Russian at Bard

Russian at Bard

When the novelist Ivan Turgenev heralded the Russian language as “great, powerful, truthful, and free,” he was thinking of the national oral tradition – fairy-tales, epic poems, folk songs – as well as his outstanding literary predecessors and contemporaries: Alexander Pushkin, Vasily Zhukovsky, Nikolay Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy. Since Turgenev’s time, the language of Russian literature, along with the vernacular, evolved, giving life to the figurative and literary experimentation of Russian Modernism, the insightful whimsicality and “beyondsensical” wordplay of avant-garde poets, and the lucid, straightforward, but also elegant prose of Russian philosophers, natural scientists and historians.

Russian/ Russian and Eurasian Studies

When the novelist Ivan Turgenev heralded the Russian language as “great, powerful, truthful, and free,” he was thinking of the national oral tradition – fairy-tales, epic poems, folk songs – as well as his outstanding literary predecessors and contemporaries: Alexander Pushkin, Vasily Zhukovsky, Nikolay Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy. Since Turgenev’s time, the language of Russian literature, along with the vernacular, evolved, giving life to the figurative and literary experimentation of Russian Modernism, the insightful whimsicality and “beyondsensical” wordplay of avant-garde poets, and the lucid, straightforward, but also elegant prose of Russian philosophers, natural scientists and historians. At Bard, all this wealth is presented to students for appreciation, investigation, and gradual, but steady appropriation. The faculty of the Russian and Eurasian Studies program offer courses on canonical Russian fiction, literary history, poetic invention, and culture studies, supplementing them with the four levels of Russian-language study. The goal of the REAS curriculum is not only to introduce beginners to Russian culture, but also to give them linguistic and critical tools to adopt it as their own.

REAS offers a year of Beginning Russian in a sequence of two four-credit courses (Beginning Russian I and II), followed by a 4-weel summer language program at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College) at the St. Petersburg State University. The second-year Russian courses incorporate the students’ linguistic experience gained during the summer program in St. Petersburg. Continuing Russian I and II refines their practice of speaking, reading, and writing the language. By developing reading and viewing strategies appropriate to the wide variety of fictional and poetic works, non-fiction, and Russian television and film, these intermediate courses prepare students of Russian for Advanced Russian I and II as well as 400-level courses, conducted entirely in Russian and focused on an in-depth study of Russian literary texts, theater, music, and art history.

Students are strongly encouraged to consider their language study as a step towards spending a semester abroad, taking language classes and courses on Russian history, politics, music and literature at the St. Petersburg State University. Its Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Bard’s long-standing partner in Russia, is a liberal arts institution ideally suited for the academic exploration of and personal engagement with contemporary Russian culture. With their advanced language skills and in-depth knowledge of all things Russian, REAS graduates, including those who have chosen the study-abroad program at Smolny, move on to careers in public diplomacy, journalism, publishing, and academia.

Faculty 

Olga Voronina (ovoronin@bard.edu)
Marina Kostalevsky (kostalev@bard.edu) (On sabbatical Spring 2016)
Oleg Minin (ominin@bard.edu)
Faculty contact and profile information may be found here.

Sample Courses

Sample courses may be found here.
Beginning Russian I, II 
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Continuing Russian I, II 
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Advanced Russian through Reading and Writing 
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Russian Poetry
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Russian in Academic Context 
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“Rock-n-Roll  is Dead but I am Not Yet”: Russian through Popular Music & Culture

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The Language of Russian Avant-Garde
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St. Petersburg: City, Monument, Text 
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Body, Mind, and Spirit in Dostoevsky 
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Infernal Paradises: Literature of Russian Modernism 
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Into the Whirlwind: Literary Greatness and Power 
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Nabokov's Shorts: The Art of Conclusive Writing 
*Missing course description* 
Dramatic Difference: Russia and Its Theater 
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The Art of the Russian Avant-Garde (1900-1934) 
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Fantastic Journey and the Modern World 
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Appointment with Dr. Chekhov 
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Additional Studies

Russian and Eurasian Studies Program

Russian and Eurasian Studies Website

The Russian and Eurasian Studies Program (RES) focuses on the language, literature, history, and culture of Russia, the Soviet Union and the states that once were a part of it, and East and East-Central Europe, through a range of interdisciplinary contexts, theoretical perspectives, and analytical approaches. Both Lower and Upper College courses draw upon faculty expertise in history, literature, politics, economics, art, music, culture, and religious studies as they relate to Russia and Eurasia, either separately or in a comparative context. Proficiency in the Russian language is a key component of the RES major, with course offerings from beginning to advanced at Bard and opportunities for study in Russia at the Bard-affiliated Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Smolny College), St. Petersburg State University. Students may choose to specialize in a literature or social science track, or may combine Russian and Eurasian studies with another program of study. 

Students who major in Russian and Eurasian studies are strongly encouraged to participate in Bard's study abroad program at Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in St. Petersburg, Russia. Students may enroll in summer intensive Russian-language courses and/or in semester or academic-year programs at Smolny College, a joint initiative of Bard College and Saint Petersburg State University. At Smolny, Bard students combine a liberal arts curriculum with linguistic and cultural immersion by taking classes side by side with Russian students, in Russian.  For more information, see "International Programs and Study Abroad."