Arpi Movsesian

In English. No prerequisites.

cross-listed with Comparative Literature 01:195:272:01 and History 01:510:277:01

Russia's Ambivalent Embrace: Empire, Periphery, Identity

The Russian tsars called Moscow the New Jerusalem. The Russian emperors preferred Third Rome or Great European Power. Soviet leaders called it the Friendship of the Peoples. Putin calls it Russky mir or “Russian World.” Over the course of several centuries some idea of imperial dominance has been used to define how Russia has related to its many borderlands and its external neighbors and how the periphery has related to the metropole. Meanwhile, for successive generations of cultural elites, Russia’s vast territory has constantly presented a problem, inspiring pride, confusion, and resentment—sometimes all at once, in the very same people. Our course will try to understand why that is, by examining how literatures and art of the peoples from the former Russian and Soviet empires have engaged with Russia’s complicated territorial identity, focusing especially on the last two hundred years. One of the objectives of the course is to provide foundations for better understanding Russia’s orientation in the world today as concerning to Eastern Europe and Eurasia. No prerequisites; all readings, films, and class discussions in English.

Fulfills SAS Core goals CC, AHp