Natalia Dizenko

Undergraduate Discipline

Russian

Current undergraduate courses

Advanced Russian: Ivan Vasil’evich

Spring

This course is aimed at students who are beyond the second-year level of Russian. While we will continue some work with a textbook, our aim will be to move away from grammar and into active reading, writing, watching, and speaking in Russian. The large part of our course will center on our reading of Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1936 play, Ivan Vasil’evich, and our watching of the 1973 film adaptation, Ivan Vasil’evich meniaet professiiu; both play and film tell the story of a somewhat hapless scientist who succeeds in inventing a time machine. Other texts will include historical accounts: Sergei Eisenstein’s film, Ivan the Terrible; Mikhail Zoshchenko’s short story, Krizis; various films portraying the 1920s and the 1960s/70s and a short excerpt from Vladimir Voinovich’s Ivankiada. Over the course of the semester, we will also learn a number of popular and folk songs, along with the basics of Russian word morphology. Note that weekly conversation classes with the Russian assistant will be required, and attendance at Russian table is strongly encouraged.

Faculty

Intermediate Russian

Year

At the end of this course, students should feel that they have a fairly sophisticated grasp of Russian and the ability to communicate in Russian in any situation. After the first year of studying the language, students will have learned the bulk of Russian grammar; this course will emphasize grammar review, vocabulary accumulation, and regular oral practice. Class time will center on the spoken language, and students will be expected to participate actively in discussions based on new vocabulary. Regular written homework will be required, along with weekly conversation classes with the Russian assistant; attendance at Russian Table is strongly encouraged. Conference work will focus on the written language, and students will be asked to read short texts by the author(s) of their choice, with the aim of appreciating a very different culture and/or literature while learning to read independently, accurately, and with as little recourse to the dictionary as possible.

Faculty

Previous courses

Advanced Russian: Ivan Vasil’evich/Zolotoi telenok

Year

This course is intended for students who are beyond the second-year level. Our aim will be to move away from grammar and into active reading, writing, watching, and speaking in Russian. In the fall semester, the course will center on Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1936 play, Ivan Vasil’evich, and the 1973 film adaptation, Ivan Vasil’evich meniaet professiiu; both play and film tell the story of a somewhat hapless scientist who succeeds in inventing a time machine. In the spring, our basic text will be Il'f and Petrov's 1931 novel, Zolotoi telenok, along with film versions from 1968 and 2006; one of the most famous works of the 20th century in Russia, Zolotoi telenok is the extremely funny and often surprisingly satirical adventures of Ostap Bender, truly one of the great literary con men of all time. In both semesters, our work with our main texts will be supplemented by other texts/films. In the fall, these texts will include shorter pieces by writers such as Zoshchenko and Voinovich, historical accounts, and Eisenstein’s film, Ivan the Terrible, as well as other films portraying the 1920s and the 1960s-70s. In the spring, we will watch more movies and read more works from the 1920s-30s, including short pieces by Babel, Paustovskii, V. Kataev, and Olesha. Over the course of the year, we will learn a number of popular songs and folk songs, along with the basics of Russian word morphology. Weekly conversation classes with the Russian assistant will be required, and attendance at Russian table is strongly encouraged.

Faculty