This course is intended to introduce aspects of Russia today to a general student audience, with especial emphasis on contemporary Russia as a “multi-national” country. No background in the subject is required. Various features of modern Russia will be examined through such diverse materials as
the literature, cinema, and political history of recent years. Among the many issues which this course intends to raise are:
- the complexities and contradictions of Russia as a multi-ethnic country (or, as most Russian-speakers would put it, a country of many different “nationalities”);
- the attempt to recover the past in Russian culture today;
- the ways we look at the Russians through our own media;
- the economic and political transformations of Russia, as reflected in culture and everyday life.
Particular attention will be paid to the conflicts in the North Caucasus, their meaning for Russia, and their representation in Russian culture, and to other “hot spots” of ethnic and national conflict that have emerged in recent years.
There are two informal lectures per week, and a discussion section. Three short papers, three-in-class writing assignments, weekly media journals.