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    Vassar College
  Feb 22, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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RUSS 168 - Vampires, Monks, and Holy Fools: The Mystical in Russia and Eastern Europe (in English)

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
Focusing on these three phenomena of the Eastern European and Russian cultural-spiritual landscape will allow us to explore a number of subthemes. While examining Eastern European vampire legends, we will encounter regional folk beliefs and the paradoxical coexistence of pagan and Christian views concerning such things as liminal spaces, the unpredictability of evil, and the role of the undead. Comparisons will be made between early vampire stories and vampire incarnations in British and American literature and pop-culture. Our foray into Russian Orthodox monasticism will provide insight into the significance of mysticism, anchoritism, piety, and apocalypticism in Russia. Lastly, our study of the often scandalous and provocative behavior of the Holy Fool will help us understand how a seemingly carnivalesque inversion of values can serve as a spiritual beacon. The course will be a combination of short readings and films. Course materials and discussion will be in English. No prior knowledge of Russia or Eastern Europe is required. Charles Arndt III.

Open to all classes.

Not Offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods, plus occasional film screenings.

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