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Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

This is an archived copy of the 2012-13 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit http://catalogs.uchicago.edu.

Chair

  • Lenore Grenoble

Professors

  • Victor A. Friedman
  • Lenore Grenoble
  • Bozena Shallcross

Associate Professors

  • Robert Bird
  • Malynne M. Sternstein
  • Lina Steiner

Assistant Professors

  • Yaroslav Gorbachov
  • William Nickell

Senior Lecturer

  • Valentina Pichugin

Lecturers

  • Angelina Ilieva
  • Kinga Kosmala
  • Nada Petkovic Djordjevic
  • Tamra Wysocki-Niimi

Emeritus Faculty

  • Howard I. Aronson
  • Bill Darden
  • Norman Ingham
  • Samuel Sandler
  • Frantisek Svejkovsky
  • Edward Wasiolek

Associate Faculty

  • Matthew Jesse Jackson, Art History & Visual Arts
  • Boris Maslov, Comparative Literature
  • Yuri Tsivian, Art History, Comparative Literature & Cinema and Media Studies
  • Adam Zagajewski, Social Thought
  • Tara Zahra, History

Program Description

The Graduate Program

Our graduate programs are designed to provide a comprehensive preparation in students' major disciplines and prepare them for a career in Slavic studies, while also encouraging them to explore other related fields. Each graduate track therefore has a minimal list of specific requirements and a maximal amount of flexibility in their fulfillment.

While the requirements for each track of study differ, the following are constant across all tracks. The objective of the program is the Ph.D. degree.  Doctoral students in the program are  eligible for the M.A. degree after completing the following requirements: successful completion of nine courses, including Old Church Slavonic, and of the master's exam or paper; reading knowledge of French or German; a test for advanced proficiency in speaking and writing the principal Slavic language. After successfully completing nine more courses, passing the comprehensive examinations and demonstrating reading knowledge of both French and German, each candidate must write an acceptable dissertation that makes an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field.

Russian Literature

Courses in Russian literature are taught by internationally renowned faculty with a broad variety of specializations, from medieval Slavic literature to the classic Russian novel to current writing in Russia. Poetry is a particular strength, with detailed coverage of great Russian poetry from Lomonosov, Pushkin, and Akhmatova to Brodsky and beyond. Another strength is Russian intellectual history, from the Slavophiles to Bakhtin. Our offerings also include coverage of contemporary theory and non-verbal media.

MA: Nine quarter courses (including: Proseminar in Literary Theory and Methods; Introduction to Slavic Linguistics; and at least three courses in the literature of specialization) and a comprehensive examination in the literature of specialization, based on a department reading list.  An exam demonstrating a reading knowledge of French or German is required. Students who intend to go on to the Ph.D. degree are encouraged to obtain preparation in a second Slavic language.

PhD: In addition to the courses required at the Master's level, students must take one course in the history of their language of specialization and one course in its structure. Remaining required courses will be those needed to prepare for the comprehensive examination. Before taking the comprehensive examination, students in literature must demonstrate a reading knowledge of one Slavic language in addition to their language of specialization; they must also have successfully completed at least one advanced seminar. An exam demonstrating reading knowledge in both French and German is required. The comprehensive examination is given in the following areas:

  1. History of the literature in the principal language of specialization and
  2. the literature of the second Slavic language or Slavic Linguistics. In exceptional circumstances the department will consider petitions to substitute for this requirement another field which is shown to be particularly relevant to the student’s plan of work.

Slavic Linguistics and Languages


The Department offers options to specialize in  Slavic Linguistics (Historical or Synchronic) or Contact Linguistics. Language and linguistics-oriented courses are available in Russian, Czech, Polish, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian as well as Albanian, Georgian, Lak, and Romani. The option to pursue a joint degree in the Department of Linguistics broadens the opportunities for students in Slavic Linguistics.

