University of Wisconsin–Madison

Featured Courses

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

We will be adding additional courses in the coming weeks, so check back soon! For a full list of REECAS courses, please click on the links to the right.

Lit Trans 247 / Slavic 245 - The Evil Empire: Reading Putin's Russia

Reading Putin's Russia Flier

Professor Kirill Ospovat
MW 4:00 – 5:15
3 Credits

Course Guide Link: Lit Trans 247
Course Guide Link: Slavic 245

Combining literary, political, cultural, and art studies, this course will explore Putin’s authoritarian Russia and the symbolic patterns that govern its erratic and seemingly irrational policies. We will draw on political theory and investigative journalism as well as on contemporary Russian film, fiction, and art in order to tackle a peculiar, yet not unprecedented cult of violence that underlies Putin’s regime. We will examine the origins of this cult in Russian imperial and Soviet culture and the implications this knowledge has for our understanding of current events.

Level: Elementary
Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature & Arts)
Breadth: Literature
Prerequisites: None

Hist 200 - Russia and America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (FIG Course)

Professor Francine Hirsch
F 11:00 – 12:55
3 Credits

Course Guide Link

History 200: “Russia and America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries” will look at Russian and American engagement from the late nineteenth century through the present. It will focus on diplomatic relations, cultural relations, economic relations, and other forms of Russian and American engagement. Themes will include:

  • Americans in the Bolshevik Revolution;
  • Henry Ford in Russia;
  • Soviet filmmakers in America;
  • America’s response to the Stalinist terror;
  • the Soviet portrayal of America’s “race problem”;
  • Cold War politics and culture;
  • détente; and
  • American responses to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Students will look at some of the historical reasons for anti-American sentiment in Russia and examine claims that we are now in the midst of a new Cold War. Students will read memoirs, speeches, political position papers, and other (English-language and translated) primary sources. They will also look at key primary sources on the UW-Madison campus, including fascinating archival documents about American-Russian economic and cultural relations in the Wisconsin State Historical Society archive.

Level: Intermediate
Fulfills: REECAS Group II (History & Social Science)
Breadth: Humanities & Social Science
Prerequisites: Part of First Year Interest Group (FIG); limited to Freshmen

Lit Trans 233 - Russian Life and Culture through Literature and Art (to 1917)

Dr. Jennifer Tishler
MWF 2:25 – 3:15
3-4 Credits

Course Guide Link

This course presents an introduction to the rich and vibrant culture of Russia—its art and architecture, folklore, literature, music, religious life, and philosophy—from its origins through the beginning of the twentieth century. As we move through nearly one thousand years of Russian civilization, we will pay special attention to such recurring themes as the myth of Russia’s cultural hospitality, the theme of authoritarianism and reactions against authoritarianism, the concept of a Russian “people,” the status of women in Russian society, the views of “outsiders” to Russia, and the acceptance or rejection of cultural values and innovations as “Western” or “Eastern,” “Russian” or “foreign.”

The class will be taught in English. No knowledge of Russian or previous coursework in Russian studies is required!

(Students have the option of enrolling in the course for a 4th credit. Students who take the class for 4 credits will write an additional 10-15 pp. paper and will meet for discussion sections on Tuesdays every two weeks.)

Level: Intermediate
Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature & Arts)
Breadth: Humanities
Prerequisites: None

Lebedev's The Fall of Novgorod.
Lebedev's "Fall of Novgorod." On display at the Chazen Museum of Art.

Lit Trans 208 - The Writings of Vaclav Havel: Critique of Modern Society

Havel with quote

Professor David Danaher
TR 1:00 – 2:15
3 Credits

Course Guide Link

Lit Trans 208 is a monograph course on the writings of the Czech(oslavak) playwright, “dissident” intellectual, and politician Václav Havel. A guiding focus of the course will be how Havel’s critique of post-totalitarian East Central Europe proves relevant to modern society in general. What are the lessons that we can take from Havel’s confrontation with authoritarianism in his time and place that apply to our own?

A culmination of this fall’s course will be a public event (“An Evening with Václav Havel”) that presents readings from Havel’s essays, speeches, and plays that are selected and introduced by students in the course.

208 is an Honors Optional course that will be taught at the Honors level and as a discussion seminar. It fulfills requirements for two undergraduate certificates, REECAS and ECELLC.  See the course website at havelcourse.tumblr.com for more information and/or contact the professor (David Danaher: dsdanaher@wisc.edu).

Level: Elementary
Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature & Arts)
Breadth: Literature
Prerequisites: None

Featured Language - Kazakh (Elementary, Intermediate, & Advanced)

LCA Lang 331 – First Semester Kazak
MTWR 8:50 – 9:40
Level: Elementary
4 Credits

LCA Lang 431 – Third Semester Kazak
MTWR 11:00 – 11:50
Level: Intermediate
4 Credits

LCA Lang 531 – Fifth Semester Kazak
TR 1:00 – 2:15
Level: Advanced
3 Credits

 

Kazakh is a Turkic language, closely related to Turkish, Uzbek, Tatar, and others. It is spoken by about 11 million people in Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, and Iran. Kazakh is on the US State Department list of critical languages.

Three levels of Kazakh will be offered in 2018-2019: Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. Clink on the links to the left for course guide listings.

For more information about Kazakh at UW-Madison, visit languages.wisc.edu.