Slavic R5B, Section 3: Post-Soviet Politics and Protest

MWF 9-10, Dwinelle 235. Instructor: Christina Schwartz.

Units: 4

This course will explore the complex relationships between media, politics and literature in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. We will take a critical look at defining events and their reverberations in the post-Soviet space: the fall of the Soviet Union, the war in Afghanistan, Chernobyl, the conflict in Chechnya, and the political protests of recent years. Readings are organized in clusters of both fiction and non-fiction works (novels, poetry, short stories, reportage, news coverage, blogs, films etc.) surrounding a particular event and its aftermath. Topics for reading and discussion will include:  the end of an empire, the construction of self and national identity in literature, the aesthetics of violence, war, tragedy and trauma, differences between fiction and non-fiction writing, and the role of media in constructing narratives.

Texts will include: Homo Zapiens by Viktor Pelevin, Sankya by Zakhar Prilepin, and shorter works and excerpts by Elena Fanailova, Anna Politkovskaya, Vladimir Makanin, and Svetlana Alexievich.

This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.