Graduate Courses

Fall 2017

GER 517/SLA 522/COM 519/MOD 516 
Modernism and Modernity: The Avant-Garde and the Pastoral Drive

"Good proletarian art is usually Covert Pastoral," wrote the critic William Empson in 1935. This seminar examines the rebirth of pastoral in the avant-garde literature, film and photography of Germany and Soviet Union, exploring topics such as: the revolutionary intelligentsia and the countryside; the return of Naturalism and landscape genres; poetic archaism and narodnost'; modernization and the agricultural mode of production. The seminar concludes with contemporary reflections on the pastoral project, including its relationship to the politics of ecologism and to the geological turn in media theory.

MUS 513/SLA 507 
Topics in 19th- and Early 20th-Century Music: Tchaikovsky

This course explores the career of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, from his first civic-minded compositions and salon songs through to his first ballet Swan Lake, the operas Eugene Onegin and Mazeppa, the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Symphonies, his liturgical music, and the works that he was planning to compose before his premature death. The course considers recent Russian-and English-language scholarship on the composer, both technical and cultural-historical, with accent on his service to the Russian imperial court.

RUS 549 
Russian for Academic Purposes I

This course focuses instruction on skills required to perform in a Russian-speaking academic context across core subject areas of literary analysis and cultural studies. The targeted language skills - reading, writing, speaking, and listening - will be tied with the specific needs of students (e.g., reading and writing proposals, presentations for conferences, academic articles, and correspondence). In addition, students get acquainted with various academic sub-styles and genres as well as differences in academic standards (citation, bibliography). The course includes a comprehensive review of Russian grammar and syntax.

SLA 509/COM 505 
Photographic Modernisms: Russia and the West 

This course traces the history of the photographic medium from the introduction of the daguerreotype in 1839 to socially engaged documentary photography of the 1930s and beyond, questioning the notion of photography as a modernist artistic and documentary medium in Russia and the West. Central issues in the course are the role of authorship in photography and in the hybrid photo-textual spaces of print media, photography's politicization and instrumentation, and photography as a reflection of a shifting modernist vision.

SLA 510/COM 507 
History of Emotions: Russia and the West

Do feelings have history? How do they influence history? Do "natural" emotions exist? How do political regimes control the emotional sincerity of their subjects? What is the role of literature in cultivating certain emotional modes? How do people interpret and express their emotions in different periods? In this course, we apply these and similar questions to the emotional history of Russian culture considered within western contexts and theoretical frameworks offered by scholars of emotions. We also try to "resurrect" a number of emotions which played an important role in Russian cultural history.