I’ve taught a wide range of courses in Russian language and culture, as well as college writing, research, German language and comparative literature, at the University of California – Berkeley, Tulane University, Franklin & Marshall College and Carleton College. My teaching ranges far beyond my research specialty in nineteenth-century Russian culture.
I always enjoy teaching my course on Russian film, which I developed during my time at Tulane. The course covers the late imperial period through the Stalin era, encompassing the mysticism, Decadence and melodrama of the pre-Revolutionary period, the utopian visions and formal experimentation of the 1920s and the dramas, comedies and personality cults of the height of Socialist Realism. The course is a rich, stimulating introduction to film style, Soviet history, Russian culture and the possibilities of the cinematic medium. I most recently taught the course at Carleton College; here’s the syllabus.
My survey of nineteenth-century Russian culture is called “Romantics, Realists and Revolutionaries.” Drawing on the work of Pushkin, Lermontov, Odoevsky, Belinsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekhov, the course explores how Russian culture navigated and exploited the potentials of Romantic exoticism, everyday realism and revolutionary utopianism. Here’s the syllabus for one iteration of the 19th-century survey.
I’ve taught Russian poetry (in Russian) at Tulane and Franklin & Marshall. It’s a joy to help students engage with the amazing work of Pushkin, Mayakovsky, Akhmatova and others while developing their ability to understand and express themselves in Russian. Here’s the poetry course syllabus and an extensive glossary of useful poetry-related terms that I compiled.
I’ve taught Russian language courses at the beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Russian is such a rich and complex language that it’s a pleasure to share it with students. I generally tried to balance a serious, substantive approach and goal-oriented lesson plans with plenty of enthusiasm, good humor, reasonable pacing and clear expectations. I’ve taught with the textbooks Nachalo, Beginner’s Russian, Между нами and V Puti.
I taught numerous writing- and research-focused courses at UC Berkeley and Franklin & Marshall. Courses like this are labor-intensive for teachers and students, but the skills developed are so important for our society: people need to know how to formulate an idea with precision and definition, back it up with evidence and develop it in a coherent fashion. I often reminded my students that good writing and good thinking go hand in hand. I compiled a writing-focused reader for these courses and became practiced at communicating the principles of good writing, providing examples and giving substantive feedback on papers. Here’s the writing handbook.