Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)


Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Russian)


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap 34 Location Durham


  • Grade A or above at A-level or equivalent in a foreign European language, or an equivalent qualification.


  • Russian Language 1A (RUSS1161) or Russian Language 1B (RUSS1042).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module provides an interdisciplinary introduction to Russian culture which aims to give students an understanding of the historical development of Russia, while at the same time focusing on the major cultural themes of individual periods.


  • This module, which is taught and assessed in English, is open to students taking Russian Language 1A or 1B. It offers an introduction to the study of Russian history, society and culture from the Middle Ages to the present day, through diverse modes of cultural and historical analysis. The module introduces First-Year students to some of the most important historical developments in Russian society and culture, while at the same time inviting them to think broadly and critically about the ‘Russianness’ of the cultural phenomena that they study and to place them in a global perspective. The course introduces students to the analysis of key examples of Russian cultural expression, including literary, visual and musical culture. The works studied range from the masterpieces of the medieval and early modern era to examples of early 21st-century cultural production, but with particular emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. By the end of the module students will have received a firm grounding in Russian history and culture across all its key periods of development and will be able to engage critically with a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to analysis and interpretation. This module has been designed to reflect a commitment to diversity in its resources and delivery, and will create opportunities for students to engage in critical analysis of different perspectives relevant to the study area.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will:
  • acquire a familiarity with the basic outline of Russian cultural history and be able to identify and define distinguishing features and key concepts,
  • become familiar with some of the masterpieces of Russian art, literature and music.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should have:
  • Improved skills in critical analysis and close reading of various cultural texts (including literary, historical, cinematic, musical),
  • Acquired the ability to draw meaningful links between different periods in Russian cultural history relating primary cultural material back to its historical and cultural origins,
  • Acquired the ability to situate textual studies in relation to broader cultural and historical problems and contexts
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module, students should have improved:
  • Critical and analytical thinking,
  • Essay-writing, close reading and oral communication skills,
  • Structuring of arguments,
  • Independent learning and research

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will provide information relating to the themes and works under discussion and to their historical and cultural context.
  • Coursework in the form of essays will enable students to acquire skills in analysis and develop their own ideas.
  • Seminars will give students the opportunity to engage in detailed discussion of topics studied.
  • A final examination will allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of key concepts and themes, of artistic movements, and of individual works.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 Hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 1 2,000 words 100% No
Component: Summative Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 2 2,000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University