University of Wisconsin–Madison

Featured Courses

Below is a list of new or revised courses being offered in spring 2018 which may be of interest to students in REECAS.

For a full list of REECAS courses, please check out the links to the right.

Geo/Hist/Polisci/Slavic 254 - The Culture of Dissent in Czechoslovakia and Poland (1960-1980)

Professor David Danaher
TR 2:30-3:45 (Discussion Wednesday)
4 Credits

Course Guide Link

This course will look at the dissident period in Czechoslovakia and Poland primarily through the lens of literature and film. One focus will be the “faces of dissent”— the stories of individuals involved in these movements. We will learn to view the pre-1989 culture of dissent not so much as an object of historical investigation, but as something relevant to our own lives that teaches us about ourselves.

This survey course is sponsored by CREECA and will feature guest speakers from UW-Madison and other universities.

Level: Elementary
Fulfills: REECAS Group I (Interdisciplinary Survey)
Breadth: Humanities & Social Sciences
Prerequisites: None

Slavic 254 Poster

Hist 425 - A History of Poland in the World

Professor Kathryn Ciancia
TR 11:00 – 12:15
3 Credits

Course Guide Link

Should you fight political oppression with words or actions? Can people of diverse religious and national backgrounds coexist? Why are some people attracted to radical political ideologies, like right-wing nationalism? Who is allowed into the nation and who is kept outside? How and why do ordinary people participate in mass murder?

While such questions loom large in today’s world, they are not new to Poles. In this class, students will explore contemporary global questions by focusing on the lands that have at one point or another been considered part of Poland, as well as the experiences of Polish migrants across the world, including in Wisconsin. Through innovative written assignments and interactive lectures and discussions, we’ll discover how Poles have wrestled with critical questions of identity, conflict, and memory over time, from the medieval period to the Second World War and today’s post-Communist Poland. Our discussions will revolve around a wide range of sources, including maps, travelogues, fiction, paintings, photographs, movies, letters, and eyewitness accounts.

Level: Intermediate
Fulfills: REECAS Group II (History & Social Science)
Breadth: Social Sciences
Prerequisites: Officially, “Junior standing or instructor consent required,” but interested freshmen and sophomores should email for authorization to enroll

Polish immigrants on farm in US
Walesa lifted up by a crowd

LitTrans 455 - Modern Serbian and Croatian Literature in Translation

Lecturer: Dijana Mitrović
MWF 12:05-12:55
3 Credits

Course Guide Link

This course surveys the literary and cultural history of a country that no longer exists: Yugoslavia (focusing on the territories of the current states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Serbia). The course traces cultural history from the beginnings of Yugoslavia in 1918 to today.

Students will read the most important works from the twentieth century and learn how modern literary idioms are expressed in the cultural periphery of the Balkans. The emphasis of the class will be on the way historical events are transformed into a literary vision of a particular national identity.

Level: Intermediate
Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature and the Arts)
Breadth: Literature
Prerequisites: None

Flyer for Literature in Translation Course "Modern Serbian and Croatian Literature" taught by Mitrovic

Hist 424 - The Soviet Union and the World, 1917-1991

Professor Francine Hirsch
TR 9:30 – 10:45 (with discussion Thursday)
3-4 Credits

Course Guide Link

This course surveys the relationship between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world from 1917 to 1991. We will look at the Bolsheviks and their dream of worldwide socialist revolution, the creation of the Soviet socialist state, the postwar transformation of the USSR into a superpower, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet colossus. We will evaluate the diplomatic relations between the USSR and other states, the connections between Soviet domestic and foreign policies, and the movement of culture, ideas, armies, and institutions across borders.

This course will help students develop skills in critical reasoning, research, source evaluation, and analytical writing. Students will work individually and in small groups to do original research in preparation for our in-class debate. Students will share their research findings and arguments in written and oral presentations. This course will also encourage students to make connections between the past and the present—between the events of the 20th century and the world we live in today.

Level: Intermediate
Fulfills: REECAS Group II (History & Social Science)
Breadth: Humanities & Social Science
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing

Com Arts 456: Russian and Soviet Film

Professor Maria Belodubrovskaya
MW (2:30-3:45), T (3:00-5:00)
3 Credits

Course Guide Link

This course provides a historical overview of one of the world’s most important national cinemas. We will study major film movements, key filmmakers, and exemplary films within the context of Russian and Soviet politics, society, and culture, as well as in their relationship to international developments in film industry and film aesthetics.

Level: Intermediate & advanced
Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature & Arts)
Breadth: Humanities
Prerequisites: Com Arts 350 or coursework in Russian area studies

Slavic 699 (Directed Study) - Dissent and Modern Identity: Václav Havel's Protest

Professors David Danaher & Manon van de Water
Meeting schedule to be arranged
2 Credits

Course Guide Link

What can an absurdist playwright and so-called dissident from late 20th-century Czechoslovakia teach 21st-century Americans about dissent and political power? What is the relationship between dissidentism and personal/collective identity in modern society? This directed study provides (partial) answers to these questions by engaging in a critical reading, and ultimately a dramatic presentation, of one of Václav Havel’s plays from 1978.

The culmination of the course will be a dramatic reading of excerpts from the play (and other related works) to take place in a public forum at the end of the semester (date/location TBA).

More information: Slavic 699 Description

Level: Advanced
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing & consent of instructor

Protest by Vaclav Havel cover image

Slavic 705 - Special Topic: Advanced Russian Conversation & Listening through Contemporary Media

Professor Karen Evans-Romaine
TR 2:30 – 3:45
3 Credits

Course Guide Link

The goals of this advanced-level course are to improve students’ Russian proficiency in listening and speaking, with an emphasis on formal registers, and to help provide students with basic knowledge of a variety of areas related to contemporary Russian-language media and culture necessary for a professional-level command of the language, regardless of the student’s discipline. Course units will include issues of press and mass communications, recent Russian history, Russian domestic politics and foreign policy, economic issues in Russia and Kazakhstan, and issues in contemporary Russian culture. We will also discuss some American political and economic issues from a Russian point of view. This course will also include an online cultural exchange in English and Russian with students from Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Prerequisites: Graduate or professional standing