To see courses taught in Russian, click here.

To see courses taught in English, click here.


To browse the full list of courses available by academic department, visit Courses of Instruction.


To browse the most up-to-date faculty listing, click here.

2016-2018 CATALOGUE

To browse the 2016-2018 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.

2014-2016 CATALOGUE

To browse the 2014-2016 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.

2012-2014 CATALOGUE

To browse the 2012-2014 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.

2010-2012 CATALOGUE

To browse the 2010-2012 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.

2008-2010 CATALOGUE

To browse the 2008-2010 Catalogue online as a PDF, click here.

2006-2008 CATALOGUE

The 2006-2008 Catalogue is still available online as a PDF. To browse it, click here.


If you have questions or comments about the new online Catalogue, please send us your feedback.



The Russian Area Studies program offers courses in the humanities and the social sciences on Russia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. The program’s focus is on the language, culture, history, and society of Russia. In addition to learning about the past, students will better understand current events in the Russian Federation and Central Asia. Such knowledge is especially valuable given the critical role this region plays in the world and its importance to U.S. foreign policy.

Our students go on to careers in a variety of fields. Recent graduates are working in international development, finance, law, and U.S. and international businesses. Students who are considering graduate work in Russian area studies or Slavic languages and literatures should consult with their academic adviser as early as possible, ideally by the end of the sophomore year. The program’s alums have had great success at top graduate programs in the field.

Russia is a natural subject for a multidisciplinary approach. The struggle to improve conditions of life in that country has constituted a common project engaging social, political, economic, and religious thinkers, historians, philosophers, writers, and artists. No one area, approach, or way of knowing has developed in isolation from the others.

The Russian Area Studies program offers two tracks for a major (one disciplinary and one interdisciplinary), and two tracks for a minor (one disciplinary and one interdisciplinary). The interdisciplinary track involves a concentration in Russian History and Society, while the disciplinary track involves a concentration in Russian Language for the minor and Russian Language and Culture for the major. Only courses for which the student has received a grade of C- or better will be counted toward either of the majors or minors. A term abroad in the Colleges’ program in Russia, at the Altai State Pedagogical University in Barnaul, is strongly recommended for either major.

interdisciplinary, 11 courses
HIST 263 The Russian Land
RUSE 112 Introduction to Russian Literature
RUSE 460 Research and Readings in Russian Area Studies
Three Russian language courses, starting with RUS 102.
Two courses from the Russian area studies Humanities electives.
Three courses from the Russian area studies Social Science electives.
Restrictions: At least two courses must be at the 300-level or above. No more than one course can come from the Contextual Courses category. Students are encouraged to take at least three years of language study.

disciplinary, 11 courses
HIST 263 The Russian Land
RUSE 112 Introduction to Russian Literature
RUSE 460 Research and Readings in Russian Area Studies
Six Russian language courses, starting with RUS 102.
Two non-language courses from the Russian Area Studies offerings, one of which must be from the Humanities and one of which must be from the Social Sciences.
Restrictions: No course from the list of Contextual Courses will count towards the major. Students pursuing the disciplinary major should plan to spend at least one semester studying abroad in Russia.

disciplinary, 6 courses
Six Russian language courses starting with RUS 102.

interdisciplinary, 6 courses
HIST 263 The Russian Land
RUSE 112 Tsars, Mad Cats, and Comrades: Introduction to Russian Literature
Four courses from the Russian Area Studies electives selected in consultation with an adviser.
Restrictions: Two courses must be in the Social Sciences. No courses from the list of Contextual Courses may count toward the minor

Humanities Electives
ENG 346 20th-Century Central European Fiction
HIST 261 20th Century Russia
HIST 263 The Russian Land: 1000 to 2000 (Core course for both majors and for the Area Studies/History and Society minor)
HIST 367 Women and the Russian State (offered occasionally)

Social Sciences Electives
BIDS 120 Russia and the Environment
ECON 146 The Russian Economy
HIST 260 19th-Century Russian Modernity through Literature
HIST 261 20th-Century Eurasia
HIST 394 Russia and Central Asia
HIST 396 History and the Fate of Socialism
POL 257 Russia and China Unraveled

