May 26, 2024  
Course Catalog 2017-2018 
Course Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Russian and East European Studies

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Stephen Crowley, Professor of Politics (on leave Fall 2017)
Arlene Forman, Associate Professor of Russian
Sheila Miloshi Jager, Professor of East Asian Studies
Ian MacMillen, Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies
Thomas Newlin, Associate Professor of Russian
Tim Scholl, Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature
Maia Solovieva, Lecturer in Russian
Veljko Vujacic, Professor of Sociology (on leave 2017-2018)

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.


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 Committee members listed above.


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 Never Remember: Reckoning with Stalin’s Great Terror; 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. For further information contact the OCREECAS Director, Ian MacMillen.  

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: or contact Russian House Director, Maia Solovieva.


Courses in which a student has earned a letter grade lower than a C- or P cannot be used to fulfill the requirements of the major. 

The major consists of two years of college-level Russian (or the equivalent) plus a minimum of 9 full courses, which should be accumulated as follows:

Language and Literature (4-5 full courses): completion of the third year of Russian language study (two full courses) with the remaining courses chosen from literature, culture and film courses taught by the Russian Department. Normally, up to 2 full courses in this category may be awarded for study abroad. Social Sciences (4-5 courses): completion of at least 4 full courses chosen from two or more disciplines from the following list of Core Courses.

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.

Economics (ECON)

 These courses have other Economics courses as prerequisites.

History (HIST)

• HIST 223 - Ethnic Minorities in Central Europe
• HIST 235 - Inside the Pale: East European Jewry, 1772-1939

Politics (POLT)

  • POLT 260 - Post-Soviet Politics

Russian and East European Studies

Additional Courses

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

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

The REES minor consists of 5 full courses. 

  1. No more than 1 full course 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 two full courses 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. 

 For further information, consult our web pages:

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