RUSS 037. Crime or Punishment: Russian Narratives of Captivity and Incarceration
(Cross-listed as LITR 037R )
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." - Dostoevsky. While the Gulag remains the most infamous aspect of the Soviet justice system, Russia has a long history of inhumane punishment on a terrifying scale. This course explores narratives of incarceration, punishment, and captivity from the 17th century to the present day. In discussing (non-)fiction, history, and theory, we will consider such topics as justice, violence and its artistic representations, totalitarianism, witness-bearing, and the possibility of transcendence in suffering. Readings include works by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Akhmatova, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, Pussy Riot, Foucault, Arendt, and Sontag, among many others. For more information or the syllabus, please contact the instructor (jvergar1). Taught in translation; no knowledge of Russian required.
Eligible for PEAC, INTP, GLBL-Paired
Spring 2021. Vergara.
Catalog chapter: Modern Languages and Literatures: Russian
Department website: https://www.swarthmore.edu/russian
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