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Graduate Course Descriptions
 

**Please note** that this is a listing of all graduate courses potentially available from the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. To see a list of currently offered courses, please refer to the Current Graduate Courses webpage.

Please contact Taras Koznarsky, the acting graduate coordinator, for any questions about course offerings.

General Slavic
Slavic Linguistics
Russian Literature
Polish Literature and Culture
Ukrainian Literature
Croatian and Serbian Literatures
Czech and Slovak Literatures

H = half course (one term only)
Y = full course (both terms, Sept - Apr))

Description of Courses Offered

General Slavic

SLA 1010H - SLAVIC PROSEMINAR

The proseminar in Slavic studies is aimed at the professional orientation and development of students at the doctoral level. The course introduces graduate students to the history of their academic discipline in Europe and North America, and surveys the discipline’s thematic and methodological breadth. It also imparts a sense of the larger scholarly community to which students belong as researchers and teachers in Slavic studies, fosters the development of research skills central to our academic field, and helps students cultivate good professional habits. The course is taught by a team of instructors from the Slavic Department and cognate academic programs. The proseminar is offered every other year and, while it carries no course-credit value, it is required of all doctoral students who must take it prior to their qualifying exams. MA students are encouraged but not required to take the course (MA students who enrol into the department’s doctoral program must take the proseminar whether or not they have audited it before). Although a semester-long (H) course, the proseminar is taught on a bi-weekly basis throughout the academic year.

SLA 1037H - THEATRE AND CINEMA IN EXTREMIS: STAGING TWENTIETH CENTURY AESTHETICS AND POLITICS
Veronika Ambros, Tamara Trojanowska

A study of the effects on aesthetic form of the totalitarian experience in Russia, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.  The Russian, Polish and Czech avant-garde, poised between the bankruptcy of traditional aesthetics and the search for new forms in the revolutionary years and the post-Holocaust world.  Co-taught course.

SLA 1038H - PERFORMANCE IN THEORY AND PRACTICE
Tamara Trojanowska

SLA 1039H - KYIV-KIEV-KIJOW: A CITY THROUGH CULTURES AND CENTURIES
Taras Koznarsky

A cultural history of the Ukrainian capital: Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and Jewish ”versions” of the city; artworks and literary texts that capture the complexity of Kyivan history and culture.

SLA 1040H - METHODS OF TEACHING SLAVIC LANGUAGES
Julia Mikhailova

This course investigates various language pedagogy approaches and theories discussed in pedagogical literature, and during seminars takes a practical approach to language pedagogy by improving teaching practice and by addressing the issues that arise during TAs’ teaching. This course helps experienced and inexperienced language teachers to develop understanding of learning and teaching a foreign language. All readings, activities, and projects will encourage trainees to think through problems and approaches to teaching. Course assignments and tasks will be modeled on assignments and tasks typical of the foreign language classroom.

SLA 1041Y - ADVANCED TRAINING IN SLAVIC LANGUAGES I

Development of advanced speaking, reading, listening and writing skills on a wide variety of topics. Work on grammar and vocabulary building. Reading of classical and contemporary, non-adapted literary and mass-media texts. Students do regular independent projects (presentations, compositions, etc.) on the authentic material drawn from their current graduate curriculum in literature and culture.
Prerequisite: Two years of appropriate Slavic language training.
Enrolment Restriction: Enrolment in this course is limited to students in the Slavic Department’s 2-year MA option.

SLA 1042Y - ADVANCED TRAINING IN SLAVIC LANGUAGES II

Syntactic structures and their relation to meaning and style, word order, intonation. Consolidation of morphology, vocabulary building through extensive reading. Translation, composition, and oral practice. Students do regular independent projects (presentations, compositions, etc.) on the authentic material drawn from their current graduate curriculum in literature and culture.
Prerequisite: Two years of appropriate Slavic language training.
Enrolment Restriction: Enrolment in this course is limited to students in the Slavic Department’s 2-year MA option.

SLA 1043H - ADVANCED TRAINING IN SLAVIC LANGUAGES I

Development of advanced speaking, reading, listening and writing skills on a wide variety of topics. Work on grammar and vocabulary building. Reading of classical and contemporary, non-adapted literary and mass-media texts. Students do regular independent projects (presentations, compositions, etc.) on the authentic material drawn from their current graduate curriculum in literature and culture.
Prerequisite: Two years of appropriate Slavic language training.
Enrolment Restriction: Enrolment in this course is limited to students in theSlavic Department’s 2-year MA option.

SLA 1044H - ADVANCED TRAINING IN SLAVIC LANGUAGES II

Syntactic structures and their relation to meaning and style, word order, intonation. Consolidation of morphology, vocabulary building through extensive reading. Translation, composition, and oral practice. Students do regular independent projects (presentations, compositions, etc.) on the authentic material drawn from their current graduate curriculum in literature and culture.
Prerequisite: Two years of appropriate Slavic language training.
Enrolment Restriction: Enrolment in this course is limited to students in the Slavic Department’s 2-year MA option.

SLA1207H - THE IMAGINARY JEW
Leonid Livak

This course examines the genesis and evolution of the image of “the jews,” central to all European cultures, from the theology and psychology of Christian anti-Judaism to their reflection in European arts and folklore, and to the survival of the “jewish” vocabulary of difference in secular forms in post-Christian cultures. Special attention is given to “the jews” of East European imagination and in Russian literature.

SLA 1310H - TWENTIETH-CENTURY THEATRE: MODERNISM, AVANT-GARDE, POSTMODERNISM
Tamara Trojanowska

Theoretical thought and theatre practice of these important East European directors are placed within a broad context of European modernism and avant-garde, with the particular emphasis on the text-stage relationship, mise-en-scene, and within theatre reforms in the 20th century (naturalism and symbolism, the search for the absolute autonomy of theatre performance, the attempts to re-theatricalize the theatre, and to create a ritualistic and mythic holy theatre). PhD Required.

