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Learning in an intimate program, you will explore Russia’s language, literature, history, politics, arts and religion. Faculty members will know you well and encourage you to study abroad, helping you to find the best experience. Central New York is home to hundreds of Russian-speaking émigrés from Belarus and the Ukraine, and you may have opportunities to interact with them.

About the Major

Russian studies provides a rigorous curriculum in thinking, speaking and writing — in both Russian and English — suited to a variety of fields and interests, from graduate study to professional training. Students in many courses read and evaluate Russian sources in translation, but majors are required to develop full proficiency in Russian through the program's extensive language courses.

When I arrived on campus, I took some Russian language and literature classes and I loved the material (important) but I also loved the professors (more important, in my view.)

Ross Ufberg '07 — Russian studies major

"A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma," is how Winston Churchill described Russia in a still-famous phrase from 1939. A half-century of Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union did little to soften that characterization in the West. But in recent years, Russia has begun to reveal itself, and Hamilton's Russian studies program is dedicated to fully unraveling the Russian mystery.

Careers After Hamilton

  • English Teaching Assistant (Chereporets, Russian Federation), U.S. Fulbright Program
  • Research Specialist, Center for Naval Analysis
  • Pediatric Physician, Seattle Children's Hospital
  • Senior Attorney, NYS Commission on Judicial Conduct
  • Director of Marketing & Communications, World Union for Progressive Judaism
  • Occupational Therapist, Mid-Shore Special Education Consortium
  • Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corp.
  • Global Health Program Manager, Catholic Medical Mission Board

Contact Information


Russian Studies Program

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4782 jbartle@hamilton.edu

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Murder, Civil War, and Opera 100


Ivan the Terrible murdered his heir, and left Russia to face economic collapse and mass hunger without a stable government. Then things got really bad. Did Boris Godunov murder Tsarevich Dmitri? Was the First False Dmitri for real? Only Pushkin knew for sure, but it took Modest Musorgsky to wrap it up in the greatest Russian opera of all time. This course will explore the relationships between history, art and national identity in Russia. Writing-intensive.

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Politics in Russia 213


Examines political processes in Russia after the collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union. Central focus on explaining the rise of multi-party democracy in the 1990s and the subsequent consolidation of authoritarian rule under Vladimir Putin. Topics include the creation of political parties, the state’s use of propaganda and the media, the problem of corruption, and the prospects for democracy in the future.

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Madness, Murder and Mayhem: Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature 225F


Readings of representative works with emphasis on major literary movements, cultural history, and basic literary devices. Primary texts by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, as well as some critical materials. Writing-intensive.

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Sex, Death and Revolution: Twentieth-Century Russian Art and Literature 226S


Close analysis of major literary and artistic movements of the 20th century, with particular attention paid to the innovations of the avant-garde and the impact of the Bolshevik Revolution on the artistic imagination. Emphasis on the recurring theme of the fate of the individual in a mass society.

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Bloodsucking as Metaphor: Vampires, Werewolves and the Living-Dead in Myth, Literature and Film 295F


Exploration of vampire and werewolf myths in Russia and Eastern Europe, the cult of ancestors in Slavic ritual, folk beliefs and rituals associated with the dead and the so-called “living-dead,” and the tradition of “dying-reviving” gods. Transformation of the myths and folklore into the popular cult phenomenon of Dracula in West-European and American literature and film. Particular attention paid to bloodsucking and shape-shifting as political, sexual and medical metaphors.

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The Soviet Union as a Multi-National State 345


The USSR claimed to be a revolutionary political form: a state based on the voluntary union of workers from over 100 different nationalities. The Bolsheviks intended to lead Russian peasants, Kyrgyz nomads and Chechen mountaineers together into the bright Communist future. What they actually achieved is another question. Explores the concepts of nation, empire and modernization in the Soviet context.

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