RUSS 348
Altering States: Post-Soviet Paradoxes of Identity and Difference Fall 2024
Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed GBST 348 / SOC 348

Class Details

Critics and apologists of Soviet-style socialism alike agree that the Soviet ideology was deeply egalitarian. Putting aside for a moment the very reasonable doubts about how justified this perception actually was, it is still worth asking, how did people who lived in the world in which differences in rank, class, gender or ethnicity were not supposed to matter, make sense of their post-socialist condition, one in which new forms of difference emerged, and old ones assumed greater prominence? And how do these encounters with difference impact current events, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, or the lingering tensions between East and West Germans? This tutorial will examine new dilemmas through ethnographic studies and documentary films that aim to capture in real time the process of articulating and grappling with newly discovered divides. We will focus especially closely on Ukraine and Russia, but will also read comparative studies, as well as works on East Germany and Georgia. This course fulfills the DPE requirement by exploring comparatively the ways in which people in different countries made sense of the social, cultural and political heterogeneity of the post-socialist condition.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1316
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: 5-page paper every other week, written comments on the partner's paper in alternate weeks
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Anthropology, Sociology, and Russian majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
GBST 348 Division II RUSS 348 Division I SOC 348 Division II
WS Notes: This is a tutorial course, with plenty of opportunities to work on writing and argumentation. Tutorial papers receive written feedback from both the instructor and the tutorial partner, and are workshopped during the tutorial meetings.
DPE Notes: Students will learn to identify and interrogate processes of social differentiation and exclusion as they take place across Russia and Eastern Europe. We will also train ourselves to identify parallels, as well as differences, between responses to the social and economic uncertainty ushered by the fall of socialism, and the discontents triggered by similar conditions closer to home.
Attributes: GBST Russian + Eurasian Studies

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