Russian Civilization and Culture
Culture is a system of ideas expressed in linguistic, religious, literary, artistic, social, scientific, and technological forms, fleshed out by creative people. Some of these ideas are constants that persist through change, while others are variable. This course will identify and explore what it means to be “Russian” through such topics as marriage and dating, family life, cuisine, traditions and behaviors, the dacha and banya, environmental concerns, and art. These cultural categories are illustrated through journal and newspaper articles, the work of various Russian writers and artists, and other authentic visual and written materials such as menus, maps, and photographs. This course will deepen students’ understanding of Russia’s past, present, and future while improving their mastery of both written and spoken Russian. In order to better understand the complex nature of the culture of such a huge country, oral reports will address the other major ethnic groups in Russia (which compose approximately 20% of the population) and their approaches to the unit topics.