Why study Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies?

The interdisciplinary study of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia creates informed citizens with in-depth understanding of this geopolitically and culturally critical world region, central to political, economic, cultural, and environmental issues of the present and the future. The University of Kansas Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (REES) program covers a broad geographic region, home to rich and diverse cultures that have had an enormous impact on today's world. Our program, collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, offers you a unique opportunity to study both contemporary politics and medieval history, environmental problems and great works of literature and art, as well as multiple other related subjects. It offers opportunities to study abroad in a variety of culturally rich, exciting places. Crucially, it prepares you for a wide range of careers in research, business, government, and the nonprofit sector, with the opportunity to make a profound impact on both national and international level.

Undergraduate Programs

The Bachelor of Arts in Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (REES) offers students a broad background in the languages, arts, literatures, histories, politics, and cultures of Russia, Ukraine, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and countries of the West Slavic (Poland, Czech Republic) and South Slavic (Balkan) regions. The program is interdisciplinary and draws on over 45 faculty members and courses from 14 different KU departments and schools.

Prospective majors should begin language study in a REES language of their choice as soon as possible. REES 110 Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe & REES 220 Societies and Cultures of Eurasia are both certified as meeting KU Core learning outcomes.

Graduate Programs

Graduate programs in Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (REES) offer future professionals a comprehensive and interdisciplinary knowledge of Russia, Ukraine, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and countries of the West Slavic (Poland, Czech Republic) and South Slavic (Balkan) regions. The programs develop language competency appropriate for a range of careers in the government, business, law, international development and non-profit sectors. For students interested in pursuing a PhD, the REES M.A. prepares for advanced graduate study in literature and the arts, history, political science, geography, and other disciplines. The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies offers a Graduate Certificate, Master of Arts, FAST Track MA, and JD-MA program. Non-degree seeking students who have completed an undergraduate degree may apply to take graduate-level courses in REES. 

About REES

The KU REES program is interdisciplinary and draws on over 60 faculty members and courses from 17 different KU departments and schools. Most REES M.A. students have completed an undergraduate major in the social sciences or humanities prior to beginning their graduate study, but successful REES graduate students have come from any number of other academic disciplines including business, law, and the sciences.

Our program requires advanced level competence in a REES-area language, which includes: Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Tajik/Farsi, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uyghur, and Yiddish. It is recommended that incoming graduate students have at least 2 years of former language study or participate in an intensive summer or semester language program before they begin graduate work in REES at KU.

Graduate Certificate Program

The 4-course, 12-hour REES Graduate certificate is intended to help students develop context-based interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise of the REES area, and allows for that expertise to be officially recognized on the students’ KU transcript, enhancing the graduates’ career opportunities.

M.A. Program

The M.A. program is designed as a 30-hour, 2-year degree program in which students may specialize in a specific area of interest (literature and arts, history, political science, philosophy & religion, or economics, business, & geography. To meet the national need for Russian, East European & Eurasian specialists in all sectors by producing students with superior training in language and area studies, providing professional mentoring, enhancement, and opportunity for study and research abroad. REES supports students in their research and intellectual enhancement so that they can become and remain superior teachers, scholars, and mentors. 

FASt Track M.A. Program

The KU Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) offers an accelerated graduate program for students wanting to complete their REES MA within a 12-month or 18-month period. The accelerated FASt track is open to all graduate students, but is specifically designed for Foreign Area Officers (FAOs). CREES has been training FAOs for over 30 years and our graduates consistently rate the REES program at KU as one of the most FAO friendly. Our close proximity to Fort Leavenworth, the intellectual center of the U.S. Army, adds a unique benefit for our students, both military and civilian. CREES has a long history of collaborating with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and several of our alumni staff the Foreign Military Studies Office.

JD-MA Program

This program combines into four years and one summer of full-time study the Juris Doctor program offered by the School of Law and the Master of Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies program offered by the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Growing U.S. interaction with the REES region provides a need for lawyers with active knowledge and skills in the target language, culture, and political and legal tradition. In addition to a greater ability to work with clients from various backgrounds, a joint degree in law and Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies opens many doors for its recipients, including opportunities in international trade and finance, immigration law, human rights advocacy, government service, and other related fields.

Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies promotes language and area study in an integrated, interdisciplinary framework and in traditional academic disciplines. The center administers a co-major and minor and M.A. degree programs in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies and supports study abroad programs in the region, including in Croatia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. The center also coordinates and sponsors conferences, lectures, theatre, and outreach activities of interest to KU students, faculty members, K-12 teachers, and the community. It serves as a resource to the state, the Great Plains, and the nation.

The Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREES) at the University of Kansas (KU) has been a national leader for the study of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe since 1959. Our purpose and objectives are to:

  • Promote the study of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia within an integrated, interdisciplinary framework, as well as within each of the traditional academic disciplines;
  • Promote the study of languages in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, at all levels of instruction and research;
  • Promote better understanding of the societies and cultures of the Russian, East European and Eurasian area through exchanges of students, faculty, and other forms of cooperation with universities and other institutions in those areas;
  • Promote the study of Slavic languages and of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia in schools and colleges throughout Kansas and the surrounding area;
  • Encourage coordinate, sponsor and support activities of interest to the students and faculty in the Russian, East European and Eurasian area;
  • Serve as a local, regional, and national resource to educational, government, business, and community constituencies seeking information about the Russian, East European and Eurasian area.

History

KU first offered Russian language to its students in 1943. KU has offered credentials in some variant of Slavic or Soviet & East European Studies since 1959, and a master’s degree since 1968. It was first designated a US/ED National Resource Center in 1965. CREES Directors have included some of the top experts in Soviet and Russian history, Slavic Literature, Philosophy, and Political Science: Oswald P. Backus (1955-1965); Herb Ellison (1965-1968); Roy Laird (1969); James Scanlan (1969); William Fletcher (1970-1992); Maria Carlson (1993-2003); Paul D’Anieri (2003); Erik Herron (2003-2006); William J. Comer (2007); Edith W. Clowes (2008-2012); Mariya Y. Omelicheva (2012-2014); Vitaly Chernetsky (2015-present).

Faculty

CREES has over 50 teaching faculty members, representing a broad range of cooperating departments of the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professional schools. Our faculty are internationally visible in their field and have extensive foreign experience. And our teaching faculty are supplemented by visiting foreign faculty and scholars who enhance & expand KU offerings and serve as regional resources each year.

Courses

REES 110. Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe. 3 Hours SC AE42 / H/W.

A multidisciplinary introduction to Russia and Eastern Europe. The course explores the geography, history, and politics of this complex region, as well as the diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions. A special focus of the course is the current socio-political situation in Russia and Eastern Europe in the context of the fall of communism nearly 30 years ago and the ongoing post-communist transition. Students in the course watch one feature film from Russia or Eastern Europe per week as a visual representation of issues discussed via scholarly articles and chapters, newspaper articles and news clips, video lectures, documentary and animated films, music videos, and literature. This course is offered at the 100 and 300 level with additional assignments at the 300 Level. Not open to students with credit in REES 310. LEC.

REES 111. Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe, Honors. 3 Hours AE42 / H/W.

A multidisciplinary introduction to Russia and Eastern Europe. The course explores the geography, history, and politics of this complex region, as well as the diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions. A special focus of the course is the current socio-political situation in Russia and Eastern Europe in the context of the fall of communism nearly 30 years ago and the ongoing post-communist transition. Students in the course watch one feature film from Russia or Eastern Europe per week as a visual representation of issues discussed via scholarly articles and chapters, newspaper articles and news clips, video lectures, documentary and animated films, music videos, and literature. This course is offered at the 100 and 300 level with additional assignments at the 300 Level. Not open to students with credit in REES 311. Prerequisite: Open only to students in the University Honors Program, or by permission of instructor. LEC.

REES 177. First Year Seminar: _____. 3 Hours GE11 / U.

A limited-enrollment, seminar course for first-time freshmen, addressing current issues in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Course is designed to meet the critical thinking learning outcome of the KU Core. First-Year Seminar topics are coordinated and approved by the Office of First-Year Experience. Prerequisite: First-time freshman status. LEC.

REES 220. Societies and Cultures of Eurasia. 3 Hours NW AE42 / S.

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the societies and cultures of Eurasia (primarily Central Asia, Russia, and the Caucasus region). This interdisciplinary course reviews the geography, history, economics, social and political structures, religion, literature, music, and art of the region. The focus is mainly on the twentieth-century and topics of interest include the collapse of empires, the rise and fall of communism, the disintegration of the USSR and rise of authoritarianism, nationalism, and various forms of Islam in the region. LEC.

