RUSSIAN 333 - Sport in Russia
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: Russian (RUSSIAN)
Department: LSA Slavic Languages & Literatures
Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In the last fifty years Russian sport has risen to world domination, especially in the Olympic Games, where Soviet athletes were preeminent in so many areas, then fallen into apparently terminal decline, and, after that, risen again: first Russia hosted the Champions League final, soccer’s biggest club match, in 2008; then Russia hosted the 2014 Olympic Games; later that year, Sochi, the Olympic city, hosted Russia’s first Formula One Grand Prix since 1914, and the race is now an annual F1 fixture; in 2018, Russia will host by far the biggest single-sport event in the world: FIFA’s World Cup. After the decade of decline and failure, Russian professional sports and Russian athletes are again prominent and successful. Yet Russia continues to play by its own rules, as the massive scandal over what appears to be government-supported doping in Olympic sports reveals.

What is the story of sport in Russia? How did modern, organized sport emerge and what was there before that imported word ????? (sport) entered the Russian language, along with all that influence from abroad? What was the Russian sporting world like before the Soviet period, how did emergent modern sport look like at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries? How was sport transformed after the Bolshevik Revolution, and then again during Stalinism? What happened after the Second World War? What made Soviet sport so successful internationally in the post-war period; what did this have to do with the sports and games pursued by ordinary people in the Soviet Union; how did people look at the sporting success of the USSR? What caused the decline of organized sport in the late Soviet and early post-Soviet periods, what has propelled the revival; what are the favored recreational sports of Russians today; what is the role of spectator sports and recreational sports in modern Russian society? And, more important, what is the relationship between sport and society; how has that ever-explosive mixture of sport and politics looked in Russia and the Soviet Union; what questions of gender and nationality are raised – or elided – by sport in Russia; has sport merely reflected social history, or, perhaps, shaped it; what has been the role of sport in shaping ideas about the Soviet Union, Russia, and Russians within and beyond the country?

This course will try to answer those questions by looking at very diverse material, including belles lettres, scholarship, personal testimony, journalism, and records of sporting events. Students will, in studying through the lens of sport the culture, political and social life, and history of one of the world’s most important countries, not only acquire a solid knowledge of that country today, but will also develop the analytical skills necessary to explore in depth complex and intriguing cultural, social, political, and historical issues.

Course Requirements:

Written assignments for the course are: three papers; three online writing assignments; and a weekly journal.

RUSSIAN 333 - Sport in Russia
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 12:00PM - 1:00PM
002 (DIS)
Th 10:00AM - 11:00AM
003 (DIS)
Th 11:00AM - 12:00PM
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