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Swarthmore College    
College Bulletin - Course Catalog 
  
 
  Dec 17, 2017
 
College Bulletin - Course Catalog

Modern Languages and Literatures: Russian


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Courses

Faculty

SIBELAN FORRESTER, Professor and Section Head1
EMILY FREY, Visiting Assistant Professor (part time)
JESSE STAVIS, Visiting Assistant Professor (part time)
JOSÉ VERGARA, Visiting Assistant Professor
TSVETELINA YORDANOVA, Lecturer


1 Absent on leave, fall 2017.


 

The Academic Program


The major in Russian language and literature covers the rise and development of Russian literature and culture up to the present. Students will encounter critical theory and develop skill in critical analysis, approaching Russian and Soviet literature and culture in relationship to historical and social forces. The emphasis in our courses is on culture as well as literature: indeed, understanding Russian literature and other arts is impossible without some background in the history and culture. Because Russian is a small program, we are very responsive to student demand and can develop courses almost to order, if there is sufficient interest. Students interested in a combined Russian language and linguistics major may develop a program with advanced courses and seminars in the language offered at Bryn Mawr or the University of Pennsylvania and the Linguistics Department at Swarthmore College.

Russian in Combination with Other Programs


In the Course Program, Russian can contribute toward majors in comparative literature, film and media studies, and linguistics and to the concentrations in interpretation studies and gender and sexuality studies. Thematic courses in Russian culture can support majors or minors in history, music, philosophy, and political science and concentrations in Asian studies, environmental studies, and Islamic studies. A Russian honors minor fits well with an honors major in the humanities or social sciences, and nicely rounds out majors in engineering or the natural sciences. In the Honors Program, Russian contributes toward the major or minor in comparative literature. By including advanced coursework at Bryn Mawr College, Russian can be part of a special major in educational studies for teacher certification.

There is no distinction between qualification for the Russian Course Program and for the Honors Program. We recommend a minimum of one semester or summer of study in Russia. Majors and minors are urged to build and maintain fluency by taking Russian Conversation (RUSS 006A), and to support their work in the field with courses in anthropology, art, cognitive science, film and media studies, history, music, philosophy, political science, religion, sociology, theater, and other literatures.

RUSS 091, the seminar attachment, may be added to any course numbered 020 or above to convert it to a seminar, for a total of two credits. The additional work is done in the original language and supported by regular meetings with the professor, readings, discussions, and significant writing assignments in Russian. We anticipate that most seminar work will be done in this format. If there is sufficient student demand, we can offer advanced seminars in any of the following areas:

Seminar Topics:


  • RUSS 101. Tolstoy
  • RUSS 102. Russian Short Story
  • RUSS 103. Pushkin and Lermontov
  • RUSS 104. Dostoevsky
  • RUSS 105. Literature of the Soviet Period
  • RUSS 106. Russian Drama
  • RUSS 107. Russian Lyrical Poetry
  • RUSS 108. Russian Modernism
  • RUSS 109. Chekhov
  • RUSS 110. Bulgakov
  • RUSS 111. Tsvetaeva and Mayakovsky
  • RUSS 112. Akhmatova and Mandelshtam
  • RUSS 113. Russian and Soviet Cinema
  • RUSS 114. Folklore in Russian Literature
  • RUSS 115. The Many Faces of the Russian Literary Anecdote
  • RUSS 116. The Petersburg Myth in Russian Literature
  • RUSS 117. Post-Soviet Russian Literature
  • RUSS 118. Russian Jewish Writers
  • RUSS 119. Russian Women Writers
  • RUSS 120. Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Russian section webpage includes descriptions of the possible seminar topics listed above.

The Russian Program offers a course major or minor and an honors major and minor. Courses in Russian literature and culture (and courses in allied subjects, such as East European Prose or the Translation Workshop) may also be part of a special major.

