The study of Russian at Grinnell opens the door to a challenging non-Western language, and the rich cultural and historical experience of the world's largest country. All courses in the Russian language emphasize linguistic proficiency, with the goal of educating students who can speak, write, read, and understand the Russian language and Russian culture-and use that knowledge for academic and general research, and in various professional contexts, both in the United States and in the Russian-speaking world. Particular emphasis is placed on speaking and listening skills at every level, and all language courses are conducted primarily in Russian. Courses in translation consider the important literary and cultural offerings of Russia's past and present, ranging from the great works by Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, to the history of Russian film. The department provides an active and welcoming co-curricular program, with films, plays, concerts, lectures, and a weekly Russian table. Our active Russian-language house residents regularly organize vaious student events for those studying Russian.
Russian Studies at Grinnell
The first three semesters of the Russian program (Russian 101, 102, and 221) stress communicative skills, with an attention to grammar in context. Students encounter a wide variety of original texts from the very beginning of the language sequence, and work closely with faculty and a native-speaking assistant in developing their language skills. The emphasis in the fourth semester (Russian 222) builds on the foundations established in earlier courses, with more in-depth attention to grammar and stylistics. Students at this level begin to read longer texts in the original and discuss and write about them in Russian.
The four-semester basic language sequence is essential for a student who wishes to study off-campus in Russia, and who plans to do research in his/her field or to develop strong communication skills in Russian. The fifth semester (Russian 313) is strongly recommended for further developing linguistic skills, and for acquiring a deeper understanding of the essential aspects of Russian culture, particularly in preparation for off-campus study. Students majoring in Russian complete their major through off-campus study (see below), and the Russian 389 advanced seminars. Two-and four-credit independent projects and guided readings are available for students after the fourth semester language course, sometimes in conjunction with courses on the history or politics of Russia-offerings which can also count towards a Russian major.
A variety of summer and semester-long study opportunities in Russia are available for students with two or three years of Russian language study. Interested students should consult the Russian Department about particular programs. Most Russian majors study abroad in Russia during their four years at Grinnell College, and we recommend that students do so in the Spring semester of their third year, though some students may opt to study abroad in the Fall semester. Courses taken abroad on an approved study program are a substitute for a semester of third-year Russian, and most credits earned in approved programs count toward the Russian major.
There is no four-year plan typical for a Russian major, but a four-year plan for a Russian major might resemble the following course of study:
|FIRST YEAR FALL||FIRST YEAR SPRING|
|RUS 101||RUS 102|
|SECOND YEAR FALL||SECOND YEAR SPRING|
|RUS 221||RUS 222|
|THIRD YEAR FALL||THIRD YEAR SPRING|
|RUS 313||study in Russia or Russian History/Russian|
|Russian Literature-in-translation (4) Russian History/Political Science||Literature-in-translation (4) and RUS 332|
|FOURTH YEAR FALL||FOURTH YEAR SPRING|
|RUS 389||RUS 389 or 499|