Course Descriptions

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Undergraduate Russian Courses

All courses award 3 semester credit hours unless otherwise indicated

RUSS 101 Intensive Elementary Russian I (6 credits) 
Prerequisites: None
This intensive first-year course is intended to develop the four skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking with an emphasis on communicative competence.
Two hours of lecture and six hours of laboratory per week. Not open to native speakers of Russian. Credit will only be granted for one of the following: RUSS 101; or RUSS 111 and RUSS 112.

RUSS 102 Intensive Elementary Russian II (6 credits) 
Prerequisites: RUSS 101, RUSS 112, or equivalent
CORE course: Humanities (HO)
A continuation of RUSS 101 which will further develop the four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking with an emphasis on communicative competence.
Two hours of lecture and six hours of laboratory per week. Not open to native speakers of Russian. Credit will only be granted for one of the following: RUSS 102; or RUSS 113 and RUSS 114.

RUSS 111 Non-Intensive Elementary Russian I 
Prerequisites: None
Begins the development of the basic skills required for communicative competence in Russian: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Not open to native speakers of Russian. Credit will only be granted for one of the following: RUSS 101; or RUSS 111 and RUSS 112 (RUSS 111 and RUSS 112 are equivalent to RUSS 101).

RUSS 112 Non-Intensive Elementary Russian II 
Prerequisites: RUSS 111 or equivalent
A continuation of RUSS 111 which will further develop the four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking with an emphasis on communicative competence.
Not open to native speakers of Russian. Credit will only be granted for one of the following: RUSS 101; or RUSS 111 and RUSS 112 (RUSS 111 and RUSS 112 are equivalent to RUSS 101).

RUSS 113 Non-Intensive Elementary Russian III 
Prerequisites: RUSS 112 or equivalent
A continuation of RUSS 112 which will further develop the four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking with an emphasis on communicative competence.
Not open to native speakers of Russian.  Credit will only be granted for one of the following: RUSS 102; or RUSS 113 and RUSS 114 (RUSS 112 and RUSS 113 are equivalent to RUSS 102).

RUSS 114 Non-Intensive Elementary Russian IV 
Prerequisites: RUSS 113 or equivalent
A continuation of RUSS 113 which will further develop the four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking with an emphasis on communicative competence.
Not open to native speakers of Russian.  Credit will only be granted for one of the following: RUSS 102; or RUSS 113 and RUSS 114 (RUSS 112 and RUSS 113 are equivalent to RUSS 102).

RUSS 201 Intermediate Russian I (5 credits) 
Prerequisites: RUSS 102, RUSS 114, or equivalent
CORE course: Humanities (HO) 
Continued activation and expansion of skills and knowledge acquired in an elementary Russian course with the goal of communicative competence.
Two hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory per week. Not open to native speakers of Russian.

RUSS 202 Intermediate Russian II (5 credits) 
Prerequisites: RUSS 201
CORE course: Humanities (HO)
Continued activation and expansion of skills and knowledge acquired in RUSS 201 with the goal of communicative competence.
Two hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory per week. Not open to native speakers of Russian.

RUSS 203 Intermediate Russian for Heritage Speakers (3 credits)
Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD.
For Heritage Speakers only. No credit give to students who have taken RUSS201. Credit will be granted for only one of the following: RUSS201 or RUSS203. Designed for native and heritage speakers of Russian, with the goal of attaining competency in written Russian while improving speaking and reading skills.

RUSS 204 Russian for Heritage Speakers (3 credits)          
Prerequisite: RUSS203 or heritage knowledge of Russian equal to or higher than minimum 1 year of UMD language classes
Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD.
For heritage speakers only. Designed for the Russian heritage speakers (Russian speakers who grew up outside of Russia) with different levels of Russian, wanting to gain literacy and improve their Russian overall.

RUSS 210 Structural Description of Russian 
Prerequisites: RUSS 201 or equivalent.
An introductory linguistic course designed to order and supplement students' knowledge of the sound system and the inflectional system of the verb.  A practical component on reading skills also focuses on the verb and methods of developing vocabulary.

