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Slavic Studies

Slavic Studies is concerned with the languages, literatures, and civilizations of the Slavic world. Built on sound knowledge of one or two Slavic languages (normally Russian or Czech) the program allows students to develop an in-depth appreciation and understanding of East European cultures and civilizations through a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary fields. Students take courses in literature, history, culture, theater, political science, economics, and international relations. Concentrators focusing on Russia learn one of the world’s most commonly spoken languages and study some of the world’s best-regarded authors and composers: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, Gogol and Bulgakov, Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, and Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky. Focusing on Czech allows students to explore, for example, how Czechs distinguished themselves by peacefully transitioning from communism to capitalism (the “Velvet Revolution”) and separating peacefully with the Slovak Republic (the “Velvet Divorce”). Most concentrators study abroad in a Slavic country, either during the academic year or the summer. 

Requirements for the AB Degree

Six semesters of one Slavic language or the equivalent (normally Czech or Russian), or a combined total of eight semesters of two Slavic languages or the equivalent.
Introductory Russian
and Introductory Russian
Intensive Russian
Intermediate Russian
Intermediate Russian
Advanced Russian
Advanced Russian
Summer courses offered on the Brown in Petersburg Program can enable advanced plaement in academic year courses:
Introductory Russian in St. Petersburg
Intermediate Russian in St. Petersburg
Advanced Russian in St. Petersburg
In cases where a student's interests and course of study warrant it, and only upon consulting the concentration advisor, the student may apply more than one Slavic language to the concentration (Czech or Polish in addition to Russian), and would then need a combined total of eight semesters of two Slavic languages:
Introductory Czech
and Introductory Czech
Boys and Girls: Relationships under Socialist Bohemia
Coming of Age in Postwar Czechoslovakia
Czech View of Self and Others
Czechs and the Big Brother: Czech Lands in the 1980s
Czech Lands under Occupation and Terror
Psychosis of Occupation in the Czech Lands
Czech Cultural Icons, Emblems, and National Identity
Introductory Polish
and Introductory Polish
Intermediate Polish
and Intermediate Polish
The concentration in Slavic Studies requires students to complete a minimum of seven 1000-level courses devoted to the study of the East European civilizations: literature, history, culture, theater, political science, economics, international relations. Typically, at least four of these courses will be from within the Department of Slavic Studies. Students' choice of courses is subject to the approval of the concentration advisor.
Courses in the Department of Slavic Studies:
Special Topics in Russian Studies I: Advanced Reading and Conversation
Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction
Russian Cinema
Russian Literature in Translation I: Pushkin to Dostoevsky
Russian Literature in Translation II: Tolstoy to Solzhenitsyn
Soviet Literature from 1917 to 1953
Soviet Culture: Propaganda, Dissidence, Underground
The Russian Novel
Putin, Russia and the New Conflict with the West: Reading Modern Russian Culture
Love, Adultery, and Sexuality
Approaches to Russian Literature
Literature and History: Russian Historical Imagination in the European Context
Russian Jewish Literature and Film
Sociolinguistics (with Case Studies on the Former USSR and Eastern Europe)
Sample courses in other departments:
The Collapse of Socialism and the Rise of New Russia
Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe
Russian Theatre and Drama
Revolution as a Work of Art


Honors candidacy in Slavic studies assumes an excellent academic record, particularly in the concentration. Additional requirements are the same as those for a standard concentration, plus the writing of a senior thesis (SLAV 1990). For procedures and schedule for writing a senior thesis, please refer to the department guidelines.