Russian Society in Transition
Instructor: Dmitri Shalin
Office hours: Tuesday 2:30-4:00, 6:30-7:00 p.m., or by appointment
EMPHASIS: The course is a sociological survey of Russian society and culture. It reviews major Soviet institutions and examines current attempts to transform Russian society. Special attention is given to the origin of glasnost and perestroika and the difficulties that the former Soviet Union faces in reforming its communist system and building democracy and a market economy. At the end of the class students are expected to understand how Russian history and culture have shaped this country’s politics, education, mass communications, social stratification, sexuality, family life, deviance and crime. Video materials, audio sessions, and intensive class discussions are an integral part of this class. During the course of the semester students conduct a crosscultural dialogue over internet with students at a Russian university. The Russian potluck dinner is held in the first week of November. The course fulfills the UNLV foreign culture and international studies requirements, and it does not require knowledge of Russian language.
READINGS: A collection of essays Russian Culture at the Crossroads. Paradoxes of Postcommunist Consciousness, Dmitri N. Shalin, ed. (Boulder, CO.: Westview Press), serves as the textbook for this course. The book by Hedrick Smith, The Russians (Quadrangle Publication) is a supplementary source. A series of newspaper columns and articles on Russia written by Dmitri Shalin can be found on this web site, http://cdclv.unlv.edu/pragmatism/shalin_biblio. Additional readings from various sources are available in the digital form. In the list that follows, required readings are marked with asterisk (*). Other works are recommended for independent studies and/or term papers.
REQUIREMENTS: All students will be given a written mid-term exam in the 9th week of the class. At the end of the semester, undergraduate students choose between writing a paper and taking a final examination. Graduate level students will receive some additional class readings and are required to write a paper at the end of this class. All tests are based on assigned readings, lectures, class discussions, and special video session materials. Undergraduate students taking this class write a paper on the order of 8-12 double-spaced typewritten pages, and graduate students write a paper on the order of 12-16 double-spaced typewritten pages. Participation in class discussions is strongly encouraged. Class attendance and individual contributions to class discussions will be reflected in the final grade. The midterm and final exams are given equal weight in determining the final grade, with consistent class participation adding half a point to the overall grade.
OUTLINE OF TOPICS:
1. Introduction: Problems of studying other cultures
2. History and present challenges
3. Political system and national aspirations
4. Education and mass communications
5. Youth culture and popular art
6. Social stratification and inequality
7. Crime and deviance
8. Family and sex-roles
9. Conclusion: Prospects for the future
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Incomplete Grades - The grade of I – Incomplete – can be granted when a student has satisfactorily completed all course work up to the withdrawal date of that semester/session but for reason(s) beyond the student’s control, and acceptable to the instructor, cannot complete the last part of the course, and the instructor believes that the student can finish the course without repeating it. A student who receives an I is responsible for making up whatever work was lacking at the end of the semester. If course requirements are not completed within the time indicated, a grade of F will be recorded and the GPA will be adjusted accordingly. Students who are fulfilling an Incomplete do not register for the course but make individual arrangements with the instructor who assigned the I grade.
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Religious Holidays Policy – Any student missing class quizzes, examinations, or any other class or lab work because of observance of religious holidays shall be given an opportunity during that semester to make up missed work. The make-up will apply to the religious holiday absence only. It shall be the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor of his or her intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. For additional information, please visit: http://catalog.unlv.edu/content.php?catoid=4&navoid=164.
Tutoring – The Academic Success Center (ASC) provides tutoring and academic assistance for all UNLV students taking UNLV courses. Students are encouraged to stop by the ASC to learn more about subjects offered, tutoring times and other academic resources. The ASC is located across from the Student Services Complex (SSC). Students may learn more about tutoring services by calling (702) 895-3177 or visiting the tutoring web site at: http://academicsuccess.unlv.edu/tutoring/.
UNLV Writing Center – One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to UNLV students at the Writing Center, located in CDC-3-301. Although walk-in consultations are sometimes available, students with appointments will receive priority assistance. Appointments may be made in person or by calling 895-3908. The student’s Rebel ID Card, a copy of the assignment (if possible), and two copies of any writing to be reviewed are requested for the consultation. More information can be found at: http://writingcenter.unlv.edu/
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1. INTRODUCTION: PROBLEMS OF STUDYING OTHER CULTURES
*D. Shalin, “Introduction,” in Russian Culture at the Crossroads.
*D. Shalin, “Emotional Barriers to Democracy Are Daunting,” Los Angeles Times, 1993, October 27.
*D. Shalin, “From Lies to Half-Truth in the USSR.” Chicago Tribune, 1988, August 25.
*D. Shalin, “Reforms in the USSR: Muckraking Soviet Style.” Chicago Tribune, 1987, February 16.
P. Hollander, Soviet and American Society. A comparison. ch. 1.
B. Eklof, Soviet Briefing, ch. 3.
D. Lane, Soviet Society under Perestroika, ch. 11.
D. Shalin, “Behavioral and Post-Behavioral Methodologies in Communist Studies.” Soviet Union, pp. 186-222, 1981, vol. 8.
E. Mickiewicz, Handbook of Soviet Social Science Data, pp. 1-41.
2. HISTORY AND PRESENT CHALLENGES
*Map of Major Historical Events.