RUSS 211 Applied Russian Phonetics 
Prerequisites: RUSS 102 or equivalent
This is a practical, hands-on course, which focuses primarily on conscious work on the pronunciation of difficult sounds and sound sequences in Russian. It places strong emphasis on teaching Russian intonation based on the standard system of seven Intonational Constructions. The instructional materials include two state-of-the-art courses on Russian pronunciation developed by the leading phoneticians from Moscow and St. Petersburg. 
The work on difficult sounds and sound sequences progresses in two parallel directions, which correspond to two main sources of pronunciation errors. The first source of errors involves the new sounds, which do not have direct counterparts in English. The second source of errors is associated with discrepancies between spelling and pronunciation in Russian, and consequently, the course pays special attention to the reading rules. The course makes use of various types of authentic and culturally significant materials, such as proverbs, sayings, tongue-twisters, riddles, and poems. 
Not open to native speakers of Russian.

RUSS 221 Masterworks of Russian Literature I 
Prerequisites: None
CORE course: Literature (HL)
General Education: Humanities
Introduction to the classics of Russian literature in translation, beginning with Pushkin in the early nineteenth century and concluding with the works of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy in the later part of that century.

RUSS 222 Masterworks of Russian Literature II 
Prerequisites: None
CORE course: Literature (HL)
This course provides an incomplete survey of Russian literature of the newly-concluded and wildly eventful 20th-century. We will begin with Chekhov, a writer who can be seen as both the last great writer of the 19th century and the first of the 20th century; we will go on to read works by Zamiatin, Bulgakov, Kharms, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, and Erofeev, and a memoir by Eugenia Ginzburg. 
Almost all of the works we will be reading (with the exception of the Chekhov) were banned at one time or another under the Soviet regime, or were never published at all; in this sense, the course conveys something of the excitement of the late 20th century, when earlier, forbidden works began to surface one by one, slowly revealing the past. The focus of this course will be on the careful reading and interpretation of literature, and on expressing ideas about literature in writing.

RUSS 281 Russian Language and Pre-Revolutionary Culture 
Prerequisites: None
CORE course: Humanities (HO)
Introduction to the Russian language and study of Russian nationalism; artistic and social concepts in the development of Russian art, dance, geography, history, and literature from the 18th to the 20th centuries. 
Lectures in English, with third hour devoted to basic language instruction (alphabet, vocabulary, pronunciation, and minimal conversational skills). Not open to native speakers of Russian.

RUSS 282 Contemporary Russian Culture 
Prerequisites: None
CORE course: Humanities (HO)/Diversity (D)
General Education: Humanities and Understanding Plural Societies
Russia of the post-Communist era. An exploration of the cultural implications of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. Also included is a brief introduction to the Russian language: alphabet, elementary reading and survival skills for the first time traveler. 
Course format includes a combination of lectures, group discussions, videos, and optional field trips.

RUSS 289I The Power of the Word: Freedom of Speech in the U.S. and Russia
CORE Humanities (HO) Course.
GenEd: Distributive Studies - Humanities; Signature Courses - I-Series.
Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD.
The central theme of the course is the abiding human propensity to ask questions, to use language to pursue inquiry. To be a “critical thinker,” one must develop the habit and discipline of asking questions -- questions about the ideas of others, as well as about one’s own assumptions.
Through a comparative approach to the US and Russian experiences, we will explore the role of the word and its power in different political and social systems. We will explore such questions as: What is the relationship between free speech, political power and dissent? Is the pen still mightier than the sword, even in the nuclear age? Why is free speech so fiercely defended in a democracy and such a threat to totalitarianism? What has shaped our current attitudes toward freedom of expression? How has the concept of political free speech been extended to include freedom of expression in general, such as in the creative arts? What role do new technologies play in the arena of free speech debates? Using the tools of analysis and interpretation used by scholars primarily in the humanities and social sciences, we will explore how free expression has been defended or its suppression justified in both the US and Russia. We will practice the art of questioning and constructing counter-arguments throughout the course.

RUSS298 Special Topics in Russian Language and Literature 
Prerequisites: None
Addresses special or unique topics in the field of Russian Language and/or Literature. Repeatable up to 6 credits if the content differs.

