MEMS 391 - Art, Culture, and Literature in Old Russia
Fall 2020, Section 002
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  Online (see other Sections below)
Subject: Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS)
Department: LSA History
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Requirements & Distribution:
Credit Exclusions:
No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in RUSSIAN 551.
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This course provides an introduction to the culture of the Eastern Slavs from the ninth century until the seventeenth, and looks at the employment of elements of that culture in Russia from the nineteenth century until the present day. It requires no special historical or linguistic knowledge and is intended to be of interest to anyone curious about medieval and early-modern culture. While the primary emphasis will be on Old Russian literature, the course will also examine art, architecture, folklore, and other cultural forms. The course will help students to develop the analytical skills required for the examination of medieval and early-modern cultures (including basic tools of textual criticism and instrumentation to read symbolic languages very different from ours) and to develop an understanding of cultural premises radically different from those on which post-Enlightenment Europe has relied. The course will look at the East Slavs of Rus’ and Muscovy in comparison with the peoples around them and will also look at how post-Petrine Russia has turned again and again to “Old Russia” and, indeed, has, in some areas, shown remarkable continuity with that Old Russian past. Students will also develop skills in analytical writing, in treating both very specific, materials-based topics and broader, conceptual issues.

Course Requirements:

Written assignments for the course are: three short papers (1,500 words each), and a final, longer paper (2,500-3,000 words). The short papers are each worth 20% of the total grade, the final paper is worth 30%, while class participation is worth 10%.

Intended Audience:

Students interested in pre-modern Eastern Europe

Class Format:

Twice a week for 1.5 hours; informal lectures with student participation welcomed


MEMS 391 - Art, Culture, and Literature in Old Russia
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
002 (LEC)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)