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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Summer 2005

E f322 • Siberia in the Russian Imagination: Literature and Anthropology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
83790 MTWThF
2:30 PM-4:00 PM
GAR 215

Course Description

Even after the break-up of the Soviet Union, the country known officially as the Russian Federation remains a multi-ethnic state. This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the complex interactions between Russians and the various native peoples of Siberia over the past century through texts drawn from fiction, autobiographical writing, as well as ethnographic and other non-fictional works that chart this vast and complex terrain. Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer's Culture Incarnate: Native Anthropology from Russia shows how new voices of indigenous scholars studying their own cultures have begun to be heard more clearly in today's Russian Federation. From the end of the last century, we read Chekhov's astonishing account of conditions on the island of Sakhalin, followed by V. K. Arsen'ev's memoir, written just before the revolution, about a native hunter in the Amur valley who befriends the leader of a Russian mapping expedition. Fiction by Fadeev, Shukshin, and Valentin Rasputin reflect the various ways in which Russian writers have imagined the Siberian landscape in this century. We will also view and discuss films by directors whose work relates to the course's themes. ALL READINGS IN ENGLISH.

Grading Policy

Regular attendance and participation is required
Short Essay (4-5 pages; students will have a chance to revise and resubmit) 10%
Outline, Draft, Thesis statement for Long Essay (2 pages: ungraded)
Long Essay (10-12 pages; in first and final version) 50%
Informed Participation in Class Discussion/Quizzes 40%


Anton Chekhov, A Journey to Sakhalin (new translation by Brian Reeves)
V. K. Arsen'ev, Dersu Uzala
Vassily Shukshin, Stories from a Siberian Village
Aleksandr Fadeev, The Rout
Valentin Rasputin, Farewell to Matyora
M. Mandelstam Balzer, Culture Incarnate: Native Anthropology from Russia


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