Russian 3310-101 and RUSSA3310-102 (non-native and native speakers): Course Description

This description applies to sections 101 and 102.

This is a TBA course. TBA means "time to be arranged" (to accommodate as many students as we can). We hold an organizational meeting for all TBA courses at the beginning of each semester. The time and place of the meeting are posted at our home page (click Welcome in the navigation bar).

This description applies to both Russian 3309 and 3310.

The two courses (RUSSA 3309 & RUSSA 3310) may be taken in any order. Each course may be taken more than once if the reading lists are different.

3309/3310 — курсы интенсивного чтения. В группе для носителей русского языка (native speakers of Russian) читать надо 50-80 страниц в неделю. В группе для тех, кто не говорит по-русски с детства, читать надо 20-40 страниц в неделю. Занятия 2 раза в неделю. Курс дает 4 кредита. Домашняя работа занимает от 5-ти до 6-ти часов в неделю. Курс преподается только по-русски. Контрольных работ, зачетов и экзамена нет; отметка зависит от вашей подготовленности и работы на занятии. Посещение всех занятий обязательно.

Заметьте, что это не курс по русской литературе. В него не входят вопросы литературного анализа, литературной критики и т. п. (такие курсы преподаются в серии RUSSL). Задача этого курса — научиться читать много и быстро и обсуждать прочитанное на грамотном русском языке, в стиле, подобающем академической дискуссии. В группе для носителей языка преподаватель иногда делает на занятии звукозапись своих формулировок дискуссии и потом рассылает траскрипт всем студентам. Это позволяет студентам не делать конспектов на занятии и сосредоточиваться на общем разговоре.

Russian 3309 and 3310 are not literature courses. They satisfy foreign language requirements, but cannot be used to satisfy distribution requirements. These courses have no papers, no reports, and no final exam. Your work is judged by your participation in class discussions: how well you know the text and how clearly you can speak about it. In this is language courses you learn the most by reading and then speaking about what you read. Do not expect to come to class and take notes on what the teacher has to say. The course requirements are: read all the assigned texts and participate in the discussions.

The assignments in the section for native speakers are around 25 to 40 pages to read for each class, i.e. 50 to 80 pages a week. In the section for non-native speakers of Russian, assignments are significantly shorter, about 10 to 20 pages per class (20-40 per week) depending on the complexity of the text and the size of the printed page.

All discussion and reading are in Russian.

Your participation in the discussions should include talking about the events, people, and ideas in the book as well as your own perception, reaction, and theories. As far as this course is concerned, there are no "right" and "wrong" conclusions or opinions, and your work is never going to be evaluated on the basis of how "valid" or "correct" your observations are. But your grade will be lowered if the teacher thinks that you have not read the entire assignment or do not actively participate in the discussions. This class is driven by the students; the professor is there merely to direct the class and help you expand your control of vocabulary and style.

You are allowed three "less than satisfactory" classes (or three absences) before your grade is negatively affected. Because of the nature of the course, no absences can be excused; if you don't read and/or don't come to class, you don't learn, and therefore fail a small part of the course. You can miss three classes for any reason without jeopardizing your grade, but more than three absences will affect your course results. (In an emergency situation, you can take an Incomplete for the course and make up the work during the following year.) If you have to miss a class, be sure to write to the teacher, preferably ahead of time.

There is no fixed reading list for this course, although the pool of books we choose from is more or less defined. It includes both fiction and non-fiction. The reading list for each semester very much depends on who signs up for the course and what most people's interests are. The list is first discussed at the organizational meeting for the course (see above) and is adjusted as the course moves along.

Here are the four series of books that have been read in the native speaker section of Russian 3309 and 3310 in the past. Not all of these books were read each time. The reading list for the non-native speaker section is even more flexible.

Russia Asleep, Russia Awakening

Homo Sovieticus

Learning to Say What You Think

XXI Century: Groping for a Theme

Some of the books are available in Olin Library, many are available online, and those that are not will be distributed in class.