Contextual Courses
Cannot count for either of the minors or for the Language and Culture major; maximum of one can count for the History and Society major.
ECON 233 Comparative Economic Systems and Institutions
ECON 236 Introduction to Radical Political Economy
ECON 240 International Trade
ECON 344 Economic Development and Planning
HIST 238 World Wars in Global Perspective
HIST 276 The Age of Dictators
POL 140 Introduction to Comparative Politics
POL 245 Europe East and West
POL 279 Radical Thought Left and Right
SOC 300 Classical Sociological Theory

RUS 101, 102 Introductory Russian I and II An introduction to the Russian language designed particularly to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing. Instruction and practice rely heavily on technological tools such as CD-ROMs, computerized drilling exercises, and interactive Web activities. Weekly laboratory is mandatory.

RUS 201, 202 Intermediate Russian I and II The aim of these courses is to develop further the basic language skills acquired in the introductory courses. An intensive study of grammatical structures with a continued emphasis on oral and written skills, they include supplementary reading with vocabulary useful for everyday situations and creative writing based on course material. Audio/video tapes and computers are used.

RUS 410, 411 Topics: Russian Language and Culture Advanced Russian language and culture courses for students who have completed two or more years of language study. These courses offer topics from a broad range of choices, including literary texts, poetry, film and avant-garde writers. Written and oral reports and weekly journals. This course may be repeated for credit.

RUS 450 Independent Study

RUS 456 1/2 Credit Independent Study

RUS 495 Honors

RUSE 112 Tsars, Mad Cats, and Comrades This course serves as the introductory literature and culture course for Russian Area Studies as well as the major and minor.  It introduces students to the dominant literary and cultural traditions from 1800-2000, with particular emphasis on developments in poetry and prose, but also with reference to movements in art, music, theater, and dance. Students will gain experience in close readings of texts in order to better understand the Russian cultural tradition and the manner in which Russian literature and history intertwine. Note: this course requires no previous knowledge of Russian literature or history.

RUSE 137 Vampires: From Vlad to Buffy This course examines the vampire from its historical roots in the legend of Vlad Tepes to the American commercialization and popularization of the vampire in media such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Students discuss the qualities of the folkloric vampire and its role in traditional culture, how the folkloric vampire has evolved over time and across cultural borders, and why the vampire is such a pervasive cultural icon. The approach is interdisciplinary, using folktales, short stories, legends, novels, films, television shows, and analytical studies. All materials are read in English. (Galloway, offered annually)

RUSE 203 Russian Prison Literature The Soviet system of prisons and labor camps operated for much of the 20th century. Under dictator Josef Stalin, millions of the country's own citizens were imprisoned on false charges for years, worked to death in Siberian mines, or executed outright. The perpetrators of these crimes have never been brought to justice. In this course students read from the literature that arose in response to this tragedy: works by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Varlam Shalamov, Lidia Ginzburg, and Georgii Vladimov. The course is open to all students regardless of level, and all readings will be in English translation. (Galloway, offered alternate years)

RUSE 204 Russian Film 1917-2001 This course is an introduction to the most important trends, directors, and films in Russian cinema from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Students are exposed to a wide range of movies, including early silent films, experimental films of the 1920s and early 1930s, socialist realist films, films on World War II and Soviet life, and films from contemporary Russia. All readings are in English and all films shown with English subtitles. Because of the rich heritage of Russian cinema, this course does not claim to be an exhaustive treatment of all the great Russian films, but rather aims to acquaint students with the overall contours of Russian filmmaking and with the fundamentals of reading film.

RUSE 206 America Through Russian Eyes How do you define America? Does your definition mesh with what the rest of the world might think? This course explores American culture and identify through readings and films by American and Russian poets, novelists, and directors. From Red scares through the Cold War and Evil Empire all the way to the New Russians, twentieth-and twenty-first-century Americans and Russians have shared a deep mutual fascination, and have often defined themselves via contrast with the forbidding, alluring Other. We will study travelogues, memoirs, novels, stories, and films by artists as diverse as John Steinbeck, Langston Hughes, Gary Shteyngart, Ellen Litman, and Aleksei Balabanov, using these works to refine our own understanding of American culture. All readings and discussions will be in English. Register for either AMST 206 (prerequisite: AMST 100 or AMST 101) or RUSE 206 (prerequisite: RUSE 112 or HIST 263).

