Arts, Sciences, and Engineering Modern Languages & Cultures - Russian Studies
Course Section Listing Course Course Title Term Credits Status
COURSE_SECTION-3-159023 RSST 128-1 Russian Civilization: Myth, Culture, History Fall 2023 4.0 Closed
Day Begin End Location Start Date End Date
TR 1230 1345 Meliora Room 218 08/30/2023 12/22/2023
Enrollment: Enrolled     
Co-Located: CLTR 209A-1 (P), HIST 130-1, RSST 128-1, RUSS 128-1
Instructors: John Givens
Description: Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine was premised on and prepared for by his 2021 article “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” which makes a number of controversial and contentious claims about Russian history. Using this speech as a starting point, we will interrogate Putin’s claims as a way of addressing important national "myths" (narratives with a variable connection to the historical record) that govern our (and Putin’s) understanding of Russian history and culture, including: the Rurik Dynasty and the (dis)unity of early Slavic tribes; the story of Vladimir’s baptism of Rus into Orthodox Christianity; Kiev as the “Mother of all Russian cities;” Moscow as the Third Rome; the myths surrounding the city of Petersburg; the idea of “Eurasianism” (Russia as a standalone civilization, neither European nor Asian); and Russia as the last stronghold and protector of “traditional (cisgender) values.” We will analyze tensions in Russian civilization between “own” and “other”, foreign influence and a strong national identity, chaos and order, innovation and tradition, and radical skepticism and faith. Readings will range from Russian fairy tales and saints' lives to historical documents and works by Russian authors of the past two plus centuries (Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Blok, Olesha, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn). In English.
Offered: Fall Spring