RUSS298M Russian Cinema at the end of the Millennium 
Prerequisites: None
CORE course: Humanities (HO) / Diversity (D)
The course traces the evolution of Russian cinema in the context of the changing Russian reality. The eighties and the nineties witnessed dramatic changes in the social, political, and cultural life in Russia. The burst of economic, social, and cultural activity, deep changes in the way of life and in the lifestyle, and new values brought about by perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness), the collapse of the Soviet Empire and of Communism as the only official ideology had a strong impact on the arts, and especially on filmmaking.
The newly acquired freedom of expression allowed filmmakers to deal openly with topics, which had been banned from the screen by official censorship: the Communist past, the cult of Stalin, anti-Semitism, sex, violence, crime, drugs. The films from the late nineties reflect the post-Communist Russia’s renewed quest for national identity, the rise of nationalism, and its search for a national hero.

RUSS 361 Dostoevsky and the Russian Soul
Prerequisites: None
CORE course: Literature (HL)
IN ENGLISH
It is well known that the tremendous success of Dostoevsky’s novels in the West coincided with the development of psychoanalysis. Dostoevsky’s exploration of the dark side of the psyche shaped a mythological image of the Russian soul and fascinated Freud who wrote that Dostoevsky “himself illustrates psychoanalysis in every character, in every sentence”. However, Freud’s own analysis of Dostoevsky created much controversy. In this class we study two major works of Dostoevsky with reference to related developments in Russian and European culture, literary criticism, and intellectual history to investigate why his work has fascinated readers and psychologists for two centuries.

RUSS 301 Advanced Russian I 
Prerequisites: RUSS 202 or equivalent
Advanced training in Russian communicative structures.

RUSS 302 Advanced Russian II 
Prerequisites: RUSS 301 or equivalent
Further advanced training in Russian communicative structures.

RUSS 303 Russian Conversation: Functional Skills 
Prerequisites: RUSS 202 or equivalent
Skills for daily life (both function and etiquette) and argumentation (rhetoric).
Intended for students who do not anticipate having the opportunity to study abroad in the former Soviet Union.

RUSS 307 Commercial Russian I 
Prerequisites: RUSS 202 or equivalent
Designed to give introductory knowledge of correct commercial Russian including letters, business forms, contracts, and agreements.

RUSS 321 Survey of Russian Literature I 
Prerequisites: RUSS 202 or equivalent
CORE course: Humanities (HO)
Introduction to Russian literature of the 19th century, in Russian. Readings will include classics of Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov. The focus of the course will be close analysis of literary texts in the original, and the development of reading skills and fluency of oral and written expression. Readings, class discussion,and writing assignments in Russian.

RUSS 322 Survey of Russian Literature II 
Prerequisites: RUSS 321 or equivalent
A continuation of RUSS 321. This course provides an introduction to Russian literature of the 20th century, in Russian.

RUSS 327 Old Russian Literature in Translation 
Prerequisites: None
Recommended: Russian 221

Old Russian literature of the 11th through 17th centuries for the general student. Selected texts will be read in translation, with analysis in terms of genre and historical setting.

RUSS 329 Soviet Literature in Translation 
Prerequisites: None
Russian literature since 1917, both as a continuation of pre-revolutionary traditions and as a reflection of Soviet ideology. Repeatable to 6 credits if content differs.

RUSS329E Soviet Literature in Translation: History and Fiction
IN ENGLISH
This course considers the way that literature reflects, refracts, reacts to, and makes history. Specifically, we will read works of Soviet literature and consider their relationship to historical events of the twentieth century, including the Russian Revolution and Civil War, the Stalin era, the Second World War, and beyond.

RUSS 334/ FILM 334 Soviet Film: Propaganda, Myth, Modernism 
Prerequisites: None
CORE course: History/Theory of the Arts (HA)
IN ENGLISH
A survey of Soviet film from the 1920s to 1991, with the main emphases on the 1920s and 1960s. The course focuses on important directors, genres, themes, and styles, beginning with the most internationally famous period of Soviet silent cinema (1925-1930), and continuing through the Stalin period (1929-1953), into the "Thaw" (mid '50s to '60s), the period of "stagnation" under Brezhnev, and finally, "glasnost." 
Theoretical issues to be considered include: "propaganda"-- ideology and its integral role in Soviet art, in particular in the overarching rubric of "Socialist Realism," declared as doctrine in 1934; "myth"-- the various myths of the individual, the Russian/Soviet "nation," and history as embodied in Soviet film; and "modernism"-- the structural and technical characteristics of Soviet film art, especially as described by Soviet film theorists.