SLA1320H Postcommunism - Postcolonialism - Postdependency
Lukasz Wodzynski

The swift collapse of communist regimes across Central and Eastern Europe came as a surprise to both their opponents and political clients. While in 1989 Francis Fukuyama speculated in his most famous – and most derided – essay about the “end of history,” the historian Tony Judt saw in this chain of events a final release of the region’s histories from “what once seemed permanent and somehow inevitable” but now taking on “a more transient air.” Did the Central and Eastern European nations escape history (into vaguely defined, Western-style “normalcy”), or have now properly “entered it” as independent subjects? What social and cultural mechanisms shape the relationship to the communist and pre-communist past and visions of the – still largely indeterminate – future in the globalized world for these nations? How are we to think about the years following the rapid transformation from communism to neoliberal capitalism and more or less liberal democracy in countries like Poland, Ukraine, South Slavic Republics, and Russia? How did culture mediate the experience of this political, social, and economic revolution? Finally, what is the condition of post-communism? When does it begin? When – if at all – can it be said to have ended?

In this course we will try to answer these and similar questions while examining the literature and cinema of the so called “post-communist” cultures. Our methodology will build on theoretical apparatus and concepts developed by postcolonial (and post-dependency) studies, such as imperialism, cultural hegemony, relationships of power and dependency, alterity, hybridity, liminality, and others. We will discuss and critically evaluate the applicability of this methodology to the Central and Eastern European (in the case of Russia, also Eurasian) context, focusing on various strategies of identity (re)construction adopted by the authors and filmmakers amid the chaos of competing social, historical, and cultural narratives that erupted with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and its satellites.   

SLA1330H European Science Fiction and the Re-Enchantment of Modernity
Lukasz Wodzynski

In this course we will examine European science fiction, focusing on literature, drama, and film produced in Central and Eastern Europe. Shaped by the experience of two world wars, two totalitarianisms, and several revolutions, continental sci-fi is known for its radical and uncompromising thought experiments and daring aesthetics. We will discuss works by H.G. Wells, Evgenii Zamiatin, Karel Čapek, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Fritz Lang, Stanisław Lem, Andrei Tarkovsky, Jacek Dukaj, and others against the cultural and theoretical background of modernity. We will base our methodology on the theoretical framework developed by science fiction studies, yet our focus in the course will be various strategies of re-enchanting the modern world that European authors deploy in their texts.  

SLA 1421Y - WOMEN IN EAST EUROPEAN FICTION

This course seeks to examine both the representation of women in the plural literary traditions of Eastern Europe and the theoretical and interpretive dimensions of works by East European women authors from the late nineteenth century to the “post-colonial” or “post-velvet revolutionary” in the era of the 1990s.  Texts are taken from the Czech, Slovak, Polish, Serbian, Croatian, Estonian, and Lithuanian traditions, as well as other traditions for which English translations of primary texts are available.

SLA 1521H - POST-MODERNITY AND THE MYTHOPOETIC LEGACY OF MITTELEUROPA 
Staff

Through the works of Italo Svevo, Robert Musil, Miloš Crnjanski, Jaroslav Hašek, Bruno Schulz, Ivo Andrić, Mircea Eliade, Karl Kraus, Franz Kafka and Miroslav Krleža, the encyclopaedic polygraph and pre-eminent Croat literary figure of the twentieth century, this course focuses on ideology and the role of the writer as alien indigen between exile and asylum.  Special attention is given to twentieth-century interbellum fiction, polemical writings and historical essays on cultural history in Central and South-Eastern Europe refracted in works by late- and post-communist writers such as Czesław Miłosz, Josef Škvorecký, Milan Kundera, Danilo Kiš, Dubravka Ugrešić and Aleksandar Hemon.  Interviews and films elucidate recent theories of post-orientalism, self-colonialism and interculturality in regions just east of the Trieste-Gdansk transversal.  Key fiction: The Return of Philip Latinovicz, The Good Soldier Švejk, On the Edge of Reason, Banquet in Blithuania, The Valley of the Issa, The Man without Qualities, The Forbidden Forest, The Castle, The Confessions of Zeno, Migrations, The Devil's Yard, Gardens, Ashes, Nowhere Man
Students may read in English translation or in any of the eight national languages.

SLA 1609H - KAREL CAPEK - A MAN WITH MANY POCKETS

Karel Čapek a playwright, dramaturge, novelist, story teller, journalist, philosopher, and translator was the first internationally acclaimed Czech writer. His oeuvre, however, shows an author well versed in contemporary artistic trends, literature, and philosophical thoughts. For instance, his play R.U.R. (1921), which introduced the word robot, was informed by contemporary philosophers such as Henri Bergson, or W. James. As a dramaturge and playwright he revived the tradition of commedia dell’ arte; as a story teller he turned the genre of mystery short story inspired by G.B.Chesterton into “noetic” tales (Mukařovský) presented in The Tales from two Pockets two collections of short stories dealing with various mysteries (1928) . As a journalist he showed his skills with regard to “simple forms” (Andr é Jolles). His translation of French poetry, especially Apollinaire, was instrumental for the formation of the Czech avant-garde. His novels are in dialogue with internationally known authors (e.g. Dos Passos). This class will explore these various modes as well as selected intermedial and intertextual aspects of Karel Čapek’s oeuvre.
Readings in English and in the original.

SLA 2000Y - READING AND RESEARCH
Staff

SLA 2001H - ONE TERM READING AND RESEARCH
Staff

• SLA 2002Y - READING AND RESEARCH (FOR PH.D CANDIDATES ONLY)

SLA 2020Y - RESEARCH PAPER

COL 5012Y - READINGS IN CZECH/RUSSIAN LITERARY THEORY 
Veronika Ambros

Contemporary literary science owes much to the Russian formalists and Prague Linguistic Circle. To trace the imprint of Russian Formalism and Czech Structuralism on current scholarship, this course will introduce general aesthetic concepts of both schools such as aesthetic communication, aesthetic and other functions of language, defamiliarization, foregrounding and the Brechtian V-effekt, literary evolution and concretisation as well as the difference between standard and poetic language.  The class will proceed to explore the theoretical treatment of poetry, prose, drama and cinema as presented by the most important scholars such as Roman Jakobson, Yuri Tynianov, Boris Eikhenbaum, Ossip Brik, Viktor Shklovsky, Petr Bogatyrev, Jan Mukařovský, Jindřich Honzl, Jiří Veltruský and Karel Brušák. In the section on theory of prose, the work of Mikhail Bakhtin will also be taken into consideration. When appropriate, text analysis of primary texts will assist in the examination of theoretical writings.

