Modern Russian Culture: 4

University of Pittsburgh

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

Russian 0860 (CRN 11434): Modern Russian Culture

Spring 2009

Instructor: Michelle Kuhn Time: TTh 1:00-2:15 pm

Email: Classroom: CL 208a

Office: CL 1417 Office Hours: by appointment

Classmate name and telephone:______

Classmate name and telephone:______

Required Texts:

MacKenzie, David and Michael W. Curran. A History of Russia, the Soviet Union, and Beyond. 6th ed.* Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2002. ISBN 0534586988. DK40 .M17 2002.

Rzhevsky, Nicholas, ed. An Anthology of Russian Literature from Earliest Writings to Modern Fiction. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1996. ISBN 1563244225. PG3213 .A56 1996.

Rzhevsky, Nicholas, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Modern Russian Culture. Cambridge (UK): Cambridge University Press, 1998. ISBN 0521477999. DK32 .C33 1998

*Pages numbers cited in the syllabus for MacKenzie/Curran refer to the sixth edition only. Students who have bought an earlier edition should read the assignment listed by a chapter section's title (e.g. "The Decembrists"), NOT the page numbers.

Course Methodology:

Class consists of lecture, discussion, short writing assignments, short presentations, quizzes, and three tests. Assigned texts consist of primary materials (short stories, poetry, painting, architecture, music, theatre, and film) and secondary materials (history and cultural history texts). Students are encouraged to consult with the instructor concerning their progress in the course.


Students must attend all classes. The instructor does not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences. More than three absences will affect the final grade by lowering it one notch—i.e. from A to A-, from B- to C+, and so forth. Each single absence in addition to those three will lower the final grade an additional notch. More than six absences will result in failure of the course regardless of the student's prior standing. Absent students are responsible for acquiring relevant class notes and handouts from fellow students.

Examinations and Quizzes:

The course has no mid-term or final examination. Instead, three tests will be held during regular class meetings on the dates indicated in the schedule of assignments. If for any reason you are unable to take the regularly scheduled test, you must take the corresponding scheduled make-up test, all of which are also indicated in the schedule. The format of the regular exams is multiple choice questions (25) and short essay questions (you choose to write on 1 of 3 prompts). The make-up exams are essay format: 3 questions, all of which you must answer.

Short quizzes will be given weekly. A student who misses a quiz will not take it at a later date. Instead, the semester's quiz grade is the average of the top 10 quizzes taken for the semester.

Disability Policy:

If a student has a disability that requires special teaching, testing accommodations, or other classroom modifications, he or she must notify the instructor and the Office of Disabled Student Services no later than Tuesday, 16 January (Add/Drop date for Spring 2009). The student may be asked to provide documentation of the disability to determine the appropriateness of accommodations. To notify the Office of Disabled Student Services, call 648-7890 to schedule an appointment. The office is located in 216 William Pitt Union.

Evaluation Policy:

Grades are based on three tests (60%); quizzes (20%, the quality of class contribution (15%), and a short student presentation (5%). Students may choose to take advantage of extra credit opportunity in the form of an additional short presentation. Students seeking a grade of Satisfactory must achieve a letter grade of at least C (a numerical grade of 74%). A letter grade of C- is equivalent to a grade of Not Satisfactory. Students will evaluate the instructor at the end of term.

Schedule: all assignments are due on the date indicated. Bring the literary anthology (Rzhevsky, Anthology) to class when it is assigned.

6 January Syllabus. Introduction.

8 January Political philosophy: Decembrists, Chaadaev, Westernizers/Slavophiles

Pushkin, Aleksandr. "The Bronze Horseman." 1833. Rzhevsky, Anthology 118-130.

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 20. Bureaucratic Monarchy.

13 January Literature: The Golden Age (Pushkin, Lermontov)

Pushkin, Aleksandr. "The Queen of Spades." 1833. Rzhevsky, Anthology 236-258.

Lermontov, Mikhail. "Taman" (from A Hero of Our Time). 1840. Rzhevsky, Anthology 136-145.

15 January Literature: The Golden Age (Gogol')

Gogol, Nikolai. "The Overcoat." 1842. Rzhevsky, Anthology 259-283

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Literature" 161-81 (to the Age of Realism).

20 January Music, Painting, Architecture:

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 22. Social, Economic, and Cultural Development. 273-280 (“Literature” to end)

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Music" 236-44 (from Orthodox music to the nationalist school).

22 January Political Philosophy

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 24. Political Reform and Minorities, 1855-1904.

27 January Music and Painting: Mighty Five and Itinerants

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Music" 244-54 (Mighty Five through Tchaikovsky).

----. "Art" 205-08 (Itinerants, Neo-Russian Style).

----. "Theatre" 264-69 (beginnings through Ostrovskii).

29 January Literature: Realism

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 29. Cultural Developments, 1855-1917.

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Literature" 182-86 (Turgenev, Dostoevskii, Tolstoi).

Turgenev, Ivan. "Bezhin Meadow." 1851. Rzhevsky, Anthology 285-302.

3 February Dostoevskii, Ostrovskii

Dostoevsky, Fedor. "Meek Woman." 1876. Rzhevsky 303-337.

