Islam in Central Eurasia

History of Central Eurasian Muslims. Focus on diversity and cultural vivacity. Examines early appearance of Islam in the region, the evolution of Muslim religious and cultural institutions under governance of Chingissid, Timurid, Russian and Chinese empires, the encounter of Central Eurasian Muslims with European modernity and their experience during Soviet and Chinese socialist experiments. One course.

Imperial Russia 1700-1917

Russian imperial history from Peter the Great to Bolshevik Revolution: 1700-1917. Focus on formation and governance of multiethnic and multiconfessional Russian empire. Traces expansion of land-locked city state (Muscovy) into world power ruling from Eastern Europe to Alaska. Questions implications of Russia’s world-power status. Examines institutions of governance that created this empire and held its various ethnic, religious and ideological groups together for centuries.

Law, Culture, and the Russian Legal Tradition

The development of the Russian legal tradition, with particular emphasis on the historical, ethical and cultural factors that have contributed to its emergence, comparing the Russian tradition with the Western legal tradition. How law, lawyers, and legal institutions have been portrayed and perceived in Russian popular culture, especially Russian literature, including the relationship between secular legal institutions and the Russian Orthodox Church. Taught in English. One course.

Eastern Europe in Transition: Markets, Media, and the Mafia

The progress of political, economic, and social transformations in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Topics include: The Historical Context for Reform in Eastern Europe, Economic Reform and its Effects, Market Evolution, Eastern European Societies in Transition: Education and Culture, Eastern European Societies in Transition: Corruption and the Mafia in Everyday Life, Media and Democracy in Eastern Europe, Establishing Law-Based States in Eastern Europe. One course.

Beat Generation/Russian New Wave: Cultural Dissent in the Cold War

Exploration of identity formation and cultural dissent in US and Soviet Union during Cold War through lens of Beat Generation and New Wave literature and film; explores cultural dissent in relation to both a given culture context but also considers how such dissent is read and appropriated in comparative contexts; introduces students to key figures/features of respective movements, placing these in historical context; figures include: Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Snyder, R. Frank, Aksyonov, Bitov, Akhmadulina, Voznesensky, Visotsky, Tarkovsky and Yevtushenko. One course.

Tolstoy and the Russian Experience

Historical approach to Tolstoy's depictions of major societal and ethical issues (e.g., war, peace, marriage, death, religion, relationships). Culture of salons, print culture, censorship, and changing political climate. Central questions on the relationship of fiction and history: uses of fiction for understanding history and dangers of such an approach. Readings include selected fiction of Tolstoy, excerpts from journals and letters, and critical and historical accounts of nineteenth-century Russia. One course.