Orientalism and Empire: Russia's Literary South
Fall 2007


Catch 22:
You need to decide on a paper topic before you've actually read the works you're going to write about. Therefore you need to start browsing over the texts right away to get some sense of what might appeal to you. I'm available for unlimited consultation and brainstorming as well. The good news: All the texts we'll read are interesting in some way and all can be "mined" for creative papers. The other good news: No topic decisions (Sept 17) are written in stone--they can be modified or changed later. The best news: Even if you research a topic and later change your mind, you've learned something!

Library preparation:
I have scheduled a bibliographical instruction session on September 24 tailored to our topic with the professional staff at the library. Attendance is required and you will be glad you went: you'll get a great foundation for doing research! You will be introduced to all the tools available both paper and electronic resources. Consult also the "Resources" link to this page which has benefitted from past library sessions.

Writing stages & Due dates:
1. Topic decision due Sept. 17
2. Outline and bibliography due Oct 15
3 . Draft (I prefer, but don't insist on) electronic versions as e-mail Word or RTFattachments and will give feedback using the "Comments" function)--last date for feedback Nov 16
4 . Final copy, (hard copy, please) Dec 10

I welcome all sorts of consultation and brainstorming at every stage of the way and any of the stages can of course be completed earlier than stated.

The idea is to combine your ideas about some aspect/s of Russian literature and Orientalism/Imperialism encountered in the literary and critical works on our agenda, in our discussions and oral presentations, and other sources we've come across during the course. You'll select one (or a couple) of primary sources to analyse--I recommend that you use the literary texts we'll be reading, but consult with me if you'd like to use other literary works. I recommend that you focus your paper rather specifically (i.e. you definitely don't want to do "Tolstoy and War" or "Russian Writers on the Caucasus"). Once you've decided on a promising topic you'll start researching it. What have other critics written? I require that you use several critical secondary sources (I can't specify a number required because this will depend on your choice of texts--lots has been written on Tolstoy or Pushkin, but virtually nothing on Oznobishin) and document them appropriately (see below). You may approach the texts by any critical method you like: historical, formalist, structuralist, psychoanalytic, Bakhtinian, Lacanian, Lotmanian, Foucauldian, etc. I expect you to design your own specific topic, but here are some suggestions for you to ponder, should you draw a blank.

Topic ideas:
1. Orientalist depictions of nature in work/s XX
2. Colonial rejuvenation through the Orient in work/s XX
3. Orientalist attitudes to gender in work/s XX
4. Power relationships between colonizer and colonized in work/s XX
5. Orientalism as a positive/negative evaluation of Russian expansion into the Caucasus in work/s XX
6. Orientalism as a tool for critiquing/praising the Russian class system in work/s XX
7. Orientalist representations of male gaze in work/s XX
8. Orientalist economics of Russian expansion Southward
9. Approaches to orientalist travelers in work/s XX
10. Russians, Cossacks, and Caucasians in work/s XX
11. The botany of Russian Orientalism in work/s xx
12. The rhetoric of love/war/peaceful co-existence/, etc. in work/s XX
13. Russian Orthodoxy confronts Islam in work/s XX
14. Orientalism as subversion of literary stereotypes in work/s XX
and some more specific topics:
15. Imperialism and Gender in Pushkin's "Caucasian Captive"
16. Imperialism and rejuvenation in Pushkin's "Caucasian Captive"
17. Water imagery and the "male gaze" in Pushkin's "The Fountain of Bakhchisaray"
18. Patterns of Orientalist harem imagery in a text/texts of your choice.
19. Tolstoy's "The Raid" and "The Woodfelling" as reactions against literary stereotypes of dashing officers and imperial conquest (as in Lermontov and Bestuzhev-Marlinsky)"
20. Tolstoy's "The Raid" and "The Woodfelling" : Dreams of the Caucasus versus reality.
21. "Europeanized" and "Orientalized" Russians versus "real" Russian heroes in the Caucasus.
22. Olenin's quest for personal renewal in the Caucasus--success or failure? (Tolstoy's The Cossacks)
23. "Russian" Cossacks and "Cossack" Russians in Tolstoy's The Cossacks: the question of national identity.
24. The botany of imperialism in Tolstoy's Hadji Murad
25. Tolstoy's presentation of the upper echelons of imperialist power in Hadji Murad
26. Points of view about the Chechens in Pristavkin's novel


Start by defining your aim/hypothesis. Follow with a logically argued analysis of the primary text, using secondary sources for support or refutation (I love students who argue convincingly against accepted scholarly views!). It's a good idea to end the paper with a conclusion of your argument, perhaps repeating your key findings, perhaps looking ahead to further developments that might follow from your findings. Keep in mind that I and your fellow students are your readers--you can assume that we have read your primary text and don't want plot summaries! Use a simple, clear language and avoid slang or overly emotional statements.
Use the MLA Humanities format for references. Instructions (in abbreviated form, sufficient for our purposes) can be found in Lunsford, Angela and Robert Connors, Easy Writer. A Pocket Guide. New York, St. Martin's Press (you might have a copy from your first-year seminars). It also lists electronic guides and you may try: . Below is also the latest more specific style sheet used by Slavic and East European Journal--one of the top English language Slavic journals:

