Aug 07, 2020  
Course Catalog 2005-2006 
Course Catalog 2005-2006 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Russian and East European Studies

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences

The Russian and East European Studies (REES) curriculum is multidisciplinary, incorporating offerings in history, Russian and East European 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, focused on Eastern Europe, 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 (on leave Semester I and II)
Tim Scholl, Russian Language, Literature, and Culture
Veljko Vujacic, Sociology

Suggested Course Sequence

New students considering a major should include an introductory survey course in Russian history, politics, sociology, or literature in their first semester. All students are encouraged to begin Russian language study in the first semester as well. 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 be continued. 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 Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) semester programs in St. Petersburg, (2) the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) fall semester in Krasnodar, (3) the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR) semester programs in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Vladimir, (4) the School in Russia program in Voronezh,Yaroslavl or Irkutsk, or (5) 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 highly selective 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, Eastern Europe and Central Asia and seeks to enhance the Oberlin curriculum through on-campus residencies of visiting scholars and artists. In 2004, OCREECAS short courses included Soviet Cultural Globalization, Putin’s Russia, and Postcommunism as a Cultural Problem.

OCREECAS Internships

Qualified juniors, seniors and recent graduates interested in working in a service or non-profit capacity in Russia, Eastern Europe or Central Asia are encouraged to apply for OCREECAS grants-in-aid. Successful candidates in 2004 completed internships in Budapest, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Ulan-Ude working on projects focused on the environment, contemporary media, ethnic conflict, and AIDS prevention. For further information see the Center’s web site:


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.

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.

Core Courses

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

History (HIST)

  • HIST 223 - Ethnic Minorities in Central Europe
  • HIST 298 - Russia and the Soviet Union Since 1941- Film
  • HIST 311 - Colloquium on East European Jewry, 1772 - 1939
  • 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

Additional Courses

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

Economics (ECON)

Both courses have Economics 101 as a prerequisite.

  • ECON 226 - Political Economy of European Integration

Music History (MHST)

  • MHST 371 - Stravinsky

Honors Program

Majors should consider participation in 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 3.00; major GPA of at least 3.25; 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 Russian and East European Studies minor is grounded in the social sciences and balances contemporary issues with a knowledge of the region in its historical context. The minor is divided into two parts:

  1. core and related courses taught in English and
  2. foreign language study.

To complete the minor students must take five courses in the first category (of which three or more are from the list of core courses) and satisfy the language component. Study abroad is strongly encouraged. At least three out of the five courses must be completed at Oberlin College; up to two courses may come from participation in an approved study abroad program in Eastern Europe.

Part One

Three or more courses must come from the core offerings below:

Core Courses:

History (HIST)

  • HIST 223 - Ethnic Minorities in Central Europe
  • HIST 311 - Colloquium on East European Jewry, 1772-1939

Related Courses:

Economics (ECON)

  • ECON 225 - Political Economy of European Intergration

Jewish Studies (JWST)

Part Two: Language Study

  1. Students must satisfy the language component in one of the following ways:
    1. One semester of intensive language study in Eastern Europe through an academic program recognized by the Russian and East European Studies Curricular Committee. (CIEE: Prague, Poland, Budapest, or GLCA: Olomouc.)
    2. Successful completion of Russian 102 or the equivalent.
  2. Students who wish to continue language study at the intermediate level may apply credit from up to two appropriate courses towards completion of Part One of the concentration.

Courses taught under the auspices of OCREECAS or 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: and

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of Arts and Sciences