This cluster focuses on the ecology of Russia and its largest neighbor to the East, China, through various cultural, scientific, and social lenses. We will probe ecological concerns in Russia and China from a scientific, cultural, and even linguistic perspective. The focal point of this cluster, which includes language instruction in Russian, will be two weeks of travel between Moscow and Taipei along the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian train lines, exploring both ecological issues at play in Russian culture and plant diversity on China’s western frontier, we hope to gain special insight into the fragile ecologies of the Russian Far East and China.
This cluster has been made possible by generous grants from the Henry Luce Foundation.
Eurasia in the Anthropocene Courses:
Biology 225: Biology and the Ecology of Plants
Plants are critical to numerous contemporary issues, such as ecological sustainability, economic stability, and human health. Students will examine the fundamentals of how plants are structured, how they function, how they interact with other organisms, and how they respond to environmental stimuli. In addition, students will be taught to identify important local species, and will explore the role of plants in human society and ecological systems. Taught by Sydne Record.
Russian 227: Russia and its Ecology: Cultural and Historical Perspectives
This course, taught by Tim Harte, will explore the historical, social, and cultural significance of the environment in Russian literature and the visual arts. As the largest country on the planet and as a sprawling nation that covers almost a sixth of the world's land mass, Russia has both cherished and exploited its vast forests and ample natural resources. Exploring Russian culture from an ecological perspective, we will delve into the fiction, poetry, cinema, and photography that has raised environmental issues or, in the opposite vein, has promoted rapid industrial development and a swift taming of Russia's natural landscape for the sake of progress.
Russian 106: Intensive Survival Russian
This course will be an intensive "crash" course in Russian for those enrolled in the 360 who have no prior experience studying or speaking Russian (those in the 360 who have studied the Russian language in the past will be expected to take a concurrent Russian language course at the College). Intensive survival Russian, which will be taught in the first half of the semester (prior to our travel to Russia), will entail 5 hrs./week of elementary language instruction in Russian, with special emphasis on speaking skills needed for the trip. The second half of the course will complete first semester of First Year Russian. Taught by Irina Walsh.