Graduate Courses

Fall 2019 

RUSS 440 The Truth of the Matter: Artists and the Actual in Russian Literature and Cinema.
3 hours (4 hours graduate). Taught in English. All texts are available in English. Students pursuing a major or minor in Russian, or an MA or PhD in Slavic Studies, will be required to read primary texts in the target language. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; or consent of the instructor.  Leading figures in Russian literature have asserted that artists alone possess the power to see, hear, and (re)produce that which is true. Throughout the semester, we will ask how cultural understandings of the distinction between fact, truth, and fiction may have motivated these artists, and we will investigate the creative strategies that facilitated them. Our course will offer a broad overview of this phenomenon within 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century Russia, when writers and artists worked through sudden and radical changes in political ideology, information exchange, and philosophies of their own task. Special attention will be paid to the impact of media such as print journalism, photography, and sound recording on techniques for verifying and producing truth. Throughout the semester, class discussion will attempt to better define and complicate the commonly binary distinctions of representation / reportage, sincerity / performance, and fact / fiction.

In addition to reading primary texts from Mikhail Lermontov, Lev Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, Nikolai Nekrasov, Isaac Babel, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Svetlana Alexeivich, we will examine the films of Dziga Vertov, Mikhail Romm, and Sergei Loznitsa, among others. Theoretical readings include works by radical materialist critics Nikolai Chernyshevsky and Dmitrii Pisarev, and Russian Formalists Yuri Tynianov, Viktor Shklovskii, and Sergei Tretiakov. Other secondary readings will compare these approaches to those of Georg Lukacs, Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Terry Eagleton, and Jacques Rancière.
M                     3:00-5:30pm                                       Kendall, M.

POL 460 Stories in Motion: Translation, Transmission and Translinguality
3 hours.  Taught in English. Reading works of Polish and Yiddish prose, poetry and drama in combination with theoretical and scholarly texts on cultural translation, multilinguality, and world literature, this seminar course will explore a range of forms of cultural transmission and cultural translation in the multilingual context of Poland and Central Europe. Authors include, among others, Olga Tokarczuk, Stanislaw Vincenz, Czeslaw Milosz, Baudouin de Courtenay, Itzik Manger, Debora Vogel, Rokhl Korn, Bruno Schulz, Adam Mickiewicz; and critical works by Ramazani, Rothberg, Benjamin, Beecroft, Najdus, and others.  All texts are available in English. Students pursuing an MA or PhD in Slavic Studies will be required to read primary texts in the target language. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; or consent of the instructor.
TR                   2:00-3:15pm                                       Underhill, K.

CEES 551 The Anti-Hero in Central and East European Culture
3 hours (4 hours graduate).
W                    5:00-7:30pm                                       Vaingurt, J.

 

Previously offered courses:

POL 321 Introduction to Polish Literature
Iran, Honduras, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Brazil, South Africa: what can these places tell us about Poland? In this course we will examine the ways Polish reporters talk about the world, civilization, conflict, community and individual. Contrary to popular belief, Polish literature has frequently extended its focus beyond the country’s borders. We will ask ourselves what Polish writings about the world abroad say about Poland and its writers. In this course we will analyze the thin line between fiction and creative non-fiction writing. Does it exist? What makes a non-fiction text literature? What is the extent of artistic liberties in reportage? Finally, we will write our own literary reportages using techniques and knowledge developed by the masters of the Polish School. Taught in English.  Creative Arts and World Cultures course.

POL 460 Studies in Polish Literature: Polish/Jewish Territories in the Literary Imagination
“Borderlands”, “Bloodlands”, The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Poland/Polin, Yiddishland, and the Avant-Garde of the 1920s: All are physical or cultural territories that have come into being at and through the intersection of Polish and Jewish cultures. How are these territories, and historically Polish lands, imagined in Polish and Yiddish literature and film of the 19th to 21st centuries? We will study these works in conversation with contemporary theories of diaspora, pluralism, peripheral modernisms, minor literature, and memory. Taught in English. Polish majors will be required to complete some assignments in Polish. Prerequisite(s): SLAV 224; or consent of the instructor. Can substitute SLAV 224 with permission.

POL 460 Studies in Polish Literature: Writing in the Third Language: Between Theology and Materialism in Modern Central European Narrative
What does a text written in the “third language” look like? What does it sound like?  Our study will consider 20th century works that are invested in opening up the conceptual space and the interaction, within the parameters of the text itself, between theology and materialism; between sacred and non-sacred. Readings include theoretical and literary works by Benjamin, Levinas, Derrida, Kafka, Kulbak, Bruno Schulz and others. Concepts explored include: the dialectical image; the abyss, “language as such” or “pure language”, the Face and the Name; theatricality, gesture and mask; modern messianism; and the figures of clown, Devil, charlatan, magician and fool.

