Department Chair:
Arlene Forman

Administrative Assistant:
Polly Bratton

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8650
Fax: (440) 775-6355

Peters Hall 222
50 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.



Department Overview

We are a small department that addresses a big topic: Russia. We pride ourselves on the close individual attention we give to our students; this is not a department where you will get lost in the shuffle.  We also believe strongly in keeping things fun.

Our mission is threefold:

  1.  to help our students explore Russia’s extraordinarily rich literary and cultural terrain;
  2.  to provide rigorous practical training in its beautiful and complex language; and
  3.  to push our students to become engaged and effective thinkers and writers.  

The teaching and research interests of the Russian faculty are interdisciplinary, and we maintain close ties with departments and programs in comparative literature, cinema, environmental studies, history, Jewish studies, politics, sociology, and theater. We offer one of the most diverse arrays of courses of any undergraduate Russian department in the country, both in the original Russian and in translation, on literature, theater, dance, film, and visual culture.  

Our multiyear sequence of language courses gives you firm grounding in spoken and written Russian. We place particular emphasis on building functional communicative skills necessary to live, study, and or conduct research in Russia. Majors and non-majors can study abroad for a semester or a year in an Oberlin-affiliated program in Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Irkutsk, Yaroslavl) or Eastern Europe (Prague, Budapest, Warsaw).

Graduates enter such top graduate schools as Columbia University, Wisconsin University, Brown University, Yale University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Others have pursued careers in teaching, government, law, journalism, library science, and international business.


Curriculum Overview

We offer two majors: Russian, for students who want to focus primarily on literature and culture, and Russian and East European Studies (REES), a multidisciplinary program for students who want to combine the study of language and literature with courses in history, Jewish studies, politics, and sociology. A fundamental knowledge of Russian is essential.

You also can minor in either discipline; linguistic requirements for the Russian and REES minors are less stringent than they are for the majors. We have many courses in literature and in translation that are open to all students without prerequisites.

We provide you with a wealth of opportunities to enhance your study of Russian outside of the classroom, including lectures, winter term projects, and internships. You can live in Russian House, a small coeducational residence hall for up to 15 students. It has a community feel and is the site for most Russian cultural and social activities on campus. You can attend the weekday Russian Table during lunchtime to practice language skills in a friendly, relaxed environment.

You can access OCREECAS, the Oberlin Center for Russian and East European and Central Asian Studies, which promotes awareness of the region to the Oberlin community. The center has an ongoing series of interdisciplinary short courses featuring prominent experts and supervises internship, and research, community service for qualified students and recent graduates.


Upcoming Events

Past Events

Apr. 5th - Concert: The Šarena Tamburitza Orchestra

The Šarena Tamburitza Orchestra comes to Oberlin as OCREECAS's Third Annual Artists in Residence. Šarena, known as one of the top tambura ensembles performing today and one of very few professional female bands, will perform a concert of traditional and popular music from Croatia, Serbia, and other parts of Southeastern Europe. The concert will include sets for both listening and dancing (OCREECAS Postdoctoral Fellow Ian MacMillen will teach and lead traditional circular Southeast European line dances). A discussion over pizza dinner with the members of the ensemble will precede the concert and will address the music's place in Southeastern Europe and among the diaspora in North America (the dinner discussion is free and open to the Oberlin community: 6 to 7:30 pm in the Conservatory's McGregor Skybar, located between the Kohl Building and the Central Unit).

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music: Central Unit room 25

77 W. College St.

8 to 9:30 PM

Spring 2013 - Exhibition: Illuminating Faith in the Russian Old Believer Tradition

Opening on February 4th at the Allen Memorial Art Museum, the exhibition presents late-18th- and early-19th-century illuminated manuscript leaves  of the Russian Old Believers, a radical Christian faction that split off from the Russian Orthodox Church in the middle of the 17th century. A walk-through with curator Liliana Milkova is offered on February 7th at 5:45 pm during the museum's First Thursday hours (5 to 8 pm).