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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLAV3411 The Spaces of Russian Literature

20 creditsClass Size: 12

Module manager: Sarah Hudspith

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

SLAV2410The Spaces of Russian Literature
SLAV2411The Spaces of Russian Literature

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module examines how Russian writers imagine and conceptualise space and place. Across the vastness of the territories of the Tsarist Russian Empire, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, what spaces do authors write about and why? How do they represent them and how does this affect our understanding of Russian culture and society in different periods of history? The diversity of representations of space in literature of the region will allow students to become familiar with a number of cultural concepts and theoretical approaches, such as the imagined city, centre and periphery, empire, national identity, the gendering of space. Students will read a number of texts drawn from the 19th century to the 21st century, in English translation. No knowledge of Russian language is necessary.


The objective of the module is to acquaint students with a broad selection of Russian literature from the 19th up to the 21st century, and simultaneously to introduce them to a number of theoretical concepts and approaches of literary and cultural studies that are associated with the notion of space. This will enhance students’ understanding of Russian culture and furnish them with sophisticated analytical skills that may be applied elsewhere in their current or future studies.

Learning outcomes
1. Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of Russian culture as portrayed through the medium of literature.
2. Demonstrate a sophisticated ability to apply a range of theoretical concepts and approaches to the analysis of literature.
3. Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate key arguments and perspectives in relevant scholarship.
4. Identify and design a research question and pursue an independent analytical argument in relation to the module content.
5. Communicate understanding of a chosen aspect of the module content by means of an oral presentation.


The module will offer a diverse syllabus that includes both male and female authors, writing from or about both ‘European’ Russia and regions of the former Tsarist Empire / Soviet Union. Texts may vary from year to year. The module will cover the following overlapping and interrelated topics:
Urban and rural space
Centre and periphery
Empire and marginal voices
Space and national identity
The gendering of space

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Reading set texts and recommended reading, preparing for classes: 100 hours
Preparation for and undertaking assessments: 80 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Level 3 students will have the opportunity to undertake, as a formative exercise, the literature review (1200 words) set for students taking the Level 2 module variant and receive formative feedback on this. Formative feedback will also be given on the oral presentation at the end of Semester 1, which will provide the basis of initial advice on the choice of essay topic in Semester 2. Student progress will also be monitored via participation in seminar discussion.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4000 words70.00
Presentationverbal 6-8 minutes30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

The verbal presentation will be video-recorded.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 14/12/2023


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