RUSS 220
World War II in Russian Culture Spring 2017 Division I; Cross-listed as RUSS220 / COMP285 / GBST220
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This course traces the development of state-sponsored collective memory of the Great Patriotic War, as the Eastern front of World War II is called in Russia, and its counter-narratives. The veritable cult of the war, as it was shaped by the late Soviet period, took decades to coalesce and went through multiple stages. The relative disregard in the immediate post-war years under Stalin was followed by the striking re-enactments in literature and film of the period of Khruschev’s Thaw. The memory of the war for new generations was further defined in state-sponsored memorials, museums and public events under Brezhnev. While Soviet ideology was discredited in the wake of the USSR¿s collapse, ordinary Russians and politicians alike continue to this day to see Russia¿s victory over Nazi Germany with pride and as part of their national identity. This course explores the contradictory elements that make up the images and narratives of the war — in novels, short stories, feature films, and oral histories — which bring together state violence and individual freedom, patriotism and oppression, remembrance and forgetting. After an initial acquaintance with the colossal human cost of the war, we will examine the artistic, cultural and political traditions of addressing the national trauma that have evolved in the official and unofficial discourses of the war. The search for a “usable past” of the war continues in contemporary Russia, breaching previously suppressed topics yet also obfuscating public attempts to critically examine people¿s experiences of the war beyond the inherited Soviet myths.
The Class: Type: seminar
Limit: 18
Expected: 10-15
Class#: 3430
Requirements/Evaluation: class participation, research paper, final exam
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: RUSS and COMP majors
Distributions: Division I;
Distribution Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under RUSS or COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under GBST
Attributes: GBST Russian + Eurasian Studies Electives

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