required. Program selection must be approved by the department for all majors and minors prior to departure. All majors and minors are encouraged to help maintain and advance their language skills by completing courses in the language during their final semesters at Luther.

Language Learning Center

The department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics has a Language Learning Center in Main Building. Language students have access to computerized language learning materials, to computers with audio and video editing software, and to video study rooms where they may view prerecorded foreign language videos and DVDs or watch live international TV. The Languages Learning Center also houses the department's Foreign Language Media Library with over 800 foreign language films and a selection of leisure reading books and audio books for language learners. Students can check out these materials as well as audio and video equipment for their class assignments. The Language Learning Center also provides language students with valuable work-study experiences related to their interest in languages.

For Russian literature and culture courses in English translation, see foreign culture.

Russian Studies Courses

RUS 101 Beginning Russian I

  • 4 hours

Introduction to Russian grammar through reading, writing, listening, and speaking in Russian. The course will focus upon developing speaking and listening comprehension skills with a framework of practical vocabulary and grammatical structures. The student will also gain an appreciation of Russian culture and contemporary life through music and audiovisual materials.

RUS 102 Beginning Russian II

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: RUS 101

Introduction to Russian grammar through reading, writing, listening, and speaking in Russian. The course will focus upon developing speaking and listening comprehension skills with a framework of practical vocabulary and grammatical structures. The student will also gain an appreciation of Russian culture and contemporary life through music and audiovisual materials.

RUS 201 Intermediate Russian

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: RUS 102.

A continuation of the study of Russian grammar. Speaking proficiency will be developed through active class participation. Emphasis will be placed on developing writing skills in Russian and in reading authentic texts. Students will continue developing listening comprehension skills through use of music and audiovisual materials.

RUS 202 Intermediate Russian

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: RUS 201

A continuation of the study of Russian grammar. Speaking proficiency will be developed through active class participation. Emphasis will be placed on developing writing skills in Russian and in reading authentic texts. Students will continue developing listening comprehension skills through use of music and audiovisual materials.

RUS 241 Russian Culture Through Film

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts, Historical, Intercultural
  • Prerequisites: RUS 202.

This course will cover 20th-century Russian/Soviet culture and history through the medium of film. We will begin with classics of early Soviet film (including Eisenstein, Vertov, Pudovkin) and then view and discuss classic films of the Stalinist era and World War II (1930's-50's). We will continue with classic films and comedies of the 60's and 70's (including Ryazanov, Gaidai, Tarkovsky). The later 1980's-90's (glasnost, perestroida, and the post-Soviet era) witnessed the emergence of films that revealed difficult social and historical themes (for example, Little Vera, Burnt by the Sun, Prisoner of the Caucasus, Brother I). The course will conclude with discussion of film and society in present-day Russia. Films are in Russian (with English subtitles). Students without background in Russian language should enroll in FCUL 241 which is taught in English and readings and writing assignments are in English. Russian language students who have completed the prerequisite of RUS 202 may elect to enroll in this course, rather than FCUL 241, for supplementary readings in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis.

RUS 243 Time of Stalin: Literature and Memoirs

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Intercultural, Historical, Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: RUS 202

This course, through the medium of literature and memoirs, focuses on Russia/Soviet Union in the early years after the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) until Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika. Students will learn about the rise of Stalin, the time of terror and purges at the height of Stalin's regime (mid-1930's), WWII, the "Thaw" after Stalin's death in 1953, and the implications Stalinism has on present-day Russia. We will seek answers to the questions of how Stalin was allowed to rise to power, retain political control, and instigate policies that caused the deaths of approximately 20 million Soviet citizens-many of whom were Bolsheviks and loyal members of the Communist Party. Literary readings include memoirs, poetry, and novels. A significant part of the course concerns the role of women in the Bolshevik Revolution and their fate under Stalinism. This course fulfills requirements of international studies, women's studies, and Russian studies. Readings and discussion are in English. Students without background in Russian language should enroll in FCUL 243/WGST 243 which is taught in English and readings and writing assignments are in English. Russian language students who have completed the prerequisite of RUS 202 may elect to enroll in this course, rather than FCUL 243/WGST 243, for supplementary readings in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis.

RUS 341 Russian Life and Culture

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Intercultural, Historical, Human Expression
  • Prerequisites: RUS 202.

A study of the cultural, political, and social institutions that have shaped Russia from the time of Kievan Rus' to the present period. Key historical and philosophical themes will be discussed in reference to art, literature, architecture, music, and Russian Orthodoxy. The course is taught in English and readings and writing assignments are in English. Students without background in Russian language should enroll in FCUL 341. Russian language students who have completed the prerequisite of RUS 202 may elect to enroll in this course, rather than FCUL 341, for supplementary assignments in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis.

RUS 345 Conversation and Composition

  • 4 hours
  • Prerequisites: RUS 202.

Emphasis on the development of written and oral expression and mastery of grammar. Reading and listening comprehension will be developed through use of authentic texts (literary and popular press), films, video (news and popular media), and song texts. Speaking and writing skills will be developed within this context of authentic materials.

RUS 350 Topics in Russian/Soviet Literature

  • 4 hours
  • Fulfills: Human Expression—Primary Texts
  • Prerequisites: RUS 202.

This course will offer reading and discussion of literature of various genres, authors and time periods of Russia and the USSR. Topics will change annually and rotate. Students may enroll in the course multiple times for credit (and count towards the major/minor in Russian Studies), provided that the topic is new. The course is taught in English and readings and writing assignments are in English. Students without background in Russian language should enroll in FCUL 350. Russian language students who have completed the prerequisite of RUS 202 may elect to enroll in this course, rather than FCUL 350, for supplementary assignments in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis.

RUS 490 Senior Project

  • 1, 2, or 4 hours