RUSS 336/ FILM 336 Soviet Cinema and Empire
Gen Ed for Understanding Plural Societies
IN ENGLISH
This course will consider how the cultural myths of exploration and conquest are embodied in the Soviet cinema. Readings from the Russian literary tradition, literary and film theory, and Russian and Soviet history will supplement required weekly film screenings. All readings and discussions are in English.

RUSS 381 Russian Civilization - In Russian I 
Prerequisites: RUSS 202
A historical survey of Russian civilization emphasizing architecture, painting, sculpture, music, ballet, and theater to the beginning of the 19th century pointing out the interrelationship of all with literary movements. Taught in Russian.

RUSS 382 Russian Civilization - In Russian II 
Prerequisites: RUSS 202
A historical survey of Russian civilization emphasizing architecture, painting, sculpture, music, ballet, and theater from the beginning of the 19th century to the present pointing out the interrelationship of all with literary movements. Taught in Russian.

RUSS 386 Experiential Learning (3 to 6 credits) 
Prerequisites: Junior standing and permission of department

RUSS398 Special Topics in Russian Language and Literature 
Prerequisites: None
Addresses special or unique topics in the field of Russian Language and/or Literature. Repeatable up to 6 credits if the content differs.

RUSS398P Selected Topics in Russian Language and Literature: Russian Prose and Poetry for Heritage Learners: Russian Silver Age
Prerequisites: Permission of department
Silver Age or second Golden Age? Russian Modernism (1890-1920s), one of the most exciting artistic epochs in Russia, has produced a greater number of poets and artistic movements than the celebrated Pushkinian Golden Age. It is internationally famous for innovation in music (Skriabin, Rakhmaninov), painting (Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall), ballet (Diagilev, Nizhinsky), theater (Stanislavsky, Meyerhold), and film (Eisenstein), to name just a few. Leaving aside metallic ranking, this course focuses on the less internationally known but highly-important artistic movements of the Silver Age: literature and philosophy that profoundly influenced Russian history, national identity, and art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. All lectures, discussions, videos and readings are in Russian. Close readings of literary texts are combined with creative writing exercises modeled on various Modernist experiments. Silver Age artistic creativity is encouraged in class.

RUSS398W Russian for Heritage Speakers 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
Focuses on the contribution of women to Russian cultural development over the period of the 20th century by analyzing the influence of social and political conditions on the status of women in Russian society, their creative work, and the evolution of the image of women in works of Russian art. While the course adopts a culturally oriented perspective, it also draws on feminist scholarship, literary and film criticism, and research into Russian history and the social sciences. 
In addition to reading of literary sources; prose, poetry, and memoirs by Russian women writers and criticism; the course uses a variety of video and electronic resources. Students explore the multitude and diversity of women's voices and images as part of 20th century Russian consciousness in its state of evolution, and discuss controversial issues, such as women's "otherness" and the integration of women's works with works created by men.

RUSS401 Advanced Russian Composition 
Prerequisites: RUSS 302 or equivalent
This course is designed to help the students develop advanced writing skills and emphasizes writing as a process. It focuses on grammar for writing, elements of written discourse, such as formulaic and idiomatic written language used in press, correspondence, and academic writing, and creative aspects of self-expression in Russian. Students practice speed writing, drafting, editing, self-correction, and peer correction.
The course uses materials from the Russian and American press dealing with Russian culture and lifestyle, and addresses such issues as women's rights, ecology, education, national conflicts, and crime. In addition to serious academic writing, students practice writing soap operas, fairy tales, humorous letters, job applications, etc.

RUSS402 Practicum in Written Russian 
Prerequisites: RUSS 401 or equivalent
A continuation of RUSS401.

RUSS403 Practicum in Written Russian 
Prerequisites: RUSS 303 or equivalent
Advanced spoken production of high-level, abstract language.

RUSS404 Practicum in Spoken Russian 
Prerequisites: RUSS 403 or equivalent
To improve comprehension of rapidly spoken Russian or various functional styles and to develop ability to synthesize orally the context of spoken material.

