RUSSIAN 365 - Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction
Section: 001
Term: FA 2017
Subject: Russian (RUSSIAN)
Department: LSA Slavic Languages & Literatures
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Fantasy and science-fiction have captured the imagination of numerous generations of readers. This course focuses on the fantastic and science fiction genres in Russian literature as artistic modes that, belying their whimsical guise, break down preconceived modes of perception and provide new crucial means of understanding the world. The course traces the evolution of the fantastic from the early nineteenth century to the present, from dream narratives of Romanticism to phantom visions of the Age of the Novel, from early 20th century symbolist excursions into altered states of reality to the heyday of technophile Soviet science fiction, from Perestroika’s grim prognostications of the future to the contemporary boom of popular fantasy and sci-fi. It explores how Russian works of fantasy and science-fiction respond to key political, social, intellectual, and religious developments of their time, and how they react to various cultural movements (e.g., Romanticism, the avant-garde, postmodernism). Students will analyze the employment of the fantastic in dealing with key issues of modernity, personal and national identity, relationship toward the other, gender configurations, and historical process. There will be a special focus on the Russian fantastic in the wider tradition of East European philosophical fantasy. Authors will include Gogol, Dostoevsky, Zamyatin, Bulgakov, Belyaev, Efremov, the brothers Strugatsky, Pelevin, and Tolstaya. No prior knowledge of Russian literature and culture is necessary.

Crs Requirements: Attendance at lectures, participation in class discussions, three papers (5, 5, and 7-8 pages, respectively), and final test. The final will cover the factual material and consist of short broad essay questions and a few identifications. The purpose of the three papers will be to help students develop their analytical skills by having them analyze an assigned theme in a particular text, and to provide them with an opportunity to develop their expository writing skills by laying out their argument in a logical and persuasive fashion. The paper assignments will be spaced out over the course of the semester.

Intended Audience: Russian and REES concentrators and minors, and other undergraduates interested in literature, culture, history, comparative literature, and the humanities.

Class Format: The class will be conducted as a combination of lecture and discussion. The lectures, outlining the pertinent literary, cultural, historical, and political context, will be followed by a variety of discussion activities targeting interactive learning.

RUSSIAN 365 - Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

Coursepack Location:
ISBN: 1613748280
Hard to be a god, Author: Arkady and Boris Strugatsky ; translated by Olena Bormashenko. 2014
ISBN: 9780143108276
The Master and Margarita, Author: Mikhail Bulgakov, Publisher: Penguin Books 2016
ISBN: 9780812974621
We, Author: Yevgeny Zamyatin ; a new translation, with an introduction by Natasha Randall ; foreword by Bruce Sterling., Publisher: Modern Library Modern Lib 2006
ISBN: 1585678201
Worlds apart : an anthol[o]gy of Russian fantasy and science fiction, Author: edited and with commentary by Alexander Levitsky ; translated by Alexander Levitsky and Martha T. Kitchen., Publisher: Overlook Duckworth 2007
ISBN: 0143116037
The sacred book of the werewolf, Author: Victor Pelevin ; translated from the Russian by Andrew Bromfield., Publisher: Penguin Books 2009
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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