Undergraduate Courses

Click here for a current list of courses - Choose from SLA (Slavic), PLS (Polish), BCS (Bosnian Serbian Croatian), CZE (Czech) and RUS (Russian).

BCS 102 Beginning Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian II A continuation of BCS 101. This course continues to develop and refine the four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing), concentrating on conversational practice, advanced grammar points, oral drilling, increased reading (BCS literature, folklore, and expository prose, including works chosen according to students' interests), and viewing films M. Beissinger

RUS 102 Beginner's Russian II In this continuation of RUS 101, we introduce plural forms while reviewing case usage and verbs in detail. Soviet posters continue to provide us with illustrations of the grammar, while building a basic familiarity with Soviet history and culture. A special unit focuses on everyday Russian, particularly for those planning to travel to Russia for the first time. The semester closes with a two-week reading unit with Soviet-era poetry and prose. M. Pettus

RUS 107 Intermediate Russian II  In this continuation of RUS 105, we address more advanced topics in Russian grammar, including verbal prefixes and word formation, both expanding our vocabulary and giving us the tools we need to analyze new words. Daily grammar lessons are illustrated with Russian paintings and poems. The semester closes with a major unit on Dostoevsky, in which we will discuss his biography and thought, and read a substantial portion of Crime and Punishment in the original. M. Pettus

RUS 108 Russian for Heritage Speakers II In this class, heritage students continue developing advanced language skills in Russian as well as exploring different aspects of Russian/Soviet culture and history. Materials include Russian classic and contemporary short stories, poetry, films, and articles from Russian media. The major goal of the course is to acquire cultural literacy in Russian, that is, to become familiar with some of the main cultural and linguistic patterns and concepts. S. Korshunova

RUS 208 Advanced Russian Reading and Conversation II The course focuses on key events of Soviet history as they are reflected by major Russian poets and writers. Reading and discussion of poems by Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, Joseph Brodsky, and a short story by Vladimir Nabokov. A continuation of 207, this course is designed to further develop speaking and reading proficiency, writing skills and substantial expansion of vocabulary. K. Blank

COM 236/SLA 236/HLS 236/ANT 383 Traditions, Tales, and Tunes: Slavic and East European Folklore This course explores oral traditions and oral literary genres (in English translation) of the Slavic and East European world, both past and present, including traditions that draw from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish East European communities. Topics include traditional rituals (life-cycle and seasonal) and folklore associated with them, sung and spoken oral traditional narrative: poetry (epic and ballad) and prose (folktale and legend), and contemporary forms of traditional and popular culture. Discussion and analysis will focus on the role and meaning of Slavic and East European oral traditions as forms of expressive culture. M. Beissinger

SLA 220 The Great Russian Novel and Beyond: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Others An examination of significant trends in Russian literature from the 2nd half of the 19th century to the Russian Revolution and a bit beyond. The course focuses on many masterpieces of 19th & 20th-century Russian literature. The works (mostly novels) are considered from a stylistic point of view and in the context of Russian historical and cultural developments. The course also focuses on questions of values and on the eternal "big questions" of life that are raised in the literature. Authors read include Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Bely, Nabokov, and Kharms. E. Chances

SLA 304 Soviet Animation: Between Art and Propaganda This course examines Soviet animation as a specific cultural phenomenon which tells of aesthetic, ideological, social, and psychological issues in the Soviet and post-Soviet countries. Topics to be discussed include Soviet political propaganda; national identity, gender, the influence of Disney cartoons and rock and roll and hippie cultures on the Soviet animation, "new lyricism" and computer animation. Students will continue developing higher-level Russian language skills in order to present and support their opinions, discuss and explain complex matters in detail, provide lengthy and coherent narrations. The course is conducted in Russian. S. Korshunova

