At St. Olaf, we offer a wide range of courses both in the Russian language and in area studies.  These courses are designed to give students a broad overview of the language, history, politics, literature and culture of Russia.  In addition, our entry level courses help students fulfill many of their General Education core requirements.


111, 112 Beginning Russian I, II

This course offers an introduction to grammar and reading through oral and written work, supplemented by reading of graded Russian prose. Russian 111 or equivalent is prerequisite to 112.

 231, 232 Intermediate Russian I, II

Students continue their grammar, oral, and written work with an emphasis on conversation and reading selections from classical and contemporary Russian authors. Russian 231 or equivalent is prerequisite to 232. GE: FOL-R.

250 Topics in Russian Literature (in English translation)

This course will examine the development of differing approaches to some aspect of Russian life and culture as presented in the classical texts of Russian literature. Actual topics will vary according to year and instructor. GE: ALS-L.

251 Conversation and Composition

This course will facilitate oral and written use of the language through conversation and composition, English to Russian translation, selections from Russian literature, and original themes. Prerequisite: Russian 232 or special permission of the instructor. GE: FOL-R.

254 Russian Culture and Civilization

This survey of Russian culture and civilization utilizes original Russian texts on history, the arts, religion and education, as well as documentary films and selections from literature. The course is designed to foster the acquisition of the language of Russian cultural and intellectual discourse. Prerequisite: Russian 251 or special permission of the instructor. GE: FOL-R.

255 The Capitals in Russian Literature (abroad, in English translation)

The course examines the two capitals of Russia as they have been depicted in its literature. While visiting actual sites, students will explore how major authors such as Dostoevsky, Gogol, Tolstoy and Bulgakov created the literary images of these cities. GE: ALS-L.

261 Introduction to Russian Literature (in English translation)

This course traces the development of Russian literature from its medieval beginnings to the end of the 19th century. Students study a variety of genres including sagas, the novel, the short story, and lyric poetry. Major authors to be studied include: Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Taught in English. No prerequisites. GE: ALS-L.

262 20th-Century Russian Literature (in English translation)

This course traces the development of Russian literature from the fin de siËcle to the present. A variety of genres will be studied, including the novel, the short story, drama, and lyric poetry. Major authors to be studied include: Chekhov, Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, and Nabokov. Taught in translation. No prerequisites. GE: ALS-L.

265 Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film (in English translation)

This course considers masterworks of Russian and Soviet cinema from the Bolshevik revolution to the present. Students examine significant Russian contributions to world cinema. Readings and topics include basic cinema analysis, Russian cinema criticism, and Russian film theory. No prerequisites. GE: ALS-A.

298 Independent Study

371 Dostoevsky (in English translation)

Students read and discuss Dostoevsky’s major novels from Poor Folk through Brothers Karamazov. Russian majors may take an additional section in the Russian language for major credit in this course.

372 The Russian Press

Since perestroika the Russian press covers a variety of topics that are both culturally and intellectually challenging. The goal of this course is to explore a variety of topics significant for Russian society and culture as well as to further develop the language of intellectual discourse through the treatment of complex issues in the press. Prerequisite: Russian 254 or special permission of the instructor. Taught in Russian. GE: FOL-R, ORC.

398 Independent Research