COL 5037H - MAGIC PRAGUE
Veronika Ambros

Prague as a meeting point of different cultures has attracted many artists. This class explores the myth of Prague as a magic city created in a variety of literary texts. Questions of center and margin, of multiculturalism and nationalism, and of literary cityscapes will be discussed with the help of texts by Jan Neruda, Franz Kafka, M. Cvetaeva, R.M. Rilke G. Meyrink, G. Apollinaire, B. Hrabal, M.Kundera and others.
Readings in English (in the original for majors).

Slavic Linguistics

SLA 1040H - METHODS OF TEACHING SLAVIC LANGUAGES
Julia Mikhailova

This course investigates various language pedagogy approaches and theories discussed in pedagogical literature, and during seminars takes a practical approach to language pedagogy by improving teaching practice and by addressing the issues that arise during TAs’ teaching. This course helps experienced and inexperienced language teachers to develop understanding of learning and teaching a foreign language. All readings, activities, and projects will encourage trainees to think through problems and approaches to teaching. Course assignments and tasks will be modeled on assignments and tasks typical of the foreign language classroom.

SLA 1101H - HISTORICAL PHONOLOGY, MORPHOLOGY, AND SYNTAX OF THE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE
Joseph Schallert

This course examines the historical development of Russian phonology and morphology from Common Slavic through Old Russian to the modern era. Selected Old Russian texts will be studied as linguistic documents, including the light they shed on historical syntax.
Prerequisites: SLA 1104H, SLA 1109H.

SLA 1102Y - ADVANCED RUSSIAN LANGUAGE SKILLS
Christopher J. Barnes
The course is designed for graduate students.  It will consist of regular practice in written translation from English to Russian, composition in Russian, and instruction in more advanced aspects of stylistics, vocabulary, and word-usage.  Assessment will be based on regular weekly exercises and on class tests to be held at the end of each term.
Undergraduate students may take this course only with the permission of the instructor.

SLA 1103H - COMPARATIVE SOUTH SLAVIC LINGUISTICS
Joseph Schallert

Survey of the comparative historical phonology, morphology, syntax, and dialectology of Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian. Languages emphasized will depend in part on student background and interest.
Prerequisites: SLA 1104H, SLA 1109H.

SLA 1104H - INTRODUCTION TO OLD CHURCH SLAVONIC
Joseph Schallert

Study of the basic grammar of the oldest Slavic religious texts. Reading and translation of selected texts, which are presented in both the old Cyrillic alphabet and modern Latin alphabet transcription (similar to Czech and Polish).
Prerequisite: Good reading knowledge of one modern Slavic language.

SLA 1105H - RUSSIAN PHONETICS, PHONOLOGY, AND DERIVATIONAL MORPHOLOGY
Julia Mikhailova

This course examines in a systematic fashion the production and description of Russian sounds (phonetics), the interrelationship of Russian sounds in speech (phonology), the formation of Russian words (derivational morphology).

SLA 1109H - STUDIES IN OLD CHURCH SLAVONIC
Joseph Schallert

Reading and linguistic analysis of selected Old Church Slavonic texts (in old Cyrillic and scholarly transcription).
Prerequisite: SLA 1104H.

SLA 1110H - COMPARATIVE HISTORICAL SLAVIC LINGUISTICS
Joseph Schallert

Study of the phonology, accentuation, and morphology of Proto-Slavic on the basis of modern and medieval Slavic dialects and other Indo-European languages.
Prerequisite: SLA 1104H, SLA 1109H

SLA 1112H - TENSE, ASPECT, AND MOOD IN SLAVIC
Christina E. Kramer

In this course we will discuss the interaction of the categories of tense, aspect and mood in various Slavic languages.  Students will be expected to know at least two Slavic languages well and have good background preparation in linguistic theory. 

SLA 1113H - LANGUAGE STANDARDIZATION AND THE POLITICS OF IDENTITY IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
Christina E. Kramer

This course covers issues in language standardization, language planning, and other socio-linguistic aspects of the politics of language in southeastern Europe. We will do extensive reading on these linguistic issues focusing on the processes of standardization of South Slavic languages and other languages of the Balkan linguistic area. Recent developments, e.g. the new standardizing Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian, will be viewed in historic context from roughly the mid-nineteenth century to the present.  

SLA 1114H - RUSSIAN INFLECTIONAL MORPHOLOGY, STRESS, LEXICON, ASPECT
Joseph Schallert

This course examines in a systematic fashion Russian declension and conjugation (inflectional morphology), word stress, the organization of the lexicon, and the formal and semantic properties of verbal aspect.  

SLA 1115H - HISTORICAL DIALECTOLOGY, ACCENTUATION, AND VERBAL SEMANTICS OF THE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE
Joseph Schallert

This course begins with a review of Russian historical phonology, morphology, and the lexicon, as considered primarily through the lens of modern Russian dialects and, secondarily, the comparative evidence of Ukrainian and Belorussian. We then turn to the development of Russian word stress from its Common Slavic origins, including the evidence of accented Old Russian manuscripts. We conclude with a survey of the development of Russian tense, aspect and mood, with reliance upon the evidence of Old Russian and later texts. 

SLA 1141H - HISTORY OF THE UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE
STAFF

SLA 1142H - STYLE AND STRUCTURE OF UKRAINIAN
STAFF

SLA 1150H - RUSSIAN SINCE THE REVOLUTION
STAFF

Russian Literature

SLA1202H - THE GULAG IN RUSSIA LITERATURE
Staff

The course examines questions of genre, narrative, history and identity in memoirs and fiction on Russian and Soviet labour camps, with readings of texts by Dostoevsky, Figner, Solzhenitsyn, Ginzburg, Shalamov, Tarsis, Siniavsky/Terts and others.

