Tentative Itinerary

May 12, 2014 - classes start at Villanova University
May 16 or 17, 2014 - the group leaves for Moscow
May 23, 2014, 11:00 PM - the group takes an overnight train to St. Petersburg
May 24, 2014, 7:00 AM - arrival in St. Petersburg
June 1, 2014 - flight from Moscow to Philadelphia

(There will be one day trip outside of Moscow, and one day trip outside of St. Petersburg.)

Course: Russian Culture in Context (RUS 3412) 

Program Coordinator and Instructor for the course: Dr. Boris Briker (Guest speakers will lecture at Villanova and in Russia.)

Designed to expose students to the richness of Russian culture, including contemporary society, popular culture, history, this three-week summer course will take students to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Conducted in English and open to all students, this course will enhance cultural competence, encourage students to pursue Russian language study, and foster an interest in Russian Area Studies.

This is a three-week course: the first week of classes will take place at Villanova, followed by two weeks in Russia. Classes at Villanova and in Russia will be held five or six days a week, four instructional hours daily. Students will receive 3 credits.

In Russia two-hour daily instruction will be organized by topic, and the daily schedule will consist of formal lectures, supplemented by guest lectures and organized visits with artists, journalists, media personalities, authors, politicians, and scientists. In addition to classes, there will be daily excursions to places of historical significance, including museums, churches and monasteries, theaters, and country estates.  The program in Russia will be divided between Moscow and St. Petersburg, with students studying one week in each of the two cities.

Required reading:

Natasha's  Dance (Figos)
Face of Russia (Billington)

Students are expected to attend all classes and all required excursions, actively participate in class discussion, and keep a daily journal while in Russia. A term paper is also required. 

Classes  at Villanova:

Day 1: Introduction: Russia and Her People.  Russian Society and Politics of the Russian State
Day 2: A History of Russian Culture.  Part I: Kiev and Moscow periods
Day 3: A History of Russian Culture.  Part II: St. Petersburg
Day 4: Religions in Russia
Day 5: Russian Art, Popular Culture.
Soviet and Post-Soviet Culture.  Traditions, Customs, Language

Moscow and St. Petersburg. Typical day in Russia:

10AM-12 PM  discussions and guest lectures
12PM-1:00 PM  Break for lunch
1PM-5PM   Excursions and field trips
4PM-6PM   Free time, dinner
7PM-10PM   evening performance at the ballet, opera, or circus, free time  

Topics in Moscow and Planned Excursions:

  • History of the Kremlin.  Russian Rule. (The Kremlin's museums and churches.)
  • Moscow Streets and Architecture (Pushkin Monument, Bulgakov's Moscow, New Moscow)
  • Russian countryside.  Russia's Churches and Monasteries (Sergiev Posad)
  • Russian Art (Tretyakov Gallery)
  • Soviet Culture (Lenin's Mausoleum), Contemporary Russian Politics and Culture.
  • Pop culture (restaurants, clubs, concerts, circus.)

Topics in Petersburg and Planned Excursions:

  • Peter's Legacy (Peter and Paul Fortress, Bronze Horseman, Petersburg Streets, Architecture, and History
  • Petersburg Streets, Architecture, and History.  St.  Isaac Cathedral
  • The Culture of Russian Empire (Palace Square, Winter Palace, The Hermitage)
  • The Culture of Russian Empire (Palaces of Russia's rulers in the city of Peterdhof)
  • Russian Literature in Petersburg (Haunts of Gogol and Dostoevsky, Dostoevsky Museum.)