A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES

Study the many facets of Russia including, its history, language, literature, cinema and culture. Working closely with a faculty mentor, you’ll design your major or minor around the topics you are already passionate about and those that ignite your curiosity. You will be able to include courses in the humanities and social sciences that focus on Russia, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Finish the program with a capstone course that delves deeper into cultural theory and allows you to apply the knowledge you’ve collected in previous courses to a new project.

The Russian Area Studies Department offers two majors and two minors:

  • Russian History and Society Major
  • Russian Language and Culture Major
  • Russian Area Studies Minor
  • Russian Language Minor

Experiential EducationBringing Russia to You

Practice Russian recipes at the Intercultural Affairs Center, attend a lecture on Russian political dissidents, or test your language speaking skills in the New York State Collegiate Competition of Spoken Russian.

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, learning goes beyond textbooks and classrooms. You’ll gain high-impact practical experience that deepens learning and opens doors.

 

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No Borders:Global Education

Russian Area Studies students at HWS delve deep into Russian language, history, and culture through language-intensive study abroad. The Russian Area Studies program is committed to providing engaging and valuable study abroad options in countries that also ensure the safety of its students. 

In the past, students have studied in Barnaul and Yaroslavl, including grant-funded summer opportunities through the Fulbright-Hays program. While the current political situation precludes students from traveling to Russia to study, there are many options available in other countries with large Russian-speaking communities, including European Union member countries Latvia and Lithuania. 

For the summer of 2022, the Russian Area Studies department's program took place in Daugavpils, Latvia, where students had one-on-one conversation sessions with college students who were native Russian speakers. 

Wherever you go, our top-ranked global education program will allow you to apply classroom knowledge, develop cultural understanding and build global connections that expand your personal capacity and sense of purpose.

abroad

Belonging, Diversity, and Equity

Courses in Russian Area Studies explore people of varied backgrounds and offer a diverse look into the history, culture and society of Russia.

A SAMPLING OF COURSES THAT ALIGN WITH THE COLLEGES’ COMMITMENT TO BELONGING, EQUITY AND DIVERSITY:

  • RUSE 101 - Blood and Ice: Russian Empires
    This course looks at the diversity of the Russian Empire, including the history of marginalization and discrimination of ethnic and religious minority peoples in Russia and the USSR.
  • RUSE 112 - Dangerous Words: Russian Literature and Society
    Issues of diversity that arise in this course include the African heritage of Russia’s greatest writer, Alexander Pushkin, and how his ethnic background has been perceived in Russia and by Black American artists; and perceptions and representations of Islamic and Asian cultures in Russian literature.
  • RUSE 251/351 Sexuality, Power, and Creativity in Russian Literature

    This course considers such topics as Russian perceptions of masculinity and femininity, gender bending, sexuality and the breaking of sexual mores, and how current Russian debates on gender and sexuality cite and relate to this cultural heritage.

 

Dobro Slovo

Dobro Slovo, an internationally renowned Honors Society, recognizes academic excellence in the study of Slavic languages and literatures and provides incentive for scholarly interest in Slavic life and culture. Since the Colleges’ Delta Mu chapter of Dobro Slovo was chartered in 2003, Hobart and William Smith have recognized students majoring or minoring in Russian Area Studies.

Here are some of the courses that allow you to explore and embrace all aspects and areas of Russia.

  • RUSE 203 RUSSIAN PRISON LITERATURE

    Gain insight into the responses from those falsely imprisoned under the dictatorship of Josef Stalin.

  • RUSE 206 AMERICA THROUGH RUSSIAN EYES

    View American culture and identity with a Russian lens by studying readings and films by American and Russian poets, novelists, and directors.

  • RUSE 208 FANTASTIKA: SCI-FI AND FANTASY IN THE RUSSIAN WORLD

    Explore how science fiction and fantasy relate to the Russian cultural and historical context and the ideological stance they portray.

  • RUSE 237 RUSSIAN FOLKLORE

    Survey a wealth of Russian and Slavic folk tales, epic songs, legends, riddles, and other elements of the oral tradition, as well as the later literatures these genres inspired.

Alum ImpactCultural Combinations

SARAH CAVANAUGH ’20
CONSULTANT AT THE RUSSIAN AMERICAN FOUNDATION

“I’m primarily working with the foundation’s ballet programs, and it’s been a really good way to tie my interests together. The First-Year Seminar that I took with Professor Galloway, “Tales of the Village Idiot,” got me interested in the Russian Area Studies program, as did a winter break trip to St. Petersburg and Moscow that he led. I didn’t enter college thinking that I was going to study Russian, but the mentorship from Professor Galloway was influential in my choice to pursue that course of study.”

COMPANIES THAT EMPLOY OUR GRADUATES

  • Columbia University
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • MIT Skoltech Initiative
  • Overseas Strategic Consulting
  • Program to Expand the Access of Vulnerable Groups to HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care
  • Russian American Foundation
  • TechnoServe
  • U.S. Department of Defense (Dept. of the Air Force)
  • U.S. Department of State

UNIVERSITIES WHERE OUR GRADUATES ARE STUDYING

  • Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • Columbia University Teachers College
  • Georgetown University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Northeastern University
  • Simmons College
  • University of Colorado Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School