Jul 20, 2024  
College Catalog 2024-2025 
College Catalog 2024-2025

Russian Studies

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Full Time Faculty: Julia Chadaga (Chair), Maria Fedorova, James von Geldern

The Russian Studies program offers students an opportunity to learn one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, and to access and understand the REEES (Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia) region through coursework in language, literature, culture, history, and international studies. This vast and diverse region has been a place of intensive cultural exchange for many centuries. During this time, various groups came into contact that resulted in trade, wars, imperial rule, and revolutionary insurrections, as well as socialist experiments. This region has also produced some of the world’s most enduring and beautiful works of music, literature, art, and cinema. Our program provides pathways into discovering this region, its people, and its works. Many of the authors we teach created classics of world literature that have broadened the definition of their genres. The readings are in translation in the majority of our courses, and all students are welcome. Many of our courses are cross-listed with other departments including American Studies, Art and Art History, English, History, International Studies, and Linguistics.

The Russian Studies major provides students with the skills to navigate Russian-language environments, immerses them in Russian culture, and allows them to develop a comprehensive understanding of historical and political contexts. The major is flexible to accommodate the complexity of the subject and our students’ diverse interests. Students can combine courses in literature and culture with courses in such fields as economics, history, international studies, and political science in a way that works best for them. 

Russia and other post-Soviet states are dynamic and complex nations that wield global influence, and as this region continues to develop, it offers ever greater career opportunities for graduates with a knowledge of Russian. Our majors graduate with practical skills (including writing, public speaking, research, and advanced proficiency in Russian) and valuable critical, analytical, and creative thinking skills. Students typically major in Russian Studies in preparation for careers in education, law, journalism, business, foreign service, public health, ecology, translation, and graduate work in the humanities or social sciences.

The Russian House

Starting in their sophomore year, students are eligible to live in the Macalester Russian House, where interaction with a resident native speaker and fellow Russian learners allows them to improve oral proficiency and develop increased understanding of Russophone cultures and societies. Living in the Russian House is excellent preparation for a semester in a Russian-speaking country. The Russian House also hosts special events including traditional meals, hands-on cooking and craft demonstrations, film screenings, guest speakers, student performances, and holiday celebrations.

Study Abroad

Our students have many opportunities to travel, study, and do research in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Students may apply to programs offered by Middlebury College (Astana, Kazakhstan), American Councils (Armenia, Yerevan and Almaty, Kazakhstan), SRAS (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; Riga, Latvia; and Tbilisi, Georgia), or other programs as approved by the department and the Center for Study Away advisors. Students also have the opportunity to participate in domestic summer immersion programs such as the federally funded STARTALK.

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the Russian Studies department count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except for elementary and intermediate language courses and RUSS 250  (counts for fine arts distribution).

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S. identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements  section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The Russian department participates in the Honors Program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Topics Courses

RUSS 194 , RUSS 294 , RUSS 394 , RUSS 494  

The subject matter of these courses will vary: departmental and interdisciplinary topics such as “Food, Science and Technology (1914-1939): A Transatlantic Perspective,” “Once We Arrived: Stories of Immigrants’ First Jobs,” and “Environment and Empire.” Offerings change from year to year. All topics courses are taught in English. Every year. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum  section of the catalog.


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