The academic catalog is currently being updated for the 2019-20 year. View the Catalog Archive to access the 2018-19 catalog as well as catalogs from previous years.
Foreign Culture courses are taught in English by faculty in the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics. Courses include film, literature, culture studies, history, and current global events. Current courses include offerings in Chinese Studies, German, Nordic Studies, and Russian Studies. For more information about individual courses, please refer to the catalog listings under each individual program.
This course explores the importance of China in a rapidly globalized world from an intercultural perspective. Students are invited to examine how China interacts with the world, and vice versa, through a variety of issues. The course begins with an interdisciplinary project that offers students a gateway to explore the global presence of China. After a comparative study of origin myth and flood in China and the West, the course continues with an examination of cross-cultural education, during which students will complete an interview project. Both Chinese cuisine and the topic of "made in China" will be essential parts of this course, but students will also be able to explore topics of personal interest, such as Hollywood's representation of Chinese culture, international adoption or the Dalai Lama. With class discussion and student-led projects, this interdisciplinary course will provide a basic understanding of Chinese culture and tradition.
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). Readings and discussions are in English. Advanced Russian language students who have completed RUS 202 may elect to enroll in RUS 241 for supplementary assignments in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis.
From the fall of the Clestial Empire to the rise of China's economy today, Chinese cinema has witnessed many social changes in the modern era. This course will focus on the interaction between Chinese cinema and the process of modernization. By examining how Chinese films dialogue with Hollywood, it will explore Chinese people's experiences of semi-colonial modernity, socialist modernity and postsocialist/global modernity. Students will watch select films made in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Along with reading and writing assignments, students will be required to do oral presentations. All films have English subtitles. All readings are in English. Students with Chinese language background may elect to enroll in CHIN 242 for additional assignments n Chinese.
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 and gender studies, and Russian studies. The course is taught in English and readings are in English. Advanced Russian language students who have completed RUS 202 may elect to enroll in RUS 243 for supplementary assignments in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis. (Same as WGST 243)
This course will examine topical world events of current importance, focusing on the dynamics between Russia/Former Soviet Union (FSU) and the United States. This course will include historical background (e.g., the Cold War, NATO, and the Soviet era) in order to understand the rise of Valdimir Putin, current tensions in the world, and the seeming reemergence of a Cold War. Such historical background will allow us to analyze current global events and how these actions are viewed in Russia, the FSU, and the United States. The course is taught in English.
This course will offer reading and discussion of literature of various genres, authors and time periods of Norway and other Nordic countries. Topics will change annually and rotate. Students may enroll in the course multiple times for credit (and count towards the major/minor in Nordic Studies), provided that the topic is new. The course is taught in English and readings are in English. Students who have completed SCST 202 may elect to enroll in SCST 250 for extra assignments in Norwegian.
The course will offer viewing and discussion of films of various genres, directors and time periods of Norway and other Nordic countries. Topics will change annually and rotate. Students may enroll in the course multiple times for credit (and count towards the major/minor in Nordic Studies), provided that the topic is new. The course is taught in English, readings are in English, and films are subtitled in English. Students who have completed SCST 202 may elect to enroll in SCST 251 for extra assignments in Norwegian.
This course will involve travel in both Norway (Oslo and Lillehammer) and Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow). In this course we will examine cultural and historical ties between Russia and Scandinavia, beginning with the Varangians (Vikings) in medieval times as the first ruling dynasty in medieval Rus' was established, as well as their ties with the Silk Road in Central Asia (now part of the Former Soviet Union). We will follow these ties to the present day, with special consideration given to the experiences of Norway and the FSU during WWII and contemporary environmental issues (such as exploration of the Arctic, territorial rights, and environmental pollution). Norway's important role in international peace and dialog in the FSU (Armenia, Russia, Ukraine) will be discussed in relation to the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue (Lillehammer). The study of art, architecture, music and literature of Norway and Russia is also an important component of the course. In each country our group is joined by local colleagues who are experts in their fields.
It is at the core of human history: people leaving their homes in search of a better life. This course explores the role of immigration and emigration for the German-speaking countries over the last 250 years. We will look at the immigration of Germans to the US and South America in the 19th and 20th century, the mass displacement of Germans after WWII, the guest worker program in the 1950s and 1960s (which brought many foreigners to Germany), as well as the so-called European refugee crisis since 2015. We will research the different reasons for people traveling to and leaving Germany, the reactions of the population, and the consequences migration has had for German history and society. Specifically, we will analyze the political and societal reactions to the European refugee crisis and will put it into historical context. The course is taught in English. No German required. This course cannot be used to fulfill the language requirement.
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 are in English. Advanced Russian language students who have completed RUS 202 may elect to enroll in RUS 341 for supplementary assignments in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis.
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. Advanced Russian language students who have completed RUS 202 may elect to enroll in RUS 350 for supplementary assignments in Russian. Offered on a rotating basis.
Norway's preeminent playwright, Henrik Ibsen, lived most of his life outside of his homeland, which he nevertheless observed with unmatched acuity. The course follows Ibsen's development as a dramatist while also exploring the cultural context of his time. The course includes recent film productions of selected plays and an opportunity to experience an Ibsen play as performed by the Commonweal Theater in Lanesboro, MN. All readings and discussions are in English. Students who have completed SCST 202 may elect to enroll in SCST 361 for additional coursework in Norwegian. Offered on a rotating basis.
Through the lives and literature of Nobel Prize-winning authors, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Knut Hamsun, and Sigrid Undset, the history of Norway unfolds with its struggles and triumphs from the Middle Ages through Norway's World War II occupation by Hitler's forces. Reading selected works and viewing films based on them, as well as researching the authors' lives and times, students will gain an understanding of the highlights of Norway's history and literary production. All readings and discussion are in English. Advanced Norwegian language students may enroll in SCST 363 for additional coursework in Norwegian. Offered on a rotating basis.