nl en

Culture: Russia and Eurasia


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


When studying a particular region of the world, knowledge of its cultural universe is crucial; the study of culture allows the understanding of the deeper structures behind history, politics and economy. Culture is the symbolic repertoire that gives form and content to national and collective identities, the subjectivity of individuals, and the environment. Culture is expressed in both material and immaterial resources, through which relations of legitimacy and domination are built in specific temporal and geographical contexts. Culture is a domain in which strategies for winning consent and cohesion are reflected, but it also includes mechanisms of in- and exclusion or conflicts on the basis of e.g. nationality, language, religion, ethnicity or gender. This course looks at these processes in specific cultural contexts of the world, and revises the regional scholarly traditions in the study and circulation of culture.

How can Alexander Pushkin’s narrative poem The Bronze Horseman help us understand the controversies over megalomaniac development projects in St. Petersburg? What tactics do individual interest groups employ to contest the Kremlin’s vision of the Soviet past as a time of great heroics? What is the mutual perception of centre and periphery in such an enormous country, for example, of European Russians and the indigenous peoples of Siberia? These and similar questions will be explored on the basis of a wide variety of materials ranging from poetry and film to the glossy brochures of Russian gas giant Gazprom and the pseudo-authentic souvenirs of ethnic and linguistic minorities. Equipped with the tools of cultural semiotics, post-colonialism and sociolinguistics, the student will learn more about the surprising cultural and ethnic diversity of post-Soviet Russia, as well as about the tensions to which this diversity sometimes gives rise.

Course objectives

  • Students will learn to obtain relevant information using various media and databases;

  • they will learn to assess the quality of their sources (internet) and appreciate the “embeddedness” of any information they find;

  • they will be able to use this information to produce academic works as well as popular scientific weblogs;

  • they will improve their reading skills of Russian;

  • they will improve on their writing skills,

  • and get a broad overview of various notions of “Russianness” and its manifestation in Soviet and post-Soviet culture.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; tri-weekly tutorials.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs

  • Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per three weeks: 8 hrs

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs

  • time for studying the compulsory literature (as a possible criterion approx. 7 pages per hour with deviations up and down depending on the material to be studied); time for completing assignments, writing papers and weblogs: 68 hrs

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 36 hrs

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with short open and some longer essay questions

Final exam:

  • Written examination with short open and some longer essay questions


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Literature will be made available on Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


For tutorials
Dr. E.L. Stapert
Dr. O.F. Boele