About the Site

Sarah Ruth LorenzЛуч света is operated by Sarah Ruth Lorenz. (Note: I use “Ruth” as my “first name.”) I received a BA in Russian Studies from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from U.C. Berkeley. I have been a Visiting Assistant Professor in Russian departments at Tulane University, Franklin & Marshall College and Carleton College.

Several years ago, I began keeping track of clips from the Russian media that could be used in a Russian language and culture program. I look for clips that combine relatively intelligible speech with compelling content that illustrates some issue of larger cultural or social interest. I decided it would be a useful service to make this collection available to other instructors and students of Russian, and thus this site was born. The resources gathered here can be used as listening comprehension exercises, as sociocultural lessons and as visual documentation. They bring students into contact with authentic, contemporary snapshots of Russian life and language use and motivate discussions of significant issues in Russian culture and society.

Site title: The site’s title (pronounced “looch svye-tah”) is inspired by the article “Луч света в темном царстве” / “A Ray of Light in the Kingdom of Darkness,” published by the Russian literary and social critic N. A. Dobroliubov in 1860. (That’s him in the sidebar.) Just as it was for Dobroliubov, for me the ray of light is a symbol of progress, enlightenment and hope, perhaps an overly grand image for such a narrowly focused blog, but uplifting nonetheless. In addition, Dobroliubov, as a leading figure in the mid-nineteenth-century Russian media world, is a fitting patron for a site focused on 21st-century Russian media. I leave it up to the reader to decide which “темное царство” / “dark kingdom” should be the beneficiary of the ray of light. At the very least, students of the Russian language and culture may find that the resources on this site bring those fields into clearer view.