RUSS405 Russian-English Translation I 
Prerequisites: RUSS 302 or equivalent
Introduction to the principles of translation of a particular genre, typically diplomatic, literary, historical, or business.

RUSS406 Russian-English Translation II 
Prerequisites: RUSS 405
A continuation of RUSS405.

RUSS 407 Commercial Russian II 
Prerequisites: RUSS 307
Continuation of RUSS 307 focusing in the more difficult and complex Russian business documents and doing business with Russian ministries.

RUSS409 Selected Topics in Russian Language Study 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
Addresses special or unique topics in the field of Russian Language Study. Repeatable up to 6 credits if the content differs.

RUSS 410 Applied Russian Linguistics 
Prerequisites: None
The nature of applied linguistics and its contributions to the effective teaching of foreign languages. Comparative study of English and Russian, with emphasis upon points of divergance. Analysis, evaluation, and construction of related skills.

RUSS 411 Linguistic Analysis of Russian I 
Prerequisites: RUSS 210 and LING 200, or RUSS 301
Elucidation of theoretical concepts of modern linguistics through the analysis of problematic concepts in the Russian linguistic system. Phonology and the syntax of the simple sentence.

RUSS 412 Linguistic Analysis of Russian II 
Prerequisites: RUSS 411
Continuation of RUSS 411. The syntax of the complete sentence; semantics.

RUSS 431 Russian Literature of the 19th Century I 
Prerequisites: None
Selections from 19th Century Russian Literature. Taught in Russian.

RUSS 432 Russian Literature of the 19th Century II 
Prerequisites: None
Selections from 19th Century Russian Literature. Taught in Russian.

RUSS 433 Russian Literature of the 20th Century 
Prerequisites: None
Selections from 20th Century Russian Literature. Taught in Russian.

RUSS 434 Soviet Russian Literature 
Prerequisites: None
Selections from Soviet Russian Literature. Taught in Russian.

RUSS439 Selected Topics in Russian Literature 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
Addresses special or unique topics in Russian Literature. Taught in Russian. Repeatable up to 6 credits if the content differs.

RUSS439V Selected Topics in Russian Literature: Pushkin 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
"Pushkin is our everything!" Life, works, artistic legacy, and the enduring cult of Pushkin (1799-1837), the most celebrated poet of Russia. All lectures, discussions, and readings are in Russian. The course studies Pushkin’s life and works as guides to the history, politics, literature, and cultural perceptions of his time. Students will explore the rise and evolution of Pushkin’s national fame throughout the last three centuries. Close readings of Pushkin’s poems, dramas, stories, and his novel in verse “Eugene Onegin” will be combined with creative writing experiments and viewing video fragments from plays, opera and movies based on Pushkin’s works.

RUSS473 Recent History of the Russian Language 
Prerequisites: RUSS 210 or equivalent
Linguistic interpretation of Russian texts from the late 18th century to the present.

RUSS499 Independent Study in Russian 
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor
Independent study under faculty supervision. Repeatable to 6 credits if content differs.

RUSS499 Majors’ Colloquium (1 credit) 
For Russian Majors
Focus on development of independent projects. For Russian majors in Russian 302 or above and Language House residents working toward the LH notation. Non-heritage students only. Taught in Russian. Can be repeated.

 

Undergraduate Courses in Slavic and Linguistics

SLAV 386 Experiential Learning (3 to 6 credits) 
Prerequisites: Approved learning proposal and junior standing.
Experiential learning in Slavic Studies and/or Linguistics.

SLAV 469 Selected Topics in Slavic Studies (3 credits) 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
Presentation of a topic in Slavic studies.

SLAV 475 Old Church Slavonic (3 credits) 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
Introduction to the language of the oldest recorded Slavic documents. Historical presentation of phonology, morphology, and syntax through the reading of texts.

SLAV 479 Selected Topics in Slavic Linguistics (3 credits) 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
Presentation of a topic in Slavic linguistics. Repeatable to 6 credits if content differs.

SLAV 499 Directed Study (3 credits) 
Prerequisites: Permission of department
For advanced students. Repeatable to 6 credits if content differs.