Slavic R5A, Section 1: Improbable Spaces

MWF 8-9, 228 Dwinelle. Instructor: Christina Schwartz.

Units: 4

All Reading & Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the first half or the “A” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

In this course we will explore the theme of impossible or improbable spaces in 20th-century Russian literature. We will read a variety of literary works, which interrogate questions of how real and imagined spaces can frame stories, histories, ideologies, and memories or can even take on the role of the protagonist. Topics for reading and discussion will include: investigating what laws and ideologies govern imagined spaces; questioning what principles characters use to navigate these spaces across genres; and exploring what conceptions of space can tell us about the structure of a text. Concurrently, we will also ask how our understanding of space shapes our modes of thinking and argumentation, consciously or unconsciously.

The goal of this course is to develop skills in critical reading and writing; to learn to write clear, persuasive, and well-structured papers. Reading will be approximately 60-70 pages per week. Students will be expected to complete all assigned reading, and come to class prepared to participate actively in discussions. Writing assignments will include close readings of specific texts (1-2 pages), and four papers (paper 1 (4-5pages), paper 2 (5-7pages), paper 3 (revision of paper 2); paper 4 (8-10 pages)). We will work on all stages of the writing process: selecting a topic, developing arguments, structure and organization, word choice, sentence flow, and grammar.

Yevgeny Zamyatin: We [Trans. Natasha Randall; Publisher: Modern Library Classics; ISBN: 978-0812974621]
Andrei Platonov: The Foundation Pit [Trans. Robert & Elizabeth Chandler, Olga Meerson; Publisher: New York Review Books; ISBN: 978-1590173053]
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita [Trans. Diana Burgin; Publisher: Vintage; ISBN: 978-0679760801]
Michael Harvey: The Nuts and Bolts of College Writing, [ISBN: 978-1603848985]

Course Reader may include:
Sigizmund Krzhizhanovksy, Autobiography of a Corpse; Vladimir Nabokov, “Visit to the Museum”; Joseph Brodsky, “Guide to a Renamed City” and selected poems; Svetlana Boym, Excerpts from Future Nostalgia; David Simpson, excerpts from Situatedness

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement. Students may not enroll in or attend R1A/R5A courses without completing this prerequisite.