Sarah Lawrence College:
Sarah Lawrence is a small coeducational liberal arts college, offering undergraduate degrees in Russian. Located just fifteen miles north of New York City on a wooded campus, Sarah Lawrence is nationally renowned for its rigorous academic standards. At Sarah Lawrence, first- and second-year Russian classes are offered every year. Third-year students are strongly encouraged to take their junior year abroad; an advanced reading course is offered for students returning from Russia and / or according to student need.
The goal of the Russian language classes is to teach students to speak, comprehend, read and write a fascinating language with a logic very different from that of English.
At the end of this course, students will know the fundamentals of Russian grammar and will be able to use them to read, write, and, most especially, speak Russian on an elementary level. Successful language learning involves both creativity and a certain amount of rote learning: memorization gives the student the basis to then extrapolate, improvise, and have fun with the language. This course will lay equal emphasis on both. Our four hours of class each week will be spent actively using what we know in pair and group activities, dialogues, discussions, etc. Twice-weekly written homework, serving both to reinforce old and to introduce new material, will be required. At the end of each semester, we will also formalize the principle of rigorous but creative communication that underlies all our work through small-group video projects.
Please note that students are required to attend weekly conversation classes with the Russian assistant. Attendance at Russian table is also strongly encouraged.
At the end of this course, students should feel that they have a fairly sophisticated grasp of Russian and the ability to communicate in Russian in any situation. After the first year, students have learned the bulk of Russian grammar, and this course will emphasize grammar review, vocabulary accumulation, and regular oral practice. Class time will center on the spoken language, and students will be expected to participate actively in discussions based around new vocabulary. Regular written homework will be required.
Conference work will focus on the written language, and students will be asked to read short texts by the author(s) of their choice with the aim of appreciating a very different culture and/or literature while learning to read independently, accurately, and with as little recourse to the dictionary as possible.
Advanced Russian: Ivan Vasil’evich
This course is aimed at students who are beyond the second-year level. While we will continue some work with a textbook, our aim will be to move away from grammar and into active reading, writing, watching, and speaking in Russian. Over the course of the semester, we will also learn a number of popular and folk songs along with the basics of Russian word morphology.
A large part of the course will be based around our reading of Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1936 play Ivan Vasil’evich and our watching of the 1973 film adaptation Ivan Vasil’evich meniaet professiiu; both play and film tell the story of a somewhat hapless scientist who succeeds in inventing a time machine. Other texts will include historical accounts: Mikhail Zoshchenko’s short story Krizis, Sergei Eisenstein’s film Ivan the Terrible, various films portraying the 1920’s and the 1960’s/70’s, and a short excerpt from Ivan Voinovich’s Ivankiada.
Other Programs (offered in English)
- CCE: Dostoevsky and the West (fall)
- Dostoevsky and the 1860s (spring)
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