MA: Students take a core set of courses required for all three tracks as well as a set of track-specific courses. All students are required to take a comprehensive written examination based on a departmental reading list and general coursework by the spring quarter of the second year; this exam serves as a Qualifying Examination for admission to the Ph.D. program

Common MA Core Courses:

The common core courses required of all students are: Introduction to Slavic Linguistics; Old Church Slavonic; Structure of Russian; History of Russian; and advanced knowledge of Russian (this requirement may be met by successfully completing 5th-year Russian).

Slavic Linguistics (Historical or Synchronic):
Students specializing in Historical or Synchronic Slavic linguistics are expected to demonstrate proficiency in reading a second Slavic language (this second requirement may be met by satisfactorily completing all work of a one-year language course), and courses in the history and structure of the second Slavic language. Two courses in literature or interdisciplinary studies are also required. Comparative Slavic is required for the specialization in Historical linguistics and Advanced Structure of Russian for the Synchronic linguistics.

Contact Linguistics:

Students specializing in Contact linguistics must demonstrate proficiency in a relevant language for their area, to be determined in consultation with their adviser. Other required courses include: Contact linguistics and two courses in literature or interdisciplinary studies. Courses in anthropological approaches to Language and Culture may serve for the literature/interdisciplinary requirement.

PhD:  Students who have been advanced to the Ph.D. program are expected to demonstrate mastery of their discipline as well as research skills by completion of a Qualifying Paper by the end of the spring quarter of their third year for continuation in the program. The topic of this paper is to be determined in consultation with the adviser. Successful completion of this Qualifying Paper is a prerequisite to defense of the dissertation proposal.

Common PhD Core courses:

All students are required to take general linguistics courses in Phonetics/Phonology and Syntax, a research seminar, and at least one upper-level seminar in Slavic or general linguistics.

Historical Slavic Linguistics:

In addition to the core courses, the track in Historical Slavic Linguistics requires: Introduction to Indo-European and Introduction to Historical linguistics, and a reading knowledge of one additional Slavic languages, so that East, West, and South Slavic languages are all represented.

Synchronic Slavic Linguistics:

In addition to the core courses, the track in Synchronic Slavic Linguistics requires: Advanced Structure of Russian, a second advanced seminar in Slavic or general linguistics (to be determined in consultation with the adviser) and a reading knowledge of one additional Slavic languages, so that East, West, and South Slavic languages are all represented.

Contact Linguistics:

Students in Contact Linguistics are required to complete Field Methods (I/II), Typology, Introduction to Indo-European or Introduction to Historical Linguistics.

Advancement to Candidacy:

Upon successful completion of all coursework and the Qualifying Paper, students are expected to defend a dissertation proposal no later than the spring quarter of the fourth year for Advancement to Candidacy.

For exact details of each course of study, please consult the Slavic Department Graduate Student Manual. 

Interdisciplinary Studies

This cutting edge program offers broad preparation in the relationships among the visual arts, cinema, media, folk and popular culture, as well as Slavic, Balkan, and Baltic languages and literatures. The main thrust of the program is the study of the history and criticism of interdisciplinary approaches to literature and the visual arts. Other emphases include anthropology, language, and intellectual history.

MA: Nine quarter courses (including: Introduction to Slavic and East European Arts and Cultures (proseminar); Words and Images: Introduction to Interdisciplinary Approaches; and three additional courses in a Slavic or East European Literature, art and/or culture). In consultation with the program advisor, students will submit an MA paper (ordinarily based on a term paper) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree.

PhD: Students must develop a plan of study by the end of their first year of study, to be approved by their M.A. Paper Committee, and in addition to the courses required at the Master’s level must take the following courses: one course in Slavic linguistics (i.e., Introduction to Slavic Linguistics, or a course in the history or structure of a Slavic, Balkan, or Baltic language); the advanced research seminar in Slavic and East European literatures; five approved courses in Slavic or East European arts and cultures; and a second Slavic Department language (1 year of study or reading knowledge) The comprehensive examination is given in the following manner. The field of the exams and their reading lists will be determined in consultation with the examining committee.