*Russian Culture at the Crossroads, chs. 1, 2.
*F. Hill, and C. Gaddy, “Putin and the Uses of History.”
*D. Shalin, “Vladimir Putin's KGB Democracy.” Las Vegas Review Journal, 2007, October 24.
*D. Shalin, “Why Economic Reforms Have Failed.” Chicago Tribune," 1990, May 30.
*D. Shalin, “For Marxism, A Problem of National Proportions.” Los Angeles Times, 1988, March 22.
D. Shalin, “Soviet Civilization and Its Emotional Discontents,” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 1996, vol. 16.
D. Shalin, Review of “Olga Shevchenko, Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow,” Society, 2009, vol. 46.
H. Smith, The New Russians, Parts 1, 2.
3. POLITICAL SYSTEM AND NATIONAL ASPIRATIONS
*Russian Culture at the Crossroads, chs. 1, 2, 11.
*H. Smith, The Russians, ch. 10.
*S. Holmes, “Fragments of a Defunct State.”
*D. Shalin, “Former Communists May Never Reach the Promised Land.” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1992, December 13.
*D. Shalin, “Review of Larissa Remennick, Russian Jews on Three Continents: Identity, Integration, and Conflict,” Contemporary Sociology, 2009.
*D. Shalin, “A Malaise that Plagues the Soviets.” Chicago Tribune, 1990, October 19.
*D. Shalin, “Perestroika's Ugly Brother, Anti-Semitism.” Los Angeles Times, 1990, July 25.
A. Venediktov, “Alone at the Top.”
H. Smith, The New Russians, Parts 1, 2, 5.
P. Hollander, Soviet and American Society, chs. 2, 3.
D. Lane, Politics and Society in the USSR, pp. 1-19, 125-201.
C. Cohen, Communism, Fascism, and Democracy, pp. 481-85.
Z. Brzezinski and S. P. Huntington, Political Power: USA/USSR, pp. 17-75.
4. EDUCATION AND MASS COMMUNICATIONS
*Russian Culture at the Crossroads, chs. 3, 5, 6, 8.
*Smith, H. The Russians.
*U. Bronfenbrenner, Two Worlds of Childhood: US & USSR.
*D. Shalin, “Ethics of Survival.” Christian Science Monitor.” 1990, December 4.
D. Shalin, Review of “Nancy Ries, Russian Talk: Culture and Conversation During Perestroika.” Slavic Review, 1998.
A. Jones, ed., Soviet Social Problems, chs. 2, 12.
P. Hollander, American and Soviet Society, chs. 4, 5.
D. Lane, Politics and Society in the USSR, ch. 14.
A. Inkeles, Social Change in Soviet Russia, chs. 14-15.
D. Shipler, Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams, ch. 1.
G. A. Geyer, The Young Russians, chs. 14, 19.
J. W. Santrock, Adolescence, pp. 465-81.
R. Hingley, The Russian Mind, ch. 2.
D. Levin, Leisure and Pleasure of Soviet Children.
5. YOUTH CULTURE AND POPULAR ART
*Smith, H. The Russians, Ch. 7.
*D. Shalin, “Glasnost and Sex.” New York Times,” 1990, Janury 24.
*D. Shalin, “Sexual Counter-Revolution in the U.S.S.R.,” Boston Globe, 1991, August 19.
*D. Shalin, Review of “Thomas Cushman, Notes from the Underground: Rock Music Counterculture in Russia.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.
*M. Lapenkova-Maximova, “Boozy Russian Remain Wary of Alcoholic Anonymous.”
I. Kon, The Sexual Revolution in Russia, Parts 2, 3.
A. Jones, Soviet Social Problems, ch. 13.
J. Riordan, Soviet Youth Culture, chs. 1 & 3.
P. Hollander, American and Soviet Society, pp. 353-60.
J. Gagnon, and K. Greenblat, Life Designs, pp. 81-8.
G. A. Geyer, The Young Russians, ch. 11.
6. SOCIAL STRATIFICATION AND INEQUALITY
*Russian Culture at the Crossroads, chs. 6, 10.
*D. Shalin, Review of “Alena V. Ledeneva, Russia’s Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking, and Informal Exchange.” Contemporary Sociology 1999.
H. Smith, The New Russians, Part 3.
A. Jones, Soviet Social Problems, ch. 8.
P. Hollander, Soviet and American Society, ch. 6.
A. Inkeles, Social Change in Soviet Russia, chs. 7-9.
M. Djilas, The New Class, pp. 1-69.
D. Lane, The End of Social Inequality?
7. DEVIANCE AND SOCIAL CONTROL
*Russian Culture at the Crossroads, ch. 2.
*Smith, H. The Russians, ch. 18.
*D. Shalin, “Settling Old Accounts.” Christian Science Monitor. 1989, December 29, Ddecember 29.
*D. Shalin, Review of “Renee Baigell and Matthew Baigell. eds., Soviet Dissident Artists: Interviews after Perestroika.” Slavic Review. 1996, vol. 55.
