Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

Program Offerings

Offering type
Minor

The Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (link is external), an affiliate of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (link is external), draws on a core faculty in the humanities, history and social sciences to support and maintain a diverse undergraduate curriculum. The program offers a minor to undergraduates who combine study of Eastern Europe, Russia and Eurasia with any other departmental major from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences and engineering.

Goals for Student Learning

The program’s purpose is to provide undergraduates with expertise in a core language of Eurasia and a scholarly grounding in the study of the region. Languages applicable toward the certificate include Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish, the last being related to most Central Asian languages as well as some in the Caucasus and in Russia.

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies offers preparation for government service, international business and finance, law, media, science, teaching, nongovernmental organizations and other aspects of global affairs. As such, courses from many departments count toward the minor. The program is compatible with all majors.

Prerequisites

To be eligible for admission to the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, a student must meet the following requirements by the end of their sophomore year:

  • Satisfactory completion of the established requirements for admission to one of the cooperating departments or to a department whose plan of study may be combined with this interdepartmental program.
  • Initiation of study of the Russian language or other target language.

 

Program of Study

A student choosing to pursue a minor in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies must complete the normal requirements in their department as well as the following requirements of the program. The director must approve the proposed course of study each term.

Coursework: The minor requires students to complete four regular courses (two Division I courses and two Division II courses) in the following disciplines:*

  • History and Social Sciences: Two upper-level courses on the history or social sciences of the Russian empire, the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, or Eurasia.
  • Literature, Arts and Culture: Two upper-level courses in the literatures, arts or culture of Russia, Eastern Europe and/or Eurasia.

Language Requirement: The minor requires students to have a minimum of one year in any of the applicable languages offered at Princeton (such as Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Turkish and Ukrainian) or to demonstrate a comparable level of language proficiency (typically intermediate low). Students who satisfy this requirement with a proficiency exam must take an additional course. The additional course may be a language course at or above the 105 level, or another relevant course in culture, history or politics. 

* Students seeking a minor in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies may not double count course credits toward another minor or major, with the exception of language courses, which may be double counted.

Language Courses

BSC 101 and 102 Beginning Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian I and II
BCS 105 and 107 Intermediate Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian I and II
CZE 101 and 102 Beginner’s Czech I and II
CZE 105 and 107 Intermediate Czech I and II
PLS 101 and 102 Beginning Polish I and II
PLS 105 and 107 Intermediate Polish I and II
RUS 101 and 102 Beginner’s Russian I and II
RUS 103 and 108 Russian for Heritage Speakers I and II
RUS 105 and 107 Intermediate Russian I and II
RUS 207 and 207 Advanced Russian Reading and Conversation I and II
RUS 305 Russian Humor
RUS 407 Advanced Russian Through Film
RUS 408 Advanced Russian Through History
RUS 409/RES 409 Stylistics and Composition
TUR 101 and 102 Elementary Turkish I and II
TUR 105 and 107 Intermediate Turkish I and II
TUR 305 Advanced Turkish: Selected Readings in Historical and Literary Texts