SLA 1203H - THE SELF AND OTHERS IN RUSSIAN PROSE
Staff

What is a modern Russian individual? This course will follow the debate in Russia from the eighteenth century to the Bolshevik revolution about the relation of the individual and society, with a strong emphasis on definitions of individual psychology and their expression in fictional narratives. We will do close-readings of a small number of literary texts, and supplement these with discussions of excerpts from polemics of the time and other non-fictional material. Possible authors include Karamzin, Pushkin, Gogol, Herzen, Turgenev, Leskov, and Chekhov. The student should check the instructor’s web page for the specific topic of a given year. Readings will be in English with an extra hour every two weeks devoted to the language and style of each text for those who know Russian.

SLA 1204H - CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN LITERATURE
Zahar Davydov

Major writers and literary groupings of the past decade; the literary process in post-Soviet Russia.
The course is taught in Russian. Readings in Russian.

SLA1207H - THE IMAGINARY JEW
Leonid Livak

This course examines the genesis and evolution of the image of “the jews,” central to all European cultures, from the theology and psychology of Christian anti-Judaism to their reflection in European arts and folklore, and to the survival of the “jewish” vocabulary of difference in secular forms in post-Christian cultures. Special attention is given to “the jews” of East European imagination and in Russian literature. All readings are in English.

SLA 1210H - STUDIES IN MEDIEVAL RUSSIAN LITERATURE
T. Allen Smith

A comprehensive survey of the literature of Kievan Rus' and Muscovy to the Petrine period.  All of the principal genres are included in the course, e.g., chronicles, epics, saints’ lives and homiletic works.  A brief study of the history of the study of Old Russian Literature is followed by a close textual and stylistic analysis of the major movements of each genre in successive historical periods.
Readings in Russian.

SLA 1211Y - STUDIES IN RUSSIAN DRAMA: 18TH-20TH CENTURIES
Staff

The development of Russian drama and theatre is examined through a detailed study of the major plays of the Russian repertory, from neo-classical through romantic, realistic, symbolist and futurist, to Soviet and post-Soviet.  Among the playwrights studied are Sumarokov, Fonvizin, Griboedov, Pushkin, Gogol, Pisemsky, Ostrovsky, A.K. Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky, Sologub, Andreev, Mayakovsky, Bulgakov, Vampilov and Arbuzov.  The course is also open to students of the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama and other graduate departments, who may read the plays in English translation.

SLA 1215H - STUDIES IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND CRITICISM IN THE 18TH CENTURY
Zahar Davydov

This course studies the prose, poetry and dramaturgy of the most prominent Russian literary figures of the eighteenth century: such as N. Karamzin, V. Tretiakovsky, M. Lomonsov, D. Fonvizin, G. Derzhavin, A. Radishchev and I. Krylov.  Aspects of literature during the reign of Peter the First, as well as of literature and satirical journalism during the reign of Catherine the Second and of the era of Russian classicism and sentimentalism, will be examined.
This course is taught in Russian. Readings in Russian.

SLA 1216H - FROM ENGLISH TO RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND BACK
Staff

As they entered modernity, Russians first felt overwhelmed by foreign influences, and then took their revenge in the twentieth century, when they influenced others. We will compare seminal English and American texts by such authors as Shakespeare, Sterne, Scott, Byron, Poe or Dickens to Russian prose texts that they influenced, and then we will look at the influence of the Russian texts on subsequent English language ones, mostly in the twentieth century. The student should check the instructor’s web page for the specific topic of a given year. Readings will be in English with an extra hour every two weeks devoted to the language and style of each Russian text for those who know Russian.

SLA 1218H - PUSHKIN
Taras Koznarsky

A survey of lyrical poetry, narrative poems, drama, and prose. Introduction to Pushkin studies. Topics include: poet and society; poetry, nation, and empire; Pushkin's life, death, afterlife, and cultural mythologies; Pushkin in visual arts, music, and film. Readings in Russian and English.

SLA 1220H - NINTEENTH CENTURY RUSSIAN THINKERS
Staff

The course examines the major Russian social and political thinkers and movements in the nineteenth century, and the historical, philosophical and literary contexts in which they were writing. Topics studied may include: the Russian Enlightenment and the growth of rationalism; Decembrism; Chaadaev’s “Philosophical Letter”; Russian Hegelianism; the Slavophiles and Westernisers; Herzen and Russian socialism; the tradition of Russian literary criticism from Belinsky to Pisarev; nihilists, liberals and conservatives in the mid-nineteenth century; populism and anarchism; the foundations of Marxism in Russia. Taught in a combination of lectures and seminars, with weekly readings in English and, for Russian majors, in the original.

SLA 1222Y - RUSSIAN POETRY
Leonid Livak

A study of the main principles of Russian prosody (meter, rhythm, rhyme, phonetic instrumentation, verse, stanza, genre) in relation to the creation of meaning in a poetic text. The formal aspects of Russian versification are examined in their historical evolution from the 18th century to the present, in both "classical" and "experimental" poetic modes. Taught in Russian, readings in Russian and English.

SLA 1225H - RUSSIAN LITERATURE AND CRITICISM IN THE 1860s
Kate Holland

An examination of the literary culture of the 1860s-1870s focusing on the
publication of works by such authors as Goncharov, Ostrovsky, Turgenev,
Chernyshevsky and Dostoevsky and the critical debates they engendered in the
thick journals of the day.  Includes consideration of such questions as the
changing role of literary criticism, the publication culture of the thick
journals, the forging of authorial identity and the implications of
serialization.  Also includes discussion of methodological approaches to the
study of nineteenth century print culture.  Readings in Russian but can
be read in English with permission of the instructor.

SLA 1226H - DOSTOEVSKY IN LITERARY THEORY AND CRITICISM
STAFF

This course examines some of Dostoevsky’s most important works through the lens of novel theory. We will read several of Dostoevsky’s novels in chronological order, examining the evolution of his own thoughts on the novel as a genre from his first novel, Poor People, to his problematic penultimate work, The Adolescent.  Alongside the novels we will read works by several central novel theorists and Dostoevsky scholars, including Viacheslav Ivanov, Georg Lukacs and Mikhail Bakhtin, examine the influence of Dostoevsky’s novels on their understanding of the novelistic form and on the evolution of their ideas about the genre and its relation to history and modernity. Topics of discussion will include: the novelistic narrator; novelistic plot; novelistic narrative; time and space; the generic history and prehistory of the novel; the novel and the self; the novel’s relation to the present; novelistic subgenres including the Bildungsroman; the novel’s simultaneous status as fragment and totality; and the particular and the universal in novelistic representation. 

