The Struggle for Justice and Faith: Russian Literature and Culture, 1855-1900

Considers how Russian writers, artists and activists addressed 19th-century Russia's cursed questions of “who is to blame” and “what is to be done”: specifically, how to reform an increasingly reactionary autocracy; how to bear witness for an impoverished underclass; what roles women should play in culture and politics; how to resist or improve on a soulless West; how to justify the existence of God in an unjust world. Course texts may include fiction and memoirs by Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Kovalevskaia, Figner; works of fine art, drama, and opera. One course.

The Quest for Identity: Russian Literature and Culture, 1800-1855

Examines how Russian writers and artists distinguished imperial Russia's modern political, social, and cultural identity under “Western eyes.” Topics include search for “truly Russian” models, topics, and styles; domestic debate between “Westernizing” and “Slavophile” camps; emergence of women writers; relations between urban and provincial cultures; connections between national identity formation and empire building.

The Russian Fairy Tale and Its Cultural Legacy

Introduction to Russia's extraordinary fairy tales and their rich legacy in modern Russian literature, music, visual and performing arts, and handicrafts. Reflects on the genesis of the the Russian fairy tale; samples thematic groups of tales (e.g., the “foolish” third son, stepmother-stepdaughter tales); reads tales as expressions of folk belief, works of oral art, explorations of the human psyche and human relations, and stylized reflections of their sociopolitical context. Also traces how certain tales have been reworked into other art forms. All texts in English translation.

Between Europe and Asia: The Geopolitics of Istanbul From Occupation To Globalization

EI Istanbul as a site of historical, political and cultural interaction between Europe and Turkey. Approach framed by two important geopolitical events separated by nearly a century: first, the Allied occupation of Istanbul after WWI, Survey of main elements of grammar. No preliminary knowledge of Ukrainian necessary. Director of Undergraduate Studies consent required. Two courses.

The Turks: From Ottoman Empire to European Union

Readings in cultural history and literature to examine transformations in Turkish identity from the Ottoman era to EU accession. Discussion of the “gazi thesis,” the “sultanate of women,” religious tolerance (millets), conversion, modernity and nationalism. Secondary topics include Sufism, Islam, gender, and historiography. Interdisciplinary focus. Taught in English. One course.

The City of Two Continents: Istanbul in Literature and Film

Presents Istanbul, a city located in both Europe and Asia, as a site of political identities in conflict. Overview of contemporary literature and film set in Istanbul. Studies ethical implications of textual and visual representations of various people and groups interacting in urban spaces. Addresses the reasons for Turkey's love-hate relationship with the Ottoman past and Europe. Historical background, modernity, identity, Islam, and cosmopolitanism. Knowledge of Turkish not required. One course.