Member of the Division of Humanities
The student of Russian first develops a basic competence in the language as a means of communication—reading, speaking, aural comprehension, and writing. This competence is then applied to Russian literature, Russia’s human past and present. The study of the language and its embodiment in literature and culture can, therefore, serve students whose specializations are in any academic discipline, enhancing their capabilities for research and their appreciation of aesthetic and cultural diversity.
The recommended sequence of study for all students with an interest in Russian language covers four semesters (RUS 101 , RUS 102 , RUS 221 , RUS 222 ). Those entering with a previous background in Russian are placed in this sequence on the basis of a comprehensive test and an interview with the departmental staff. Opportunities for further study include courses in syntactical and literary analysis of the language and seminars on a broad variety of topics chosen by students. (See Independent Study .)
The department also offers courses on modern Russian literature in translation (RUS 247 , RUS 248 , RUS 251 , RUS 353 ). These provide access to Russian literature and culture for students who do not have a command of the language. Russian majors are encouraged to broaden and deepen their understanding of the Russian experience by exploring other disciplines—history, philosophy, the social sciences, and the languages and literatures of other national heritages. With this background, they may seek careers in teaching and scholarship, government, library science and informational services, journalism, and international trade. In addition, study in mathematics and the natural sciences in conjunction with a Russian major can open doors to many other careers.
Language is, of course, a social phenomenon. For this reason, many students of Russian become involved in the lively extracurricular program: Russian House; Russian language dinners, parties, films, visits; and lectures by Russian and American specialists. A native Russian language assistant is in residence in Russian House to make spoken Russian a daily reality. To encourage further mastery of the language and deeper knowledge of Russian culture, the department recommends that students study in Russia and is affiliated with programs of study in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Vladimir; our students have also studied, with College approval in Irkutsk, Yaroslavl, and other Russian cities.