Courses

Academic Year

Slavic Department Listings

Course brochure

See also the list of past years' courses.

Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BCSN), Czech (CZEC), East European (EEUR), Georgian (GEOR),

General Slavic (SLAV), Polish (POLI), Russian (RUSS), South Slavic (SOSL)

BCSN 10203
First-Year Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian-II

Nada Petkovic
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
BCSN 10103 or consent of instructor.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

The major objective of the course is to build a solid foundation in the basic grammatical patterns of written and spoken Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, while simultaneously introducing both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. This course is complemented with cultural and historical media from the Balkans and is designed for students with a wide range of interests. Screenings of movies and other audio-visual materials are held in addition to scheduled class time. Knowledge of a Slavic language and background in linguistics not required.

BCSN 20203
Second-Year Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II

Nada Petkovic
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
BCSN 10303 or consent of instructor.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

The Second-Year course in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian languages and cultures is a continuation of First-Year BCS, and therefore assumes one year of formal study of the target language(s) or equivalent coursework elsewhere. The course is focused on spoken and written modern BCS, emphasizing communicative practice in authentic cultural contexts. The language(s) are introduced through a series of dialogues gathered from a variety of textbooks published in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia, as well as newspaper articles, short biographies, poems, and song lyrics in both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. A vast archive of audiovisual materials, representing both high and popular culture, constitute an integral part of every unit. Simultaneously, aural comprehension, speaking, grammar, and vocabulary are reinforced and further developed throughout the year. Mandatory drill sessions are held twice a week, offering students ample opportunity to review and practice materials presented in class.

BCSN 21200 / 31203
Advanced BCS: Language through Film

Nada Petkovic
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
BCSN 20303 or consent of instructor.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

This course is tailored to the needs of the students enrolled, depending on their concentration in the field. It enhances language acquisition with continuous reading and translation of essays, newspaper articles, literary excerpts, letters and other selected writings. Vocabulary building is emphasized by the systematic study of nominal and verbal roots, prefixes and suffixes, and word formation thereafter. Discussion follows each completed reading with a written composition assigned in relation to the topic.

CZEC 10203
First Year Czech-2

Sternstein
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
CZEC 10103 or consent of instructor. Drill sessions to be arranged.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

This course is an introduction to the basic grammar of Czech with attention given to all four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing, as well as exposure to Czech culture. Winter and Spring Quarters include work with Czech film and literature. Students gain some familiarity with the major differences between literary and spoken Czech as they learn to use the language both as a means of communication and as a tool for reading and research.

20203
Second-Year Czech-2

Malynne Sternstein
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
CZEC 10303 or consent of instructor.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

The main goal of this course is to enable students to read Czech proficiently in their particular fields. Conversation practice is included. The program is flexible and may be adjusted according to the needs of the students.

POLI 10203
First Year Polish-2

Dag Lindskog
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

This course teaches students to speak, read, and write in Polish, as well as familiarizes them with Polish culture. It employs the most up-to-date techniques of language teaching (e.g., communicative and accelerated learning, and learning based on students’ native language skills), as well as multileveled target-language exposure.

POLI 20203
Second-Year Polish-2

Dag Lindskog
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
Fall Quarter of Second Year Polish or instructor consent
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

The primary goal of second year Polish is to expand the student’s speaking, reading and writing skills by building on grammar and vocabulary learned during the first year of study. As a complement to the linguistic side of the course, the student will gain a greater familiarity with Polish history and culture through varied means including readings of literary works, articles from contemporary Polish newspapers and movies.

POLI 20503 / 30503
Third-Year Polish 2

Dag Lindskog
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
Fall Quarter of Third-Year Polish or instructor consent.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

The goal of this course is to help students widen their knowledge about contemporary Polish literature, film and politics while expanding their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We will read Polish literary and historical texts from the 20th and 21st centuries, watch movies, read and discuss the news. Topics of stylistics will be covered as well in the course.

RUSS 10203
First-Year Russian-2

Erik Houle; Mark Baugher
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Crosslists: 
Russian 10103 or consent of instructor. Drill sessions to be arranged.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

This course introduces modern Russian to students who would like to speak Russian or to use the language for reading and research. All five major communicative skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening, comprehension, and speaking) are stressed. Students are also introduced to Russian culture through readings, videos, and class discussions. This yearlong course prepares students for the College Language Competency Exam, for continued study of Russian in second-year courses, and for study or travel abroad in Russian-speaking countries. Conversation practice is held twice a week.

