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RUSSIAN STUDIES ABROAD: MOSCOW  / RUSSIAN CIVILIZATION
22.08.2010


COURSE SYLLABUS
Russian Civilization

- GRINT Centre for Education and Culture -
- The School of Russian and Asian Studies -
 

Available: Fall, Spring
Instructor: Prof. Irina Karatsuba

Requirements (each session)
Midterm exam:  In class, oral, (30% of final grade).
Final paper: 5-7 pp. (50% of final grade);
Class participation: Students will be expected to critically analyze and discuss the course texts (20% of final grade) during class sessions. 
Number of Lectures: 15
Total Academic Hours: 45

Course Description
This course examines Russian culture in its historical development. The subject is approached from various theoretical standpoints, with a focus on historical turning points but also with discussions of the influences of geography, weather, developments in mythology and religion (ancient and modern), social structure and the interactions Russian culture has had with other cultures.  Readings from modern, influential authors (Geoffrey Hoskings and Orlando Figes), with discussions led by a Russian professor provide maximum insight into modern views on developmental Russian culture. 

Required Reading  
Students are not required to purchase these books - the links are only for additional information.
Russia and the Russians. G. Hosking. (Belknap Press: Cambridge, MA), 2003 
Natasha's Dance : A Cultural History of Russia. O. Figes. (Picador: New York), 2003

Recomended Reading
The Russians.  R. Milner-Gulland.  (Blackwell Publishing: Oxford), 1997
The Russian Peasantry: The World the Peasants Made.  D. Moon. (Longman Publishing Group: London), 1999.
Between Heaven and Hell : The Myth of Siberia in Russian Culture. G. Diment, Y. Slezkine, eds. (Palgrave Macmillan: NY), 1993

 

Class Schedule
(Each semester may be taken independently of any other semester)

Fall (from ancient times to XIX century)

TOPICS:  

1: INTRODUCTION.
     i. Basic elements of the Russian civilization: geography, statehood, church and religion, serfdom and its consequences;
     ii. Basic concepts and problems of Russian cultural development;
     iii. Cultural inversions.

2: KIEVAN RUS AND THE FORMATION OF THE RUSSIAN SEMANTIC FIELD.
     i. Pre-Christian Slavs;
     ii. Introduction of Christianity and its role in shaping Russian culture;
     iii. Christian art of ancient Russia.

3: THE MONGOL INVASION AND MONGOL RULE.
     i. Influence of Mongol rule on the mentality of Russians. 
     ii. Russian culture: literature, architecture and icon painting in the 13th-15th centuries.

4: MUSCOVY.
     i. Society and culture in the 16th century;
     ii. Ivan the Terrible as politician and writer.

5: THE TURBULENT 17TH CENTURY. 
     i. The first civil war in Russia and the Schism;
     ii. Old and new ways in literature, architecture, and icon painting;
     iii. The Old Believers cultural alternative.

6: RUSSIA AT THE CROSSROADS. AUTOCRATIC CHANGING OF THE WAY OF RUSSIAN LIFE
     i. Reforms of Peter the Great and new alternatives;
     ii. Russia and the emergence of secular culture.

7: CATHERINE THE GREAT AND THE CULTURAL SPLIT IN RUSSIA.
     i. Emergence of the first university, schools for women and intelligentsia.
     ii. Liberal, religious and revolutionary thought at the end of the XVIII cent. 

8:  WAR WITH NAPOLEON (1812) AND THE BEGINNING OF THE “GOLDEN AGE” OF RUSISAN CULTURE.
     i. Visual arts and music. Russian realist, prophetic and populist art.
     ii. Romantic and realistic trends in Russian literature
 
9: RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND THOUGHT OF THE 19TH CENTURY. (4 HOURS)
     i. The beginning of Russian philosophic discourse (Chaadaev)
     ii. Russian literature and philosophy in the epoch of Great Reforms (Dostoevsky , Vladimir Soloviev)
     iii. Russian prophet writer Leo Tolstoy

10: THE SILVER AGE OF RUSSIAN CULTURE
     i. Art, theater and music towards the turmoil of revolutions;
     ii. Imperial “crisis” and the collapse of the “old regime.” 

11: FINALS. TAKE-HOME EXAM. ESSAY, 5 PAGES.

