TRANSITIONS IN RUSSIAN LITERATURE: THE SEARCH FOR SELF
4 SEM HRS
This course examines the transitions - moral, philosophical, political and personal that the protagonists in Russian Literature experienced as Russian society moves into the “Modern Age” and continues to the present day. Five great Russian authors; Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Pasternak, and Solzhenitsyn portray the various challenges their protagonists faced in the light of the vast changes that have taken place in Russian society from the 1860's. Students who have had significant contact with one of the works assigned (for example in another college course) may opt to substitute a work by that author. Limited enrollment for RAST majors as space permits. Be prepared to read some great and (500-page) novels! WRITING INTENSIVE
HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI: REMEMBRANCES
4 SEM HRS
The world's first atomic bombs were dropped at the end of World War II on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This course will examine those bombings through the use of history, literature, and public debates. We will look first at the development and dropping of the bombs, then at the impact in Japan and the United States, and finally at the remembrance of the episode, both in literature and in the American and Japanese policy debates of the last two decades. The course will require a good deal of reading, five short papers, one longer research paper, and an oral presentation, along with a great deal of discussion. Students will be asked to grapple as much with the ethical issues as with the facts surrounding the nuclear age. WRITING INTENSIVE.
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDY
4 SEM HRS
One over-looked causality of the recent war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is her society’s collective commitment to a pluralistic, tolerant, integrated society. Unconscionable violence and vicious propaganda were brought to bear against her heritage, cultural convictions, social practices, and civic order--making it next to impossible for Bosnia to sustain her multi-confessional and syncretistic-informed traditions. Tone Bringa, author of Being Muslim the Bosnian Way, writes, "Neither Bosniak, nor Croat, nor Serb identities can be fully understood with reference only to Islam or Christianity respectively but have to be considered in a specific Bosnian context that has resulted in a shared history and locality among Bosnians of Islamic as well as Christian backgrounds." When one carefully considers Bringa's statement, one understands that multiculturalism is a misnomer for recounting Bosnia's heritage, even if the term is frequently used. In Bosnia, there were not multiple cultures co-residing in the same vicinity. Nor were there multiple cultures simply co-existing independently. There was a singular, trans-ethnic culture that encompassed each ethnicity and made different faiths, including Christianity and Islam, synergistically interdependent.
This course is part of a project that initiates a shared curriculum through a Fulbright Alumni Initiatives Award between Wittenberg University and University of Sarajevo centered around a Web-based course. Drawing upon different disciplines (anthropology, history, literary criticism, political science, and sociology), the course examines Bosnia’s historical and cultural heritage. The goal is to address what it is about the Jerusalem-like configuration of faiths in Bosnia -- Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Islam -- that made her so vulnerable to the nationalism of her neighbors. Another goal is to understand what is it about Bosnia's enigmatic mixture of epochs, including a distinctive medieval period from the 13th to 15th centuries, the Ottoman Empire starting in the 15th century, the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the 19th century, and communist Yugoslavia during the 20th century, that made her defenseless in the face of national-state building based on a monolithic ethnicity. When one recognizes the principled, progressive character of Bosnia's tradition, recounted eloquently in the leading scholarly works on Bosnia, one would predict that Bosnia would be the last place where ethnic cleansing could have occurred with such viciousness and sadism.
Examples of course readings are Tone Bringa's study, Being Muslim the Bosnian Way, Noel Malcolm's Bosnia: A Short History, Ivo Andric's Bridge on the Drina, and Mesa Selimovic's Death and the Dervish. Less well known works such as John Fine's The Bosnian Church: A New Interpretation of the Bosnian Church and its Place in State and Society from the 13th to 15th Centuries, Marian Wenzel's "Bosnian and Herzegovinian Tombstones Who Made Them and Why," and Tom Butler's "Literary Style and Poetic Function in Mesa Selimovic's The Dervish and Death" will also be part of the curriculum. WRITING INTENSIVE.