General Education - Spring 2017 Semester Courses
Culture and Belief 42. Communism and the Politics of Culture: Czechoslovakia from World War II to the Velvet Revolution
Prof. Jonathan Bolton
Mondays and Wednesdays, 11–12 noon
What was Communism, and how did it shape the intellectual life of East Central Europe after World War II? How do artists and writers counter the ideological pressures of the state? This course examines how the intense political pressures of invasion, occupation, and revolution shape a country's cultural life and are shaped by it in turn. We look at Czechoslovakia's literature, drama, film, and music from the 1948 Communist takeover, through the Prague Spring and Soviet invasion of 1968, to the 1989 Velvet Revolution, a hallmark of the peaceful overthrow of Communism in Europe. We consider works by Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal, Vaclav Havel; films of the Czech New Wave (Milos Forman, Vera Chytilova, Jiri Menzel); clandestine publishing and underground art; and theories of political dissent under authoritarian regimes.
Societies of the World 52. Russia in Global Perspective
Prof. Julie Buckler and Prof. Kelly O'Neill
Tuesdays and Thursdays,10–11am
From the Middle East to the Pacific rim, Russia has re-emerged as a major player on the world stage. Russia has transitioned in significant ways since the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union ("the evil empire"), just as it did during the tumultuous aftermath of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution that ended a 300-year imperial dynasty. Through in-depth, interdisciplinary examination of six key themes with contemporary as well as historical resonance (conquest, political terror, the environment, commerce, imaginative representations, and mobility), we will investigate the evolving concept of "Russianness" in a global context. Assignments include curation of a "Russia in the World" digital exhibit.
Freshman Seminars - Spring 2017 Semester
Freshman Seminar 60u. One Hundred Years of Labor: Literature, Cinema, and Political Thought since the Russian Revolution
Prof. Michael Kunichika
Meeting time TBD
The year 2017 will mark the centennial of the Russian Revolution. The century that lay between these two years of 1917 and 2017 can be approached in many ways, focusing on the rise and fall of the Soviet Union; the confrontation of liberalism, communism and fascism in World War Two; the competition between the Soviet Union and America throughout the Cold War; or spread (and crises) of global capitalism. The thread we will follow throughout this course is to think of the past century in terms of the story, or better, stories of labor and the forms by which labor has been represented with a diverse array of media. We will examine how labor and work have been represented in primarily Russian and Soviet literature and film, while drawing comparisons from American and European cultural sources. We will consider both the Revolution as a historical phenomenon, examining central texts in which its ambitions and significance were contested, and then consider chapters in the on-going career of labor from the 1920s to the present-day. We examine the seminal statements of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky; the groundbreaking films of Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein; and the enduring literary works of Andrei Platonov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn among others. Alongside the Russian texts, we will read or screen works by John Steinbeck, Charlie Chaplin, Fritz Lang, and Eugene O’Neil. Throughout, we will be guided by several questions and concerns: how does a particular work represent labor and conceive its value? What is the nature of work? How is intellectual labor understood in relation to others forms of labor? How are bodies configured by different labor processes? And, lastly, what might this history tell us about the present state and challenge of labor and social inequity at the centennial of the Revolution?
Other related courses Spring 2017: Linguistics 252. Comparative Slavic Linguistics
Prof. Michael S. Flier
Spring 2017, Mondays, 2–4pm
Introduction to the historical phonology and morphology of the Slavic languages with special attention to relative chronology and linguistic geography.