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Students may complete a major or minor in Russian.


Elizabeth C. Allen, Professor and Chair
Sharon Bain, Lecturer and Major Adviser
Dan E. Davidson, Professor
Linda G. Gerstein, Professor at Haverford College
Timothy C. Harte, Assistant Professor (on leave 2005-06)
Vladimir Kontorovich, Professor at Haverford College
George S. Pahomov, Professor

The Russian major is a multidisciplinary program designed to provide students with a broad-based understanding of Russian literature, thought and culture. The major places a strong emphasis on the development of functional proficiency in the Russian language. Language study is combined with a specific area of concentration to be selected from the fields of Russian literature, history, economics, language/linguistics or area studies.

Major Requirements

A total of 10 courses is required to complete the major: two in Russian language at the 200 level or above; four in the area of concentration, two at the 200 level and two at the 300 level or above (for the concentration in area studies, the four courses must be in four different fields); three in Russian fields outside the area of concentration; and either Russian 398, Senior Essay, or Russian 399, Senior Conference.

Majors are encouraged to pursue advanced language study in Russia in summer, semester or year-long academic programs. Majors may also take advantage of intensive immersion language courses offered during the summer by the Bryn Mawr Russian Language Institute. All Russian majors take senior comprehensive examinations that cover the area of concentration and Russian language competence.


All Russian majors are considered for departmental honors at the end of their senior year. The awarding of honors is based on a student’s overall academic record and all work done in the major.

Minor Requirements

Students wishing to minor in Russian must complete six units at the 100 level or above, two of which must be in the Russian language.

RUSS B001, B002 Intensive Elementary Russian

Study of basic grammar and syntax. Fundamental skills in speaking, reading, writing and oral comprehension are developed. Nine hours a week including conversation sections and language laboratory work. Both semesters are required for credit; three units of credit are awarded upon completion of Russian 002. (Davidson, staff)

RUSS B101, B102 Intermediate Russian

Continuing development of fundamental skills with emphasis on vocabulary expansion in speaking and writing. Readings in Russian classics and contemporary works. Seven hours a week. (Bain, staff)

RUSS B112 Soviet and East European Cinema of the 1960s: War, Politics and Gender

This course examines Soviet and East European "New Wave" cinema of the 1960s, which broke new ground in its treatment of war, politics and sex. Films from the USSR, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Yugoslavia to be discussed include Foreman's Loves of a Blonde, Kalatozov's I Am Cuba, Makavejev's W.R. Mysteries of the Organism and Wajda's Ashes and Diamonds. Readings on introductory film theory and film history will also be discussed. All films shown with subtitles; no knowledge of Russian or previous study of film required. (Harte, Division I or III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B201, B202 Advanced Russian

Intensive practice in speaking and writing skills using a variety of modern texts and contemporary films and television. Emphasis on self-expression and a deeper understanding of grammar and syntax. Five hours a week. (Bain, staff)

RUSS B212 Russian Modernism: Early 20th-Century Russian Art and Literature (in translation)

This course focuses on Russia's modernist trends in the first three decades of the 20th century. Along with discussion of Russian modernist literature, significant coursework will be devoted to studying the development of Russian "avant-garde" painting (Malevich, Kandinsky, et. al.), ballet and film during this tumultuous, yet fruitful period. No knowledge of Russian is required (Harte, Division III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B221 The Serious Play of Pushkin and Gogol

This course explores major contributions to the modern Russian literary tradition by its two founding fathers, Aleksander Pushkin and Nikolai Gogol. Comparing short stories, plays, novels and letters written by these pioneering artists, the course addresses Pushkin's and Gogol's shared concerns about human freedom, individual will, social injustice and artistic autonomy, which each author expressed through his own distinctive filter of humor and playfulness. (Allen, Division III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B223 Introduction to Russian Folklore

This interdisciplinary course introduces students to major issues in Russian and East European folklore including epic tales, fairy tales, calendar and life-cycle rituals, and folk beliefs. The course also presents different theoretical approaches to the interpretation of folk texts as well as emphasizes the influence of folklore on literature, music and art. No knowledge of Russian is required. (Bain, Division III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B225 Dostoevsky: Daydreams and Nightmares

A survey of novels, novellas and short stories highlighting Dostoevsky's conception of human creativity and imagination. Texts prominently portraying dreams, fantasies, delusions and visual and aural hallucinations, as well as artists and artistic creations, permit exploration of Dostoevsky's fundamental aesthetic, psychological and moral beliefs. Readings include The Brothers Karamazov, The Double, "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man," "The Gentle Creature," The Idiot, Notes from Underground and White Nights. (Allen, Division III)

RUSS B235 The Social Dynamics of Russian

An examination of the social factors that influence the language of Russian conversational speech, including contemporary Russian media (films, television and the Internet). Basic social strategies that structure a conversation are studied, as well as the implications of gender and education on the form and style of discourse. Prerequisites: Russian 201, 202, may be taken concurrently. (Bain, Division I) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B252 The Masterpieces of Russian and Soviet Cinema

