Course Descriptions

LNGS 2240: Southern American English

An examination of the structure, history, and sociolinguistics of the English spoken in the southeastern United States.

LNGS 3250:  Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Analysis

This course introduces students to language as a system and the theoretical underpinnings of the analytic procedures used by linguists. It proceeds from the assumption that the goal of language is to communicate (i.e., to convey meaning via messages), and investigates assumptions relating to the manner in which it accomplishes this goal.

LNGS 3251:  Intro. to Linguistic Theory and Methodology Discussion

Introduction to Linguistic Theory and Methodology Discussion.

Pre-req: Enrollment in LNGS 3230.

LNGS 5000: Linguistic Principles in Language Pedagogy

No prerequisites, but permission of the instructor is required.

Goals of the course

To discuss the concept of communicative competence, and to evaluate its involvement in current language instruction and second language acquisition.

Proceeding from there, to think critically about the goals and obligations of second language instruction at the college/university (as opposed to high school) level.

To provide a basic understanding of linguistic systems, their structure, diversity (through an encounter with Hungarian or Turkish), and complexity, proceeding from the assumption that such knowledge is the underpinning of good language pedagogy (i.e., that good language pedagogy proceeds from knowledge of the nature of linguistic systems, making it possible for instructors to anticipate difficulties and thus plan the impartation of L2 structure in an informed manner).

Prospective enrollees should note that this is NOT a course in methodology.

LNGS 7010:  Linguistic Theory and Analysis

(See LNGS 3250)

POL 1210:  Introduction to Polish Language

Introduces students to the essentials of Polish grammar with emphasis on speaking and reading.

POL 2210:  Intermediate Polish Language 

Second-year continuation of POL 1210, 1220

Pre-req: POL 1210, 1220 and instructor permission

RUSS 1010 & RUSS 1020:  First-Year Russian

Introduces Russian grammar with emphasis on reading and speaking. Class meets five days per week plus work in the language laboratory. To be followed by RUSS 2010, 2020.

RUSS 2010 & 2020:  Second-Year Russian

Continuation of Russian grammar.  Includes practice in speaking and writing Russian and Introduction to Russian prose and poetry. Class meets four days a week, plus work in the language laboratory.

Pre-Req: RUSS 1020 (with grade of C- or better) or equivalent.

RUSS 3010 & RUSS 3020:  Third-Year Russian

Continuation of Russian grammar. Includes intensive oral practice through reports, dialogues, guided discussions; composition of written reports and essays; readings in literary and non-literary texts. Class meets three hours per week, plus work in the language laboratory.

Pre-req: RUSS 2010, 2020 or equivalent with a grade of C or better.

RUSS 3030:  Intermediate Conversation

Two hours of conversation practice every week.

Pre-req: RUSS 1020, or equivalent. RUSS 2020 is strongly recommended

RUSS 3060: Business Russian

This course introduces students to the language, written as well as spoken, needed for the development of communicative competence in the world of business.

RUSS 4010 & RUSS 4020:  Fourth-Year Russian

Continuation of Russian grammar. Includes oral practice, extensive reading and work in Russian stylistics.

Pre-req: RUSS 3010, 3020 with a grade of a C or better.

RUSS 4520: Vvedenie V Russkuiu Literature

Introduction to Russian literary studies. Reading and analysis of literary works in the original.  This is the only class at U.Va., which gives you an opportunity to read texts in the original and discuss them in class in RussianTexts are selected from classical and contemporary literature. Topic varies; the topic for 2017 is "Sovremennaia russkaia proza.”  Among included authors are contemporary classics: Liudmila Petrushevskaia, Viktor Pelevin, Dmitry Bykov, Viktor Erofeev, Tatiana Tolstaia.  All readings and discussion in Russian. Course is open to advanced students of Russian and heritage speakers.

RUSS 4990: Senior Honors Thesis

Required of Honors majors in Russian language and literature & Russian and East European studies.

RUSS 4998:  Senior Thesis in Russian Studies

For majors in Russian and East European studies. Normally taken in the fourth year.