  1. The major field examination, which covers the history of Slavic and East European arts and cultures as it pertains to the area of the student’s dissertation project.
  2. Their minor field in Slavic and East European arts and cultures.

Polish & Czech and Slovak Studies

Since its creation in 1962, the Department's Polish Studies Program has served as one of the eminent academic centers for Polish literature, culture, and linguistics in the United States. The program offers a Ph.D. degree in Polish literature and linguistics. The Department also offers students the opportunity to specialize in Czech language and literature. Support for Czech and Slovak language study is provided by annual awards from the Department's Procházka Funds.

Requirements for All Tracks

MA: Reading knowledge of French or German, one quarter of Old Church Slavonic, and a test for advanced proficiency in speaking and writing the principal Slavic language.

PhD: Reading knowledge of both French and German. Each candidate must write an acceptable dissertation that makes an original contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field. Reading knowledge of a second Slavic language.

Admissions/Financial aid

The prerequisites for admission are a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and knowledge of written and spoken Russian or of another Slavic language in which the department offers advanced courses sufficient for graduate work, usually equivalent to four years of college study. Entering students are required to take a placement examination in their major Slavic language and to make up any deficiency in their preparation.

Completed applications for admission and aid, along with all supporting materials, are due in mid-December for the academic year that starts in the following Autumn.

Four parts of the application are critically important and should accompany the application: the student’s academic record, letters of recommendation submitted by persons able to describe the student’s achievements and promise, the student’s statement of purpose, which describes the intellectual issues and subjects which they hope to explore at Chicago, and a sample of pertinent written work that demonstrates the applicant’s research interests or capabilities. The student’s academic record is documented through official transcripts.

Students whose first language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Information about these tests may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08540. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required of applicants for the PhD in linguistics.

The application process for admission and financial aid for all graduate programs in Humanities is administered through the divisional Office of the Dean of Students. The Application for Admission and Financial Aid, with instructions, deadlines and department specific information is available online at: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/prospective/#admissions .

Questions pertaining to admissions and aid should be directed to humanitiesadmissions@uchicago.edu or (773) 702-1552.

Contact Information

For additional information about the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, please see http://slavic.uchicago.edu/ or call (773) 702- 8033 or e-mail <slavic-department@uchicago.edu >.

Courses

The actual offerings for the year will be found in the quarterly Time Schedules (http://timeschedules.uchicago.edu/ ).

 

 

Slavic Languages and Literatures - Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian Courses

BCSN 30100-30200-30300. Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I-II-III.

This course is tailored to the needs of the students enrolled, depending on their concentration in the field. It enhances language acquisition with continuous reading and translation of essays, newspaper articles, literary excerpts, letters and other selected writings. Vocabulary building is emphasized by the systematic study of nominal and verbal roots, prefixes and suffixes, and word formation thereafter. Discussion follows each completed reading with a written composition assigned in relation to the topic.

BCSN 30100. Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): BCSN 20300 or consent of instructor

BCSN 30200. Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Winter

BCSN 30300. Advanced Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian III. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Spring

BCSN 31000-31100-31200. Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I-II-III.

The major objective of the course is to build a solid foundation in the basic grammatical patterns of written and spoken Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, while simultaneously introducing both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabets. This course is complemented with cultural and historical media from the Balkans and is designed for students with a wide range of interests. Screenings of movies and other audio-visual materials are held in addition to scheduled class time. Knowledge of a Slavic language and background in linguistics not required.

BCSN 31000. Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): BCSN 10100

BCSN 31100. Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): BCSN 10200

BCSN 31200. Elementary Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian III. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): BCSN 10300

BCSN 32000-32100-32200. Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I-II-III.