SLA 314 From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Censorship and Literature in Russia  Censorship has been a nearly omnipresent force within Russia for centuries, from the birth of Russian literature to contemporary coverage of the war in Ukraine. This course will analyze the myriad ways in which books and television have been impacted by censorial policy, exploring the history of censorship and searching for its imprint within primary sources. Our core questions include how artists are overwhelmed by censorship; how artists work under censorship; how artists evade censorship; and how artists are influenced by censorship. We will examine movies, literature, podcasts, and academic texts. A. Jacobson

SLA 315 Madness in Russian Literature  Exploration of the theme of madness in the works of Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Garshin. Discussion of various meanings of madness: as romantic inspiration or confinement; as a reaction to a personal loss or a rebellion against the social system; as a search for the meaning of life or a fight against the world's evil; as craziness or holy foolishness. Readings, discussions, oral presentations, and written papers in Russian. Special emphasis is placed on active use of language and expansion of vocabulary. This course is envisioned as both a language and literature course. K. Blank

SLA 322 The Soviet City in Literature and Culture Throughout the 20th century, Soviet cities were epicenters of political upheavals and intense artistic experimentation. They were sites of utopian urban planning, mass industrial labor, and monumental architecture. Yet, they were also spaces where the Socialist experiment became a lived, everyday reality through communal apartments, workers clubs, and public transit. This course explores the city through the century's most innovative novels, poetry, and short fiction. From avant-garde writers to non-conformist dissidents, we will trace key aesthetic currents as we examine the relationship between physical geography and cultural imaginary. A. Cohle

SLA 324 Contemporary Ukrainian Literature This course offers an introduction to contemporary Ukrainian literature. The political liberalization after the fall of the Soviet Union brought new freedoms of expression to the region but also an influx of globalization, consumerism, and capitalist modes of artistic production. We will examine how contemporary writers responded to communist and imperial legacies as they experimented with genres and carved out a new, national literature. We will also explore the interplay of regional, national, and linguistic identities. All works will be read in English. A. Cohle

SLA 326 Dreamers and Bandits in Russian Cinema The course will provide an overview of the most significant trends and periods in the development of Russian cinema from the 1960s until the latest blockbusters (2000s). The course will concentrate on the development of main genres and styles, major directors and productions, issues of art, race, gender, war and violence in Soviet, post-Soviet and new Russian cinema. All films will be screened with English subtitles. Y. Leving

SLA 411 Selected Topics in Russian Literature and Culture: Survey of Russian Poetry (19th and 20th centuries) This course will serve as an introduction to major Russian poets from Pushkin to the present. No prior knowledge of Russian literature is assumed. The focus of the course will be on close readings of individual poems, but the intention is, by generalization, to reach an understanding of the development of Russian literature as a whole. All readings will be in Russian, but discussion will be in English. There will be an additional (optional) hour for those wishing to discuss the poems in Russian. M. Wachtel

SLA 415 Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace: Writing as Fighting We start with Tolstoy's artistic stimuli and narrative strategies, explore the author's provocative visions of war, gender, sex, art, social institutions, death, and religion. The emphasis is placed here on the role of a written word in Tolstoy's search for truth and power. The main part is a close reading of his masterwork The War and Peace (1863-68) - a quintessence of both his artistic method and philosophical insights. Each student will be assigned to keep a "hero's diary" and speak on behalf of one or two major heroes of the epic (including the Spirit of History). The roles will be distributed in accordance with the will of fate. I. Vinitsky 

SLA 422 Church Slavonic and History of Slavic Taking as its foundation modern Church Slavonic, whose grammar and orthography will be studied in detail, this course will look back to the development of Old Church Slavonic as the first Slavic literary language, and, further, to Proto-Slavic. As we describe the development of Church Slavonic, we will also consider the historical development of the various Slavic languages, with special emphasis on Russian, and the influence of Church Slavonic forms on literary Russian. We will also touch on such aspects of Eastern Orthodox culture as liturgy, iconography, and music. M. Pettus

For more information: https://ua.princeton.edu/academic-units/department-slavic-languages-and-literatures