RUSS 5030: Advanced Russian Grammar: Phonology and Morphology      

This course aims to provide a thorough review and elaboration of the spelling and inflectional morphology of Contemporary Standard Russian. Its aim is to help students, including those who are native speakers, acquire and consolidate a level of proficiency in the structure of Russian suitable for ordinary scholarly and instructional purposes at American universities.

RUSS 5050: Advanced Conversation

Two hours of conversation practice per week. May be repeated for credit.

Pre-req: RUSS 3020

RUSS 5110:  The rise of the Russian Novel, 1795-1850

Studies the development of the Russian novel in the first half of the 19th century. Focuses on the major contributions of Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Dostoevsky and Turgenev. It also examines the social and literary forces that contributed to the evolution of the Russian novel.

RUSS 5120: Age of Realism

Studies the works of Russia's most celebrated writers during the middle of the 19th century. Explores the many forms that 'realism' assumed in Russia at this time, and investigates how Russian writers responded to the calls of their contemporary critics to use literature to promote socially progressive ends.

RUSS 5140: Russian Modernism

The extraordinary burst of literary genius and the debates about human creative agency in the Russian Renaissance are the foci of this seminar. Starts with the transfiguration of the arts and literature in early modernism (Symbolism) and ends with Doctor Zhivago, the great novel by Nobel Prize winner, Boris Pasternak.

RUSS 5160: Russian Literature of the Soviet Era 1929-1988

Literature in the Soviet era has been compared to a "second government." This course explores Russian literature under Soviet totalitarianism and examines the concept of Socialist Realism and the process of harnessing literary art to serve the state's interests of creating the "new Soviet person." We also treat the all-important development of unofficial "underground" art and writers' strategies for bypassing the strictures of state control.

RUSS 5360:  Gulag-Graduate Studies in History and Literature

From the Bolshevik Revolution to the end of the Soviet order, the only evidence of the Gulag available to the outside world apart from the Soviet propaganda, were the testimonies of witnesses and survivors. Their stories functioned as the only available history, thus shedding an interesting light on the traditional distinctions between literature and history.

 RUSS 5410:  Texts and Critics: Approaches to Literary Analysis

This graduate seminar pursues a double goal: to enhance students' skills in reading sophisticated Russian prose and to expose them to various methods of critical analysis.  Special attention is paid to Russian literary stylistics and contemporary critical discourse.  Readings, class discussion, and written assignments are in Russian. Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates, as well as heritage speakers.

RUSS 5500:  Nabokov and Émigré Literature

This course will focus on Vladimir Nabokov’s achievements as a Russian émigré writer in the broad context of Russian literature.  Nabokov’s work will be examined in relationship to the work of his predecessors Anton Chekhov and Ivan Bunin as well as his contemporary, Nina Berberova.  Reading knowledge of Russian is required.

RUSS 7010:  Proseminar in Russian Language

Required of all candidates for the M.A. degree.

RUSS 7290:  Medieval and 18th-Century Russian

Close reading of texts from the Kievan period to the end of the 18th century.

RUSS 7360: Tolstoy

Study of the major works

RUTR 2350:  Russian and Soviet Film: Movies for the Masses

This course is an introduction to and overview of the history of film in Eastern Europe, with a particular focus on Russia, though we will be discussing other countries that were once part of the Soviet Bloc. We will be covering a variety of films, long and short, as well as animation, and how these works of art reflect the time periods in which they were created.

RUTR 2460:  Introduction to Russian Culture and Civilization

No knowledge of Russian needed. Investigates “Being Russian” through the works of Russia’s great writers, artists, architects and composers.  Focuses on the heroes, heroines and villains, symbols, legends and rituals central to Russian creativity.

RUTR 2470:  Understanding Russia: Symbols, Myths and Archetypes of Identity

This course explores different sources of Russian national identity from pre-Christian `Rus' to the present. We will investigate how the occidental and oriental elements blend into a unique Euro-Asian culture, nation, and world power. Our main aim is to provide an orientation to the symbolic world of Russian self-identification. We will employ the tools of the historian, geographer, psychologist, and student of literature and culture.