The first quarter is devoted to an overview of grammar, with emphasis on verbal morphology and syntax, through the reading of a series of literary texts in both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets. The second and third quarters are devoted to further developing active mastery of Bosian/Croatian/Serbian through continued readings, grammar drills, compositions, and conversational practice. Study of word formation, nominal and adjectival morphology, and syntax are emphasized. Screenings of movies and other audio-visual materials are held in addition to scheduled class time.

BCSN 32000. Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian I. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): BCSN 10300 or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): BCSN 20100

BCSN 32100. Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian II. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): BCSN 20200

BCSN 32200. Intermediate Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian III. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): N. Petkovic     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): BCSN 20300

Slavic Languages and Literatures - Czech Courses

CZEC 36701. Czech New Wave Cinema. 100 Units.

The insurgent film movement known as the Czech New Wave spawned such directors as the internationally acclaimed Milos Forman (The Fireman’s Ball, Loves of a Blonde), Jiri Menzel (Closely Watched Trains), JanKadar (The Shop on Main Street), and Vera Chytilova (Daisies), and the lesser known but nationally inspirational Evald Schorm, Jarmir Jires, Odlrich Lipsky,and Jan Nemec. The serendipitous life of the Czech New Wave is as much a subject of the course’s inquiry as close technical and semantic research of the films themselves.

Instructor(s): Malynne Sternstein     Terms Offered: Autumn 2012
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 24401,CZEC 26700

Slavic Languages and Literatures - East European Courses

EEUR 30900. Structure of Albanian. 100 Units.

Equivalent Course(s): EEUR 20900,LGLN 29700,LGLN 39700

EEUR 31000. Romani Language and Linguistics. 100 Units.

This is a beginning course on the language of the Roms (Gypsies) that is based on the Arli dialect currently in official use in the Republic of Macedonia, with attention also given to dialects of Europe and the United States. An introduction to Romani linguistic history is followed by an outline of Romani grammar based on Macedonian Arli, which serves as the basis of comparison with other dialects. We then read authentic texts and discuss questions of grammar, standardization, and Romani language in society.

Instructor(s): V. Friedman     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LGLN 27800,ANTH 27700,ANTH 47900,EEUR 21000,LGLN 37800

EEUR 33400. Introduction to the Musical Folklore of Central Asia. 100 Units.

This course explores the musical traditions of the peoples of Central Asia, both in terms of historical development and cultural significance. Topics include the music of the epic tradition, the use of music for healing, instrumental genres, and Central Asian folk and classical traditions. Basic field methods for ethnomusicology are also covered. Extensive use is made of recordings of musical performances and of live performances in the area.

Instructor(s): K. Arik     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of Arabic and/or Islamic studies helpful but not required
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 20765,ANTH 25905,EEUR 23400,MUSI 23503,MUSI 33503

EEUR 39300. Philosophy of Architecture. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): Malynne Sternstein     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): EEUR 29300

Slavic Languages and Literatures - General Slavic Courses

SLAV 30100. Introduction to Slavic Linguistics. 100 Units.

The main goal of this course is to familiarize students with the essential facts of the Slavic linguistic history and with the most characteristic features of the modern Slavic languages. In order to understand the development of Proto-Slavic into the existing Slavic languages and dialects, we focus on a set of basic phenomena. The course is specifically concerned with making students aware of factors that led to the breakup of the Slavic unity and the emergence of the individual languages. Drawing on the historical development, we touch upon such salient typological characteristics of the modern languages such as the rich set of morphophonemic alternations, aspect, free word order, and agreement.

Terms Offered: Autumn 2012
Note(s): This course is typically offered in alternate years.
Equivalent Course(s): SLAV 20100,LING 26400,LING 36400

SLAV 30303. Jewish Thought and Literature II: Narratives of Assimilation. 100 Units.