RUSS 10500
Russian Through Puskin-2

Mark Baugher
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
RUSS 20103 or consent of instructor. Drill sessions to be arranged.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

This course continues RUSS 10100-10200-10300; it includes review and amplification of grammar, practice in reading, elementary composition, and speaking and comprehension. Systematic study of word formation and other strategies are taught to help free students from excessive dependence on the dictionary and develop confidence in reading rather than translating. Readings are selected to help provide historical and cultural background. Conversation practice is held twice a week.

RUSS 20203
Second-Year Russian-2

Erik Houle
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
RUSS 20103 or consent of instructor. Drill sessions to be arranged.
Winter
2018-2019

This course continues RUSS 10100-10200-10300; it includes review and amplification of grammar, practice in reading, elementary composition, and speaking and comprehension. Systematic study of word formation and other strategies are taught to help free students from excessive dependence on the dictionary and develop confidence in reading rather than translating. Readings are selected to help provide historical and cultural background. Conversation practice is held twice a week.

RUSS 20802
Third Year Russ: Culture-2

Valentina Pichugin
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
RUSS 20701 or consent of instructor. Drill sessions ot be arranged.
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

This course, which is intended for third-year students of Russian, covers various aspects of Russian grammar in context and emphasizes the four communicative skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening comprehension, speaking) in a culturally authentic context. Excerpts from popular Soviet/Russian films and clips from Russian television news reports are shown and discussed in class. Classes conducted in Russian; some aspects of grammar explained in English. Drill practice is held twice a week.

RUSS 21402 / 30202
Adv Russian Through Media-2

Valentina Pichugin
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
RUSS 21302 or consent of instructor; drill sessions to be arranged
Winter
2018-2019
Language course

This course, which is designed for fifth-year students of Russian, covers various aspects of Russian stylistics and discourse grammar in context. It emphasizes the four communicative skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening comprehension, speaking) in culturally authentic context. Clips from Russian/Soviet films and television news reports are shown and discussed in class. Classes conducted in Russian. Conversation practice is held twice a week.

REES 20001 / 30001
War and Peace

William Nickell
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Winter
2018-2019
Literature and Linguistics course

Written in the wake of the Crimean War (1856) and the emancipation of the serfs (1861), Tolstoy's War and Peace represents Russia's most important national narrative. Tolstoy chooses to set his tale during the Napoleonic wars, the epoch commonly regarded as the moment of national awakening, which gave rise to major social and political transformations within the Russian society that were still underway at the time when Tolstoy wrote and published his epic. Reading War and Peace we not only learn a lot about Russian history and culture, but  also have a rare chance to visit the writer's workshop and witness the creation of a completely original, organic work of art. It is a telling fact that Tolstoy's novel-epic-a unique hybrid of several different genres deliberately designed as a riposte to the typical West European novel - was never finalized, because after publishing this work in a serial form in a leading "thick journal" Tolstoy continued to return to War and Peace throughout the rest of his life. This course will focus on both the artistic and intellectual facets of War and Peace. This course is recommended for students interested in Russian and European literature, history and political science as well as those who are building a Fundamentals major. The course is open to all undergraduates and some graduate students (by consent). Reading, discussion and papers will be in English.

REES 25005 / 45005
History of International Cinema, Part II: Sound Era to 1960

Robert Bird
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Winter
2018-2019
Literature and Linguistics course

The center of this course is film style, from the classical scene breakdown to the introduction of deep focus, stylistic experimentation, and technical innovation (sound, wide screen, location shooting). The development of a film culture is also discussed. Texts include Thompson and Bordwell's Film History: An Introduction; and works by Bazin, Belton, Sitney, and Godard. Screenings include films by Hitchcock, Welles, Rossellini, Bresson, Ozu, Antonioni, and Renoir.

REES 25603 / 35603
Media and Power in the Age of Putin and Trump

William Nickell
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Winter
2018-2019
Literature and Linguistics course

Over the past 200 years, various political and cultural regimes of Russia have systematically exploited the gap between experience and representation to create their own mediated worlds--from the tight censorship of the imperial and Soviet periods to the propaganda of the Soviet period and the recent use of media simulacra for strategic geopolitical advantage. During this same period state control of media has been used to seclude Russia from the advancement of liberalism, market economics, individual rights, modernist art, Freud, Existentialism, and, more recently, Western discourses of inclusion, sustainability, and identity. Examining this history, it is sometimes difficult to discern whether the architects of Russian culture have been hopelessly backward or shrewd phenomenologists, keenly aware of the relativity of experience and of their ability to shape it. This course will explore the worlds that these practices produce, with an emphasis on Russia's recent confrontations with Western culture and power, and including various practices of subversion of media control, such as illegal printing and circulation. Texts for the course will draw from print, sound, and visual media, and fields of analysis will include aesthetics, cultural history, and media theory. 

