The Russian Department
The Amherst College Russian Department, four professors and two lecturers, is committed to excellence in the teaching of Russian literature, language, and culture. Each professor of the department has achieved distinction as a published scholar in a different aspect of Russia's literary and cultural history. We are a strongly interdisciplinary department and encourage students to acquire sophistication in reading Russia's cultural traditions through the disciplines of literature, film, cultural studies, history, and politics. two other professors, one in History and one in Political Science, teach courses in Russian and participate in the academic life of the Department.
A generous gift from Thomas P. Whitney '37 forms the core of the nationally-recognized Amherst Center for Russian Culture. Comprised of an archival and rare book collection, plus a 20,000-volume Russian reference library covering many fields, the Center is housed in a beautiful space in Webster, next to the Department's offices. The Center includes a reading room and a gallery space for exhibitions of Russian art. The Russian collection in Frost library includes thousands of books and periodicals, and a particularly strong collection of Russian films on video and DVD.
In teaching Russian language, we value a mature understanding of how language structures itself as well as spoken, written, and cultural competence. Many students begin Russian language study for the first time at Amherst, and we offer a full, four-year language sequence that provides strong training in all aspects of contemporary spoken and literary Russian. Of course, we also welcome students who have already studied Russian and wish to continue. Students get a chance to polish their language skills at our weekly Russian Table in Valentine and at Thursday night tea at Russian House.
Many of our alumni have gone on to graduate study in Russian literature, comparative literature, and international affairs at leading universities, as well as to law, medical, and business schools. A good number have worked or are now working in Russia as lawyers, journalists, diplomats, businessmen, or for international development organizations.