RUSE 208 Fantastika: Sci-Fi and Fantasy Science fiction and fantasy are a cornerstone of Russian culture. During the Soviet push toward modernization, airplane, rocket ships, and extraterrestrial beings inspired audiences to reach "ever higher." The tradition first surfaced in Russia much earlier, with connections to the fantastical tales of 19th-century giants Pushkin and Gogol; it is enjoying a popular resurgence today, in the post-Soviet period. This course presents an overview of Russian science fiction and fantasy literature. We will explore how science fiction and fantasy relate to the Russian cultural and historical context, and how they portray an ideological stance. We will study the genre's origins in socialist utopian philosophy, its flowering during the early twentieth century, and its recent reawakening since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Key questions include how technological advancement challenges social norms; how science and fantasy relate to spiritual life; how technological Utopias come into being; and how technological Utopias can become dystopias. We will study stories, films, and novels from the 19th century through the present day, with special emphasis on science fiction in the Soviet period. All materials and discussions will be in English. There are no prerequisites.

RUSE 251, 351 Sexuality, Power, and Creativity in Russian Literature (In translation) In the 20th century, Russia's "other voices" continued to express the souls and spirit of individual men and women, but now under the profound impact of historical events from revolution and world wars through glasnost, perestroika, and the post-Soviet transition. Witnessing and experiencing great suffering, these heroic writers could neither remain silent under censorship nor write the socialist realist propaganda dictated by the Soviet government. Topics include Russian perceptions of male/female, masculinity/femininity; the female voice; the tension between poet and muse; gender bending; understandings of sexuality in the early Soviet period; the breaking of sexual mores during Glasnost; and how current Russian debates on gender and sexuality cite and relate to this cultural heritage. Open to students of all levels; first-years by permission. (Offered every three years)

RUSE 350 Dead Russians, Big Books (In translation) Nineteenth century Russian writers recorded  "the body and pressure of time" and mapped the human heart, exploring relationships between men and women, sexuality, issues of good and evil, and the alienated individual's search for meaning in the modern world. In brilliant, yet deliberately accessible work, prose writers recorded the conflict and struggle of their distinctively Russian cultural tradition, with its own understanding of ideas about religion, freedom, and the self, and its own attitudes toward culture, historical, and social order. Open to students of all levels. (Offered occasionally)

RUSE 450 Independent Study

RUSE 456 1/2 Credit Independent Study

RUSE 460 Capstone Seminar Designed for advanced majors and minors in Russian Area Studies (both the History & Society and Language & Culture tracks), this seminar provides a capstone experience. The seminar will engage students in current scholarship across the disciplines of Russian Area Studies and enhance student approach to research. Each seminar will be based upon fictional (novels, stories, plays, films) and non-fictional (memoirs, speeches, newspapers, journals, documents) works relating to a central theme, which will change from year to year. The seminar will explore a variety of approaches to the theme, with special attention to the sub-fields of greatest interest to class members. Other Russian Area Studies faculty will be invited to lead a session of the seminar, giving participants immediate access to a variety of disciplinary approaches (political science, economics, history, Musicology, literary criticism) to the theme. Students will identify, assign, and lead discussions of critical and contextual sources, and will develop and complete a research paper. In addition to discussing our key texts, we will devote class time to critiquing current scholarship, developing research methods, articulating a research project, workshopping/revising the seminar paper, and honing presentation skills. Potential themes include: Soviet culture and society during the Second World War; Russia in transition; Man and nature in Russia; the soldier in the Russian imagination; Petersburg; Moscow; Petersburg vs. Odessa.

RUSE 495 Honors


Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

Contact the Colleges


Offices and Resources
Campus Directory

make a gift

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.