POLS/RUSS 4362: RUSSIA TODAY
Добро пожаловать! Ласкаво просимо! Laipni lūdzam! კეთილი იყოს თქვენი მობრძანება! and Xush kelibsiz!... to the core course in UTA's Russian/Eurasian studies program and one of UTA's most interesting multi-disciplinary course. Over the next fifteen weeks you will be introduced to all things-Russia: the land, history, peoples, and cultures that make up this unique part of the world. "Russia Today" is a survey class that is designed to stimulate your inner-Russian by means of scholarly research, films, music, and interactions with policy-makers and observers of this land and its neighbors.
This is also about what many term a "critical" area of study. Russia is a country, language, and culture of global importance and understanding it requires specialized, multi-disciplined instruction. A core group of three regular instructors, as well as numerous guest lecturers will give you a unique understanding of the meanings of modern-day Russia. Our "learning objectives" include a broad understanding of the primary means to analyze a part of the world whose significance extends from world politics and trade, to literature, philosophical interpretation, and scientific endeavor. You will learn of tsars, commissars, composers, every-day people, climates, economics, and a host of other subjects that you would normally need three semesters or more to cover. You will learn in here of scientific endeavors, analytical techniques, and how opinion about the world's largest country fits into the mosaic of global study. Here is a great opportunity to discover that Russia is more than a country, much more than either the sum of its parts or the parts of its sum. Russia is here revealed for all its contradictions, predispositions, and curiosities which make for one of the most interesting area studies to be found in the college experience.
Russia is just too big for any one professor to "pretend" that he or she knows it all. In this course you get the combined of three instructors: Dr. Mark Cichock (Political Science); Dr. Lonny Harrison (Modern Languages); and Dr. Pete Smith (Russian/Distance Education). As the instructors for your learning experience we are your hosts for the first part of your Russian experience and will guide you along paths you never expected over the next several months. In addition, we also bring to you professionals from the field of Russian studies through in-class video conferences with U.S. government agencies, business sector specialists, and commentators from within Russia itself. We expect that your reward for participation will be an experience that you will remember long after graduating from UTA.
There is no specific text for this course due to the very broad subject matter. The
class is instead very heavy on the use of blogs including one that we provide
for the class (http://blog.uta.edu/russiatoday/).
There are some excellent sources of information and blogs especially that we
will be telling you about daily. That, of course, means we expect to use
them and their information for the tests so paying attention to these is very
As well, each written exam will also include current events items and
analytical themes found in these sources.
Maps: Students are especially encouraged to use the Maps Collection of the University of Texas at Austin. The site is http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/index.html.
Testing/Evaluation: There are three exams for this course, or what we refer to as Opportunities to Excel (OTE's); this includes the final exam. OTEs combine short answer essays, identifications, fill in the blanks, and multiple-choice questions. In addition, all students will do a research or translation assignment (see below). Each counts as 25% of your total grade and all must be taken/completed to receive a final grade for the course. Students are responsible for being on time for exams and in handing in their assignments on time. Make-up exams are only possible with the consent of the individual instructor and must conform to university policy for testing.
Students are responsible for contacting their respective professor for the details of their assignments. Russian language students will do a research paper using Russian sources assigned by Dr. Harrison; while POLS students will also do research papers the subjects of which are decided in consultation with Dr. Cichock. Each professor determines his own standards for quantity, quality, and grading of assignments, and all three instructors contribute to the writing of the exams.
Attendance: This course relies heavily on guest speakers so class attendance is required. Students are expected to show up on time so that speakers may get on with their material/discussions and not be interrupted by late arrivals. Attendance is taken into consideration in terms of border line grades.
Academic Honesty: Students are expected to familiarize themselves with UTA's standards for academic honesty and integrity. Information on academic honesty/dishonesty is available from the Office of Student Affairs.
Accommodations: UTA provides accommodations for most academic circumstances whether these are disabilities, tutoring, or illnesses. In all cases, students are responsible for providing the necessary paperwork and must speak to the professors about their needs. All personal accommodations, as well as grades, are kept in the strictest confidence so that students may feel free to pursue their studies without interference or invasions of privacy.
Office Hours/Access to Instructors:
Dr. Cichock: Office, 221 Hammond Hall; Office hours: MWF 10am-10:50am, and by appointment. Phone: 817-272-2388. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Harrison: Office, 221 Hammond Hall; Office hours: MWF 2:00-3:00pm, and by appointment; Phone: 817-272-9506. E-mail: email@example.com.
Dr. Smith: Office, 300 Nedderman Hall; Office hours: MWF, 11am-12pm and by appointment. Phone: 817-272-5727. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(please note that scheduling may change due to the availability of speakers)
Unit One: Defining Russia and Eurasia
Jan. 14: Introduction Cichock, Harrison, and Smith
Jan. 16: Pre-course survey, including map quiz Cichock and Smith
Jan. 18, & 21: Geography (physical,
pol., and eco.)
Smith and Cichock
Jan. 25: Demographic Issues Smith
Jan. 28 & 30, Feb. 1 & 4: History Smith, Harrison, and Cichock
Feb. 6 & 8: Ideology (Marxism, capitalism) Cichock
Feb. 11: "Raspad": The Breakup of the Soviet Union Smith
Feb. 13: OTE #1
Unit Two: Culture, Politics, and Change
Feb. 15-22: Russian and Soviet
Feb. 27, March 1, & 4: Politics in Russia Cichock
March 6 & 8: The Media Smith
March 11-15: Spring Break!!!
March 18: Modern Ukraine Cichock
March 20: Modern Central Asia Cichock
March 22 & 25: The Caucasus Cichock & Smith
March 27 & 29: The Baltics Cichock
April 3: Study Abroad Experiences
April 8: Explaining Orthodoxy Cichock (or guest)
April 10-15: Teleconferences (room location TBA)
April 17: Youth Culture in Russia Smith and UT-Austin guest lecturer
April 19-26: Russian Film Harrison
April 29: Russia's International
May 1-3: Russia's Problems and Prospects Cichock, Harrison, and Smith
May 8: Final OTE, 8-9:15am.