Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies
Explore the vast and complex land where West meets East.
Gateway to a Region that is More Important than Ever in Today’s World
Summer in Tbilisi
Georgia: The Crossroads of Civilzations is an immersive summer course based in the country’s capital, Tbilisi. Students participate in a rich academic program of lectures, discussions, and field trips while simultaneously interning according to their interests at a range of organizations and institutions (libraries, museums, NGOs etc.).
Learn—and Teach!—the Language of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky
One reason our majors land so many Fulbrights is that they have the chance not just to take Russian, but to teach it as well. We’ve run a student-taught Winter Term Elementary Russian Intensive for almost 50 years.
Ukrainian culture has been and continues to be shaped by encounters with colonialism in the form of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and contemporary Russia. How did Ukrainian novelists, playwrights, poets, and filmmakers respond to these encounters? What new strategies for creativity did they develop? How do these 20th-century colonial encounters help us understand Russia’s current war in Ukraine? Discussion format, brief lectures. All readings in English. Course appropriate for new students.
- Taught by
- Anna Lordan
Responding to the major crises and anxieties of modernity, particularly the decline of religion and the rise of metaphysical skepticism, existentialism invites us to explore such themes as consciousness, death, the absurd, freedom, and responsibility. This course probes the origins of the existentialist worldview in 19th and early 20th-century Russian literature (Tolstoy, Dostoevsky) and classic texts by European existentialists (Kafka, Unamuno, Camus, Sartre, de Beauvoir), then considers how this legacy was refracted in 20th and 21st-century Russian literature and film. In English.
- Taught by
- Vladimir Ivantsov
The grand upheavals of the October Revolution did not just involve the radical transformation of social relations and economic conditions in the here and now. The Soviet experiment was also deeply concerned with the future: imagining new horizons of human possibility through grand political theories, novel practices of everyday life, and the vehicle of speculative fiction. By engaging with secondary literatures and primary texts (cinema, politics, prose), we explore what it might mean to investigate the history of the future.
- Taught by
- Nicholas Bujalski
Selected readings from the Kyiv-born Russian and Soviet author in the context of the Russian revolution, civil war, and the 1930s. From his early short stories to the unfinished novel Master and Margarita, Bulgakov raises questions about the difficult moral and existential choices that his characters—and he as an author—make in order to survive in a time of oppression, war, and lies. The course provides a window into the complexity of Bulgakov’s life and work. In Russian.
- Taught by
- Maia Solovieva
Student Paths and Profiles
Oberlin-Moscow-Colombo- Alaska-New York-Uzbekistan
Globe-trotter Sarah Chatta ’17 double-majored in creative writing and Russian and wrote an honors thesis on Bollywood in the Soviet Union. After graduation, she taught English in Moscow, then worked as a journalist in Sri Lanka (on a Princeton in Asia Fellowship), Alaska, and New York City (for Inside Edition). She is currently a Fulbright Fellow in Bukhara, Uzbekistan.
Hank Miller ’17 taught Winter Term Russian and wrote an honors thesis on Nabokov’s Pale Fire. After graduation, he journeyed on a Fulbright to Yakutsk, the coldest city on earth, where he taught English for a year and visited the local Wooly Mammoth Museum. He is now in the warmer climes of Berkeley CA, where he is pursuing a PhD in Russian literature.
Natural Winemaking in Georgia
Russian major and varsity swimmer Jean-Paul Gilbert ’17 headed off to Sighnaghi, Republic of Georgia after graduation to work at a natural winery through an OCREECAS internship. He then did a stint at the world famous restaurant Noma in Copenhagen before going back to his hometown of Chicago, where he plans to open a natural wine bar.
Above, Jean-Paul cleans out a qvevri—a giant amphora buried in the earth for fermenting wine.