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Slavic and East European Studies

Slavic and East European Studies | Courses

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Contact: Robert A. Rothstein, Director
Office: 741 Herter Hall
Phone: (413) 545-2052
Email: slavic@slavic.umass.edu
Website: www.umass.edu/slavic

The Field

The interdisciplinary program in Slavic and East European Studies offers programs and courses in place of those that were previously offered in the department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the program in Soviet and East European Studies. The program is guided by an interdepartmental committee whose members are Robert Rothstein (Comparative Literature and Judaic Studies), director; Audrey Altstadt (History); Laszlo Dienes (Comparative Literature); and Julie Hemment (Anthropology). Other associated faculty are Martin Wobst (Anthropology) and Diane Flaherty (Economics).

The major and minor in Russian and East European Studies offer an interdisciplinary approach to the study of a large and important portion of the world, East Europe and what used to be called the Soviet Union. The historic events that have recently occurred in that area make it even more crucial that Americans remain informed about all aspects of life there. The prospects for rapid change and increased contacts impel us to prepare for the challenge of working harmoniously with these nations and for communicating with them in their languages rather than ours. Russian is one of the three most widely spoken languages in the world, and more books are published in Russian than in any other language. It provides access to one of the world’s major literatures and to vast amounts of professional literature in all fields. Polish is a key to the cultural riches of a country that is part of the heritage of many Americans and which plays a very important role in world events.

Courses relevant to the program are regularly available in at least six university departments, and students may enroll as well in Five College courses and participate in study programs abroad. Public lectures and other events augment formal study. The W.E.B. Du Bois Library has an extensive collection of books, journals, and microforms dealing with the Russian and East European area.

The Major

The major in Russian and East European Studies has a basic set of language requirements, and options in literature and culture or area studies.

I. Pre-major preparation (12 credits)
RUSSIAN 110 and 120, Elementary Russian I and II, or equivalent
RUSSIAN 230 and 240, Intermediate Russian I and II, or equivalent

II. Advanced Language Core (6 credits)
RUSSIAN 301 and 302, Advanced Russian I and II, or equivalent
Note that RUSSIAN 110-120-230-240-301-302 are not currently available on campus. The language requirement for the major must therefore be satisfied through courses at Amherst, Mount Holyoke or Smith colleges, or by equivalent work done elsewhere.

III. Completion of track option (30 credits)
A. Literature and Culture
Ten courses, of which a minimum of four must be directly related to Russian Literature and/or culture. Of the remaining six courses, a maximum of three may be chosen from courses in such fields as Comparative Literature, English, or other literary disciplines, and a maximum of three may be chosen from courses dealing with the Russian and East European area in History, Political Science, or other social science disciplines (as noted below). Course selection should be made in consultation with the major adviser.

B. Area Studies
Ten courses dealing with the Russian and East European area in a minimum of three disciplines chosen from Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Sociology, or Russian. Appropriate courses taught at the other four colleges or in an exchange program may also serve to meet this requirement. With the approval of the major adviser, a student pursuing this track may substitute equivalent work in a Slavic or East European language other than Russian for the pre-major and advanced language core requirements (I and II, above).

IV. Junior Year Writing Requirement

Restrictions
A minimum grade of C is required in courses used to satisfy the major requirements; no Pass/Fail option may be applied in such courses.

Career Opportunities

The Russian and East European Studies major can provide excellent preparation for careers in teaching, government service, journalism, business, and other fields. Students interested in pursuing graduate study related to the area would be well advised to combine the major with a minor in a relevant discipline, since most graduate programs are in single academic disciplines. It may be possible to take sufficient courses to fulfill the requirements of two majors, and graduate with a double major.

The Minor

The minor requires 18 credits in the Russian and East European area chosen from such courses as those specified in the Literature and Culture and Area Studies tracks, above. Courses in Russian or another Slavic or East European language at or beyond the intermediate level may also be included among the required 18 credits.

Slavic and East European Studies | Courses