SLA 1228H - THEMES IN RUSSIAN REALISM
Donna Orwin

What is distinctive about Russian realism? The course will examine nineteenth century Russian realist fiction in relation to various theoretical approaches from Erich Auerbach to Roman Jakobson, and will read contemporary works of criticism or thought from Russia and Europe that may have influenced it. Readings will be in English, although students who know Russian or other relevant languages may do their reading in these.

SLA 1231H - RUSSIAN MODERNISM
Leonid Livak

Russian poetry, prose, and literary criticism from the late 1880s until 1940. Topics include: Russia’s fin-de-siècle culture in its European context; the main aesthetic and philosophical trends informing the modernist field and the current theoretical problems in the study of the modernist period; the modernist renewal of Russian poetry, including a survey of the period’s representative figures and texts; experiments with narrative and genre in the prose of the 1910s-30s, in Russia and in emigration; conservative reactions to modernism, from L. Tolstoi to Socialist Realism; the modernist strategies of survival (metanarratives, children’s literature, internal and external exile, literature of the absurd). Readings may include: Chekhov, Solov’ev, Bunin, Z. Gippius, Sologub, Rozanov, Annenskii, Blok, Belyi, Kuzmin, Babel’, Esenin, Zamiatin, Pasternak, Mandel’shtam, Platonov, Zoshchenko, Tsvetaeva, Kharms, A. Tolstoi, Nabokov, Bulgakov, Khodasevich. Taught in Russian. Readings in Russian and English.

SLA 1233H - STUDIES IN MODERN RUSSIAN POETS
Christopher J. Barnes

Among the topics offered are: The Twentieth-Century Poema; The Poetry of the 1920s; and surveys of individual poets, e.g. Blok, Mayakovsky, Tsetaeva.

SLA 1234H - DOSTOEVSKY
Donna Orwin

This course will focus on major aspects of Dostoevsky’s work as significant vantage points on the man and the artist.  Films, records, and slides are used to illustrate elements in his writing.  The choice of theme or approach is also open to class suggestion.

SLA 1235H - PASTERNAK
Christopher J. Barnes

A survey of Pasternak’s writings in verse and prose, with special reference to the following: Detstvo Lyuvers, Pis’ma iz Tuly, Vozdushnye puti, Okhrannaya gramota, Doktor Zhivago; selected verse from the collections: Poverkh bar’erov, Sestra moya zhizn’, Temy i variatsii, Vtoroe rozhdenie, Kogda razgulyaetsya.  A familiarity with some of the Russian poetic movements of the early 20th century and with other Soviet prose writings of the 1920s would be useful.

SLA 1238H - CHEKHOV
Kate Holland

An exploration of Chekhov’s prose by means of stylistic, structural, and thematic analysis of major stories from all periods of his literacy career.  Brief attention may also be given to his non-fictional works, including his letters, to his relationships with other Russian writers and writing, and to Chekhov criticism in Russia and elsewhere.
Readings in English.

SLA 1239H - VLADIMIR NABOKOV
Leonid Livak

This course examines Vladimir Nabokov's novels, written both in his “Russian” and “American” periods of creative activity. Special attention is paid to the nature and evolution of Nabokov's aesthetics; the place of his Russian- and English-language novels in the European literary tradition; Nabokov's creative uses of exile to artistic, philosophical and ideological ends; and the implications of the writer's switch from Russian to English as his primary language of artistic expression. Taught in English.
All readings are in English. No prior knowledge of Russian literature and culture is required.

SLA 1240H - L. TOLSTOY
Donna Orwin

Tolstoy’s major fictional and non-fictional writings examined in the context of his spiritual and intellectual development; a survey of the most important Tolstoy criticism. Readings in English.

SLA 1241H - NARRATIVE AND HISTORY
Donna Orwin

Every work of literature originates in a specific time with historically specific readers and goals in mind. Works that retain their importance beyond the period in which they were written may look different to later readers, but precisely for this reason, as much as it is possible it is useful to revisit the original situation of such a work. This course will study the origins of important works of Russian literature in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries (whether we still read them for pleasure or not). We will look at issues of genre, readership, politics, ideology, historical figures and events. In addition to Slavists, the course will be of interest to historians and social scientists.
Readings will be in Russian.

SLA 1410H - GOGOL
Taras Koznarsky

Fantastic and grotesque works by the most hilarious, obsessive, and delusional character in Russian literature, who teased, fascinated, and polarized readers. Gogol’s writings are examined with various theoretical approaches. Includes cinematic (Taras Bulba, Viy, Overcoat) and musical (Ribsky-Korsakov’s “Chirstmas Eve,” Shostakovich’s “Nose”) re-creations of Gogol’s works. 

SLA 1411H - EXPERIMENTS IN ART IN THE LATE RUSSIAN EMPIRE — EARLY SOVIET UNION
Taras Koznarsky

Painting, literature, and film from 1890-1930s. New revolutionary paths for the advancement of man and society through art. Symbolism, neoprimitivism, futurism, suprematism, and constructivism. Chekhov, Kandinsky, Bely, Stravinsky, Goncharova, Malevich, Tatlin, Eisenstein, and many others.

SLA 1900H - RUSSIAN POETRY (FOR MA CANDIDATES ONLY)
Christopher J. Barnes

The course, conducted as a seminar with occasional lectures, surveys twelve major Russian poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
All readings are in Russian.

Polish Literature and Culture

SLA 1304H - STAGING GOD, MAN AND HISTORY: POLISH DRAMA
Tamara Trojanowska

Combines theoretical investigations of drama, theatre, and performance in relation to three grand narratives in Polish and European modernity. Investigates intersections of dramatic texts, theatre and performance theory, and theatre productions in the context of modern discourses on metaphysics, identity, and historiosophy. Readings in English.