REES 221. Societies and Cultures of Eurasia, Honors. 3 Hours NW AE42 / S.

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the societies and cultures of Eurasia (primarily Central Asia, Russia, and the Caucasus region). This interdisciplinary course reviews the geography, history, economics, social and political structures, religion, literature, music, and art of the region. The focus is mainly on the twentieth-century and topics of interest include the collapse of empires, the rise and fall of communism, the disintegration of the USSR and rise of authoritarianism, nationalism, and various forms of Islam in the region. Open only to students admitted to the University Honors Program or by permission of instructor. LEC.

REES 310. Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe. 3 Hours NW / W.

A multidisciplinary introduction to Russia and Eastern Europe. The course explores the geography, history, and politics of this complex region, as well as the diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions. A special focus of the course is the current socio-political situation in Russia and Eastern Europe in the context of the fall of communism nearly 30 years ago and the ongoing post-communist transition. Students in the course watch one feature film from Russia or Eastern Europe per week as a visual representation of issues discussed via scholarly articles and chapters, newspaper articles and news clips, video lectures, documentary and animated films, music videos, and literature. This course is offered at the 100 and 300 level with additional assignments at the 300 Level. Not open to students with credit in REES 110. LEC.

REES 311. Understanding Russia and Eastern Europe, Honors. 3 Hours SC / S.

A multidisciplinary introduction to Russia and Eastern Europe. The course explores the geography, history, and politics of this complex region, as well as the diverse cultures, ethnicities, languages, and religions. A special focus of the course is the current socio-political situation in Russia and Eastern Europe in the context of the fall of communism nearly 30 years ago and the ongoing post-communist transition. Students in the course watch one feature film from Russia or Eastern Europe per week as a visual representation of issues discussed via scholarly articles and chapters, newspaper articles and news clips, video lectures, documentary and animated films, music videos, and literature. This course is offered at the 100 and 300 level with additional assignments at the 300 Level. Not open to students with credit in REES 111. LEC.

REES 480. Topics in Russian and East European Studies: ____. 1-3 Hours H.

Interdisciplinary examination of topics involving two or more disciplines in Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. LEC.

REES 485. War and Peace in Russian Culture. 3 Hours H/W.

Lectures, readings, oral discussion, and written analyses of selected major works of Russian writing and other modes of creative expression and discourse that treat the subject of war and peace, such as imaginative literature, works of history, memoirs, cinema, music, and painting. Reading examples are The Song of Igor's Campaign, Alexander Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter and A History of Pugachev, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, Nadezhda Durova's The Notes of a Girl-Cavalryman, Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, and George Kennan's Russia Leaves the War. Not open to students who have taken REES 685. LEC.

REES 492. Research Methods in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. 3 Hours AE61 / H.

Development of interdisciplinary research skills and familiarity with resources and issues in the study of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Preparation for REES 496. LEC.

REES 496. Capstone Research Seminar in Russian and East European, and Eurasian Studies. 3 Hours AE61 / H.

Interdisciplinary original research conducted using at least one REES language and resulting in a research paper. Prerequisite: REES 492. LEC.

REES 498. Directed Readings. 1-3 Hours H.

Individual and supervised readings in selected areas of Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Prerequisite: Prior permission of instructor and either CREES director or associate director. LEC.

REES 499. Capstone Research Seminar in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Honors. 3 Hours AE61 / H.

Research and writing of a substantial paper, involving interdisciplinary original research and use of sources in at least one REES language, and presentation of this paper to an Honors committee of three REES faculty members. This thesis must be substantially different from any other Honors thesis. Prerequisite: REES 492. LEC.

REES 510. Understanding Central Asia. 3 Hours NW AE42 / S/W.

An intensive, multidisciplinary survey of Central Asia, focusing on the former Soviet republics-Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan-with additional coverage of neighboring regions (the Caucasus and the Caspian basin, Afghanistan, and western China). The course addresses the history of the region (from the Silk Road to Soviet rule), geography, religion, and the building of post-Soviet states and societies. (Same as GEOG 590.) LEC.

REES 512. Siberia: Yesterday and Today. 3 Hours NW AE42 / H/W.

