Russian Studies first year modules

Module details

Beginners level

For those students taking 80 credits of beginners Russian:

  • Russian ab initio language

Two modules from:

  • 20th Century Russian Politics
  • Outlines of Russian History to 1890
  • 19th Century Russian Literature*
  • 20th Century Russian Literature*

For those students taking 60 credits of beginners Russian:

  • Russian ab initio language

One module from:

  • 20th Century Russian Politics
  • Outlines of Russian History to 1890
  • 19th Century Russian Literature*
  • 20th Century Russian Literature*

For those students taking 40 credits of beginners Russian:

  • Russian ab initio language (40)

Advanced level

For those students taking 80 credits of advanced Russian:

  • Russian post A-level language

Two modules from:

  • 20th Century Russian Politics
  • Outlines of Russian History to 1890
  • 19th Century Russian Literature*
  • 20th Century Russian Literature*

For those students taking 60 credits of advanced Russian:

  • Russian post A-level language

One module from:

  • 20th Century Russian Politics
  • Outlines of Russian History to 1890
  • 19th Century Russian Literature*
  • 20th Century Russian Literature*

For those students taking 40 credits of advanced Russian:

  • Russian post A-level language

*Literature course run alternate years generally - either taken in Y1 or Y2.

Module descriptions

Russian language

Working on grammar, essay-writing and translation skills, oral and listening skills. No prior knowledge of the Russian language is necessary to enter our programmes. In the first and second years, students are divided into groups according to whether they are beginners or have an A level or equivalent in Russian. (Students with AS level Russian are placed in the advanced group and given extra tutorial support to catch up, while students with GCSE Russian will normally be placed in the beginners’ group.) At the end of the first year, beginners travel to the city of Petrozavodsk in Russia for an intensive four-week language programme, for which many of the costs are covered by the University.

20th Century Russian Politics

The turbulent history of Russia in the twentieth century is the history of world-changing events - from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the creation of the Soviet state to the collapse of communism and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991. From being one of two great superpowers to fifteen separate states, struggling for identity and survival – the rise and fall of the Soviet Union provides a unique case study touching on many aspects of global political affairs in the twentieth century. The course covers both semesters. The first part deals with the Communists’ rise to power, the development of the Soviet state and the establishment of the Soviet Union as a world superpower. The second part covers the government and ideology of the Soviet Union and examines the factors leading to its collapse.

Outlines of Russian History to 1890

The module begins with a brief general introduction to pre-Muscovite Russia, the founding and structure of Kievan Russia, and the nature and impact of the `Mongol yoke’. It then proceeds chronologically through the major periods of Russian history, including Ivan IV and the consolidation of the Muscovite State; the Time of Troubles; developments in Russian Orthodoxy; the reforms of Peter and Catherine the Great; the great peasant rebellions; the Napoleonic Wars; and finally, the Decembrist Revolt of 1825.

19th Century Russian Literature

In the first Semester students study Russian novels written in the period 1825-1862. They learn about the contexts in which the novels were written and study the specific literary characteristics of each work and its contribution to development of the genre. Students give presentations on specific aspects of the novels. In the second Semester, students study Russian novels written in the period 1863-1900. Individual works are considered in the context of key themes including the superfluous man, the Westerniser/Slavophile debate, social reform, the "woman question". Works in other genres are considered where appropriate.

20th Century Russian Literature

In the first Semester students study Russian novels written in the period 1900-1960. They learn about the demands made on literature and writers by different groups in society and the context in which the novels were written. They study the specific literary characteristics of each work and its contribution to the development of the genre. Students give presentations on specific aspects of the novels. In the second Semester, students study Russian novels written since 1960. The module concludes with an examination of the development of publishing and literary life since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Individual works are considered in the context of key themes including dystopian fiction, Soviet arts policy, censorship and repression, Socialist Realism, samizdat and postmodernism. Works in other genres are considered where appropriate.

 

Disclaimer

Modules and courses are constantly updated and under review. As with most academic programmes, please remember that it is possible that a module may not be offered in any particular year, for instance because a member of staff is on study leave or too few students opt for it. The University of Birmingham reserves the right to vary or withdraw any course or module.