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Courses offered in 2003/2004

(each course consists of 14 lectures and 14 follow-up discussion sessions)

All instruction is in English

Political Science
Cultural Studies and History:

Political Science:

1. Grigorii Golosov. Political Parties in Russia (Fall 2003).

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.

2. Oleg Kharkhordin. Political Theory and Russian Studies: The Main Concepts of Russian Politics (Spring 2004).

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.

3. Nikita Lomagin. Russia and the World: the Foreign Policy of Russia and the Former Soviet Union (Spring 2004).

This course offers a comparative look at the making and implementation of Russian Foreign Policy after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The course offers a combination of two options. We shall begin with an investigation of the sources of the Russian conduct (theories, frameworks and approaches) and analyze Russia's foreign policy institutions and priorities. We will examine several theoretical models that focus on the impact of different factors on Russian Foreign Policy: type of government, ideology, leadership politics, bureaucratic and interest group politics, the European security system, Russia's historic borderlands and "empire," and the international economic system. The second part of the course is aimed at close examination of regional aspects of Russian Foreign Policy with particular attention to relations with the West, newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, and the Far East.

4. Mary McAuley. Contemporary Russian Politics (Fall 2003).

We shall look at developments in Russian politics since 1993 within the context of the Soviet inheritance and the changing world order at the end of the XXth century. The focus will be on domestic developments - the attempts to create a new political order and the interaction between society and the state - and on appropriate frameworks for analysis. The campaign for elections to the Duma (December 2003) will allow for first-hand observation of an important part of the political process.

5. TBA (Lecturer to be announced). Political Economy of the Post-Communist Transitions (Spring 2004).

The course will focus on the politics of economic reform. It will evaluate the political factors that have shaped the reform process-actors, institutions and culture. It will examine such areas as macro-economic reform, fiscal and tax policy, and privatization. The Russian case will be examined in a comparative context.


6. Vadim Volkov. The State, Violence, and the Mafia in Comparative Perspective (Spring 2004).

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.

7. Anna Temkina and Elena Zdravomyslova. The Gender System and Sexuality in Russia (Spring 2004).

The course will introduce students to the study of gender issues in contemporary Russia. Topics for discussion will include Russian gender relations in historical perspective and their conceptualization: women's movement and women's issues from mid 19th through the 20th century; women's question in the post-revolutionary Russian debate of the 1920s; gender issues in the Soviet period (the construction of "working mother," the "failed masculinity" of the late Soviet period), transformation of the gender system during the post-Soviet period, new representations of femininity and masculinity. Gender inequality is examined in the spheres of paid work, politics, family, sexuality and citizenship. Special attention is given to the formation of gender identity in the sphere of sexuality during the late Soviet and post-Soviet periods.

8. Eduard Ponarin. Ethnic Issues in Post-Soviet Space (Fall 2003).

This course examines the role of the ethnic factor in the dissolution of the Soviet Union and in post-Soviet conflicts. It starts with a survey of theories of nationalism. The theories are then applied to the late Soviet period and a particular emphasis is made on the Soviet institutionalization of ethnicity. In the second part of the course, various theoretical approaches are checked against a number of post-Soviet cases.

Cultural Studies and History:

9. Ekaterina Dyogot'. Russianness, Sovietness, Post-Sovietness: Strategies of Identity in Russian 20th-century Art and Theory (Fall 2003).

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.

10. Alexander Etkind. Russian Culture and Soviet Civilization: Cultural Studies (Spring 2004).

The course aims at integrating historical, political, and literary approaches to Russian and Soviet (and post-Soviet) culture. We will review traditions of Cold War Sovietology, Revisionism in Soviet History, American scholarship of Russian Literature, and the recent approaches of the New Historicism and Cultural Studies. We will discuss recent texts that are the best, good, and not-so-good examples of Russian Studies. In its search for the model of Cultural Studies in the Russian context, the course will contain the elements of description as well as evaluation. Students will improve their own methodological standards, get acquainted with the current state of the field, and challenge their views of culture, politics, and society. Some knowledge of Russian is desirable, but not required.

11. Boris Kolonitskii. The Political Culture of the Russian Revolution. (Fall 2003).

This course is devoted to the language of the Revolution. Central topics include different images of power, political functions of revolutionary symbols (flags, songs, uniforms, etc.), the lexicon of the Revolution. The course also explores different connotations of key political words ('democracy',' bourgeoisie',  freedom', etc.). The Revolution is viewed as a battle to control systems of symbolic meaning. Political actors tried to monopolize important political words and symbols and give them their own interpretation. Other topics of the course also include the cult of the revolutionary leader and the images of the enemy.

12. Pavel Lyssakov. Films, Texts, and Theory in Comparative Perspective (East vs. West) (Fall 2003).

This Cultural Studies course offers a view on selected Russian and East European films and literary texts through the prism of modern philosophical and aesthetic theory. The course's main concern is the interpretation of selected films with the help of the up-to-date theoretical apparatus, and the analysis of cinematic and literary texts as means of reflection of certain cultural and social tendencies and values. The course will also compare the treatment of certain topics and subjects in "Western" and Russian/East-European cultures and specifically in films. Among the theories explored will be the Psychological and the Formalist Theory, the Myth and Structural Theory, Gender Theory, the issues of the Individual and the Collective, Freudian and Lacanian approach, Existentialism, Theories of Humor and Parody. Relationships between literary works and plays, and their screen versions will be explored as well. The course will cover films by Eisenstein, Kuleshov, Vertov, Tarkovsky, Mikhalkov, Konchalovsky, Makaveev, Khytilova, Wajda, and other masters lesser known in the West.

13. Sergei Podbolotov. Russian Political and Social History (Spring 2004).

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.

14. Nikolai Vakhtin. The Russian Arctic Region in the 20th century: Rapid Social and Cultural Change (Spring 2004).

This course offers an overview of the present social, ethnological and ethno-linguistic situation in the Russian "Far North" - a vast sub-Arctic and Arctic area that stretches from the North of the Ural mountains to the Northern Pacific. The main emphasis is on the current, "post-socialist" circumstances of Northern minority groups who constitute the indigenous population of "the North". The situation is analyzed from social, anthropological, historical, and socio-linguistic perspectives. Among the topics discussed in the course are the following: neo-elites and changes of attitude in the 1990s; ethnicity and identity; shamanism and the orthodoxy; the orthodoxy and the Soviets; current problems of education; language situation; constructing and reinventing the tradition; patterns of cultural contact and cultural mixture.


2000-2006 European University at St Petersburg
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