5 February Literature: End of Realism

Chekhov, Anton. "The Lady with the Lapdog." 1899. Rzhevsky 407-421.

*10 February TEST # 1

*14 February MAKE-UP TEST # 1 7:00am CL1417

12 February Silver Age

Blok, Aleksandr. "A Puppet Show." 1905. Rzhevsky, Anthology 438-439.

Akhmatova, Anna. "The Gray-Eyed King." 1910. Rzhevsky, Anthology 441.

Mayakovsky, Vladimir. "Listen!" 1914. Rzhevsky, Anthology 443.

Mandel'shtam, Osip. "Hagia Sophia." 1911. "Sleeplessness. Homer. Taut sails…" 1915. Handout.

Tsvetaeva. "This thing called homesickness! A fable…" 1934. Handout.

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Literature" 187-96 (Chekhov through Tsvetaeva).

----. "Theatre" 269-74 (Moscow Art Theatre through Meyerhold).

----. "Film" 299-302 (beginnings to 1917).

----. "Art" 208-18 (The Symbolic Aesthetic; The Avant-Garde).

----. "Music" 254-58 (late 19th-early 20th c).

17 February The October Revolution

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 31. From March to November 1917. 417-33

19 February Revolutionary Cinema

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 32. War Communism, 1917-21. 435-45

24 February NEP Culture

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 33. The New Economic Policy and Power Struggle, 1921-27. 447-61

Babel, Isaak. "The King." 1921. Rzhevsky, Anthology 466-471.

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Art" 218-21 (1920s).

----. "Theatre" 274-86 (1920s).

----. "Film" 302-18 (major directors of the 1920s).

26 February Stalinism

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 34. The Politics of Stalinism, 1928-41. 462-478

--, Ch. 38. "War and Reconstruction, 1941-53."

·  540-546: Introduction, "Invasion," "1942 Campaign," "Soviet Offensives and Allied Victory"

·  548-49: "Postwar Stalinism: Domestic Affairs"

·  553: "The 19th Party Congress and Stalin's Death"

3 March Stalin Culture

Zoshchenko, Mikhail. "Crime and Punishment: A Comedy in One Act." 1933. Rzhevsky, Anthology 490-502.

Kharms, Daniil. "Makarov and Peterson. No. 3." 1930s. Rzhevsky, Anthology 507-508.

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Literature" 196-99 (Socialist Realism to 1953).

----. "Art" 221-26 (Soviet socialist realism).

----. "Music" 258-63 (Stravinskii, Prokof'ev, Shostakovich).

----. "Theatre" 286-92 (Stalinism).

----. "Film" 318-23 (Stalinism).

5 March Khrushchev and the Thaw

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 39. The Khrushchev Era, 1953-64

·  562-566: Introduction, "Politics: Repudiating Stalin"

·  573-581: "Khrushchev's Fall," "DeStalinization"

--, Ch. 43. Soviet Culture After Stalin.

·  655-661: Introduction, "Thaw," Dr. Zhivago and the Refreeze," "Culture Under Khrushchev"

17 March Thaw Culture

Pasternak, Boris. "Hamlet." 1959. Rzhevsky, Anthology 525

Voznesensky, Andrei. "Goya." Handout.

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Literature" 199-204 (Thaw through post-Soviet period).

----. "Art" 226-35 (Developments after Stalinism).

----. "Theatre" 292-93 (Thaw theatre).

----. "Film" 323-27 (Thaw and Stagnation).

è19 March TEST # 2

è23 March MAKE-UP TEST #2 7:00am CL1417

24 March Stagnation

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 40. The Brezhnev Era, 1964-1982

·  583-589: Introduction, "Politics: Brezhnev's Rise"

·  595: "Popular Culture"

·  599-609: "War in Afghanistan," "Problems with Poland," Problem Fifteen: "Soviet Intervention"

---, Ch. 43. Soviet Culture After Stalin

·  661-669: "Culture Under Brezhnev" up to "Culture Under Gorbachev"

26 March Stagnation Culture

Abramov, Fedor. "Wooden Horses." 1969. Rzhevsky, Anthology 529-551.

Rasputin, Valentin. excerpts from Farewell to Matyora (handout)

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Theatre" 294-95 (Stagnation).

31 March Perestroika

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 42. The Gorbachev Revolution, 1985-1991

·  627-641: "The Leader and the Succession," "Glasnost and Political Reform," "Nationalities and Nationalism"

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. "Film" 327-29 (Perestroika to present).

2 April Perestroika Culture

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 43. Soviet Culture After Stalin

·  670-676: "Culture Under Gorbachev"

Erofeev, Viktor. “Soviet Culture: In Memoriam” (handout)

Rzhevsky. Cambridge Companion. “Theatre” 295-98 (Perestroika)

7 April Collapse of the Soviet Union and Yeltsin

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 44. The Collapse of the Soviet Union, 1990-92. 679-693

9 April Putin and Post-Soviet Culture

MacKenzie/Curran, Ch. 46. The Putin Presidency

14 April Contemporary Political and Cultural Milieu

No new assignment

è16 April TEST # 3

è17 April MAKE-UP TEST # 3 7:00am CL1417