The main purpose of this course is an attempt to understand contemporary Russia, to understand people who live in this still somewhat enigmatic land in the context of its own history of contacts with other nations. This course will not be a standard course in history and culture. We will talk more about things which usually remain unsaid in academic papers—about how average Russians live, what they like and dislike, what they value and what they hate. We will try to comprehend a legendary “enigmatic soul” of Russians, to enter theirs inner world and look at it from within. We will also discuss general features of unique Russian civilization developed geographically and culturally between East and West. We will try to understand Russia escaping any distortions as best we can, using a lot of video materials as illustrations and sometimes as a base for discussion.
What does it mean to be a Russian ? This will be the main question to which we will try to find an answer during these classes.
Presentation and participation