Culture, Literature, and the Arts

ART 337/GER 337 Court, Cloister, and City: Art and Architecture in Central and Eastern Europe
ART 393/SLA 393/AMS 392/RES 393 Getting the Picture: Photojournalism in the U.S. and Russia
ART 466/SLA 466/ECS 466 The Crossroads of Invention: Art, Society, and Identity in East Central Europe (1500–1914)
COM 404 Literature Across Languages: The East European Novel of the 20th Century
COM 410/SLA 410 Bakhtin, Formalists, Cultural Semiotics
COM 415/SLA 415/RES 415 Tolstoy War and Peace
ECS 360/SLA 360 Central European Literature of the 20th Century
ECS 391/COM 391/JDS 391 Holocaust Testimony
JDS 221/PHI 221 Philosophy After Auschwitz
MUS 339/SLA 311 Russian Music
SLA 218/RES 218 Soviet Cinema
SLA 219/RES 219 Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky: Introduction to the Great Russian Novel
SLA 220/RES 220 The Great Russian Novel and Beyond: Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Others
SLA 221/RES 221 Soviet Culture, Above and Below Ground
SLA 236 Rituals, Songs, and Stories: Balkan and East European Oral Traditions
SLA 301/ANT 382/RES 301 Russian Folklore
SLA 303/ART 330 Seeing Health: Medicine, Literature, and the Visual Arts
SLA 304/RES 304 Soviet Animation: Between Art and Propaganda
SLA 305/COM 377/RES 305/ANT 343 Roma (Gypsies) in Eastern Europe: The Dynamics of Culture
SLA 307 Manuscripts Don’t Burn: Works of Mikhail Bulgakov
SLA 308/RES 309 The Russian Short Story
SLA 309 Moscow: City to Myth
SLA 310/COM 369/RES 310 Philosophy and Literature: Western Thought and the Russian Dialogic Imagination
SLA 312/RES 312 Russian Drama
SLA 313/RES 314 Russian Religious Philosophy
SLA 314 From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Censorship and Literature in Russia
SLA 319/RES 319 Eastern European Cinema: War, Love, and Revolutions
SLA 322/RES 322 The Soviet City in Literature and Culture
SLA 324/RES 324 Contemporary Ukrainian Literature
SLA 326/SLA 326 Dreamers and Bandits in Russian Cinema
SLA 337/RES 337 "What Is to Be Done?": Social Justice in Russian Literature
SLA 345/ECS 354/COM 345/RES 345 East European Literature and Politics
SLA 347/JDS 337 Jewish Topics in East European Cinema
SLA 350/RES 350 Russian Fairy Tales
SLA 361/RES 361 The Evil Empire: Reading Putin’s Russia
SLA 365/RES 365 Russian Science-Fiction (SF) in the 20th Century — Utopia-Dystopia-Post-Utopia
SLA 366/ECS 356/RES 347 Eastern Europe: Culture and History
SLA 367/RES 367 On Space in Russian Culture
SLA 368/HUM 368/RES 368/COM 348 Literature and Medicine
SLA 369/RES 369/ENG 247 Horror in Film and Literature
SLA 395/RES 395 Czeslaw Milosz: Poetry, Politics, History
SLA 396/ECS 397 Polish Literature on Screen
SLA 411/RES 411 Selected Topics in Russian Literature and Culture
SLA 412/RES 412 Selected Topics in Russian Literature and Culture
SLA 413/RES 413 Pushkin and His Time
SLA 415/COM 415/RES 415 Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace: Writing as Fighting
SLA 416/RES 416 Dostoevsky
SLA 417/COM 418/ENG 424/RES 417 Vladimir Nabokov
SLA 422 Church Slavonic and History of Slavic

History

HIS 307/RES 302/HLS 309 Modern Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries
HIS 360 The Russian Empire: From Peter the Great to Nicholas II
HIS 362 The Soviet Empire
HIS 406 Two Empires: Russia and the US from Franklin to Trump
HIS 452 Communism and the Dissent in East Europe
HIS 480 Property: How, Why and What We Own
NES 362 Blood, Sex and Oil: The Caucasus
NES 406 The Great War in the Middle East

Social Sciences

NES 362 Blood, Sex and Oil: The Caucasus
NES 364/REL 399 Secularism in Muslim Central Asia and the Middle East
POL 360 Social Movements and Revolutions
POL 374 Russian and Post-Soviet Politics
POL 432 Seminar in Comparative Politics: Russia, Ukraine and the New Cold War
POL 433 Seminar in Comparative Politics: Democratization and Economic Reforms After Communism
SLA 338/ANT 338 Between Heaven and Hell: Myths and Memories of Siberia
SLA 368/HUM 368/RES 368 Literature and Medicine
SLA 420/ANT 420/COM 424/RES 420 Communist Modernity: The Politics and Culture of Soviet Utopia
SOC 308/RES 308 Communism and Beyond: China and Russia

Language Requirements

Students who seek a more advanced level of language competence are encouraged to contact the Slavic Department and choose Slavic as a minor, or major. To fulfill the language requirement students must pass the proficiency test administered by the Slavic Department (or, for the languages other than Slavic, by a language specialist in that language), or complete the appropriate 102 (for non-heritage)/103 (for heritage speakers) language course.

Study Abroad

Students pursuing the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies minor are expected to combine classwork with study abroad for a term or a summer to sharpen their language skills, conduct independent research, and, in general, gain a better appreciation of at least one country and culture in Eurasia. Summer internships abroad, partly subsidized by the program or the University, are also highly encouraged.