SLA 1308H - CRITICAL PARADIGMS IN POLISH CULTURE
Tamara Trojanowska

Critical study of major literary and cultural paradigms, starting with the revaluations of the often misunderstood Sarmatian culture and the memory of it in the 19th century, moving on to the Romantic paradigm and its (dis)continuations, and ending with the strongest counter-proposals for Polish mentality, identity, and self-identifications (such as the Enlightenment, Positivism, and the Inter-war struggles for modernization).

SLA 1312H - HISTORY ON ENDLESS TRIAL: THE MODERNIST FORMATION IN POLISH CULTURE
Lukasz Wodzynski

A study of the development of the modernist cultural formation in Poland from the fin de siècle to the aftermath of WWII. Discussions about terminological wars and conflicting understandings of the culture of modernism are aided by important literary works of Polish modernism, literary theory, philosophy, and concepts developed by sociology and political science.

SLA 1315H - INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS, CULTURE, AND LITERATURE: TRAJECTORIES IN POLAND
Tamara Trojanowska

The trajectories of Poland’s intellectual and cultural traditions provide some useful examples of national and international transfers of ideas between historians, political thinkers, writers, and artists. Each time the course is offered, it focuses on a selected few concepts, such as tolerance and freedom, Polish republicanism and liberalism, the idea of a nation, Polish religious thought, the role of intelligentsia and intellectual institutions, backwardness and modernization and culture wars of recent years. Our readings span from the 15 th to the 21 st centuries and pair political thinkers and historians with writers and political and cultural theoreticians across the centuries in order to make their ideas engage with and illuminate each other. Pawel Wlodkowic’s 15 th century ideas on freedom may be thus read together with Adam Mickiewicz’s 19 th century Books or Bolesław Prus’s journalism, and with Józef Tischner’s 20 th-century reflection on post-1989 condition of freedom. Our analysis of religious ideas can see the 16 th-century poems of Mikołaj Sęp-Szarzyński converse with Piotr Skarga’s fierce counter-reformation and Czesław Miłosz’s or Leszek Kołakowski’s essays. Such readings are placed within the theoretical discussions regarding intellectual history (e.g. Dominick LaCapra), and relations between such history and culture.

SLA1320H Postcommunism - Postcolonialism - Postdependency
Lukasz Wodzynski

The swift collapse of communist regimes across Central and Eastern Europe came as a surprise to both their opponents and political clients. While in 1989 Francis Fukuyama speculated in his most famous – and most derided – essay about the “end of history,” the historian Tony Judt saw in this chain of events a final release of the region’s histories from “what once seemed permanent and somehow inevitable” but now taking on “a more transient air.” Did the Central and Eastern European nations escape history (into vaguely defined, Western-style “normalcy”), or have now properly “entered it” as independent subjects? What social and cultural mechanisms shape the relationship to the communist and pre-communist past and visions of the – still largely indeterminate – future in the globalized world for these nations? How are we to think about the years following the rapid transformation from communism to neoliberal capitalism and more or less liberal democracy in countries like Poland, Ukraine, South Slavic Republics, and Russia? How did culture mediate the experience of this political, social, and economic revolution? Finally, what is the condition of post-communism? When does it begin? When – if at all – can it be said to have ended?

In this course we will try to answer these and similar questions while examining the literature and cinema of the so called “post-communist” cultures. Our methodology will build on theoretical apparatus and concepts developed by postcolonial (and post-dependency) studies, such as imperialism, cultural hegemony, relationships of power and dependency, alterity, hybridity, liminality, and others. We will discuss and critically evaluate the applicability of this methodology to the Central and Eastern European (in the case of Russia, also Eurasian) context, focusing on various strategies of identity (re)construction adopted by the authors and filmmakers amid the chaos of competing social, historical, and cultural narratives that erupted with the collapse of the Soviet Empire and its satellites.   

SLA1330H European Science Fiction and the Re-Enchantment of Modernity
Lukasz Wodzynski

In this course we will examine European science fiction, focusing on literature, drama, and film produced in Central and Eastern Europe. Shaped by the experience of two world wars, two totalitarianisms, and several revolutions, continental sci-fi is known for its radical and uncompromising thought experiments and daring aesthetics. We will discuss works by H.G. Wells, Evgenii Zamiatin, Karel Čapek, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Fritz Lang, Stanisław Lem, Andrei Tarkovsky, Jacek Dukaj, and others against the cultural and theoretical background of modernity. We will base our methodology on the theoretical framework developed by science fiction studies, yet our focus in the course will be various strategies of re-enchanting the modern world that European authors deploy in their texts.  

Ukrainian Literature

SLA 1402Y - STUDIES IN UKRAINIAN MODERNISM
Maxim Tarnawsky

An examination of the modernist movement (1890-1914) in Ukrainian literature. Readings in the authors of the Moloda muza and the Ukrains’ka khata groups as well as other authors.  Among the issues examined in the course are questions of genre, gender, nationality, decadence, morality, social issues, and the relation of Ukrainian modernism to other modernist movements in European literatures.

 SLA 1403Y - STUDIES IN CONTEMPORARY UKRAINIAN LITERATURE
Maxim Tarnawsky

Readings of poetry, prose and criticism from 1960 to the present. Special attention to fiction since 1991.

SLA 1404Y - STUDIES IN UKRAINIAN POETS
Taras Koznarsky

An in-depth analysis of Ukrainian poetry through the reading of foremost poets.  The poets selected for study can change but only the foremost poets in any period will be selected and the aim of the course will be constant: while studying a given corpus of poetic works to determine the most significant features of Ukrainian poetry.

SLA 1405Y - EXPERIMENTS IN UKRAINIAN PROSE
Maxim Tarnawsky

An examination of works of fiction, whether novels, short stories, or any other prose genre, that deliberately challenge established conventions, introduce new concepts or techniques, and subvert dogmas of various kinds.  The goal is to explore the dynamics of literary history while surveying those works that modify or deviate from its course.  The period covered is 1920s with an eye toward student interest and might include; feminist novels, the poem in prose, intellectual fiction, experimental novels from the 1920s, challenges to socialist realism, and the “whimsical novel.” Secondary readings on the problems of Ukrainian literary history will also be examined.