RUTR 2500: 

001 Madness in Russian Literature and Culture

During each class, students will watch a famous Russian film with English subtitles and then discuss the film. This is a great opportunity to improve your Russian language while learning about Russian history and culture.

002 Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have enchanted readers since early age and have influenced much of cultural production in Russia.  This course studies the development of the Russian fairy tale from its folk origins to Soviet and post-Soviet adaptations.  We will sample different thematic groups of tales and analyze them in view of various interpretive methodologies, including structuralism, sociology, psychoanalysis, and feminism.  All readings in English.

RUTR 2730: Dostoevsky

This course examines the remarkable legacy of the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, beginning with his first experiments in prose fiction and culminating with his timeless masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov.  Along the way we shall meet Dostoevsky's famous rebel, "the man from underground," the soulful murderer in Crime and Punishment, and a series of alienated heroes, would-be supermen, and relentless seekers after God.  The course will also consider Dostoevsky's relationship to other masters of West European and Russian literature.  All readings in English, no knowledge of Russian required.  Satisfies the Humanities Requirement.

RUTR 2740:  Tolstoy in Translation

Survey of Anna Karenina and Tolstoy's renowned shorter fiction from both a philosophical and aesthetic perspective.  All work in English; no knowledge of Russian expected.

RUTR 3340:  Books Behind Bars:  Life, Lit & Community Leadership

Students in this course grapple in a profound and personal way with timeless human questions: Who am I? Why am I here? How should I live? They do this by facilitating discussions about short masterpieces of Russian literature with residents at a maximum-security juvenile correctional center. The integrated service-learning curriculum provides a unique opportunity for purposeful literature study, community engagement, and youth mentoring. The course can also help students develop essential professional and personal leadership skills.

RUTR 3510: Dostoevsky

This course examines the remarkable legacy of the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, beginning with his first experiments in prose fiction and culminating with his timeless masterpiece The Brothers Karamazov.  Along the way we shall meet Dostoevsky's famous rebel, "the man from underground," the soulful murderer in Crime and Punishment, and a series of alienated heroes, would-be supermen, and relentless seekers after God.  The course will also consider Dostoevsky's relationship to other masters of West European and Russian literature.  All readings in English, no knowledge of Russian required.  Satisfies the Humanities Requirement.

RUTR 3350:  Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature

This course will examine many famous works of nineteenth-century Russian literature, with a particular focus on the way Russia's writers have used character doubles and images of the demonic to illustrate their exploration of issues of class, gender, and identity, both personal and national.  Works to be read include selected short stories by Nikolai Gogol ("The Nose," "The Overcoat"), The Tales of Belkin by Alexander Pushkin, A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, The Double and The Devils by Fyodor Dostoevsky, “First Love” by Ivan Turgenev, "The Devil" and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” by Leo Tolstoy, and The Seagull by Anton Chekhov.  All readings are in English.

RUTR 3559:  Russian Literature in Translation

This course is designed to introduce students to the masterpieces of modern Yiddish Literature. From its foundations in Eastern Europe to its more modern roots in America, this course spans not only centuries, but also continents. Students will become acquainted with the most famous works of the three founders of Yiddish literature: Mendele Moykher Sforim (“Mendele the Book Peddler”), Sholem Aleichem, and I. L. Peretz. During this portion of the course, we will hold a screening of the 1971 classic American film “Fiddler on the Roof” and compare it with its literary basis, Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye the Dairyman. The course will also include a study of New York City’s Sweatshop Poets of the turn of the century as well as various Soviet-based propagandistic and rebellious short stories beginning with the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Additionally, the students will read Holocaust poetry as well as trial transcripts from August 12, 1952, that infamous day in history, which became known as “The Night of the Murdered Poets.” The course will end with the revealing short stories of Isaac Bashevis-Singer, the only Yiddish writer to date awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (1978), as well as a discussion of whether or not Yiddish literature is dying, if it’s worth preserving, and if so, how to expose the world to Yiddish literature and culture. All works will be read in English translation. This course counts as a second-writing requirement.*Requirements for this course will include a small group presentation as well as two 5-page response papers and a 10-page research paper. The final grade will be determined on the basis of the assignments, with substantial weight given to the research paper, and class participation.

