Spring 2022

Writing Nature: Environmental Perspectives on Russian Culture

Listed in: Russian, as RUSS-114

Moodle site: Course


Daniel Brooks (Section 01)


Russia’s tundra, steppe, and forests stretch from Europe to Asia, and Russian writers have understood their land in many ways. They depict their vast country as both a fertile paradise—and an inhospitable hell; as meaningless, empty space—and a site of limitless transformative potential. This course will explore such visions of Russian nature through a cross-disciplinary lens. We will examine how Russian culture, science, and the environment have all influenced one another and continue to shape the wider world.

No previous experience with Russian culture, literature, or language is required or expected. 

Our readings will include works of fiction, nonfiction, visual art, film, philosophy, and natural history. Class sessions will typically involve a mix of lecture, close reading, groupwork, and discussion. Assessment will focus on a series of papers, posts to Moodle, and a longer final project. Literary texts will anchor most of our class sessions, but we will engage those works’ thematic concerns (city-country relations, human-animal interactions, empire and natural knowledge, ecological disaster, etc.) through a variety of critical lenses. 

Two 80-minute meetings a week. Spring semester. Five College Lecturer Daniel Brooks.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2022