RUSS 353: Russian Civilization

RUSS 353-DL1: Contemporary Russian Culture and Media: Disinformation and Diversity
(Fall 2022)


Section Information for Fall 2022

RUSS 353 - DL1: Contemporary Russian Culture and Media: Disinformation and Diversity

Contemporary Russia is a diverse, multiethnic federation with wildly varied ecosystems; rich artistic, literary, musical, and scientific traditions; ancient, imperial, and socialist histories; and a state regime currently immersed in multiple layers of war with its democratic counterparts. This interdisciplinary course investigates through contemporary media its conflicts and resonances with a globalizing world and its immense cultural diversity.

Russia’s underlying diversity forms the core of the course, but as we appraise recent history, we will see how the Russian state has aimed to repress this diversity politically and socially. The evidence is substantial: Vladimir Putin’s controversial rise to power; the Magnitsky and Khodorkovsky corruption cases; cases against Pussy Riot, LGBTQ-rights, and Alexei Navalny that restrict free expression; Russia's efforts to destabilize free elections and organized protest through cyber warfare and disinformation; and its expansionist aggressions through land grabs and wars against Georgia and Ukraine. As we put forward hypotheses about why Russia has waged wars on movements from marriage equality to Black Lives Matter to Ukrainian democratization that support diversity and equality, we will find ourselves included among a fascinating group of diverse voices who are asking similar questions. We will see how the internet and social media have become primary outlets for dissent among these groups and become familiar with the tools they employ to identify and contest homophobia, racism, disinformation, and war themselves. Following their lead will help us create our own tools and narratives to address, mediate, and dismantle the Russian state’s restrictive ideologies and to reimagine its future.

RUSS 353-DL1 is a distance education section.

Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Civilization and culture of Russia and former Soviet Union. Includes films, slides, and music in addition to readings and lectures. Limited to three attempts.
Mason Core: Synthesis
Specialized Designation: Non-Western Culture
Recommended Prerequisite: 60 credits and completion or concurrent enrollment in all other required Mason Core courses.
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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