RUTR 3360: Twentieth-Century Russian Literature

This course introduces students to the great authors and works of twentieth-century Russian literature—including Chekhov, Blok, Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Solzhenitsyn, and Ulitskaya—and treats urgent issues of revolution, human nature, and new life.

SLAV 2360: Dracula

An introduction to Slavic folklore with special emphasis on origins and subsequent manifestations of vampirism. Western perceptions, misperceptions and adaptations of Slavic culture are explored and explicated. The approach is interdisciplinary: folklore, history, literature, religion, film, disease and a variety of other topics.

SLAV 4500 & SLAV 5200:  Czech Lit: Rebels and Robots

An Investigation of classics of Czech fiction and film-Nemcova (Czech nation), Hasek (the good soldier caught between Great Powers), Capek (invented the word “robot”), Seifert (Nobel Prize), Lustig (the Holocaust in Central Europe), Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), “Closely Watched Trains”, “Firemen’s Ball”, Havel (Prague Spring, first president of the Czech Republic).

All readings and discussion will be in English, No pre-requisites, though it will be helpful to have taken at least one literature course.

SLAV 5100: Old Church Slavonic

Introduction to Grammar and Textual attestation of the oldest attested Slavic Language and the relationship between this language, Old Russian Church Slavonic and Contemporary Standard Russian.

SLAV 5300: Culture and Identity

This interdisciplinary graduate seminar examines a range of cultural expressions of Russian identity as found in literature, architecture, art, music, dance, journalism, folk art, religious art, film, museums and exhibitions.  What is “Russian national culture?”  What makes its allure so powerful?  What are some of its main controversies?  To what extent is Russian culture a myth, an ideal, or a set of practices?  Is it dynamic or static?

SLAV 5610: Polish Literature

This is a graduate-level survey of Polish literature from its origins in the Middle Ages to the contemporary period. The students analyze canonical works of Polish literature and place them in various contexts of Polish cultural, intellectual, political, and literary history.  Graduate students from programs other than Slavic are welcome.  Undergraduate students are also welcome with the instructor's permission.  No language requirements. All materials are available in English.

SLTR 3200: Poland: History and Culture

This course takes students through more than 1000 years of Poland's history and culture. Explorations of literature, art, film, and music, as well as key historic events and biographies, will provide students with unique insight in the main sources of Polish identity, its central values, challenges, myths, symbols, and preoccupations in a larger European context.  No prerequisites. All materials in English.

SLTR 3300:  Facing Evil in the Twentieth Century: Humanity in Extremis

Twentieth century will most likely remain one of the most puzzling periods in human history, in which amazing humanitarian progress was coupled with unprecedented barbarity of modern totalitarian regimes–Communism and Nazism.  The course helps students untangle this paradox by exploring a series of memoirs by survivors as well as essays, films, and other cultural statements.  The students tackle and discuss issues such as: Why and how have modern ideologies–Communism and Nazism–motivated and justified crimes against humanity?  Are we no longer vulnerable to these manipulations? Does knowledge of the past evil protect us against repeating history? How are "cultural memories" of extreme atrocities constructed and why? All materials in English.

SLFK 2120: Ritual and Family Life

In this course we will explore traditional Russian and Ukrainian life-cycle rituals, such as weddings and funerals, and beliefs connected with marriage, birth and death. We will also look at gender roles and child-rearing, compare the East Slavic rituals and beliefs with their American counterparts, and look at ways in which life-cycle rituals changed in the Soviet and post-Soviet periods.

No knowledge of Russian required.  Satisfies the Non-Western

Perspectives requirement

SLFK 2140: Ritual and Demonology

In this course we will explore traditional Russian and Ukrainian folk beliefs about spirits, saints, and supernatural beings, as well as traditional daily life, food, and calendary rituals such as Christmas and Easter. We will also look at attempts to transform calendary ritual in the Soviet era, the resurgence of ritual in the post-Soviet era, and how traditional beliefs and daily life affect living patterns and attitudes today.

* No knowledge of Russian required.  Satisfies the Non-Western 

Perspectives requirement.