An interdisciplinary course examining the development of Siberia from its beginnings to the present day. Topics to be covered are selected from the following list: topography and natural resources; conquest and exploitation by Russian and other European settlers; Siberia's role as a place of imprisonment and exile; the development of towns and transportation systems; Siberian historiography; Siberian Russian literature; and Siberia's place in Russia's economy and national defense. LEC.

REES 513. Siberia: Russia's Eastern Frontier. 3 Hours NW AE42 / H/W.

An interdisciplinary course examining the terrain, peoples, and cultures of the vast expanse in northern Asia known as Siberia. Areas of inquiry include geology, archeology, ethnography, religions, folk culture, the arts, science and education, politics, and environmental problems. With an emphasis on the natural and social sciences, and exploration of the relationship between Siberia and its neighbors in all directions, including the United States (Alaska, "Russian America"), this course can be taken without duplication by students who have already taken REES 512 (or SLAV 512) Siberia Yesterday and Today. LEC.

REES 573. Borderland Between Russia & Europe. 3 Hours H/W.

Examines the history of relations between the governments, emerging national elites, and populations of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and other East European countries, and the different regional perceptions and stereotypes, including the new post-Soviet states and their European neighbors. LEC.

REES 574. Ethnicity and Nationalism in Eastern Europe. 3 Hours AE42 / H/W.

Examines the emergence and evolution of regional ethno-cultural and national identities in Eastern Europe. Discusses the theories and definitions of ethnicity, nationality, and nationalism, and offers a practical approach to understanding nationalism's and nationalist movements in Eastern Europe. LEC.

REES 646. Translation in Theory and Practice. 3 Hours H.

Students undertake substantial work in the translation of non-technical writing, (e.g. poems, short stories, novels, essays, works of history, scientific treatises), from any REES language into English, and examine the practical and theoretical problems encountered in translation from the source to the target language. Prerequisite: BCRS 508, PLSH 508, RUSS 508, or permission of instructor. LEC.

REES 685. War and Peace in Russian Culture (in Russian). 3 Hours H/W.

This course is taught in Russian. Lectures, readings, oral discussion, and written analyses of selected major works of Russian writing and other modes of creative expression and discourse that treat the subject of war and peace, such as imaginative literature, works of history, memoirs, cinema, music, and painting. Reading examples are Slovo o polku Igoreve, Pushkin's Kapitanskaia dochka and Istoriia Pugacheva, Tolstoy's Voina i mir, Evgenii Tarle's Napoleon, Pasternak's Doktor Zhivago and Andrei Petukhov's Pamiat' o sluzhbe. Not open to students who have taken REES 485. Prerequisite: 3 years of Russian at the college level. LEC.

REES 687. Biography of a City: St. Petersburg. 3 Hours AE42 / H.

Examination in depth of the historical, social, intellectual, and artistic development of St. Petersburg as a major urban center. LEC.

REES 704. Russian Orthodoxy in Historical Perspective. 3 Hours.

This course examines Russian Orthodoxy as a religious system and the institution of the Russian Orthodox Church from its first appearance in Russia to the present. It focuses on beliefs and practices of the clergy and laity; institutional structures; the relationships between Church and State; interactions with non-Orthodox religious communities; responses to Soviet atheist policies; Orthodox influences on political theory, philosophy, literature, and the fine arts. (Same as REL 704.) LEC.

REES 799. Directed Readings in Russian and East European Studies. 1-5 Hours.

RSH.

REES 895. Special Problems in Area Studies: _____. 3 Hours.

Interdisciplinary examination of topics involving two or more of the cooperating disciplines in Russian and East European studies. LEC.

REES 897. Research. 1 Hour.

Enrollment to fulfill Masters continuous enrollment rule. Prerequisite: Completion of all degree requirements except submission of seminar paper or comprehensive examination. RSH.

REES 898. Seminar in Russian and East European Studies. 3 Hours.

Mastery of interdisciplinary research skills, and knowledge of resources and scholarship on the study of Russian, east European, and Eurasian Studies. LEC.

REES 899. Capstone Research Seminar in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. 3 Hours.

Research, write, and present a professional-quality paper, involving interdisciplinary original research, consultation with REES faculty, and substantial use of sources in at least one REES language. Prerequisite: REES 898. SEM.