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Overview Given the current political climate in Russia and Eastern Europe, there is reason to believe that the United States will play an increasing role in trade and cultural exchange with these countries. As a result, there will be a need, in both the private and public sectors, for people familiar with East European languages and cultures. The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures works to meet this need by offering a broad spectrum of courses in three areas of study: language, literature, and folklore.
Students find a comprehensive curriculum in language. The program in Russian language offers introductory courses in the fundamentals and more advanced courses in reading, composition, stylistics, and the language of business. In addition to these courses, which develop oral/aural and written proficiency in the language, students may pursue other interests relating to language (linguistics, for example). Instruction is also available in other Slavic languages including Polish, Czech, Serbian, Croatian, and Ukrainian.
Russian literature is also a major emphasis of the department. Course offerings cover the entire range of Russian literature, from the works of medieval Russia to those of the present. The courses vary from broad surveys read in English translation to seminars on individual writers (e.g., Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nabokov). Emphasis is placed on the forces that have shaped Russian literature, including social concerns as well as the Russian sense of history and national destiny.
Finally, the department offers courses in folklore that deal with Slavic myth, ritual, epic, tale, song, and folklore theory. Theory courses, while often relying on Slavic examples, address issues with relevance beyond the Slavic field, such as the nature of oral literature and the significance of ritual in understanding human behavior.
Faculty The eight faculty members of the department are involved on a daily basis in the education of their students. Since the department is small, access to faculty is easy. Faculty interests range from literary theory, to linguistics, to modern cultural criticism and folklore.
Students There are currently 45 students majoring in Slavic languages and literatures. Most courses in the department are small, from 15 to 25 students, and are taught by a faculty member. With permission, undergraduates with superior skills may enroll in graduate courses in their fourth year of study. Most courses are taught as discussions or lecture/discussions in order to assure student input. Thus, students learn to think critically, and develop well-rounded analytic abilities. Students who complete majors in the Slavic department often go on to graduate programs to work toward higher degrees, or to professional programs. Others work in the government (State Department, grant administration, security agencies), the private sector, or the media. Still others choose to travel and work in the NIS; opportunities include teaching, internships, and volunteer work.
The Center for Russian and East European Studies (CREES) provides a focal point for students interested in this field. Lectures and colloquia as well as social events are sponsored. In addition, there is a film library and a computer lab containing other audio-visual resources.
UVA in Kazan The Slavic Department and CREES offer semester and summer study programs at Kazan State University to provide students with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of Russian language and culture. Program offerings include Russian language, literature, and culture. Courses of study are tailored to meet the needs of individual students and are determined in advance in consultation with instructors in the Slavic department at the University. In addition to the academic component of the program, an integral part of the program is direct experience of the culture.
Russian House Students may live in Russian House, a residential facility near Grounds. Residents are expected and encouraged to speak Russian as much as possible in this setting. Russian House features social and academic events such as lectures, a film series, meals, and informal gatherings. A University instructor who is a native speaker of Russian is in residence at the house as well.
Requirements for Major The department offers two major programs:
Students in the major must maintain a satisfactory grade point in major-related courses each semester. Satisfactory is defined as an average of C (i.e., 2.0), with no grade below C-. Students not maintaining this grade point are subject to discontinuation from the major.
Distinguished Majors Program Students with superior academic performance (GPA 3.5 or above in the major) are encouraged to apply to the department for the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in Russian Language and Literature. This program offers the exceptional student the opportunity for more rigorous and specialized work, including independent study, participation in upper-level courses, and the preparation of a senior thesis. To permit greater specialization, the program offers two options, Russian language and literature, or Russian studies.
Students are normally admitted to the DMP at the end of their third year of study. See undergraduate advisor for requirements.
College Language Requirement The language requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences may be satisfied in Russian by completing successfully RUSS 202, or by presenting evidence of equivalent preparation. Any incoming student or student returning from study abroad, or study at another institution, who wishes to continue Russian must take a placement test.
Additional Information For more information, contact Mr. Mark J. Elson, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, 109 Cabell Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 924-3548; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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