A. Jones, Soviet Social Problems, ch. 6, 7, 14.
P. Hollander, Soviet and American Society, pp. 304-37.
W. Connor, “The Manufacture of Deviance: The Case of the Soviet Purge, 1936-1938.” American Sociological Review, vol. 37, 1972.
J. Gliksman, “Social Prophylaxis as a Form of Soviet Terror,” pp. 60-73, in C.J. Friedrich, ed. Totalitarianism.
B. Moore, Jr. Terror and Progress in the USSR, chs. 4-6.
R.L. Tokes, ed. Dissent in the USSR.
8. FAMILY AND SEXUALITY
*Russian Culture at the Crossroads, chs. 5.
*Smith, H. The Russians, ch. 5.
*D. Shalin, “Glasnost and Sex.” New York Times,” 1990, Janury 24.
*D. Shalin, “Sexual Counter-Revolution in the U.S.S.R.,” Boston Globe, 1991, August 19.
I. Kon, The Sexual Revolution in Russia, chs. 1-3, 4-5, 10-11.
Francine du Plessix, Gray, Soviet Women.
A. Jones, Soviet Social Problems, ch. 11, 15.
J. Riordan, Soviet Youth Culture, ch. 3.
P. Hollander, Soviet and American Society, pp. 245-81.
D. Lane, Politics and Society in the USSR, ch. 11.
M. Field, “Workers and mothers: Soviet women today,” pp. 7-56 in D. R. Brown (ed.), The Role and Status of Women in the Soviet Union.
M. Stern and A. Stern, Sex in the USSR, pp. 3-122.
9. CONCLUSION: PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE
*Russian Culture at the Crossroads, ch. 11, conclusion and postscript.
*D. Shalin, handouts provided by the instructor.
H. Smith, The Russians, ch. 20.
H. Smith, The New Russians, Part 5, 6.
P. Hollander, P. American and Soviet Society, ch. 9
D. Shalin, D. N. “Marxist paradigm and academic freedom.” Social Research, 1980.
D. Shalin, D. “Sociology for the Glasnost Era.” Social Forces,” 1990.
D. Shalin, “Becoming a Public Intellectual,” ch. 9 in D. Shalin, Pragmatism and Democracy: Studies in History, Social Theory and Progressive Politics.
Transactions Publishers, 2011.
SUPPLEMENTARY READINGS AND WEB RESOURCES:
The Moscow Times
Russian History and Foreign Relations Outlines
UNLV Center for Democratic Culture Russian Culture Project
Aslund, Anders. Building Capitalism: The Transformation of the Former Soviet Block. Cambridge, 2001.
Renee Baigell and Matthew Baigell. eds., Soviet Dissident Artists: Interviews after Perestroika. Rutgers, 1995.
Barker, Adele Marie, ed. Consuming Russia: Popular Culture, Sex and Society since Gorbachev. Duke, 1999.
Brown, Archie, ed. Contemporary Russian Politics: A Reader. Oxford: Oxford, 2004.
Caldwell, Melissa. Not by Bread Alone: Social Support in the New Russia, University of California, 2004.
Clarke, Katerina. The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1985.
Castillo, Greg, Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of Midcentury Design, Minnesota, 2010.
Cushman, “Thomas. Notes from the Underground: Rock Music Counterculture in Russia.” State University of New York Press, 1995.
Epshtein, Mikhail, Alexander Genis, and Slobodanka Vladiv-Glover. Russian Postmodernism: New Perspectives on Post-Soviet Culture. Berghahn Books, 1999.
Freeland, Chrystia. Sale of the Century: Russia's Wild Ride from Communism to Capitalism, Ancor, 2001.
Grant, Bruce. In the Soviet House of Culture: A Century of Perestroikas. Princeton, 1995.
Gustafson, Thane. Capitalism Russian-Style. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999.
Hoffman, David. The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia. Public Affairs, 2003.
Humphrey, Caroline. The Unmaking of Soviet Life: Everyday Economies after Socialism. Cornell, 2002.
Ledeneva, Alena. Russia’s Economy of Favours: Blat, Networking, and Informal Exchange. Cambridge, 1998.
Reddaway, Peter & Dmitri Glinski. The Tragedy of Russia's Reforms: Market Bolshevism against Democracy. United States Institute of Peace Press, 2001.
Ries, Nancy. Russian Talk: Culture and Conversation During Perestroika. Cornell, 1997.
Remnick, David. The New Russia: Transition Gone Awry, Stanford, 2002.
Remennick, Larissa. Russian Jews on Three Continents: Identity, Integration, and Conflict. Transactions, 2007.
Shevchenko, Olga. Crisis and the Everyday in Postsocialist Moscow. Indiana University Press, 2009.
Siniavskii, Andrei. The Russian Intelligentsia. New York: Columbia, 1997
Taylor, Brian, State Building in Putin's Russia: Policing and Coercion after Communism, Cambridge, 2011.
Zassoursky, Ivan. Media and Power in Post-Soviet Russia, M. E. Sharpe, 2003.