Russian House Opens First Lecture Series

The Colorado College Russian Department is hosting a six-part lecture series through Block 6 to mark the 100-year anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The lectures take place every Thursday afternoon at the Russian (Mullett) House. Russian tea and pastries are served during the event, which is mostly conducted in English.

Each lecture will be led by a different CC professor and will discuss a specific, thematic area of the Revolution. Associate Professor Alexei Pavlenko led the first lecture, “The Music of the Russian Revolution: Alexander Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Georgy Sviridov.” In this week’s lecture, visiting Assistant Professor Jake Smith covered “The Spectacles of the Revolution 1917–2017.”

“We had a good turnout,” said Pavlenko. “It was a full house.”

Next week Professor Ruth Kolarik will discuss “Avant-Garde Artists and the Russian Revolution.”

This series is the first time the Russian Department has coordinated a lecture series like this, but they have many other ongoing activities as well. After the series concludes, they will continue to host Russian cultural events at the house each Thursday afternoon.

“Everyone is welcome,” Pavlenko said. “We aim to include members of the broader community, so we make sure that there is always a translation available.”

Russian Cultural Program Coordinator Lidiia Pletneva is in her third year at CC and leads many types of Russian cultural events. She teaches elementary and intermediate Russian language adjuncts, as well as a Half Block course for students interested in traveling to Russia. She also lives in the Russian House with 10 other residents.

“The small house creates a tight-knit community,” Pletneva said. “We will have a New Year celebration with Russian food, as well as celebrate residents’ birthdays.”

In addition to hosting campus events, Pletneva and Pavlenko, along with visiting professors Tatiana Nikolskaya and Natalia Khan, plan and coordinate a trip to Russia during Blocks 7 and 8.

“This is only possible thanks to the help of our dedicated visiting professors,” Pavlenko said.

The course spends one block in St. Petersburg and one in Moscow. In order to take this trip, students must  have taken Russian 101 and 102 during Blocks 3 and 4. Completion of this course will fulfill the CC language requirement.

Rebecca Glazer ’18 took the course in the spring of 2015 and said that she enjoyed every moment of the trip. “It was a fantastic experience,” Glazer said. “One of the best things I’ve done at CC.”

The trip was completely subsidized by the Russian Department and in addition to taking classes at a local Russian university, the 11 students were able to take many small trips within the country.

“We took a trip on an overnight train to Kazan,” Glazer said. “It was mind-blowingly beautiful. It is the only Russian capital to have a mosque inside the Kremlin.”

The Russian Department at CC is smaller than many other departments. Currently, they have four declared majors, but Pavlenko does not see it as a deterrent.

“We are a very small, unified, and dedicated group of students and faculty,” Pavlenko said.

For students looking to further pursue their study of Russian, CC offers both a major and a minor in Russian and Eurasian Studies.

Arielle Gordon

Arielle Gordon

Arielle is a first year student at CC. She currently writes for the Life section. When she is not writing, Arielle enjoys skiing and watching The West Wing.

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