Slavic Languages and Literatures

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures offers three different major tracks.

Russian/East European/Eurasian Cultures

This track offers an interdisciplinary area studies approach. For this major track, students chose between two concentrations: Russian, or Armenian/Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian/Czech/Hungarian/Polish. Two years of study (or the equivalent) in Russian or another language are required. This major track integrates the study of languages and cultures of a large area: Russia, East Central Europe, Southeastern Europe, and Eurasia. Students design their own programs by selecting courses offered by the Slavic department and other departments such as History, Political Economy, Geography, Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, Anthropology, and others. While all majors in this track will gain some knowledge of the whole area, the program also allows each student to emphasize a specific cultural region, compare different regions, and/or define a particular field of study.

Students are advised to see the major adviser in advance to prepare an individualized study list plan.

Russian Language and Literature

This track focuses specifically on Russian language and literature. It requires three years of language coursework (or the equivalent). This major track integrates the study of Russian language, literature, and culture. Students will learn what defines Russia’s unique place in civilization both in earlier times and in today’s world. Students are advised to see the major adviser in advance to prepare an individualized study plan.

Declaring the Major

All students must see the major adviser for consultation, language proficiency referral (as needed), and study list planning and approval prior to pursuing a major track. Students may declare their major upon entry to the University. However, the department encourages one year of study in the student’s major language prior to declaration.

Heritage Speakers of Russian

Heritage speakers include those who grew up in Russian speaking families or communities but without a standard Russian language educational background. Heritage speakers may select any major or minor track offered by the Department except the minor in Russian language. The requirements may change depending on each student’s language proficiency and academic interests. Consult the Major Advisor for language testing and individualized plan of study.

Honors Program

Slavic majors with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 overall and in courses for the major are invited to consult with members of the faculty and the major adviser in the spring of their junior year about the honors program and a thesis topic. Requirements for the honors program in Slavic include an additional upper division Slavic course chosen by the student and an honors thesis course (SLAVIC H195).

In the honors thesis course, normally taken during the fall semester of the senior year, the student will write a thesis under the direction of a member of the faculty (the thesis director). In order to enroll in SLAVIC H195, students must file an application with the department (available from the undergraduate student services adviser). This application includes a preliminary statement of the thesis topic and the names and signatures of the honors committee—the faculty director and one additional faculty member who also read the completed thesis—and the department chair.

Minors offered by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

The department does not offer a general minor in Slavic Languages and Literatures. Instead, the minor programs offered are specialized based on language and/or literature:
Armenian Studies (Minor only)
East European/Eurasian Languages and/or Cultures (Minor only)
Russian Language (Minor only)
Russian  Culture (Minor only)
Russian Literature (Minor only)

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

Major Track in Russian Language and Literature

This major track focuses on the study of Russian language, literature, and culture. Students are advised to see the Undergraduate Advisor in advance to prepare an individualized study plan.

Lower Division
First four semesters of Russian
RUSSIAN 1Elementary Russian5
RUSSIAN 2Elementary Russian5
RUSSIAN 3Intermediate Russian5
RUSSIAN 4Intermediate Russian5
SLAVIC 45Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature4
SLAVIC 46Twentieth-Century Russian Literature4
Students may declare the major after completion of RUSSIAN 2 and either SLAVIC 45 or SLAVIC 46.
Upper Division
SLAVIC 100Seminar: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Cultures3
RUSSIAN 103AAdvanced Russian4
RUSSIAN 103BAdvanced Russian4
Select one literature and culture course with readings in Russian of the following:4
Readings in Russian Literature [4]
Pushkin [4]
Russian Culture Taught in Russian: Country, Identity, and Language [4]
Select two courses in Russian literature and culture in English translation of the following:4
The Culture of Medieval Rus' [4]
Literature, Art, and Society in 20th-Century Russia [4]
Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and the English Novel [4]
The Novel in Russia and the West [4]
Gogol [4]
Dostoevsky [4]
Tolstoy [4]
Chekhov [4]
Nabokov [4]
Tolstoy and Dostoevsky [4]
Studies in Russian Literature [4]
Introduction to Slavic Linguistics [4]
Topics in Russian and Soviet Film [4]
The Performing Arts in Russia and Eastern Europe [4]
Topics in Russian Cultural History [4]
East Slavic Folklore [4]
Balkan Folklore [4]
Two courses chosen from the upper-division courses in Russian literature and culture offered by the Slavic Department (130 or 140 series or area-relevant courses from other departments and programs, such as Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Global Studies, History, Journalism, Legal Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies).4
Up to two courses can be replaced by SLAVIC 100L or Slavic 100R.
Advanced Readings in Russian, East European and Eurasian Languages [1]
Research in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies [1]