Topic: Narratives of Assimilation. This course offers a survey into the manifold strategies of representing the Jewish community in East Central Europe beginning from the nineteenth century to the Holocaust. Engaging the concept of liminality—of a society at the threshold of radical transformation—it will analyze Jewry facing uncertainties and challenges of the modern era and its radical changes. Students will be acquainted with problems of cultural and linguistic isolation, hybrid identity, assimilation, and cultural transmission through a wide array of genres—novel, short story, epic poem, memoir, painting, illustration, film. The course draws on both Jewish and Polish-Jewish sources; all texts are read in English translation.

Instructor(s): B. Shallcross     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): JWSC 20005,FNDL 20414,NEHC 20405,NEHC 30405,SLAV 20203

SLAV 32000. Old Church Slavonic. 100 Units.

This course introduces the language of the oldest Slavic texts. It begins with a brief historical overview of the relationship of Old Church Slavonic to Common Slavic and the other Slavic languages. This is followed by a short outline of Old Church Slavonic inflectional morphology. The remainder of the course is spent in the reading and grammatical analysis of original texts. Texts in Cyrillic or Cyrillic transcription of the original Glagolitic.

Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Knowledge of another Slavic language or good knowledge of another one or two old Indo-European languages. SLAV 20100 recommended.
Equivalent Course(s): SLAV 22000,LGLN 25100,LGLN 35100

SLAV 36500. Human Rights in Russia and Eurasia. 100 Units.

This course focuses on the political economy of human rights in Russia and Eurasia. We will study how international norms have been “imported” by post-Soviet states. How have regional politics and cultures shaped how rights norms are understood and how they are protected in practice? Why do many post-Soviet countries fail to protect the rights of their citizens? Using knowledge of the history, political culture, and social practices of the region, we will work to identify those rights issues with the most potential for positive change and those more likely to remain enduring problems.

Instructor(s): A. Janco     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 29312,HIST 39313,SLAV 26500,HMRT 26500

SLAV 39001. Poetic Cinema. 100 Units.

Films are frequently denoted as "poetic" or "lyrical" in a vague sort of way. It has been applied equally to religious cinema and to the experimental avant-garde. Our task will be to interrogate this concept and to try to define what it actually is denoting. Films and critical texts will mainly be drawn from Soviet and French cinema of the 1920s-1930s and 1960s-1990s. Directors include Dovzhenko, Renoir, Cocteau, Resnais, Maya Deren, Tarkovsky, Pasolini, Jarman, and Sokurov. In addition to sampling these directors' own writings, we shall examine theories of poetic cinema by major critics from the Russian formalists to Andre Bazin beyond.

Instructor(s): R. Bird
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 25501,CMST 35501,SLAV 29001

SLAV 50202. Seminar: Historicism and the Comparative Method. 100 Units.

This seminar will explore historicism as a theoretical problem in the study of literature. Our particular foci will be the development of historicism as a distinctly modern hermeneutic mode from the 18th c. to the 20th c.; its relation to organicism, aestheticism, and evolutionism; the rise of comparative literature alongside other "comparative disciplines" on a historicist-empiricist basis in the second half of the 19th century; literary methodologies that profess a version of historicism (Historical Poetics, (Neo)-Marxism, New Historicism). Critics discussed will include Johann von Herder, Alexander Veselovsky, Georg Lukács, Mikhail Bakhtin, Erich Auerbach, Leo Spitzer, Fredric Jameson, Reinhart Koselleck, and Carlo Ginzburg.

Instructor(s): Boris Maslov     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Equivalent Course(s): GRMN 40213,CMLT 50202

Slavic Languages and Literatures - Polish Courses

POLI 30100-30200-30300. Advanced Polish I-II-III.

Students in this course discuss selected readings (primarily short stories chosen by the instructor) in Polish during the week. The level of work is adjusted to each student’s level of preparation. All work in Polish.

POLI 30100. Advanced Polish I. 100 Units.

Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): POLI 20300 or equivalent

POLI 30200. Advanced Polish II. 100 Units.

Terms Offered: Winter

POLI 30300. Advanced Polish III. 100 Units.

Terms Offered: Spring

POLI 37100. From Poland to Popland. 100 Units.

