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SLC2: Russian: Text and Culture

This paper offers the opportunity to engage with advanced use of the Russian language in stimulating and intellectually challenging ways, through the analysis of various texts of different types and genres under a prescribed topic, as specified by the Faculty Board.

For Tripos 2016, the specified topic will be "Russian Identity". Several dimensions of Russian identity will be considered:

  • philosophical thought concerning Russian identity;
  • identity politics;
  • social problems and tensions of nation building.

Exploring the notion of Russian national identity, you will examine texts which consider questions such as ‘Who are the Russians?’ and ‘What does their future hold?’ from different perspectives. You will work both on written texts and on audio-visual materials (academic papers, newspaper and magazine articles, films, TV programmes, internet blogs) and analyse the themes and ideas presented there as well as their formal features. In class, you will discuss the historical, cultural, social and political context of the texts that you will have read and thought about beforehand. You will work on enhancing your command of grammar and idiom with the aim of achieving correctness, clarity and precision in your written Russian.   

Aims and objectives: 

This course aims to develop advanced use of written Russian through the analysis of various texts of different genres and styles. By the end of the course you are expected to be able to:

  • demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the text;
  • define the principal themes and ideas of the text;
  • locate the text in its Russian historical, cultural or political context;
  • identify ironies or subtexts that might be present;
  • formulate and develop a clear argument of your own;
  • comment on formal features of the text and point out the most salient linguistic devices used by the author (word choice, syntax, figures of speech and tropes);
  • write in Russian fluently, with a high level of grammatical accuracy, employing a wide range of stylistically appropriate idiom.
Course materials: 

All course materials, including the course schedule, suggested reading, texts, and internet links to texts and video materials for discussion in class and in supervisions, are available on SLC2 Moodle site.

Teaching and learning: 

Teaching for this paper will consist of fortnightly seminar classes (10 classes in total: four in MT, four in LT and two in ET), conducted entirely in Russian. You may also have up to 4 individual supervisions on your written work for the paper. Texts will be discussed in detail. You will be invited to analyse the content and the style of the texts, and to construct critical responses to both the subject and the form of the material under discussion. You will be required to submit up to 6 pieces of written work per year, two for the class and four for supervisions.

Assessment: 

The examination Paper will consist of two texts in Russian, each of between 600 and 750 words, relating to the topics discussed in class. You will be required  to analyse critically one of these texts in an extended essay.

Course Contacts: 
Natasha Franklin

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