This course explores the major trends and most significant works of Russian and Soviet cinema. Emphasis placed on the wildly disparate phases of Soviet and Russian cinema: Russia's silent films; the innovations of the 1920s; Stalinist cinema; "thaw" films; and post-Soviet experimentation. All films shown with subtitles; no knowledge of Russian required. (Harte, Division I or III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B254 Russian Culture and Civilization in Translation

A history of Russian culture - its ideas, its value and belief systems - from the origins to the present that integrates the examination of works of literature, art and music. (Pahomov, Division I or III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B261 The Russian Anti-Novel

A study of 19th- and 20th-century Russian novels focusing on their strategies of opposing or circumventing European literary conventions. Works by Bulgakov, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Pushkin and Tolstoy, are compared to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and other exemplars of the Western novelistic tradition. All readings, lectures and discussions in English. (Allen, Division III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B277 Nabokov in Translation

A study of Vladimir Nabokov's writings in various genres, focusing on his fiction and autobiographical works. The continuity between Nabokov's Russian and English works is considered in the context of the Russian and Western literary traditions. All readings and lectures in English. (Harte, Division III; cross-listed as ENGL B277) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B305, B306 Advanced Russian: Syntax, Style

This course focuses on stylistic variations in oral and written Russian. Examples are drawn from contemporary film, television, journalism, fiction and nonfiction. Emphasis is on expansion and refinement of speaking and writing skills. (Pahomov)

RUSS B310 Old Russian

This advanced undergraduate seminar introduces students to the language and literary activities of Kyivan Rus (11th-14th century). Students will gain a reading knowledge of Old Church Slavonic and Old Russian sufficient for close reading and analysis of such seminal texts as the earliest translations of the Gospels, the Primary Chronicle, Ilarion's Sermon on Law and Grace, the legend of Boris and Gleb, and others. The political and cultural background of the period will be addressed. Conducted in Russian and English. (Davidson)

RUSS B330 The Structure of Modern Russian I

This seminar introduces advanced undergraduates and graduate students to the linguistic structure of contemporary standard Russian. Topics to be discussed include theoretical and practical issues in the description of Russian phonology, phonetics and intonation; verbal and nominal morphology; and accentuation. Conducted primarily in Russian. Followed by Russian 331. (Davidson) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B331 The Structure of Modern Russian II: Pragmatics

This seminar introduces advanced undergraduate students to the study of pragmatic norms in contemporary spoken and written Russian. Based on the understanding of language as a series of actions or communicative functions, the course will explore topics in speech act theory, politeness theory and relevance theory. Discussions will also address practical issues for the acquisition of Russian, such as cross-cultural pragmatics, interlanguage pragmatics and the teaching of foreign languages. (Davidson) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B342 Russian Culture Today

This seminar focuses on current cultural trends in Russia, with special emphasis on the interplay between various artistic media and post-Soviet Russia's rapidly developing society. Students will be introduced to contemporary Russian literature, painting, television, film and music while considering such topics as Russia's ambiguous attitude toward the West, the rise of violence in Russian society and Russia's evaluation of the past. Prerequisite: Russian 102 or the equivalent. (Harte, Division I or III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B343 Russian Avant-Garde Culture

This seminar focuses on the radical, "avant-garde" transformations that occurred in Russian culture at the beginning of the 20th century. Particular emphasis will be placed on how the interaction of artists in a variety of media resulted in one of Russian culture's most innovative periods. Seminar discussion will cover the painting, poetry, prose, music, ballet and film produced in Russia between 1890 and 1932. Topics include Russia's reevaluation of its cultural heritage through neo-primitive art; the Russian avant-garde's mystical, Eastern underpinnings; the primacy of music for avant-garde artists; and the emergence of abstract, dynamic art. (Harte, Division III) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B347 Ethnography: Qualitative Methods in Second Language Acquisition

This course introduces students to qualitative research design and its application in the study of second language acquisition. Considering ehtnography as a research paradigm, discussions will critique existing second language acquisition research that is conducted using qualitative methods. This class will also give students an opportunity to apply their theoretical understanding of qualitative methods to the design of their own research project. (Bain)

RUSS B370 The Acquisition of Russian as a Second Language

This seminar introduces advanced undergraduate students to current theoretical and practical issues of Russian second-language acquisition. Topics to be discussed include formal and informal learning, measurement of competencies, standards and assessment issues, and cultural aspects of second-language acquisition. Conducted primarily in Russian. (Davidson)

RUSS B380 Seminar in Russian Literature

An examination of a focused topic in Russian literature such as a particular author, genre, theme or decade. Introduces students to close reading and detailed critical analysis of Russian literature in the original language. Readings in Russian. Some discussions and lectures in Russian. Prerequisites: Russian 201 and one 200-level Russian literature course. (Pahomov, Division III)

RUSS B398 Senior Essay

Independent research project designed and conducted under the supervision of a departmental faculty member. May be undertaken in either fall or spring semester of senior year. (staff)

RUSS B399 Senior Conference

Exploration of an interdisciplinary topic in Russian culture. Topic varies from year to year. Requirements may include short papers, oral presentations and examinations. (staff) Not offered in 2005-06.

RUSS B403 Supervised Work


Haverford College currently offers the following courses of interest to Russian majors:

HIST H244 Russia from 1800-1917
HIST H245 Twentieth-Century Russia
HIST H356 Russian Literature and Russian Society

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