May 27, 2022  
Course Catalog 2007-2008 
Course Catalog 2007-2008 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Russian Language, Literature and Culture

Thomas Newlin, Associate Professor; Department Chair
Amanda Blasko, Lecturer, Faculty-in-Residence
Arlene Forman, Associate Professor
Jenny Kaminer, Visiting Assistant Professor
Tim Scholl,  Professor

The Department of Russian Language, Literature, and Culture offers a wide range of distinctive courses, both in Russian and in translation, for majors and non-majors alike. The study of Russian culture is extended beyond the classroom through a host of Russian-related events on campus: lectures, symposia, concerts, to name a few. 

Through our multi-year sequence of language courses students can gain extensive training in speaking, reading, and writing Russian, and develop a working understanding of Russian culture. We place a strong emphasis on building functional communicative skills so that students acquire the linguistic and cultural tools necessary to live, study, and do research in Russia. Classes are regularly divided into small conversation groups to promote greater oral proficiency.

Our interdisciplinary course offerings in literature, cinema, and culture (both in Russian and in translation) enable students to investigate significant works and periods in a way that hones their critical skills. Students especially interested in the interconnections between culture, history, and politics should consider the Russian and East European Area Studies Program.


Incoming students with previous training in Russian should take the Placement Test to determine appropriate level to continue studying Russian. Students beginning at Oberlin should note course sequences, some of which are prerequisite to the advanced level and the major. Participation in a Russian study abroad program is highly recommended, as is residency in the Russian House.

Suggested Course Sequence

New students considering a major should include a Russian language course in their first semester. New students with or without previous training are encouraged to take a related course in translation, such as Russian literature, culture, history or politics during their first year.

Study Abroad

The department strongly encourages all students interested in Russian to spend a semester, year, or summer abroad. Students can apply to a number of Oberlin-affiliated programs in Russia, including the Bard-Smolny program in St. Petersburg,  the Middlebury College programs in Moscow, Yaroslavl, and Irkutsk; and the American Council of Teachers of Russian programs in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Vladimir. Some programs, including the one offered jointly by the Moscow Institute of Social and Political Studies and the International University of Moscow, accept students without previous language training. Students interested in drama can participate in the Moscow Art Theater program, sponsored by the National Theater Institute. For further information on these and other programs, contact Ms. Forman, Mr. Newlin, or Mr. Scholl.

Students on financial aid should consult the Director of Financial Aid before planning to participate in any of the aforementioned programs.