Major Track in Russian/East European/Eurasian Languages and Cultures

This major track integrates the study of languages and cultures of a large area: Russia, East Central Europe, Southeastern Europe, and Eurasia. Students design their own programs by selecting courses offered by the Slavic and other departments and programs, such as Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Global Studies, History, Journalism, Legal Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. While all majors in this track will gain knowledge of the whole area, the program also allows each student to concentrate on a particular language and culture. Students are advised to see the Undergraduate Advisor in advance to prepare an individualized study plan.

Concentration in Russian:

Lower Division
Four semesters of Russian language or equivalent, as determined by examination. See Undergraduate Advisor for language testing and placement information.
RUSSIAN 1Elementary Russian5
RUSSIAN 2Elementary Russian5
RUSSIAN 3Intermediate Russian5
RUSSIAN 4Intermediate Russian5
One lower-division course in the Slavic Department:4
Introduction to Russian/East European/Eurasian Cultures [4]
With advance permission of the Undergraduate Advisor, SLAVIC 50 can be substituted with:
Great Books of Russian Literature [4]
Freshman/Sophomore Seminar [2-4]
Freshman/Sophomore Seminar [2-4]
Freshman/Sophomore Seminar [2-4]
Freshman/Sophomore Seminar [2-4]
Freshman/Sophomore Seminar [2-4]
Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature [4]
Twentieth-Century Russian Literature [4]
8
Upper Division
SLAVIC 100Seminar: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Cultures3
One course from the Slavic Deparment's offerings in the literatures and cultures of the area (select from the Slavic 130, 140, and 150 series)8
The Culture of Medieval Rus' [4]
Literature, Art, and Society in 20th-Century Russia [4]
Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and the English Novel [4]
The Novel in Russia and the West [4]
Gogol [4]
Dostoevsky [4]
Tolstoy [4]
Chekhov [4]
Nabokov [4]
Tolstoy and Dostoevsky [4]
Studies in Russian Literature [4]
Introduction to Slavic Linguistics [4]
Topics in Russian and Soviet Film [4]
The Performing Arts in Russia and Eastern Europe [4]
East Slavic Folklore [3]
Balkan Folklore [3]
Topics in Russian Cultural History [4]
Polish Literature and Intellectual Trends [4]
Topics in East European/Eurasian Cultural History [4]
Six courses chosen from the upper-division courses offered by the Slavic Department. See above courses as well as:7
Armenian Literature in Social Context [4]
Armenian Culture and Film [4]
SLAVIC 151
& SLAVIC 152
Readings in Polish Literature
and Course Not Available
Survey of Yugoslav Literatures [3]
Readings in Yugoslav Literatures
and Topics in Serbian/Croatian
Topics in Serbian/Croatian [3]
Up to two of these six courses can be replaced by SLAVIC 100L or SLAVIC 100R.3-4
Advanced Readings in Russian, East European and Eurasian Languages [1]
Research in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies [1]

Concentration in Armenian, BCS (Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian), Czech, Hungarian, or Polish Language:

