Courses offered in 2001-2002:
(each course consists of 14 lectures and 14 follow-up discussion sessions)
1.Vladimir Gel'man. Contemporary Russian Politics: An Overview (Spring 2002).
This course focuses on post-Soviet political dynamics, with a special emphasis on the "making" and "unmaking" of political structures and institutions. The topics discussed cover such issues as the present condition of presidency and parliamentarism, political parties, elections, federalism, and regional and local government in Russia. details...
2. Grigorii Golosov. Political Parties in Russia (Fall 2001).
This course is focused on the emergence of competitive political parties within the context of Russia's partial democratization. Starting with the mass anti-regime mobilization of the late 1980s, the course traces the origins of contemporary political parties by examining the national electoral campaigns of 1993, 1995, and 1996, and regional executive and legislative elections. Special attention is given to the organizational aspects of party system formation under constraints imposed upon political actors by post-communist institutional settings, including strong presidency, federalism, and a parallel electoral system.
3. Oleg Kharkhordin. The Main Concepts of Russian Politics (Fall 2001).
The course will discuss theoretical approaches to the study of Soviet and Russian politics, concentrating on persisting interesting continuities that eschew positing conventional breaks of 1917 or 1991 as points of major change. It will offer a survey of main concepts used in analyzing XXth century Russian politics-"the state," "the civil society," "the nation," "the individual," "the collective," etc.-with an emphasis on their perception in everyday life. Some background knowledge of political theory is useful; however, necessary works of major political theorists will be included in the syllabus and discussed together with interpretations of Russian politics.
4. Ted Hopf. Russia and the World: the Foreign Policy of Russia and the Former Soviet Union (Fall 2001).
This class will explore how different theoretical approaches can account for Russia's foreign relations with the world, but especially with the states in the near-abroad. While the primary focus will be on Russia's foreign policy, significant attention will be given as well to developing the research skills necessary to assess and evaluate alternative explanations for Russian behavior, to investigating the relations among post-Soviet states in Central Asia, the Baltic, and the Caucasus and, finally, to developing a more general picture of the domestic and international sources of Russian foreign policy today.
5. William Zimmerman. The Political Economy of Post-Communist Transitions (Spring 2002).
This course investigates the challenges and problems of economic and political transformation in the post-communist world. Central topics include processes of liberalization and privatization in post-Soviet economies; the relationship between economic policy change and democratization; the rule of law and market economies; and the role of international factors and integration into the world economy in the internal evolution of the post-communist states of Europe and Eurasia. While the emphasis will be on the Russian experience, that experience will be assessed against the backdrop of post-communist Europe.
6. Alexander Etkind. Sociology of Religion and Russian Cultural Studies (Spring 2002). *Cultural Studies
This course combines an introduction to sociology of religion with a survey of intellectual and cultural problems of contemporary Russian society. The focal issue is the religious (ir)relevance of capitalism. The German Reformation, the French Enlightenment, American Democracy, and the Russian Revolution gave their diverging responses to the bourgeois challenge. Is capitalism spiritually neutral? How do religious/cultural/intellectual structures modify the propensity for capitalist behavior? Does secularization compensate for the missed religious reform? Is there an Oriental model of development, and how does it relate to Russia? Readings for this course include Rousseau, Tocqueville, Weber, Durkheim, James, Freud, Berdiaev and Foucault. They aim to stimulate sensitivity to the deepest roots of current controversies.
7. Vadim Volkov. The State, Violence, and the Mafia in Comparative Perspective (Spring 2002).
This course addresses the major complication of Russia's transition to the market economy: the weakening of the state and the rise of organized crime. This problem is examined from interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. The first, theoretical part of the course focuses on historical relations between states and markets. The purpose of the second part is to achieve understanding of structural conditions, economic functions and cultural patterns of violent entrepreneurship in Russia, and to assess its effects on the Russian state. Apart from theoretical readings, students will be offered a selection of Russian original sources on criminal groups, their practices and subculture. Other topics covered include theories of the state in different traditions of thought, the idea of sovereignty and its prerequisites, formative conditions and major functions of the state. details...
8. Anna Temkina and Elena Zdravomyslova. Gender Studies in Contemporary Russia (Spring 2002).
This course will introduce the students to the study of gender issues in Russian society. Topics for discussion include: Russian gender culture in historical perspective (women's movement and women's issues in the 20th century) and its conceptualization, and contemporary gender culture. Special attention is given to the Soviet gender system and to the transformation of the gender system in the course of the Russian reforms of the 1980-90es. Gender inequality is examined in the spheres of paid work, politics, family, sexuality, and citizenship. The course analyzes the causes and mechanisms of gender inequality and opportunities to overcome it. details...
9. Eduard Ponarin. Ethnic Issues in Post-Soviet Space (Fall 2001).
This course examines the dissolution of the USSR and ensuing ethnic conflicts. The course starts with an examination of imperial legacy, and considers the new Soviet system as the heir to the Russian Empire. Special emphasis is given to the Soviet institutionalization of ethnicity and its effects on the Soviet elites. The course analyzes the causes and mechanisms of the nature of ethnic tensions and conflicts in the post-Soviet states, concentrating on such cases as Karabakh, Transdniestria, Abkhazia, and Chechnia.