SEEJ Style Sheet for Authors
When using transliteration please follow the LC system, except for papers in linguistics and pedagogy, where the international system may be used (see transliteration charts published regularly in the Journal). Whenever possible, please use transliteration instead of Cyrillic, since this broadens the potential readership of the journal and is less expensive to set. However, for poetry, long quotations, and especially when a point can be better made by reference to the Cyrillic, Cyrillic may certainly be used. For transliterating miagkii znak and tverdyi znak please use straight quotes and not curly quotes.
Whenever possible, quotations should be given in English translation. All non-English quotations must be provided with an English translation. A translation (and conversely the original wording within an English translation) that is provided within a sentence or paragraph should be set off in square brackets, e.g. “Kakoi durak! [What a fool!]” (Ivanov 15). “What a fool [durak]!” (Ivanov 15). "Formidable! [great!]. Note the punctuation and the fact that the inserted Russian word is italicized (if Cyrillic is inserted, then it need not be italicized). If the original is given as a block quote, then the translation should also be set as a block quote below it, but the brackets may be omitted. The reference information for the original should be attached to the original quote, and a source for the translation should be attached to the translation if the author of the article is not the translator.
When referring to authors and other proper nouns, please use standardized western spellings, i.e. Gogol, Dostoevsky, Solovyov, Tolstoy. Avoid use of ‘ for miagkii znak and spellings with ii or yi, i.e. preferred: Grigoriev, Pietsukh, Gorky, Bezdomny, Vasily, Yury, Maria, Sofia, Fyodor. However, when listing works of authors in the REFERENCES, please use the transliterated version of the name, i.e. Gogol’, Dostoevskii, Solov’ev, Vasilii, Iurii, Mariia.
All works mentioned in your article, whether they are quoted from or not, should be listed under “REFERENCES” alphabetically in a section at the end with full bibliographical information following the basic MLA style (multiple works by the same author should be listed chronologically). Please provide a state code for all but the most major US cities (when in doubt put it in), e.g., Columbus, OH: Slavica. Indigenous spelling of city names is preferred: Moskva, Wien. Publisher citations should be abbreviated to, e.g., U of California P, Yale UP, but other abbreviations that might not be clear to someone not in your field should be avoided.
In the text, references should follow the basic MLA style and be as brief as possible, supplying only as much information as necessary to locate the work and page using the REFERENCES section, e.g., (Smith 45, 67), (Pushkin 9: 25), or, for a general reference, then (Smith) or perhaps nothing, if Smith is already named in the text and there is only one entry for Smith in the References. For multiple works by the same author, use author, date, page (Smith 1990, 23). If there are several works by an author in the same year, use: 1990a, 1990b, etc. Multiple references within a single set of parentheses can be separated by commas, unless commas are already used within a single reference, e.g. (Smith, Jones, Pushkin), but (Smith 1990, 23; Jones; Pushkin) or (Smith, Jones and Davis [i.e. three co-authors]; Pushkin).
For the sake of clarity the date of publication may be given, even if, strictly speaking, it is not necessary. References to major canonical texts, e.g. Eugene Onegin, Crime and Punishment, Dante's The Divine Comedy, may be given by chapter, stanza, etc., to facilitate the use of various editions, but at least one edition of the work should always be given in the REFERENCES.
If there are references to several (more than two) authors' contributions to a multi-author collection, then each author's contribution may be listed separately in the References, with a short reference to the collection, which is given elsewhere in the References with full data. E.g.: Holmes, S. "Major Clues," in Jones and Davis, 23-45.
Archival references should be made in the form used by the given archive, e.g. RGALI f. 235 (I. I. Ivanov), op. 2, ed. 33, s. 15.
When giving page spreads for references in the text, notes and References, please give the last two digits of the second number, e.g.: (234-35). Exceptions: 2-9, 203-5 [i.e. when the first digit would be a zero], 298-304.
Use square brackets for insertions into a quotation (e.g. of a translation into the original or of the original into a translation and of any changes made by you, including ellipses). E.g.: "[Ivan] said [skazal] that he felt […] sick" (Tolstoy 7: 22). Brackets should also be used for insertions of translations into the body of a text.
Parentheses within parentheses should remain parentheses and not be converted to square brackets. E.g.: This point was made before (as she previously noted (Davis 1978b, 32)).
For all literary movement and artistic period names please capitalize the word to distinguish it from the more general concept, e.g. “Russian Symbolism of the 1890s,” but “the author’s use of symbolism.” Also: Futurism, Realism, Communism, Marxism, Postmodernism, Romantic, Sentimental, etc.
Time periods such as the “70s,” or “1920s” are given without an apostrophe or an extra space after the year.
Centuries should be spelled out: nineteenth century, twenty-first century.
Hyphenate when using adjectivally: nineteenth-century authors.
For singular proper nouns ending in s an apostrophe+s should be provided, e.g., “Jones’s novel.”
Periods and commas go to the left of a close quotation mark, unless they are followed by a reference in parentheses, i.e. “Tolstoy was obsessed with blue hares.” But: “Tolstoy was obsessed with blue hares” (Chekhov 21). Other punctuation will go before the close quotes only if it is part of the quote.
Use standard American spelling of words that might have a British variant, unless they are in a quotation.
For questions not answered on this Style sheet please consult the Chicago Manual of Style and/or the MLA Handbook or refer to a recent issue of SEEJ.


Remember: Plagiarism of any kind is not tolerated and gives you an automatic NC for the course!

This page was last updated on 8/25-07