Lower Division
Two semesters of one language of the area at the introductory level, or equivalent as determined by examination.
Introductory Armenian
and Introductory Armenian
Introductory Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
and Introductory Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
Introductory Czech
and Introductory Czech
Introductory Hungarian
and Introductory Hungarian
Introductory Polish
and Introductory Polish
One lower-division course in the Slavic Department:
SLAVIC 50Introduction to Russian/East European/Eurasian Cultures3
With permission of the Undergraduate Advisor, it may be possible to substitute another lower-division course:
Great Books of Russian Literature [3]
Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature [4]
Twentieth-Century Russian Literature [4]
Upper Division
Two semesters of language at the continuing level or equivalent.
Continuing Armenian
and Continuing Armenian
Continuing Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
and Continuing Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian
Continuing Czech
and Continuing Czech
Readings in Hungarian [2]
Continuing Polish
and Continuing Polish
SLAVIC 100Seminar: Russian, East European, and Eurasian Cultures3
Five courses chosen from the upper-division courses offered by the Slavic Department, or area-relevant courses from other departments and programs, such as Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Global Studies, History, Journalism, Legal Studies, Political Science, Sociology, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. With permission of the Undergraduate Advisor, up to two upper-division language courses (taken in addition to the initial four semesters of language) or courses with readings in the original language may be counted among the electives.
Advanced Readings in Specialized Armenian [4]
Armenian Literature in Social Context [4]
Armenian Culture and Film [4]
Advanced Reading Tutorials in Czech [3]
The Culture of Medieval Rus' [4]
Literature, Art, and Society in 20th-Century Russia [4]
Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and the English Novel [4]
The Novel in Russia and the West [4]
Gogol [4]
Dostoevsky [4]
Tolstoy [4]
Chekhov [4]
Nabokov [4]
Tolstoy and Dostoevsky [4]
Studies in Russian Literature [4]
Introduction to Slavic Linguistics [4]
Topics in Russian and Soviet Film [4]
Language Spread [3]
The Performing Arts in Russia and Eastern Europe [4]
East Slavic Folklore [3]
Balkan Folklore [3]
Topics in Russian Cultural History [4]
Polish Literature and Intellectual Trends [3]
Readings in Polish Literature [4]
Topics in East European/Eurasian Cultural History [4]
Survey of Yugoslav Literatures [3]
Readings in Yugoslav Literatures [4]
Topics in Serbian/Croatian [3]
Up to two of these five courses can be replaced by SLAVIC 100L and SLAVIC 100R.
Advanced Readings in Russian, East European and Eurasian Languages [1]
Research in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies [1]

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

  1. Communicative and reading competence in at least one of the languages of the area: the major track in Russian Language and Literature requires communicative competence in the Russian language; the major track in Russian/East European/Eurasian Cultures requires communicative competence in one of the languages of the area (to be chosen from regularly taught languages: Armenian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Bulgarian, Czech, Hungarian, Polish, or Russian)
  2. Understanding of the shared linguistic, literary, cultural, and historical experiences that unite and divide the peoples of Russia, East and Central Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia during a millennium including their intermediary position between the “West” and the “East,” participation in large multi-national states and empires, and membership in the Soviet bloc in the twentieth century that is participation in the cultural and political developments that influenced the history of the large part of the world
  3. Solid knowledge of Russian and other major Slavic literatures from the Middle Ages to contemporary times
  4. Understanding of such aspects of the cultures of the area as folklore, film, theater, visual arts, and religious thought
  5. Mastery of writing, research, and analytical skills, including advance skills in expository writing (in English), in interpreting texts, images, and other cultural artifacts (especially, but not exclusively, those pertaining to the cultures of the area). Mastery of twelve techniques of verbal communication, independent research, information analysis, and critical thinking. Slavic majors achieve their learning goals mainly through coursework within the clearly defined, discipline-specific curriculum

Advising

The department provides programmatic and individual advising services to prospective and current students who are pursuing major and minor tracks. Advisers assist with a range of issues including course selection, academic decision-making, achieving personal and academic goals, and maximizing the Berkeley experience.

Students who are looking to explore their options or are ready to declare a major, double major, or minor should contact the undergraduate student services adviser.

Advising Staff and Hours

Amanda Minafo, issaug@berkeley.edu
6303 Dwinelle Hall
(510) 642-4661

Contact Amanda Minafo to request an appointment.

