Featured Courses

Below is a list of new or revised courses being offered in spring 2020 which may be of interest to students in REECAS.

For a full list of REECAS courses, please click on the links to the right.

SLAVIC 245/LITTRANS 247-1 – Literature and Revolution

Instructor: Maksim Hanukai  

Meeting Time: MWF 12:05-12:55 pm

3 Credits

Prerequisites: None. Open to first-year students.

Description: In this course, we will take a literary journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow, following the shifting cultural and political currents in Russia from the years preceding the 1917 Revolution to the rise of Stalinism in the 1930s. Topics will include: revolutionary violence and terror, civil war and emigration, Futurism and the birth of Russian avant-garde art, Soviet feminism and the engineering of the “New Man,” technological utopias and totalitarian dystopias, literature and early Soviet economic policy. We will supplement our readings of literary works with material from other media—e.g. the visual arts, architecture, film, theater—reflecting on the Revolution’s challenge to traditional norms and boundaries. Among the questions we shall ponder are: How did Russian writers and artists respond to the energies unleashed by the Revolution? How did perceptions of the Revolution change over time? What are the legacies of the Russian Revolution? How can reading revolutionary literature help us navigate our own highly unstable times?

SLAVIC 245/ LITTRANS 247-2 – Escaping Utopia: Cultures after Communism

Instructor: Łukasz Wodzyński

Meeting Time: TR 1:00-2:15 pm

3 Credits

Prerequisites: None. Open to first-year students.

Description: The swift collapse of communist regimes across Central and Eastern Europe came as a surprise to both their opponents and political clients. How did culture mediate the experience of this political, social, and economic revolution? How does the experience of communism shape the historiography, identity, and vision(s) of the future of the affected nations? What is the condition of postcommunism? These are some of the questions we will be exploring as we examine Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Czech, and South Slavic literature and cinema from the decades following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

GERMAN 279/JEWISH 279/LITTRANS 279 – Yiddish Literature and Culture in America

Instructor: Sunny Yudkoff  

Meeting Time: MW 9:55-10:45 am

3 Credits

Discussion sections:

Section 301: R 9:55-10:45 am
Section 302: F 9:55-10:45 am
Section 303: R 8:50-9:45 am
Section 304: F 12:05-12:55 pm

Prerequisites: None. Open to first-year students.

Fulfills Ethnic Studies Requirement.

Language of Instruction: English

Description: American literature has never been written in one language. While English has become dominant in the United States, there has been a long tradition of American literary and cultural production in other languages. This class focuses on the Jewish immigrant experience in Yiddish—a language that brings together German, Hebrew, Russian, Polish, Latin, Aramaic, and more. We will follow Yiddish culture from the beginning of the twentieth century until today as it has been supported, neglected, or imbued with nostalgia.

The questions driving our inquiry will be: What does it mean to translate America into Yiddish and what does it mean to translate Yiddish for America? Through the prism of cultural translation, we will explore how Jews writing in Yiddish navigated America as members of a religious minority, identifying and analyzing points of Jewish-Christian difference. We will further investigate how Yiddish writers narrated the experiences of other minoritized groups, such as African Americans and Native Americans. How, we will ask, are hierarchical social relationships constructed in multi-ethnic and multi-lingual America? How, in turn, does the Jewish experience become and not become a paradigm of Americanization for subsequent communities of migrants? Throughout the course, we will also examine how some Yiddish writers translated classic American literature and social mores into Yiddish, while others sought to translate their own Yiddish, ethnic, and migrant experiences into English. Major terms to be discussed include: cultural translation, ethnicity, migration, “Melting Pot,” multilingualism, and assimilation.

German, Nordic, And Slavic 324 – Literatures of Central Asia

Instructor: Milan Simić

Meeting Time: MW 4:00-5:15 pm

3 Credits

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing.

This course is a general introduction to the modern literatures of five Central Asian republics (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan) and the neighboring regions. Tracing the development of Central Asian literatures from the pre-Islamic times to the modern period, the course will explore traditional and modern literary forms by looking at select readings available in English translation.

History 419 - History Of Soviet Russia

Instructor: Francine Hirsch

Meeting Time: MWF 1:20-2:10pm

3-4 Credits

This course examines Soviet history from 1917 to 1991 with a focus on revolutionary Russia and the rise and fall of the Soviet Empire. We will explore revolutionary politics, society, and culture, the violent effort to forge a socialist society, Stalinism, Soviet nationality policy, the experiences and consequences of the Second World War, espionage and the arms race, postwar efforts at reform, and the break-up of the USSR into a collection of independent states. We’ll read novels and other original sources, watch film clips, listen to Soviet music, and debate key questions of Soviet history. Course grades determined as follows: participation and Bolshevik debate 25%, weekly writing assignments 25%, take-home midterm exam 20%, map quiz 5%, final (or final project) 25%. Exam questions will be based on lectures, readings, and discussions. All students have the option of writing a play (or other short work of historical fiction) based on the course materials in lieu of the final exam. Guidelines will be discussed and distributed in class.