Faculty

  • Director

    • Ekaterina Pravilova
  • Executive Committee

    • Mark R. Beissinger, Politics
    • Elena Fratto, Slavic Lang & Literatures
    • Michael D. Gordin, History
    • Yuri Leving, Slavic Lang & Literatures
    • Simon A. Morrison, Music
    • Serguei A. Oushakine, Anthropology
    • Grigore Pop-Eleches, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
    • Ekaterina Pravilova, History
    • Michael A. Reynolds, Near Eastern Studies
    • Ilya Vinitsky, Slavic Lang & Literatures
    • Iryna Vushko, History
    • Michael A. Wachtel, Slavic Lang & Literatures
  • Associated Faculty

    • Ellen B. Chances, Slavic Lang & Literatures
    • Devin A. Fore, German
    • M. Sükrü Hanioglu, Near Eastern Studies
    • Joshua I. Kotin, English
    • Kim Lane Scheppele, Schl of Public & Int'l Affairs
  • Sits with Committee

    • Margaret H. Beissinger
    • Ksana Blank
    • Ana Cohle
    • Deborah A. Kaple
    • Thomas F. Keenan
    • Igor Khristoforov
    • Svetlana Korshunova
    • Mark R. Pettus

For a full list of faculty members and fellows please visit the department or program website.

Courses

RUS 101 - Beginner's Russian I Fall

Introduction to the essentials of Russian grammar. Presentation of grammar reinforced by oral practice of grammatical patterns. One hour per week devoted specifically to development of oral skills. Five classes M. Pettus

RUS 102 - Beginner's Russian II Spring

A continuation of 101. Introduction to the essentials of Russian grammar. Presentation of grammar reinforced by oral practice of grammatical patterns. One hour per week devoted specifically to development of oral skills. Five classes. M. Pettus

RUS 105 - Intermediate Russian I Fall

Grammar review; advanced grammar; introduction to word formation; expansion of vocabulary through readings of classical and modern fiction and history. One hour per week of translation and discussion of readings. Prerequisite: successful completion of 102 or placement test at Princeton. Five classes. M. Pettus

RUS 107 - Intermediate Russian II Spring

A continuation of 105. Grammar review; advanced grammar; introduction to word formation; expansion of vocabulary through readings of classical and modern fiction and history. One hour per week of translation and discussion of readings. Prerequisite: 105. Five classes. M. Pettus

RUS 207 - Advanced Russian Reading and Conversation I Fall

A content-based language course designed to develop speaking and reading proficiency through reading the texts on prominent figures of contemporary Russian culture: journalists, actors, sports people, and political activists. Special emphasis is placed on communicative activities. Review of grammar: cases, numbers, verb aspect, verbs of motion, subjunctive, participles, verbal adverbs, and conjunctions. Prerequisite: RUS 107 or instructor's permission. The course is not open to heritage speakers. Four classes. K. Blank

RUS 208 - Advanced Russian Reading and Conversation II Spring

The course focuses on key events of 20th century Russian history as they are reflected by major Russian poets and writers. Reading and discussion of poems by Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Osip Mandelstam, and a short story by Vladimir Nabokov. A continuation of 207, this course is designed to further develop speaking and reading proficiency, writing skills and substantial expansion of vocabulary. Prerequisite: RUS 207 or instructor's permission. The course is not open to heritage speakers. Four classes. K. Blank

RUS 405 - Advanced Russian Through Reading

A practical approach to advanced Russian grammar and structure through reading and translation of Russian prose texts with special focus on difficult grammatical constructions. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 207 or 208. Staff

RUS 406 - Russian Sentence Structure through Reading

A basic introduction to Russian sentence structure with special emphasis on word order, use of participles and gerunds, impersonal sentences, negation, voice, and long/short form adjectives. The course includes substantive readings of Russian texts and their syntactic analysis. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: 207 or 208. Staff

RUS 407 - Advanced Russian through Film Fall LA

The course presents six films, all of which are well known in Russia and have become classics. Three of them are based on literary works (Mikhail Bulgakov's comedy, Leo Tolstoy's story, and Alexander Ostrovsky's drama). The class discussion will center around various cultural, social, historical, and literary topics. Prerequisite: RUS 208 K. Blank

RUS 408 - Practical Translation (also TRA 408) Fall

The course aims to familiarize students with the basic techniques of translation from English into Russian, so students can learn how to anticipate translation problems before they arise. Classroom time is divided between discussions of excerpts from literary works by American and British authors published in Russian and translation exercises focusing on various grammatical and lexical difficulties. The acquisition of practical translation skills will help students to achieve a higher level of proficiency in oral and written Russian. Prerequisite: RUS 208 for heritage speakers, RUS 108 or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute classes. K. Blank