Russian Area Studies Program
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The purpose of the Russian Area Studies (RAS) Program is to offer students, through its academic major and co-curricular offerings, an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to studying Russian civilizaton. Though occupying more territory than any other nation, Russia has traditionally been opaque to the outsider -- a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been open to the rest of the world as never before. Its cultural heritage dating back a thousand years is reviving and evolving further and is easily accessible. Russia is also a society with enormous potential undergoing rapid and radical change. For all of these reasons, students must be prepared to understand and interact with Russia on many levels. Based on the premise that students ought to experience Russia directly in order to understand it well, the RAS Program encourages study in Russia. Most RAS major study for at least one term in Russia, mainly in St. Petersburg or Moscow.
The RAS Program has been designed to provide the theoretical and practical background needed for either post-graduate study in a number of fields or for successful pursuit of a career immediately upon graduation. Russian-language classes are small in size, and each year a teacher is recruited from Russia to assist in the instruction. Three years of Russian, in addition to Russian-related course work from several disciplines such as history, literature, politics, anthropology, and art, are required for completion of the RAS major. Exceptional students may pursue an honors program, which requires a thesis based upon original research. Co-curricular features of the RAS program include: a highly developed multi-media language center, Russian library collections for student and faculty research, and daily television transmission from Russia, as well as occasional Russian films, guest lectures, and concerts. The presence on campus of students from Russia also enhances the program.
Recent graduates of the program have followed a wide variety of career paths. Several have completed doctoral degrees in Slavic languages and linguistics, Russian history, law, and political science. Others have worked for private firms and NGOs in Russia.
- Russian Area Studies Major Ryan Hartman Gives Back
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Ryan Hartman is a Russian area studies and geology major from Yorktown, Va. A member of the Class of 2012, he is on the men's swimming team, the Student Affairs Committee and the Kompost Krew. He is Head Resident Advisor for first year students as well as a member of the University Chamber Singers and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
- Lauren Bardin '12 Explores Moscow with Johnson Opportunity Grant
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Russian area studies major Lauren Bardin '12 has won a Johnson Opportunity Grant to spend the summer in Moscow, staying with a Russian family and teaching them English through Geo Vision's Conversation Corps Russia program.
- Isaac Webb Awarded Fulbright to Ukraine
Washington and Lee University senior Isaac Webb, of Portland, Maine, has received a Fulbright research/study grant to the Ukraine for his project "Disability and Invisibility: Human Rights for the Handicapped in Soviet Ukraine from Brezhnev to Gorbachev."
- W&L 2012 Graduates Win Fellowships
Two members of Washington and Lee University's 2012 graduating class, Tyler Grant of Suwanee, Ga., and Ryan Hartman of Yorktown, Va., have received grants for postgraduate study from the prestigious Fulbright Program while a third, Shiri Yadlin of Irvine, Calif., received a U.S. teaching assistantship to Austria.
- W&L Awards Johnson Opportunity Grants to 15 Students
Washington and Lee University has awarded the second group of Johnson Opportunity Grants for the upcoming spring and summer to 15 juniors and seniors.
- W&L Sophomore Isaac Webb Receives Critical Language Scholarship
Washington and Lee University sophomore Isaac Webb, from Waterville, Maine, has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study critical languages during the summer of 2011. Webb will spend 10 weeks in an intensive language institute in Russia.
- Duke Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies to Lecture at W&L
Beth Holmgren, professor of Slavic and Eurasian studies and theater studies, and Slavic and Eurasian studies department chair at Duke University, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Wednesday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. in Newcomb Hall, room 122.