SLA 1406Y - STUDIES IN UKRAINIAN LITERARY CRITICISM
Maxim Tarnawsky

An examination of some of the major issues in literary theory and criticism that have influenced or characterized the development of Ukrainian literature. The goal of this course is to study the forces, trends, and ideas (particularly the literary criticism of various periods) that have shaped literature in Ukraine. The course will begin with a survey of the major histories of Ukrainian literature and the historiographical and ideological problems each of them exhibits. The balance of the course will focus on selected topics from Ukrainian literary history. Among them might be any of the following problems or confrontations: Shevchenko vs. Kulish; Nechui vs. Franko; Franko vs. Luckyj; Hrabovych vs. Chyzhevskyi; Khvylovyi vs. Pylypenko; Dontsov vs. communism; Modernism vs. populism; feminism vs. nationalism; Great Literature; Honchar—grafomania or humanism?; the role of the national question in Ukrainian literature; etc. Among the prominent critics to be considered are: Iefremov, Zerov, Vozniak, Ievshan, Hrushevsky, Shevelov, M. Rudnytskyi, Biletskyi, Laslo‑Kutsiuk, Pavlyshyn, Hundorova, and Pavlychko.

SLA 1407H - ASPECTS OF LITERARY TRANSLATION OF UKRAINIAN
Taras Koznarsky, Maxim Tarnawsky

An introduction to the problems of written translation of literary works from Ukrainian into English (and to a lesser extent, English to Ukrainian): evaluation and comparison of existing translations, practical exercises; treatment of common difficulties in translating, various literary genres and styles, dialectal, social, generational and other sub-varieties of language, as well as idiomatic and figurative language.

SLA 1408H - TARAS SHEVCHENKO
Maxim Tarnawsky

A detailed examination of Taras Shevchenko as a poet, as a painter, as a person, and as a prophet of the Ukrainian nation. The course covers all of Shevchenko's written works: his poetry, prose, letters, diary, and drama. It also examines some of his artwork. The significance of Shevchenko in Ukrainian literature, history and society is analyzed by examining his reception from the first reviews of his works to the present time. Special attention is given to the variety of approaches to Shevckenko’s works, including social, political, patriotic, psychological, religious, and mythological.

SLA1412Y - LITERATURE OF THE UKRAINIAN DIASPORA
Maxim Tarnawsky

A general survey of Ukrainian literature written outside Ukraine. The writing examined in the course includes 3 categories: 1. Literary works by writers who live(d) outside Ukraine. 2. Literary works focused on exile or diaspora topics and written by writers who spent at least part of their lives outside Ukraine. 3. Literary works in languages other than Ukrainian (primarily English) on the subject of Ukrainians in the diaspora. The writers considered will include Emma Andievska, Ievhen Malaniuk, Todos Osmachka, Ulas Samchuk, Ihor Kostetskyi and others.

Croatian and Serbian Literatures

SLA 1507H - MODERN CROATIAN BARDS IN PERFORMANCE
Staff

The Croatian Moderna, Expressionism and other Avant-Garde and contemporary movements in the context of Croatian cultural history and the development of national consciousness as seen in Social and Partisan Poetics, Dialectal Verse, Post-war Existentialism, the Second Moderna, Jeans poetry, Post-Modern, Minimalist and Homeland War verse, the Croatian Haiku Movement, and Post-PoMo popular folk poetry.  Special emphasis on interpretation through analysis of declaimed and sung performance (estradna poezija).  Lyrics of Preradović, Kranjčević, Nazor, Begović,  Domjanić, Matoš, Kamov, Šimić, Ujević, Krleža, Tadijanović, Franičević, Parun, Mihalić, Slamnig and others performed by Arsen Dedić, Rade Šerbedžija, Ivica Jusić and Lidija Bajuk.  Coverage of the Croatian Mediterranean-Dinaric-Panonnian "Bardic Sphere" through examination of new Post-Colonial, Post-Modern and Post-Communist interdisciplinary criticism.
Readings in Croatian with English translations provided.

SLA 1517H - MODERN SERBIAN BARDS: THE ORPHIC TRADITION
Staff

Modern Serbian poetry from the late 1900s to the present.  Focus on the "Golden Age" of Parnassianism and Symbolism, Expressionist "Sumatraism", the efflorescence of Belgrade as Europe's "Second Capital of Surrealism", Yugo-Dada, Zenithism, the Kosovo legacy in traditional and ironic mythopoesis, Prosodic representation of the Holocaust, contemporary Serbian Signalism, the Humorist Avant-Garde, Concrete  and Verbo-Voco-Visual poetry.  Master video and audio performances of classic and popular verse by Šantić, Dučić, Rakić, Bojić, Petković Dis, Vinaver, Crnjanski, Ve Poljanski, Dedinac, Nastasijević, Maksimović, Popa, Lalić, Pavlović, Bećković and others interpreted by Raičković, Balašević and Berić (Ekstra Nena).  Analysis of new directions in transcendental, ecumenical and ecclesiastical verse.
Readings in Serbian with English translations provided.

SLA 1537H - POLITICAL DRAMA FROM DUBROVNIK TO THE DANUBE
Staff

Model plays ranging from the Renaissance in Dalmatia, home of the first communal theatre in modern Europe, to the twenty-first century studied in reference to the contemporary national, ethnic and ideological background of South East and Central Europe.  Focus on theatre aesthetics and performance strategies in light of official and unofficial censorship in former Yugoslavia and its successor nations. Themes of utopianism, terrorism and repression. Readings little known in the West, including classic plays by Marin Držić, Ragusan contemporary of Machiavelli and forerunner of Shakespeare, Jovan Sterija Popović, the Danubian Moliere, Ivo Vojnović, South Slav exponent of Chekhov and Ibsen, Miroslav Krleža, revisor of Strindberg and anticipator of Brecht and Popular Theatre, and others. Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian plays and secondary literature in English translation with original language texts provided.  Lectures illustrated through the use of films of productions and scenes from theatrical performances, with visiting guest directors.