POL 570 Literary Theory and the Polish Canon: Culture and Life
The class is about one of the most influential Polish philosopher and literary critic, Stanisław Brzozowski (1878-1911), whose impact on contemporary Polish culture can’t be overestimated. We will read several of his pivotal texts to understand his position in European Modernism, and his relationship with the Polish tradition. All readings are in Polish (we will try to translate his pieces into English) and basic knowledge of philosophical language and Polish literary tradition is required. Taught in Polish.

RUSS 440/ENGL428  Topics in Russian Culture and Cultural Studies
In this course, we will read a representative selection of Nabokov’s Russian and English language works, including Lolita and Pale Fire, two of the finest novels of the twentieth century. We will explore various aspects of Nabokov’s life and art in order to arrive at a fuller understanding of how cultural synthesis inspires artistic creation.  Issues we will consider include the relationship between art and politics, aesthetics and ethics, authorship and tradition, memory and exile, identity and sexuality, and the nature of fiction.  We will also learn about the cultural impact of Nabokov’s art in America, Russia, and the world, and trace familiar elements in some contemporary novels (e.g., by John Lanchester, Julian Barnes, and W.G. Sebald) that have been defined as Nabokovian by critics, scholars, and other readers.

RUSS 440 Topics in Russian Culture
Exploration of various topics in Russian culture through an interdisciplinary prism, addressing intersections between visual and verbal arts as well as high and popular culture. Content varies.Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated to a maximum of 6 hours for undergraduate students or 8 hours for graduate students, if topics vary, and with consent of the instructor. Taught in English. All texts are available in English. Students pursuing a major or minor in Russian, or an MA or PhD in Slavic Studies, will be required to read primary texts in the target language. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; or consent of the instructor.

RUSS 540 Imitation and Originality in Russian Literature
Study of a major author, movement, genre, or special topic. Content varies. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. May be repeated up to 2 time(s). Prerequisite(s): 24 hours of Russian or consent of the instructor.

CEES 406 History of European Standard Languages
The phenomenon of the “standard language” in Western and Eastern Europe. Course Information: Same as LCSL 406 and LING 406. 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Taught in English. Previously listed as CEES 405. In cases where students speak languages other than English, they might receive tasks to research literature in that language (and on that language) and to present their research results. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; and consent of the instructor.

CEES 460 Topics in Central & Eastern European Literature and Culture
Study of a time period, movement, genre, or special topic. Course Information: 3 undergraduate hours. 4 graduate hours. Same as SLAV 460. May be repeated up to 2 time(s), with consent of the instructor, and if topics vary. Prerequisite(s): Junior standing or above; or consent of the instructor.

HIST 433 Topics in East European History East European Migrations: The Polish Diaspora
This course looks at the movement of people into and out of the territory encompassing modern Poland. It focuses on the migration trajectories of ethnic Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Lithuanians, Russians, and others from the earliest times to the present. We look at local and regional migration patterns, at political migrants–including those fleeing failed national uprisings, at Polish efforts to establish “colonies” abroad in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada, and at the steady flow of economic migrants to the United States, Australia, and South Africa in the years leading up to World War I. The course ends with a consideration of the most recent wave of Poles to the United Kingdom and the effects on the Polish domestic situation of these continuing waves of out-migration.

HIST433: Topics in East Central European History: The Polish Diaspora
Migration has long been central to Polish history and culture. From the late nineteenth century exodus to North and South America to the political refugees of the communist period, nearly every generation of Poles has faced the challenges of divided families and relatives laboring across the water. This course looks at the movement of people into and out of the territory encompassing modern Poland. It focuses on the migration trajectories of ethnic Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Lithuanians, Russians, and others from the earliest times to the present. We look at local and regional migration patterns, at political migrants–including those fleeing failed national uprisings, at Polish efforts to establish “colonies” abroad in Argentina, Brazil, and Canada, and at the steady flow of economic migrants to the United States, Australia, and South Africa in the years leading up to World War I. The course ends with a consideration of the most recent wave of Poles to the United Kingdom and the effects on the Polish domestic situation of these continuing waves of out-migration.

HIST 433 Topics in East Central European History:  WWII and the Polish Homefront
This seminar focuses on the day-to-day experience of the 36 million citizens of the pre-1939 Polish state. It explore the transformation of Polish society in the aftermath of the Nazi and Soviet invasions, paying particular attention to the birth of the underground state and the range of responses to wartime atrocities. The course concludes with an examination of the ways Poland’s wartime experience influenced the postwar transition to communism, and the dramatic effects of shifting borders and population transfers on the social fabric of the surviving population. This is an upper division undergraduate seminar and is mostly discussion-based. Weekly meetings center on common readings and short (1-2 page) written critiques. Students will write 10-12 page research papers on a topic of their choice.