Ukraine-related Courses at Harvard

August 31, 2015
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The Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute is pleased to announce the following Ukraine-related coursesoffered by Harvard University Slavic and History Departments.

Fall 2015 Ukrainian Language Courses

  • Ukrainian AA. Beginning Ukrainian I (Fall 2015)
  • Ukrainian AA. Beginning Ukrainian II (Spring 2016)
  • Ukrainian BR. Intermediate Ukrainian
  • Ukrainian Cr. Advanced Ukrainian

Ukrainian AA. Beginning Ukrainian I

Dr. Volodymyr Dibrova
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9-10 am
Robinson Hall 205

Introduction to modern Ukrainian language and culture, designed for students without previous knowledge of the language. Together with Ukrainian II (spring) it familiarizes students with basic grammar structures and sufficient vocabulary to give them introductory command of spoken and written Ukrainian. The focus of classroom activities will be on the development of oral and written proficiency and exposing students to Ukrainian culture through readings (including works of fiction and poetry, printed, visual and electronic media) and class discussions. The students learn to use the language both as a means of communication and as a tool for reading and research.

Fall 2015 Literature Courses

Slavic 158. Narrative Strategies in Gogol's Short Fiction

Dr. Oleh Kotsyuba
Thursdays, 2–4pm

An opportunity to read Nikolai Gogol's short fiction in the original while also reflecting on challenges for translation into English that Gogol's language and style pose. We will explore contextual issues and productive critical approaches and pay close attention to Gogol's narrative strategies, structural solutions, and the form and function of Gogolian humor. Weekly readings of short fiction will be placed in the context of larger theoretical issues (language, interpretation, narrative, translation, etc.). Students will prepare two short translations of their own and discuss functions of different text elements in short position papers and interpretive essays. We will also consider some film adaptations of Gogol's works and discuss their success or failure in rendering the texts' important features.

Slavic 167. Revolutionary Ukraine: Between the Russian Revolution and the Euromaidan of 2014 arrow icon

Prof. George Grabowicz
Mondays, 2–4pm

Focus on Ukrainian avant-garde literature and film, in the context of modernism, socialist realism, the impact of Stalinism, the famine (Holodomor), WWII and the Holocaust, late Sovietism and dissent, Crimea and the Tatars, collapse of the USSR and independence, varieties of post-modernism, and the present conflict with Russia. Also forays into visual art.

Slavic 187. Global Voices: Russian Literature Today

Dr. Oleh Kotsyuba
Wednesdays, 1–3pm

In this course we will read some of the most interesting and influential literary works in prose and poetry written in Russian during the last thirty years. The period since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been marked by rampant experimentation, as the literary production was freed completely from censorship for the first time in over 200 years. We will discuss artistic and institutional motivations that underpin each work and place them within theoretical and historic frameworks. We will explore works by authors from other countries (Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Israel, United States, etc.) that were originally written in the Russian language. Our goal will be to get a good sense of the entire spectrum of the contemporary Russian-language literary scene, to discuss questions of identity-formation, experimentation vs. traditionalism, gender dynamics, and genre. We will try to understand what makes a literature "national" and what the global aspects of literature are today. We will also consider thematic focus vs. stylistic preferences as elements of an author's literary identity and self-positioning. Readings will include prose, drama, and poetry by Venedikt Erofeev, Vladimir Sorokin, Sasha Sokolov, Ludmila Pertrushevskaia, Tatiana Tolstaia, Elena Shvarts, Viktor Pelevin, Zakhar Prilepin, Eduard Limonov, Chingiz Aitmatov, Ludmila Ulitskaya, Dmitrii Bykov, Olena Stiazhkina, Linor Goralik, Andrei Kurkov, Svetlana Alexievich, Hamid Izmailov, Shamshad Abdullaev, Polina Barskova, and others. To round off our discussion of literary works we will also consider two innovative contemporary Russian-language films – Myroslav Slaboshpytskyi's The Tribe (Ukraine, 2014) and Andrei Zviagintsev's Leviathan (Russia, 2014). Note: All readings will be in English translation. Films will be subtitled (if applicable).