Course Major


Requirements


A minimum of eight credits, which must include:

  1. RUSS 004  (unless placed higher)
  2. RUSS 010  and/or RUSS 011  (or equivalent course in Russia)
  3. One survey course: RUSS 013  or RUSS 014  
  4. Four content credits: RUSS 013-RUSS 086 . At least one full content credit may be earned through: two half-credit attachments to these in-translation courses; the attachments include RUSS 091  (Seminar Attachment), RUSS 093  (Directed Reading), or RUSS 094  (Independent Study). Credit from study abroad may be used toward 3 of these credits.
  5. One two-credit seminar: RUSS 100 and above.

For students who choose not to emphasize literature, a Russian history course may be used to fulfill one content credit. Possible courses include HIST 001Q , HIST 038 , and HIST 039 . Students should consult Russian Section Faculty  regarding attachments to these courses.

Acceptance Criteria


To be accepted as a major or minor, you must have earned a minimum grade of "B" in Russian language and literature courses taken at Swarthmore and present linguistic ability and clear potential for sophisticated study in the original literature, criticism, and cultural history of imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, and Post-Soviet Russia.

Thesis / Culminating Exercise


The culminating exercise for a course major in Russian is one three-hour written examination (answering two questions in Russian, one in English), scheduled after the end of regular exams in the spring semester of senior year.

Course Minor


Requirements for a minor in course in Russian


A minimum of five credits, which must include:

  1. RUSS 004 (unless placed higher)
  2. RUSS 010 or RUSS 011 (or equivalent course in Russia)
  3. One survey course: RUSS 013 or RUSS 014
  4. Two content credits: RUSS 013-RUSS 086 or
    One content credit (RUSS 013-RUSS 086) plus an attachment.
    (Credit from study abroad may be used toward all content credits.)
  5. One two-credit seminar: RUSS 100 and above. 

Honors Major


Prerequisites for Majors:


A minimum of eight credits, which must include:

  1. RUSS 004  (unless placed higher)
  2. RUSS 010  and/or RUSS 011  (or equivalent course in Russia)
  3. One survey course: RUSS 013  or RUSS 014  
  4. Four content credits: RUSS 013-RUSS 086. At least one full content credit must be earned through: two half-credit attachments to these in-translation courses, RUSS 091  (Seminar Attachment), RUSS 093   (Directed Reading), RUSS 094  (Independent Study), or a second seminar: RUSS 100 and above. Credit from study abroad may be used toward 3 of these credits.
  5. At least one two-credit seminar: RUSS 100 and above. For students who choose not to emphasize literature, one Russian history course may be used to fulfill one content credit. Possible courses include HIST 001Q , HIST 038  , and HIST 039 . Students should consult Russian Section Faculty  regarding attachments to these courses.
  6. The minimum grade for acceptance into the Honors Program is "B" level work in Russian language courses taken at Swarthmore and in RUSS 011   or its equivalent.

At least one semester of study in Russia is strongly encouraged.

Senior Honors Study


Please see the information on seminars and seminar attachments , above.

At the beginning of the final semester, seniors will meet with the Russian section head.

  1. Honors majors write three 3,000-3,500 word papers in Russian, one for each honors preparation, or else one 6,000-word paper which integrates the three honors preparations. These three papers (or one long paper) become part of the portfolio presented to the external examiners, along with the syllabi of the three (2-credit) honors preparations and any other relevant material.
  2. Minors will be expected to write one 3,000-3,500-word paper in Russian. This paper will become part of the portfolio presented to the examiner along with the syllabus of the (2- credit) honors preparation and any other relevant material.
  3. Majors will take three three-hour written examinations prepared by external examiners, plus one half-hour oral exam for each, based on the contents of the written examination and materials submitted in the portfolio. Minors will take one three-hour written examination prepared by an external examiner and one half-hour oral examination based on the written examination and materials submitted in the portfolio.