 

Spring (from the XX to the XXI centuries)

TOPICS: 

1: INTRODUCTION
     i. Russian empire at beginning of the 20th century
     ii. Revolution, reaction and reform, 1905-1914.
     iii. War and revolution, 1914-1917

     iv.
Russian culture of the “Silver Age

2. THE FIRST SOVIET DECADE, 1917-1928
     i. Early Soviet culture and art

3. THE STALIN ERA, 1928-1953
     i. The politics of Stalinism, 1928-41
     ii. War and Reconstruction, 1941-53
     iii. Soviet Culture under Stalin, 1929-53
     iv. Architectural monuments of the Stalin era

4. KRUSHCEV AND BREZHNEV ERAS, 1953-1982
     i. Soviet life, culture and arts, 1953-85
     ii. Traditions and customs of the late Soviet era

5. GORBACHEV AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR, 1985-91
     i. Russian life during “perestroika”
     ii. The fall of ‘the iron curtain’
     iii. Foreign cultural invasion to the Soviet / Russian life.

6. POST-SOVIET LIFE
     i. From Yeltsin to Putin, 1991-2008
     ii. Russians abroad, Foreigners in Russia
     iii. The perception of Russia in the West and the West in Russia

7. SUMMARY 
     i. Russian civilization in historic perspective
     ii. Mass culture, new technologies and globalization: their influence to the Russian culture and mentality

8. Discussion. Test.

 

SUMMER (from ancient times to today)

TOPICS: 

1: INTRODUCTION
     i. Basic elements of the Russian civilization: geography, statehood, church and religion, serfdom and its consequences
     ii. Basic concepts and problems of Russian cultural development
     iii. Cultural inversions.

2: KIEVAN RUS; THE FORMATION OF THE RUSSIAN SEMANTIC FIELD; THE MONGOLS
     i. Introduction of Christianity and its role in shaping Russian culture
     ii. Christian art of ancient Russia
     iii. Influence of Mongol rule on the mentality of Russians


3: RUSSIAN SOCIETY AND CULTURE IN 16TH – 18TH CENTURIES
     i. Society and culture in the 16th century; Ivan the Terrible as politician and writer.
     ii. The first civil war in Russia and the Schism; The Old Believers cultural alternative.
     iii. Reforms of Peter the Great and new alternatives;
     iv. Liberal, religious and revolutionary thought at the end of the XVIII cent. 

4:  THE RUSSIAN “GOLDEN AGE” BEGINS.
     i. Russsian Literature and thought in the 19th Century
     ii. Visual arts and music. Russian realist, prophetic and populist art.
     iii. Romantic and realistic trends in Russian literature
     iv. Russian literature and philosophy in the epoch of Great Reforms (Dostoevsky , Vladimir Soloviev)
     v. Russian prophet writer Leo Tolstoy

5:  RUSSIAN EMPIRE AT BEGINNING OF THE 20TH CENTURY
     i. Revolution, reaction and reform, 1905-1914.
     ii. War and revolution, 1914-1917.
     iii. Russian culture of the “Silver Age”.

6: ‘THE SOVIET’ CULTURE IN 1917 - 1953
     i. The first Soviet decade, 1917-1928. Early Soviet culture and art.
     ii. The politics of Stalinism, 1928-41.
     iii. War and Reconstruction, 1941-53.
     iv. Soviet Culture under Stalin, 1929-53. Architectural monuments of the Stalin era.

7: SOVIET UNION AFTER STALIN
     i. The Khrushchev and Brezhnev eras, 1953-82.
     ii. Soviet life, culture and arts, 1953-85.
     iii. Traditions and customs of the late Soviet era. Holidays.

8. GORBACHEV AND THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR 
    i. Russian life during “perestroika”
    ii. The fall of ‘the iron curtain’.
    iii. Foreign cultural invasion to the Soviet / Russian life.

9: POST-SOVIET RUSSIA FROM YELTSIN TO MEDVEDEV, 1991-2010.
     i. Russians abroad, Foreigners in Russia. The perception of Russia in the West and the West in Russia.
     ii. Russian civilization in historic perspective. Mass culture, new technologies and globalization of the world – and their influence to the Russian culture and mentality.

10. Discussion. Test. 



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