Courses

Literature, Linguistics and Culture:

Languages:

Armenian

Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian

Bulgarian

Czech

Hungarian

Polish

Russian

Slavic Languages and Literatures

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

David A. Frick, Professor. Slavic languages and literatures.
Research Profile

Lyubov (Luba) Golburt, Associate Professor. Pushkin, Russian literature and art of the 18th and 19th centuries; Derzhavin, Turgenev; history and literature; historical novel.
Research Profile

Darya Kavitskaya, Associate Professor. Phonological theory, opacity, contrast, Slavic phonology, phonetics/phonology interface, field linguistics (Slavic, Turkic, Uralic).
Research Profile

Eric Naiman, Professor. Sexuality, history, comparative literature, Slavic language, ideological poetics, history of medicine, Soviet culture, the gothic novel.
Research Profile

Anne Nesbet, Associate Professor. Culture, film studies, Slavic languages, early Soviet culture, Sergei Eisenstein, silent film, Soviet film, GDR history, children's literature and Stalinism, the Soviet Union, American minority movements.
Research Profile

Irina Paperno, Professor. Russian language and literature, intellectual history.
Research Profile

Harsha Ram, Associate Professor. Russian and European romanticism and modernism, Russian and European avant-gardes, Russian, European, Near Eastern and South Asian poetic traditions, Indian literature, Italian literature, Georgian history and literature, theories of world literature, literary theory, comparative poetics, genre theory, literary history, comparative modernisms and modernities, vernacular and high culture, cultural and political history of Russia-Eurasia and the Caucasus, postcolonial studies, theories of nationalism, imperialism and cosmopolitanism, the city and literature.
Research Profile

Edward Tyerman, Assistant Professor. Early Soviet culture; Soviet internationalism; cultural connections and exchanges between Russia and China; Russian and Soviet Orientalism; theories and experiences of post-socialism; politics and aesthetics; subjectivity and self-narration.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Myrna Douzjian, Lecturer.

Ellen R. Langer, Lecturer.

Anna Muza, Senior Lecturer.

Antje Postema, Lecturer.

Eva Soos Szoke, Lecturer.

Katarzyna Zacha, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Ronelle Alexander, Professor Emeritus. Slavic languages and literatures, Balkan Slavic dialectology, Balkan linguistics, language contact, oral tradition, Parry-Lord theory of oral composition, South Slavic epic singers, issues of language and identity.
Research Profile

Joan Grossman, Professor Emeritus. Slavic languages and literatures, Russian symbolism and decadence viewed especially as a cultural process, questions of literary evolution, and Russian modernism.
Research Profile

Olga Hughes, Professor Emeritus. Slavic languages and literatures, literature and culture of the 20th century, Pasternak, Tsvetaeva, Remizov, autobiographical prose, history and literature of Russian emigration, Russian literary developments and cultural life of the early 20th century.
Research Profile

+ Robert P. Hughes, Professor Emeritus. Critical theory, comparative literature, Slavic languages and literatures, Pushkin, Russian and European modernism, Russian poetry, Nabokov, Russian prose in the 1920s, Khodasevich's poetry, forms of autobiography, Andrei Belyi.
Research Profile

Olga Matich, Professor Emeritus. Slavic languages and literatures, Russian symbolism and post-Stalin literature, women in Russian literature, Zinaida Gippius, Russian emigre literature, conceptualization of love in Russian culture, theory and practice of private life.
Research Profile

Johanna Nichols, Professor Emeritus. Slavic languages and literatures, Slavic languages, syntax, historical linguistics, typology, including historical typology, linguistic geography and areal linguistics, languages of northern Eurasia, particularly languages of the Caucasus.
Research Profile

Walter Schamschula, Professor Emeritus. Slavic languages and literatures, influences of cultural contacts on Czech literatures, especially Germanic, movement and migration of literary themes and topics in Europe, Czech cultural history and theory of literature, theory and practice of translation.
Research Profile

Alan Timberlake, Professor Emeritus. Slavic languages and literatures, descriptive grammar of Russian, chronicles.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures

issa@berkeley.edu

Phone: 510-642-2979

Fax: 510-642-6220

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Eric Naiman

naiman@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Faculty Adviser

Edward Tyerman, PhD

6112 Dwinelle Hall

etyerman@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Student Services Adviser

Amanda Minafo

6303 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-4661

issaug@berkeley.edu

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