Jun 18, 2018  
Course Catalog 2012-2013 
Course Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Russian and East European Studies

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Stephen Crowley, Professor of Politics and Russian & East European Studies; Committee Chair
Marko Dumancic, Visiting Assistant Professor of History
Arlene Forman, Associate Professor of Russian
Heather Hogan, Professor of History
Ian MacMillen, OCREECAS Post-Doctoral Fellow
Shulamit Magnus, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and History

Thomas Newlin, Associate Professor of Russian
Tim Scholl, Professor Russion Language,Literature,and Culture and Comparative Literature
Veljko Vujacic, William G. and Jeanette Williams Smith Associate Professor of Sociology


The Russian and East European Studies (REES) curriculum is multidisciplinary, incorporating offerings in history, politics and sociology with Russian language, literature, and culture courses (in the original and in translation). A major in Russian and East European Studies can lead to graduate work in any of the above-mentioned fields. In recent years Oberlin REES majors have successfully competed for entrance into graduate schools and have found careers in teaching, library science, government work, medicine, law, international business, as well as in charitable or non-profit organizations. A minor is also offered and is described below.

The Russian and East European Studies Curricular Committee

The Russian and East European Studies Curricular Committee serves as the advisory board for the major.  Committee members include:

Stephen Crowley, Politics
Arlene Forman, Russian Language, Literature, and Culture
Heather Hogan, History
Shulamit Magnus, Jewish Studies and History
Tom Newlin, Russian Language, Literature, and Culture
Annemarie Sammartino, History
Tim Scholl, Russian Language, Literature, and Culture  and  Comparative Literature
Veljko Vujacic, Sociology

Suggested Course Sequence

New students considering a major or minor should include an introductory course in Russian history, politics, sociology, literature or culture in their first semester. Students are also strongly encouraged to begin Russian language study in their first year.  At the time of declaration of the major, students and their advisors will discuss an appropriate area of focus for the major (e.g., chronological, thematic, methodological, or disciplinary).


Incoming students with previous training in Russian should take the Placement Test to determine the level at which study in Russian should continue.  Students beginning at Oberlin can enroll in Russian 101 during the fall semester or take the Winter Term Intensive Beginning Russian course. Participation in a study abroad program is highly recommended, as is residency in Russian House.

Study Abroad

A high priority of the program is to prepare undergraduates for study in Russia or Eastern Europe. Students interested in studying in Russia are encouraged to apply to one of the following programs: (1) the Bard-Smolny program in St. Petersburg,  (2) the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) semester programs in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Vladimir, (3) the Middlebury School in Russia programs in Moscow, Yaroslavl or Irkutsk, or (4) the joint program offered by the Moscow Institute of Social and Political Studies and the International University of Moscow. Students interested in studying in the Czech Republic can participate in semester programs run by GLCA or CIEE. GLCA also offers a study program in Poland. Students interested in studying in Hungary may participate in the CIEE program in Budapest. Over the past 15 years more than 100 of our students have participated in one or more of these programs. Credits are fully transferable to Oberlin. For further information on these and other programs, contact members of the REES Curricular Committee.


Created in 1998 through support from The Clowes Fund, Inc. and a private donation, the Oberlin Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (OCREECAS) is designed to promote greater awareness of the region in the Oberlin community. The Center seeks to foster the development of new curricula and to expand summer and post-graduation internships, community service, study abroad and employment opportunities for students. OCREECAS sponsors internship opportunities in Russia and Eastern Europe and seeks to enhance the Oberlin curriculum through on-campus residencies of visiting scholars and artists. Recent OCREECAS short courses have included Soviet Cultural Globalization; Putin’s Russia; Postcommunism as a Cultural Problem; Oil on Troubled Waters: Geopolitics and the Environment in Central Asia and the Caucasus; Emerging Nations: Identity and Culture in Today’s Central Europe.

OCREECAS Internships

Qualified juniors, seniors and recent graduates interested in working in a service or non-profit capacity in Russia and Eastern Europe are encouraged to apply for OCREECAS grants-in-aid.  Successful candidates have recently completed internships in Krakow, Kiev and Irkutsk working on projects focused on the environment, contemporary media and Jewish studies.  For further information see the Center’s web site: www.oberlin.edu/creecas or contact OCREECAS Director, Amanda Blasko.


The major consists of two years of college-level Russian (or the equivalent) plus a minimum of 30 hours, which should be accumulated as follows:

Language and Literature (14-16 hours): completion of the third year of Russian language study (eight credits) with the remaining credits chosen from literature, culture and film courses taught by the Russian Department. A Russian course at the 400 level is highly recommended. Private reading courses, as a rule, do not apply to this category. Normally, up to eight hours in this category may be awarded for study abroad.

Social Sciences (14-16 hours): completion of at least 14 credit hours chosen from two or more disciplines from the following list of Core Courses. Students are encouraged to take at least six hours at the advanced level in history, politics, or sociology (e.g. 300, 400, or with permission, 900-level courses). Normally, History 107/108 is the prerequisite for advanced courses in Russian history, Politics 115 is the prerequisite for 300-level courses in politics, and Sociology 124 is the prerequisite for advanced courses in this area.

Core Courses

Please consult individual departmental listings for full course description and availability.  Not all of these courses are offered every year.

Courses taught under the auspices of OCREECAS will count toward the major. Other courses that address the region in a substantive way may also count toward the major, upon approval by the REES Committee.

History (HIST)

  • HIST 223 - Ethnic Minorities in Central Europe
  • HIST 372 - Readings in Russian Women’s History
  • HIST 373 - Modern Russian Women’s History

Politics (POLT)


  • POLT 116 - Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1941 - Film

Russian and East European Studies (REES)

Additional Courses

Courses taught in the following departments also apply to the major;

Economics (ECON)

These courses have other Economics courses as prerequisites.


Honors Program

Majors should consider application to the Honors Program and are encouraged to speak with a REES committee member about their interests. Criteria for admission normally include the following: overall GPA of at least 3.25; major GPA of at least 3.50; as well as strong evidence of an interdisciplinary focus in courses taken and in the proposed topic of research.

Minor in Russian and East European Studies

Grounded in the social sciences and balancing contemporary issues with knowledge of the region, the REES minor consists of 15 credit hours of coursework.

  1. No more than six hours can be derived from basic language courses (100-level) or a semester of intensive language study in a REES-approved academic program in Russia or Eastern Europe.
  2. A minimum of 6 hours must be in non-language work in REES core courses or courses taught under the auspices of OCREECAS.  At least two courses must be beyond the introductory level and completed at Oberlin.  Other courses, which address Eastern Europe in a substantive way, will count toward the major, upon approval by the REES Committee.


For further information, consult our web pages: www.oberlin.edu/russian/ and  www.oberlin.edu/creecas/ .

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