Spring 2015 Literature and Culture Courses

Slavic 166. Russian-Ukrainian Literary Relations in the 19th Century: Conference Course

Prof. George Grabowicz
Thursdays, 2–4pm

Examines Russian-Ukrainian literary relations from 1798 to 1905, with special focus on canon formation, ethnic, national and imperial identity, and the interrelation of literature, society, and ideology. Topics include Decembrist historicism, Romantic poetics and folklore, Slavophilism and populism, literature as subversion (kotljarevshchyna), the uses of translation, the reception of major writers (Gogol, Shevchenko, and others), and the imperial attempt to suppress "Ukrainophilism.''

Culture and Belief 38. Apocalypse Then! Forging the Culture of Medieval Rus'

Prof. Michael Flier
Mondays and Wednesdays, 11am–12pm

When the natives of Medieval Rus (later Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians) accepted Orthodox Christianity in the 10th century, their nature-based paganism gave way to a powerfully sensual belief system that made good use of the visual and the verbal to prepare these newest Christians for the coming Apocalypse and Last Judgment. We investigate this transformation from the conversion of Saint Vladimir and the excesses of Ivan the Terrible through the Time of Troubles and the modern turn of Peter the Great. The class features close analysis of architecture, icons and frescoes, ritual, folklore, literature, and history to understand this shift in worldview, including the role of women. Special attention is devoted to the ways in which Medieval Rus is portrayed in film, opera, and ballet.

Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 60. Literature and Art in an Era of Crisis and Oppression

Prof. George Grabowicz
Mondays, 1–3pm

The course will examine seminal literary works (with forays into film and art) from Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century with special attention to their response to convention, censorship and totalitarian strictures as well as "high modernist" experimentation and a "low modernist" focus on popular genres and a new poetics of trash. Focus on Kafka, Zamiatin, Bulgakov, Čapek, Nabokov, Platonov, Witkacy, Schulz, Gombrowicz, Vertov, Dovzhenko and others.

Linguistics Courses

Linguistics 250. Old Church Slavonic

Prof. Michael S. Flier
Fall 2015, Tuesdays, Thursdays, 10–11:30am

History of the first Slavic literary language, its role in Slavic civilization; phonology, morphology, syntax, and vocabulary of Old Church Slavonic; reading from canonical texts.

Linguistics 251. Advanced Readings in Church Slavonic Texts

Prof. Michael S. Flier
Spring 2016, Tuesdays, Mondays, 2–4pm

Readings in canonical Old Church Slavonic texts and later Church Slavonic redactions.

Ukrainian History Courses

History 1270. Frontiers of Europe: Ukraine since 1500

Prof. Serhii Plokhy
Fall 2015, Tuesdays, Thursdays, 10–11:30am

The history of Ukrainian territory and its people within a broad context of political, social and cultural changes in Eastern Europe from the rise of the Cossacks to the current Ukraine Crisis. The course puts special emphasis on the role of Ukraine as a cultural frontier of Europe, positioned on the border between settled areas and Eurasian steppes, Christianity and Islam, Orthodoxy and Catholicism, as well as a battleground of major imperial and national projects of modern era.

Seminar in Ukrainian Studies--Ukrainian 200

Prof. Serhii Plokhy
Fall 2015

Interdisciplinary seminar in Ukrainian studies with broad regional and comparative perspective. Faculty and invited scholars discuss a variety of topics in the humanities and social sciences. Students conduct an individually tailored reading and research project under the guidance of a faculty advisor and in consultation with other resident specialists.

History 2277. Eastern Europe: Peoples and Empires: Proseminar

Prof. Serhii Plokhy
Spring 2016, Tuesdays, 4–6pm

This course is an introduction to major themes and debates in the early modern and modern history of the "other Europe." Its main focus is on the histories of European Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Poland. Readings discuss international and political developments in the region and their impact on the formation of imperial, national, religious and cultural identities from the rise of Reformation to the collapse of Communism. The course is designed to prepare students for a general exam field in East European history. It is open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students working on a senior thesis.

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