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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James D West
RUSS 120
Seattle Campus

Topics in Russian Literary and Cultural History

Introduces important trends and movements in Russian literary and cultural history. Offered in English.

Class description

This course is not just about Russian art or about Russia through its art, it's about the entire visual culture of a country to which widespread literacy came later than in Western Europe. History shows that this situation does not equate to a lack of cultural sophistication -- on the contrary, the visual medium compensates and becames the primary mode of communication, and studying such a culture requires a particular ability to 'read pictures'. The course provides a brief cultural history of Russia from the middle ages to the present, through every form of art --from icons to paintings, folk art to embroidery, shop signs to posters -- and includes photographs from the invention of the camera in the early nineteenth century to the invention of color photography (in Russia, by the way) in the early twentieth century.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lectures and discussions

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites. Any coursework in the literature and history of another European country would be useful.

Class assignments and grading

Midterm paper c.8 pages, final paper c.10 pages, two image recognition tests.

Midterm 30% of course grade, final 40%, two tests 10%each, class discussion remaining 10%.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by James D West
Date: 03/21/2014