Russian Language and Area Studies

Laurel Brook, Tomson 368

The Russian Language and Area Studies Department, in keeping with the college mission to provide a “global perspective,” offers a variety of courses that build upon Russian language proficiency to give students the knowledge and tools for a successful career. Recent graduates have entered professions in higher education, business, government, the church, law, and the arts.

Russia continues to be a major player in the global community in many areas: politics, economics, space-age technology, and the development of new computer software. As the new Russia opens itself to the outside, college graduates are increasingly sought after for positions in government service, business and investment, journalism, environmental studies, education, and social service.

The department offers a major in Russian area studies and a major in Russian language, as well as courses on Russian literature taught in English. Taking Russian at St. Olaf means more than just studying a language. The study of Russian introduces you to one of the great cultures of the world — the culture of Tchaikovsky, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Kandinsky, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, and many others. Russian language is the key to reading more than one-fourth of all the published scientific literature in the world.

Students may satisfy OLE Core curriculum requirements with Russian studies courses such as RUSSN 265 Introduction to Russian and Soviet Film (in English translation). RUSSN 231 or a higher numbered course taught in the Russian language or demonstrated proficiency satisfies the world language requirement for all students. Upper-level students may participate in the CIEE program in St. Petersburg, or with St. Olaf programs in Novgorod and Irkutsk (Siberia).

Overview of the Majors

The Russian Language and Area Studies Department offers two majors: Russian language and Russian area studies. The aim of both is to prepare students to understand, interact with, and work in the Russian area from a foundation of cultural literacy. The multidisciplinary Russian area studies major provides students with a comprehensive view of the culture, history, and contemporary problems of the area.