Honors Minor


Prerequisites for Minors:


A minimum of five credits, which must include:

  1. RUSS 004 (unless placed higher)
  2. RUSS 010 or RUSS 011 (or equivalent course in Russia)
  3. One survey course: RUSS 013 or RUSS 014
  4. One content credit (RUSS 013-RUSS 086) plus an attachment
    (Credit from study abroad may be used toward all content credits.) or
    One two-credit seminar: RUSS 100 and above.

The minimum grade for acceptance into the Honors Program is "B" level work in language courses taken at Swarthmore and in RUSS 011 or its equivalent.
At least one semester of study in Russia is strongly encouraged. See item 2 above for Senior Honors Study Paper.

Special Major


Courses in Russian language, literature, and culture may be integrated into special majors of a variety of kinds, for example: Russian area studies, Russian cinema in history, or Russian and East European literature and/or culture.

Special Major in Linguistics and Languages


1. Complete three credits numbered above 004
2. One of the three credits must be 010 or 011 (and both may be counted)
3. Students are especially encouraged to include a seminar and/or advanced language course taught at Bryn Mawr College

Off-Campus Study


Study abroad is strongly encouraged for students of Russian. We recommend four programs (ACTR, CIEE, Middlebury, and the Smolny Institute) for semester and academic-year study in Russia. Credit may also be available for study through other programs, with appropriate documentation. Consult your professor for more information on programs and sources of funding support.

Summer Opportunities


Besides summer abroad study or internships, and the possibility of arranging for summer humanities research under the supervision of Russian program faculty, students interested in summer language study in Russia or in summer programs in the U.S. may apply for financial support from the Olga Lamkert Fund.

Russian is certified as a critical language by U.S. government agencies, meaning that for both summer study and study abroad there is funding available to support students of Russian, especially if they are working to reach a high level of proficiency. Ask us for information on this financial assistance and support in applying. 

Life After Swarthmore


A major or minor in Russian can enhance a variety of career choices: strong language skills bolster any other program of work, research or study, while knowledge of literature and culture offers subtle or obvious advantages in business, politics, science and medicine. Like other less commonly taught languages, Russian on your college transcript suggests to potential employers or graduate school admissions committees that you are smart and adventurous, willing to try a challenging new subject of study - and able to master it by completing a major or a minor.

Graduate School and Other Study


Several recent Russian majors and minors have completed area studies M.A. degrees at Harvard University; others have entered the Flagship Program, which aims to bring students to the highest levels of language fluency for subsequent work in politics, scholarship, or NGOs. Students with majors in Russian Literature have gone on to doctoral work in History and Political Science. Others have done graduate study in Linguistics, English Literature, and Comparative Literature. The systematic nature of Russian grammar makes it no surprise that some of our majors and minors have gone on to medical school or to graduate work in Physics and Astronomy. One graduate received a Fulbright fellowship to study Russian authors who covered the Spanish Civil War as journalists, and how their writing influenced the later development of Soviet literature as well; another received a Fulbright to study plant genetics in southern Russia and Kazakhstan.

Career Options/Opportunities


As the paths of study above suggest, Russian can be combined with almost any field. Whether immediately after graduation or later, our alumni have found work as editors or English teachers in Russia. Some have gone into the State Department or have become medical doctors. One of our former students left the Swarthmore area to dance with the Boston Ballet. Graduate study may lead to careers as college and university professors or directors of university Title VI centers.

Whatever your career choice, we can put you in touch with alumni of Swarthmore's Russian program who will be able to offer you advice, support, and connections in the field.

Russian Courses


Not all advanced courses or seminars are offered every year. Students wishing to major or minor in Russian should plan their program in consultation with department faculty.

Seminars in Russian are only offered when there is sufficient demand. Otherwise students who wish to take a literature course in translation for seminar credit must register for a Seminar Attachment (1 additional credit), adding an A to the course number: 21A, 33A, 41A, etc. Courses numbered under 20 cannot be taken as seminars.

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