SLA 1547H - SOUTH SLAVIC FOLKLORE
Staff

Historical, ethnological and stylistic study of lore—beliefs, traditions, customs—and symbolic design of the South Slavs with focus on their role in the development of tribal and national cultures.  Ethnography of cultural interaction, sharing and exclusion among Continental (Panonnian-Danubian-Moravan-Vardaran), Dinaric (Slovenian, Bosnian, Montenegin Alps) and Mediterranean (Adriatic, Aegean) Balkan societies.  Genres covered include folk curses, toasts, riddles, proverbs, incantations, exorcisms, fables, fairy tales, legends, myths, anecdotes, stories, lamentations, lullabies, lyric verses, ballads, and heroic songs.  Special attention to the Homeric Question through application of oral epic theory to texts from the Balkan Christian, Slavic Moslem and pagan-Greek traditions.
Readings in English with parallel Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian texts provided.

Czech and Slovak Literatures

SLA 1600Y - INTRODUCTION TO CZECH AND SLOVAK LITERATURES
Veronika Ambros

SLA 1602Y - CZECH STYLE AND SYNTAX
Veronika Ambros

SLA 1603H - LIFTING THE IRON CURTAIN: CZECH CULTURE OF THE SIXTIES IN CONTEXT
Veronika Ambros
Czechoslovakia of the sixties is generally associated with socialism with human face, i.e. a reform of a rigid political system, with the new Czech Wave in cinema, initiated by a number of now acclaimed filmmakers (Milos Forman, Vera Chytilova, Jan Kadar, Elmar Klos) and writers such as Václav Havel, Milan Kundera and Pavel Kohout. In addition, inspired by international trends and indigenous tradition, Czech playwrights assisted by directors like Alfréd Radok, Otomar Krejča, and Jan Grossman created remarkable performances, which for a while turned Prague into the “theatre capital of Europe” (Kenneth Tynan).
This class will explore the context in which these experiments in literature, cinema, theatre, and contemporary art took place and the effects they still have. Original works will be compared with a number of dramatizations and film adaptations.

SLA 1604Y - HISTORY OF CZECH VERBAL ART FROM THE EARLY STAGES TO BAROQUE
Veronika Ambros

Original and translated Czech literary works, liturgical texts, travelogues, and other documents illustrate a number of stages in Czech literary history that encompasses thousand years. Students will be introduced to different styles, genres, and devices of various epochs.
(Offered every three years)

SLA 1605H - OF ROBOTS, CLOWNS AND POETS: MODERN CZECH DRAMA AND THEATRE
Veronika Ambros

Theatre has long played a key role in Czech culture and politics. The facts that the so-called Velvet Revolution of November 1989 took place in theatre and culminated with the election of the playwright Václav Havel as a president of Czechoslovakia confirmed the function of Czech theatre as a public forum. Modern Czech theatre, however, has also served as a 'laboratory' of dramatic and staging experiments, conceptualized by a number of theorists. In fact, as Keir Elam shows the scholars of the so-called Prague School initiated modern semiotics of theatre and drama.
We will analyze a number of modern Czech plays from Karel Čapek to Václav Havel and Daniela Fischerová using, where appropriate, the concepts of the modern Czech theatre as represented by directors such as E.F. Burian, Jindřich Honzl, O. Krejča and A. Radok as well as the theories of the Prague School.
Readings in Czech and English. (Offered every three years)

SLA 1606H - PUBLIC PLACES AND PRIVATE SPACES IN CZECH SHORT STORY
Veronika Ambros

The genre of short story is represented in the work of a number of Czech writers. This class focuses on different presentations of public places and private spaces in various texts of Czech writers from the 19th and 20th centuries such as Němcová, Zeyer, Pekárková, Kratochvil, Topol, Linhartová, Kantůrková, Součková, Čep, Weiner.
(Offered every three years)

SLA 1608H - ON THE WAVE OF THE AVANT-GARDE
Veronika Ambros

In 1920 artists of diverse disciplines founded the group Devětsil (Nine Powers), which
became the epitome of the Czech avant-garde. Unlike similar movements elsewhere, especially in the Soviet Union and Germany, where the political events disrupted the artistic experiments, in Czechoslovakia they continued until the end of the first Czechoslovak Republic (1918-1938).
Inspired by several new studies of avant-garde art (Benson, Levinger, Garfinkel) this class, will question the generally accepted politically defined understanding of the avant-garde as works of leftist creators. Special attention will be paid to the role of translations, the function of intermediality, to individual authors like Jaroslav Hašek, and the Čapek brothers who did not belong to any group, but shaped considerably modern Czech culture.

SLA 1610H - V. Havel
Veronika Ambros
Václav Havel is one of the most complex figures on the European political and theatrical stage. His multifaceted oeuvre includes essays, plays and speeches. This class will explore the complexity of his oeuvre and his development as a writer, public figure, and eventually also politician in the context of recent political, literary and cultural history.
Readings in English, for specialists in Czech.

COL 5039H - OF LAUGHTER AND FORGETTING IN MILAN KUNDERA
Veronika Ambros

Laughter and forgetting are the recurrent themes in both Kundera's fictional and essayistic work. When examining the variations of this topic this class will discuss Kundera's prosaic, dramatic, and essayistic texts of his Czech period and attempt to place Kundera within the European context of the 'art of fiction'.
Knowledge of Czech desirable but not necessary. All readings are available in English. (In Czech for majors.)

COL 5062H - PRAGUE SCHOOL OF SEMIOTICS, DRAMA, THEATRE AND CINEMA IN CONTEMPORARY CONTEXT
Veronika Ambros

Current semiotic theories of drama, theatre, and cinema have been informed by the theoretical concepts developed since the 1920s first by Russian Formalists and later by the Prague Structuralists of the so-called Prague school who often conceptualized concurrent artistic experiments and developed a language used by both practitioners and theorists (Keir Elam, 2002). This aspect will serve as a point of departure for comparison of the Prague School semiotics with the modes in which contemporary theorists like Keir Elam, Patrice Pavis, and David Bordwell analyze, and theorize modern artistic trends in drama, theatre, and cinema.

 

 
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Department of Slavic
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121 St. Joseph Street
Alumni Hall (AH), Room 429
Toronto, Ontario ~ M5S 1J4

tel: 416-926-2075
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