REES 26012
Intro to Russian Civilization-2

Robert Bird
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required
Crosslists: 
HIST 14000, SOSC 24100
Winter
2018-2019
Literature and Linguistics course

This two-quarter sequence, which meets the general education requirement in civilization studies, provides an interdisciplinary introduction to Russian civilization. The first quarter covers the ninth century to the 1870s; the second quarter continues on through the post-Soviet period. Working closely with a variety of primary sources-from oral legends to film and music, from political treatises to literary masterpieces-we will track the evolution of Russian civilization over the centuries and through radically different political regimes. Topics to be discussed include the influence of Byzantine, Mongol-Tataric, and Western culture in Russian civilization; forces of change and continuity in political, intellectual and cultural life; the relationship between center and periphery; systems of social and political legitimization; and symbols and practices of collective identity. Note: Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required.

REES 27027 / 37027
Cinema and the Holocaust

Bozena Shallcross
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
Film screenings, class participation, reading assignments, one class presentation, and a final project.
Crosslists: 
CMST 22507, CMST 32507, JWSC 29550
Winter
2018-2019
Literature and Linguistics course
he course focuses on the cinematic responses by several leading film directors from East and Central Europe to one of the central events of 20th century history -- the event known as the Holocaust.  The Nazis began a cinematic documentation of WWII at its onset, positioning their cameras in places of actual atrocities. Their goal was to produce documentary footage framed by hostile propagandistic schemes; contrary to this ‘method’, the Holocaust feature films are all but a representation of the Jewish genocide produced after the actual, traumatic events of that war took place. In this class we aim at discussing the challenge of representing the Jewish genocide which has often been defined as un-representable. Because of this challenge, the Holocaust films raise questions of ethical responsibility for the cinematic production and a search for relevant artistic means with which to engage the post-traumatic representation. Therefore, among the major tropes we will analyze the voyeuristic evocation of death and suffering; a truthful representation of violence versus the purported necessity of its cinematic aesthetization; as well as the intertwined notions of chance and hope as conditions of survival versus the hagiographic representation of victims.  While our main goal is to grasp the potential of cinema for deepening our understanding of the Holocaust, the course simultaneously explores the extensive and continuous cinematic production of the genre and its historical development in various European countries, to mention the impact of censorship by official ideologies in the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia during the Cold War.
 

All readings for the core texts are in English; they can be downloaded from Canvas.
 

REES 29009 / 39009
Balkan Folklore

Angelina Ilieva
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Prerequisites: 
Readings in English. Background in the Balkans will make the course easier, but is not required.
Crosslists: 
ANTH 25908, ANTH 35908, CMLT 23301, CMLT 33301, NEHC 20568, NEHC 30568
Winter
2018-2019
Literature and Linguistics course

Vampires, fire-breathing dragons, vengeful mountain nymphs. 7/8 and other uneven dance beats, heart-rending laments, and a living epic tradition. This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from historical, political, and anthropological perspectives. We seek to understand folk tradition as a dynamic process and consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. We also experience this living tradition firsthand through visits of a Chicago-based folk dance ensemble, “Balkan Dance.”

REES 29013 / 39013
The Burden of History: The Nation and Its Lost Paradise

Angelina Ilieva
Course level: 
Undergraduate
Crosslists: 
CMLT 23401,CMLT 33401,NEHC 20573,NEHC 30573,HIST 24005,HIST 34005
Winter
2018-2019
Literature and Linguistics course

The Other Within the Self: Identity in Balkan Literature and Film. This two-course sequence examines discursive practices in a number of literary and cinematic works from the South East corner of Europe through which identities in the region become defined by two distinct others: the “barbaric, demonic” Ottoman and the “civilized” Western European.

This course begins by defining the nation both historically and conceptually, with attention to Romantic nationalism and its flourishing in Southeastern Europe. We then look at the narrative of original wholeness, loss, and redemption through which Balkan countries retell their Ottoman past. With the help of Freud's analysis of masochistic desire and Žižek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity. The figure of the Janissary highlights the significance of the other in the definition of the self. Some possible texts are Petar Njegoš's Mountain Wreath; Ismail Kadare's The Castle; and Anton Donchev's Time of Parting.