Russian Studies second year modules

Core modules:

Russian Language 2 - 40 credits

Students translate texts on a range of themes on a weekly basis, sometimes extempore. Weekly grammar classes deal with the more complex areas of Russian morphology, syntax and phonetics. Audio and video materials are used to develop aural comprehension skills. Essay-writing skills are taught by the analysis and discussion of texts on contemporary issues. Students engage in guided analytical reading to broaden their vocabulary. Students sometimes translate English texts into Russian. Letter-writing is taught. There are 6 contact hours per week for this module.

Optional modules:

Russia in Revolution - 20 credits

The module will cover the period of revolutionary upheaval in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union from 1900 to 1938. Following themes of revolution, social and national conflict, ideology and modernisation, it will analyse the events of the 1905 Revolution, the First World War, the two revolutions of 1917, the Russian Civil War of 1918-20, the years of the New Economic Policy and the power struggle to succeed Lenin, the `counter-revolution’ or `revolution from above’ of Stalin, the mature Stalinist political system and ending with the consolidation of Stalin’s power through the Great Terror of 1937-38.

Contemporary Russian & East European Politics - 20 credits

The module focuses on contemporary Russia and Ukraine as the two biggest Soviet successor states. Consideration is given to the progress or otherwise for democracy, institutional design, notions of nationhood and "national ideas", spatial politics in Russia and Ukraine as well as tensions between state-building and democratisation in Ukraine. The course also analyses the international dimension: both relations between Ukraine and Russia within the CIS and their respective relations with the West in general, and NATO and the EU in particular. The aim is also to develop an in-depth understanding of the contemporary developments in the two key countries of the former Soviet Union.

International Politics and Security in Russia and Eurasia (available either in year two or in final year) - 20 credits

This module will examine a range of key issues in the international politics and security of Russia and Eurasia. The course comprises of six thematic blocks, beginning with a survey of the region since the collapse of the Soviet bloc and Cold War and post-Cold War theoretical approaches and current themes in international politics. Other topics covered include: regional security organisations; Russia's relations with Europe, US and China; US and EU policy in Central Asia and the Caucasus; energy politics; state-building and political regimes; conflicts, new wars and non-traditional security issues. Each theme will be explored in relation to specific cases and events in Russia and Eurasia. The course concludes by returning to the theoretical approaches discussed at the start of the course to examine their utility in understanding and explaining political and security dynamics in the region.

Cultural Politics of Russia & East Europe - 20 credits

These linked modules are structured thematically and draw on comparative materials from a range of experiences across Russia, the Soviet successor states and Eastern Europe. The themes covered include: ethnicity, national identity, diaspora and the politics of inclusion/exclusion; popular culture and the media; representation of the East in western Europe, geopolitical identities and the impact of 'westernisation' on post-communist countries. These themes will be prefaced with historical background and discussed in their empirical, discursive and theoretical dimensions.

19th Century Russian Literature* - 20 credits

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* - 20 credits

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 and lead class discussion.

In the second Semester, students study Russian novels written since 1960. The courses conclude 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, émigré literature. Works in other genres are considered where appropriate.

*The literature courses generally run in alternate years.

 

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.