Independent Study

All majors complete a one-semester Independent Study project in the junior year and a two-semester senior I.S. thesis. Working closely with a faculty advisor, each senior has the opportunity to develop his or her interests through the process of writing an undergraduate capstone thesis then defending it in an oral exam with the advisor and a second faculty member. For more information about a Russian Studies I.S., please see the IS guide.

For their junior and senior I.S. projects, majors have worked on topics as diverse as the environmental movement in Siberia, feminine literary perceptions of Stalin's purges, vodka in Russian culture, and Dostoevsky’s novels and the literary theory of Bakhtin, fashion & femininity in Soviet Union, and the Space Race.

Past Independent Study Projects

(found at Digital Resource Commons)

  • Joseph Ferraro (2020) - “Kindred Ideologies: Fascism and Communism in Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate."
  • Daphne Letherer (2020) - “Make Some Noize: Rap as a Form of Political Protest in Russia.”
  • John-Paul W. Richard (2020) - “The Song of Siros”
  • Marija Cyvas (2019) - "What it means to be Lithuanian in America and what Russia's got to do with it: ethnic identity formation among later generations in a diasporic community"
  • Gillian Gregory (2019) - "Sputnik: The Beep-Beep-Beep Heard Around the World - An Analysis of the Orbital Trajectory of Sputnik and its Reception in the Soviet Union"
  • Claire Russ (2019) - "Is it still 1991? How the status of contemporary Russian women, in relation to men, has remained unchanged in politics, education, the workforce, health, and the home since the fall of the Soviet Union."
  • Erin Tupman (2019) - "The Memorialization and Legacy of the Soviet Playwright Aleksandr Vampilov in the Irkutsk Region"
  • Aidan Brown (2018) - "The First Spacewalk: An Exploration of the Mathematical and Cultural Implications of the Space Race."
  • Dimitri Hubenka (2018) - "The Babushka: Between Past and Future in Contemporary Russian Literature"
  • Grace Shannon (2017) - "Once upon a Regime: Nazi and Soviet Propaganda in Children's Literature in the 1930s and 40s"
  • Katarina J. Greenslade (2016) – The Lady in Red: Fashion and Femininity in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia 1922-2000
  • Katherine B. Tuttle (2015) – “Our Crimea or Our Can of Worms? (Крым наш или наш Крым?): A Russian Media Portrayal of the 2014 Crimean Crisis”
  • Nicholas J. O’Neill (2015) – “Russian Military Adaptation to a Changing Battlefield: A Study of Military Reforms аfter 1992 and the 2008 Conflict in Georgia”
  • Sarah Carracher (2015) – “The Adulteress and the Patriarchy: The Search for Female Independence and Autonomy in Anna Karenina and The Awakening”
  • Zachary M. Sessa (2014) – “The Soviet War in Afghanistan and the Application of U.S. Special Forces: A Combat Analysis”
  • Allison K. Miraldi (2014) – “With or Without the State’s Consent: Female Sexuality in the Soviet Union During WWII”
  • Caroline Bilsky (2014) – “You Laugh and Cry from the Same Mouth: A Exploration of Successful Aging in Contemporary Russia”
  • Briana Ewing (2013) – “Chekhov: A Response to Romantic Solipsism in 'The Little Trilogy’"
  • William F. Burkhart (2013) – “Putin and the Russian Federation: Securing Power at the Expense of Democracy”
  • Daniel Hollingsworth (2012) - "In the Shadow of the prophet:  Shalamov and the new prose of the Gulag"
  • Samuel Foulkes (2012) - "Chechnya:  death, journalism and history"
  • Arielle Neu (2012) - "Big brothers and barbarians:  the role of images and perceptions in Russia's foreign policy"
  • Kaitlin Marie Ball (2011) - advised by History and Russian - "Defining Episodes in the History of the Russian Moderate Activist"
  • Jeremy Bervoets (2011) - advised by History and Russian - "The End of a Nation: Russian Nationalism as a Reaction to Westernization"
  • Stephanie Ham (2010) - advised by Political Science and Russian - "Observing Political Identity Contestation Among the Political and Social Elites of the Russian Federation"
  • Austin Kiger (2010) - advised by Political Science and Russian - "The Battle for Russia’s Last Sphere of Influence: Understanding American and Russian Interest in Central Asia and the Caucasus"
  • David Armstrong (2008) - advised by Comparative Literature and Russian - "Resisting the Faust Myth: A study of two Post-Goethe Faustian Texts"
  • Alexis Crowell (2007) - "Translating 'The Obstacle': An Exploration of the Concept of Self and the Symbol of the Window in Selected Works of Daniil Ivanovish Kharms"
  • Jesse Menefee (2004) - advised Comparative Literature and Russian - "Doubt and Faith in Dostoevskii's Later Novels: A Re-Evaluation of Bakhtin's Polyphonic Theory"
  • Lindsey Coleman (2003)  - "Mothers, Wives, Prisoners: Feminine Literary Perceptions of Stalin’s Purges"
  • Jonathan Leif Hayes (2002) - advised by Political Science and Russian - "Russian Foreign Policy 1995-2002"
  • Daniel B. Borsody (2001) - advised by History and Russian - "The Return Of The Black Hundreds: Anti-Semitic Social And Political Trends In Russia, 1988-1999"
  • Sara Rance (2000)  - "Chechnya: A Literary Legacy: Chechens in Russian Literature and History"
  • Anna M. Navis (1999) - advised by Political Science and Russian - "Ideology and Foreign Policy: The Soviet Union's Foreign Aid Policy in Africa"
  • Beth Ciha (1998)   - "Marxism, Patriarchy, and 'Bourgeois Feminism': The Position of Women in Soviet Russia"
  • Heather Foster (1998)  - "Why Vodka?: Understanding the Russians' Obsession with Alcohol"