We offer two majors: Russian, for students who want to focus primarily on literature and culture, and Russian and East European Studies (REES), a multidisciplinary program for students who want to combine the study of language and literature with courses in history, politics, sociology, and related disciplines.
A fundamental knowledge of Russian is essential.
You also can minor in either discipline; Russian and REES minors require moderate levels of language training in combination with classes taught in translation.
We teach a variety of courses on Russian literature and culture in English. The majority have no prerequisites and are open to all students. Faculty interests are broad and interdisciplinary: Russian cinema, and Soviet and post-Soviet prose; 19th-century Russian literature and culture, as well as Russian representations of the natural world; Russian dance of the 19th and 20th centuries; and late imperial and early 20th century traditions of Russian modernism and drama.
A chief goal of the REES program is to prepare you for research or study in Russia or Eastern Europe. We highly recommend study abroad for a semester or a year in one of our Oberlin-affiliated programs in such Russian cities as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladimir, Yaroslavl, or Irkutsk, and in the Czech Republic, Poland, or Hungary. We emphasize building a strong foundation in Russian language and culture so you can function and communicate adequately at home and abroad.
We provide a wealth of opportunities to enhance your study outside of the classroom, including annual lectures, film screenings, winter-term projects, and internships. You can live in Russian House, a small coeducational residence hall for up to 15 students. It has a community feel and is the site for most Russian cultural and social activities on campus. You can attend the weekday Russian Table during lunchtime to practice language skills in a friendly, relaxed environment.
Advanced students participate in weekly conversation groups held in a setting in downtown Oberlin.
Students can also begin language study during winter term, through the Intensive Elementary Russian course regularly offered in January.
Through the Oberlin Center for Russian and East European and Central Asian Studies (OCREECAS), you can take short courses that feature prominent experts. The most recent OCREECAS scholar in residence, Masha Gessen, a renowned journalist, author, and LGBTQ activist, taught the course Never Remember: Reckoning with Stalin’s Terror in spring 2017.
OCREECAS staff also work with the REES Committee to develop curriculum and supervises internship, research, service, and employment opportunities for qualified students and recent graduates.