In Poland, the divide between high and low strata of culture was not negotiable until the postwar advance of mass culture and technology, facilitated by the void created by the disappearing Polish folklore and social programs such as a systemic building of a classless society. Therefore, this course’s main focus is on the trajectory of negotiations and mutual impact between these two cultural spheres, which in turn created a new set of cultural references and associations.  On the one hand, the course offers an analysis of this complex interaction, through cinematic adaptations, between Polish canonical literature and contemporary cinema; while on the other, it discusses the young generation of Polish writers’ recent engagement of youth culture, consumerism, popnationalism, and the standardized subculture of nouveau-riches. The course discusses main theoretical approaches to the popular culture; all materials are in English.

Instructor(s): B. Shallcross     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Equivalent Course(s): POLI 27100

POLI 38600. Bruno Schulz: An Unfinished Project. Units.

This course examines the fictional, non-fictional and visual oeuvre of the brilliant Polish-Jewish modernist Bruno Schulz who perished in the Holocaust. This year marks not only the 120th anniversary of his birth but also the 70th anniversary of his death in the same town of Drohobycz on the southeastern border of Poland. These dates bracket his relatively short life and are evocative of his several unfinished authorial projects. During the course, we will focus on Schulz’s concept of creation through his use of aesthetics of trash and a debased form, kabalistic origins of a fragment, temporality and its movements, myths of province and childhood. We will seek critical answers to his artistic predilection of parochial places and conspiratorial perspectives, masochism, as well as the notion of the moment as both auratic and poetic, in sum, for those components of his world which made him an illusive modernist like no other in his time. The course will be supplemented by the construal of Schulz’s legend in contemporary American fiction (Cynthis Ozick, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Nicole Krauss). All readings in English translation.

Instructor(s): B. Shallcross     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): JWSC 26360

Slavic Languages and Literatures - Russian Courses

RUSS 30102-30202-30302. Advanced Russian through Media I-II-III.

This course, which is designed for fifth-year students of Russian, covers various aspects of Russian stylistics and discourse grammar in context. It emphasizes the four communicative skills (i.e., reading, writing, listening comprehension, speaking) in culturally authentic context. Clips from Russian/Soviet films and television news reports are shown and discussed in class. Classes conducted in Russian. Conversation practice is held twice a week.

RUSS 30102. Advanced Russian through Media I. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): V. Pichugin     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): RUSS 21002 or consent of instructor
Equivalent Course(s): RUSS 21302

RUSS 30202. Advanced Russian through Media II. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): V. Pichugin     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): RUSS 21402

RUSS 30302. Advanced Russian through Media III. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): V. Pichugin     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): RUSS 21502

RUSS 32302. War and Peace. 100 Units.

Instructor(s): W. Nickell     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): RUSS 22302,CMLT 22301,CMLT 32301,ENGL 28912,ENGL 32302,FNDL 27103,HIST 23704

RUSS 33501. Bakhtin and Lotman: From Polyphony to Semiosphere. 100 Units.

This seminar will focus on major works by the Russian philosopher, philologist and literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975), including his early philosophical work Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity, his essays on Speech genres and the Bildungsroman, as well as his books Rabelais and His World and Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics. We will also read contemporary scholarly studies devoted to Bakhtin and his circle (Clark&Holquist, Morson&Emerson, Tihanov etc.) In the last two weeks of the seminar we will turn to Yurii Lotman, examining his works on semiotics of culture as an original approach to literary theory and semiotics as well as a response to Bakhtin. The course is open to advanced undergraduates and graduate students. All texts are in English. Discussion and final papers are in English. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Instructor(s): Lina Steiner     Terms Offered: Winter 2013
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 23502,CMLT 33502

RUSS 34502. The Aesthetics of Socialist Realism. 100 Units.

