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CCOG for RUS 242 Winter 2024

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Course Number:
RUS 242
Course Title:
Great Russian Writers-20th Century
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces Russian literature's great writers of the 20th-century, including but not limited to Zoshchenko, Olesha, Bulgakov, Zamyatin, Solzhenitsyn, Akhmatova, Shalamov, Grossman and Dovlatov. Explores themes, genres, style, historical context, and social and cultural issues. Conducted in English and all readings in English. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Use knowledge of Russian cultural concepts and historical events to interpret Russian literary texts and their meaning for the time period of 1900-2000.
  2. Identify connections between Russian literary texts written during different Russian historical and political times from 1900 through 2000.
  3. Discuss and write about literature including, but not limited to, avant-garde, post-modernism, expressionism, utopian and dystopian literature, samizdat, tamizdat parody and satire using literary conventions and critical vocabulary.
  4. Reflect on personal work or competencies to make connections between Russian literature and culture and lived experience.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

General Education Philosophy Statement for RUS 242-Great Russian Writers-20th Century This course requires students to engage in critical thinking and reasoning through discussing and analyzing literary texts, making connections between those texts, and writing short analytical essays. Students recognize and use critical literature vocabulary in order to more clearly discuss and analyze texts. By exploring relevant 20th century Russian/Soviet history, culture, customs and values embedded in the literary texts, students gain a richer understanding of the texts and also a better understanding of their own culture and how it relates to other cultures. Whenever possible connections are made to current social, cultural and political issues happening in Russia today, so that students will see the relevancy of what they are learning. Such analytical skills aid students to become more thoughtful global citizens.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The following tools may be used to assess students' progress in the course:

1.          Large group discussions

2.          Small group discussions

3.          Response journals

4.         Short analytical essays

5.          Longer analytical essays

6.          Self-reflection essays

7.          Oral presentations

8.          Quizzes

9.          Written or oral exams

10.         Creative project

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


1.          Literary genres

2.         Literary themes

3.          Literary conventions and allusions

4.          Literary vocabulary

5.          Narrative devices

6.          Analysis and synthesis

7.          Contextualization

8.          Critical reading and thinking

9.          Essay and response writing

10.          Close reading and explication

11.          Cultural and historical influences

12.          Development of early-mid 20th century literature

13.          Russian/Soviet culture and society in early-mid 20th century

14.          1917 Russian revolution and effects on society and culture

15.         Post-revolutionary satire.

16.     Eugenics and experiments in Soviet science

17.          Communist utopia and utopian literature

18.          Avant-garde and expressionism in Russian art and literature

19.         Socialist realism in Russian literature and art

20.           Dystopian literature

21.          Stalinist terror and repression

22.     Collectivization and effects on rural society

23.         Ukrainian genocide holodomor of 1932-1933

24.          Oppression of minority groups and nationalities in USSR

25.         Development of mid to late 20th century literature

26.          Russian/Soviet culture and society in mid-late 20th century

27.          Gulag prison system and prison literature

28.          Confession and memory in 20th century Russian literature

29.          De-Stalinization, political, and social changes during Krushchev’s Thaw

30.          Censorship in Russian literature

31.          Samizdat and tamizdat publishing

32.     Soviet dissident movement

33.     Social, cultural, and economic stagnation under Brezhnev

34.          Alcohol and alcoholism in Russian culture and society


1.          Analysis

2.          Synthesis

3.          Understanding literary texts through contexts such as society, politics, artistic conventions,          multiple interpretations of an author, etc.

4.          Writing about literature using supporting evidence from text

5.          Close readings

6.         Critical reading employing reviews and critical essays

7.          Speaking and listening reflectively

8.          Small-group collaboration

9.          Self-reflection on progress and competencies