Smolny Beyond Borders

A Liberal Arts Initiative

Contemporary Cultural and Literary Theories: Problematization of Canons, Decolonization of Peripheries



Course Schedule:

Monday – Wednesday 4:10 – 5:30 pm Berlin (UTC+2)

Professor: Ilya Kalinin
Semester: Spring 2024 (January 29  – May 21)
Subject: LIT
Course Level: 200
Number of Bard Credits: 4 credits
Course Title: Contemporary Cultural and Literary Theories: Problematization of Canons, Decolonization of Peripheries
Max Enrollment: 22 students
Schedule: Monday – Wendesday 4.10 – 5.30 pm Berlin (UTC+2)
Distribution Area: Literary Analysis / Difference and Justice/
Cross-Listing(s): Philosophy
Language of Instruction: Russian

The course explores the evolution of theoretical ideas about culture and literature in the 20th-21st century: Russian formalism and early Soviet sociological method, M. Bakhtin and Soviet semiotics, French structuralism and American deconstruction, neo-Marxism and cultural studies of the Birmingham School, post-colonial and subaltern studies, gender and queer theories, new historicism and memory studies. Its objectives fall into two categories, the first being a general overview of the history of various schools and domains of theoretical reflection on culture in general and literature in particular. The second objective concerns the framing of this theoretical knowledge in the cultural and political context of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will be learning how to problematize cultural canons and reactivate contemporary cultural and literary theories as well as unleash the emancipatory potential of scholarship aimed at criticizing and fighting against cultural hegemony, political, social, gender, racial, and other forms of oppression, including symbolic domination.

Guidelines for the Statement of Purpose:

Craft a reflective statement of purpose explaining your interest in the Smolny Beyond Borders online course. The file should be saved with your name and course title as the filename and uploaded accordingly. Your statement’s clarity and substance will significantly influence our selection. Convey your motivations and aspirations for this course succinctly but thoroughly. Kindly write your statement in the course’s Language of Instruction.

Application Portal Instructions:

1) Use the Latin alphabet for all entries on the portal, including your name. If the Language of Instruction is Russian, you may use Cyrillic only within the Statement of Purpose file, and the title of the file should still be in English.
2) Refrain from using email addresses associated with Russian or Belarusian educational institutions.
3) While completing the “Required Information” section, ensure you fill in the “Province” field for your address.
4) Provide an address outside Russia or Belarus in both the “Required Information” and “Geographic Location Confirmation” sections of the “Online Course Application”. This ensures we can send your transcript.
5) You must press the “Sign” button twice during the application.
6) If you hold a bachelor’s degree, select “4th+” in the “Academic Year (online)” section.
7) Applicants either unaffiliated or affiliated with educational institutions in Russia and Belarus should list ‘Smolny Beyond Borders’ as their educational institution.
8) In the student ID section, enter ‘SBB’.
9) Consider drafting your motivation letter ahead of time. Save it as a separate file with this format: LastName_FirstName_CourseTitle for a smoother application process.