Socialist Realism was declared the official mode of Soviet aesthetic culture in 1934. Though it has been dismissed within the totalitarian model as propaganda or kitsch, this seminar will approach it from the perspective of its aesthetics. By this we mean not only its visual or literary styles, but also its sensory or haptic address to its audiences. Our premise is that the aesthetic system of Socialist Realism was not simply derivative or regressive, but developed novel techniques of transmission and communication; marked by a constant theoretical reflection on artistic practice, Socialist Realism redefined the relationship between artistic and other forms of knowledge, such as science. Operating in an economy of art production and consumption diametrically opposed to the Western art market, Socialist Realism challenged the basic assumptions of Western artistic discourse, including the concept of the avant-garde. It might even be said to offer an alternate model of revolutionary cultural practice, involving the chronicling and producing of a non-capitalist form of modernity. The seminar will focus on Soviet visual art, cinema and fiction during the crucial period of the 1930s under Stalin (with readings available in translation), but we welcome students with relevant research interests that extend beyond these parameters. Conducted jointly by professors Robert Bird (Slavic and Cinemaand Media Studies, University of Chicago) and Christina Kiaer, Art History, Northwestern University, course meetings will be divided evenly between the campuses of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Instructor(s): Robert Bird and Christina Kiaer     Terms Offered: Autumn 2012
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 44502

RUSS 35700. Russian Literature from Modernism to Post-Modernism. 100 Units.

Given the importance of the written word in Russian culture, it is no surprise that writers were full-blooded participants in Russia's tumultuous recent history, which has lurched from war to war, and from revolution to revolution. The change of political regimes has only been outpaced by the change of aesthetic regimes, from realism to symbolism, and then from socialist realism to post-modernism. We sample the major writers, texts, and literary doctrines, paying close attention to the way they responded and contributed to historical events. This course counts as the third part of the survey of Russian literature. Texts in English.

Instructor(s): Robert Bird     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): RUSS 25700,HUMA 24100

Slavic Languages and Literatures - South Slavic Courses

SOSL 36800. Balkan Folklore. 100 Units.

This course is an overview of Balkan folklore from ethnographic, anthropological, historical/political, and performative perspectives. We become acquainted with folk tales, lyric and epic songs, music, and dance. The work of Milman Parry and Albert Lord, who developed their theory of oral composition through work among epic singers in the Balkans, help us understand folk tradition as a dynamic process. We also consider the function of different folklore genres in the imagining and maintenance of community and the socialization of the individual. We also experience this living tradition first hand through our visit to the classes and rehearsals of the Chicago-based ensemble "Balkanske igre."

Instructor(s): A. Ilieva     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): SOSL 26800,CMLT 23301,CMLT 33301,NEHC 20568,NEHC 30568

SOSL 37300. The Burden of History: A Nation and Its Lost Paradise. 100 Units.

This course begins by defining the nation both historically and conceptually, with attention to Romantic nationalism and its flourishing in Southeastern Europe. We then look at the narrative of original wholeness, loss, and redemption through which Balkan countries retell their Ottoman past. With the help of Freud's analysis of masochistic desire and Žižek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma, we contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity. The figure of the Janissary highlights the significance of the other in the definition of the self. Some possible texts are Petar Njegoš's Mountain Wreath; Ismail Kadare's The Castle; and Anton Donchev's Time of Parting.

Instructor(s): A. Ilieva     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 23401,CMLT 33401,NEHC 20573,NEHC 30573,SOSL 27300

SOSL 37400. Magic Realist and Fantastic Writings from the Balkans. 100 Units.

In this course, we ask whether there is such a thing as a "Balkan" type of magic realism and think about the differences between the genres of magic realism and the fantastic, while reading some of the most interesting writing to have come out of the Balkans. We also look at the similarities of the works from different countries (e.g., lyricism of expression, eroticism, nostalgia) and argue for and against considering such similarities constitutive of an overall Balkan sensibility.

Instructor(s): A. Ilieva     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): SOSL 27400,CMLT 22201,CMLT 32201