10. Alexei Yurchak. Social and Cultural Identity after Socialism: Ethnographies of Transition (Russia, Eastern Europe, China) (Spring 2002). *Cultural Studies
This course explores the transformations of people's understanding, relations, and identities in the context of changing social and cultural logic and power relations after the end of state socialism. It draws on contemporary research and analytical methods of socio-cultural anthropology and reflexive sociology. Anthropology brings in its concern with social contexts of the production of cultural forms and meanings, and its emphasis on their detailed ethnographic investigation. Sociology brings in its perspectives on the study of social groups, institutions, and the state. The course focuses primarily on Russia, but also uses several studies of post-socialist countries of Eastern Europe which offer useful comparative insights in the analysis of Russian transformation. It covers the following topics: Privatization and Commodification of Social Relations and Identities; Practices and Discourses of Money and Consumption; Entrepreneurial and Business Culture; Discourses of Corruption and the Mafia; Gender; and Popular Culture. The readings for the course include books by the following authors: (Russia and the former Soviet republics) Alena Ledeneva, George Faraday, Catherine Wanner, Caroline Humphrey, Nancy Ries, Bruce Grant, Alaina Lemon; (Eastern Europe) Susan Gal, Gail Kligman, Katherine Verdery, Martha Lampland, Gerald Creed, Michael Buroway; (China) Ann Anagnost, Mayfair Yang, Lisa Rofel. During the course of the semester students will conduct ethnographic research in St. Petersburg, drawing on the methods discussed in class, and will produce papers based on the results of their research.
11. Ekaterina Dyogot'. Russianness, Sovietness, Post-Sovietness: Strategies of Identity in Russian 20th-century Art and Theory (Fall 2001). *Cultural Studies
This course will explore one of the main issues in Russian 20th-century art: its response to the challenge of Western Modernism, from the critique of the bourgeois individualism and the market in Russian futurism to the critique of globalization on the post-Soviet art scene. Particular attention will be given to most important projects of Russian art: avant-garde, Socialist Realism, and Moscow conceptualism. The problem is seen from interdisciplinary perspective, and the course will include references to literature, architecture, and film. Since 20th-century art (especially Russian art) is focused on ideas rather than forms, art theory will be an important topic, and readings for the class will include statements and essays by artists and theoreticians (Kandinsky, Malevich, Russian constructivists, and Ilya Kabakov, among others). Because many of those sources are not available in the translation, a knowledge of Russian would be an advantage.
12. Pavel Lyssakov. Film and Theory: Issues in Russian and East European Cinema (Spring 2002). *Cultural Studies
This course offers a view on selected works of Russian and East European Cinema through the prism of modern philosophical and aesthetic theory. While the course will touch on the history and the canon of Russian/East-European cinema, its main concern is the interpretation of selected films with the help of the up-to-date theoretical apparatus, and the analysis of film as a means of reflection of certain cultural and social tendencies and values. Among the theories explored will be the Psychological and the Formalist Theory of Cinema, the Myth and Structuralist Theory, Gender Theory, the issues of the Individual and the Collective, Freudian and Lacanian approach, Existentialism, Theories of Humor and Parody. The course will cover films by Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Mikhalkov, Konchalovsky, Makaveev, Khytilova, and other masters lesser known in the West. details...
13. Vladimir Matveenko. Russian Economy in the 20th century (Fall 2001).
The course consists of two main parts: (1) Soviet economy, 1917-1991, and (2) Russian economy in transition, 1992-1999. The first part of the course contains a brief introduction to the Russian economic history from 1917 to 1991. The following topics will be covered: Russian economy at the beginning of the 20th century. "Theoretical foundations" of the command economy. Establishment of the command economy. Industrialization. Collectivization of agriculture. Economic planning and administration in the Soviet Union. Economic reforms in 1960-70s. Gorbachev's perestroika. Collapse of the Soviet system. Soviet economic thought. The second part of the course is devoted to discussions of alternative explanations of unexpected hindrances faced by the transition process. The following problems will be discussed: Russian and Western economic thought in transition in Russia. Price liberalization. Macroeconomic stabilization. Privatization. Economic institutions in transition. Economic programs of political parties and current political debates. Eastern Europe and Russia: comparative analysis.
14. Sergei Podbolotov. Russian Political and Social History (Fall 2001).
The first part of this course aims at tracing the evolution of forms of political and social organization preceding the emergence of modern Russia. Special attention will be given to changes in political institutions, relations between rulers and their subjects, local government, social strata, the Russian religious mind, and the origins of patriotism and ethnicity. The second part gives an overview of the development of the state and society in imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. Specifically, it aims at providing a comparative perspective on the processes of modernization in Russia and in the rest of Europe. Discussion sessions will concentrate on major debates about the key problems of modern Russian history.