Skip to main content

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES)

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (REEES) is an interdisciplinary program that provides a broad range of courses in the history, language, literature, and social and political life of Russia (before, during, and after the Soviet period). It is designed for students who do not wish to restrict their Russian studies to literature. Students interested in pursuing a major or minor in REEES should consult the program advisor to plan their major or minor coursework. 

Why study Russian today? A recent WBUR (public radio in Boston) episode covered the increased need for Americans trained in Russian language, culture, and politics.

2020-21 REEES Graduation Celebration and Annual Recap


Program Director

Martha Lampland
Professor, Sociology

Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor

Jennifer Dieli
Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor
Ridge Walk Academic Complex - Arts and Humanities Building, 6th Floor, Room 655

Current UC San Diego undergraduate students, please use the Virtual Advising Center (VAC) for all advising questions.

Core Faculty

Amelia Glaser

Patrick Patterson

Philip Roeder
Political Science

Rebecca Wells

Affiliated Faculty

Farrell Ackerman

Lera Boroditsky
Cognitive Science

Jesse Driscoll
School of Global Policy and Strategy

Deborah Hertz

Akos Rona-Tas

Affiliated Graduate Students




Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Major

The major requires a study of Russian language and a minimum of 12 upper-division courses. Students declaring a REEES major should use major code RU26 for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies; the old code, RU25 for Russian & Soviet Studies, is being phased out and is no longer administratively supported.

Language Requirement:

The major requires a study of Russian language. Russian courses are taken through the Literature Department's Language and Culture Programs. All questions regarding language placement and classes should be directed to the Literature department. Other East European or Eurasian languages may be used to fulfill this requirement by petition.

Majors who have taken language courses in high school or community colleges should speak to the academic advisor about how those courses may count toward completing their language competency.



Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Minor

The Minor consists of 7 courses in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, at least 4 of which must be upper division. In addition, there must be at least 1 course each from 2 of the 3 following areas: Literature, History, and Social Science. No more than 3 of the 7 courses may be language courses.  Knowledge of the language is not a requirement for the minor but is strongly recommended. 

LTRU 104 can count as upper division course for the minor.

Students declaring a REEES minor should use minor code RU26 for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies; the old code, RU25 for Russian & Soviet Studies, is being phased out and is no longer administratively supported.


Course Offerings

Course Offerings

Refer to the official UC San Diego General Catalog for a complete list of approved courses that will count toward a major or minor in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

Course offerings are constantly changing. Please refer to the Schedule of Classes for the most up-to-date listing.

(*) Indicates course may be petitioned for credit. Instructions on How to Petition Courses.

Fall 2023

  • LTRU 1A. First-Year Russian
  • LTRU 2A. Second-Year Russian
  • LTRU 104B. Advanced Practicum in Russian
  • LTRU 150/LTEU. Russian Culture.Topic:Soviet Speculative Fiction and Film 
  • *POLI 122D. Abuse of Power
  • *LTCO 285 - Literature and Aesthetics. Topic: Mikhail Bakhtin 
  • *GPGN 490. Contemporary Ukraine: Nation-Building and State-Building

Winter 2024

  • *HITO 133. War & Society-Second World War
  • LTRU 1B. First-Year Russian
  • LTRU 2B. Second-Year Russian
  • LTRU 104C. Advanced Practicum in Russian: Analysis of Text and Film
  • POLI 147B. Russian-American Relations 

Spring 2023

  • LTRU 1C. First Year Russian
  • LTRU 104A .Advanced Practicum in Russia
  • *SOCI 114: the Sociology of Humor
  • HIEU 171.Topics: 20th Century Europe: Cold War: Protest & Dissent

Fall 2024

  • LTRU 1A. First Year Russian
  • LTRU 2A. Second Year Russian
  • JWSP 1. Beginning Hebrew
  • JWSP 104. Practicum in Advanced Hebrew
  • *HINE 137. Two Peoples-Palestine/Israel
  • *HINE 100. The Hebrew Bible and History
  • LTEU 154/LTRU150. Russian Culture: The Literature of Ukraine
  • LTRU 104AB. Advanced Practicum in Russian

Other Course Resources


Past Events

2020 - 2021

February 11, 2021
Music for the Dead and Resurrected - A Poetry Reading and Discussion with Valzhyna Mort

February 18, 2021
Vladimir Vysotsky in English: A Concert and Discussion with Vadim Astrakhan

March 4, 2021
Literature and Politics in Ukraine: A Conversation with Andrei Kurkov

2019 - 2020

April 16, 2021
A Conversation with Jennifer Croft, Translator of Nobel Prize Winner Olga Tokarczuk

2018 - 2019

January 24, 2019
Vladimir Vysotsky, a Russian Cultural Legend: A Talk by Dmitry Bykov

April 15, 2019
"The Scale of Culture: City, Nation, Empire and the Russian-Georgian Encounter" with Harsha Ram, Associate Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature at U.C. Berkeley.

May 13, 2019
Film Screening of Human with a Stool and Q&A with the crew

May 23, 2019
"Photographic Literacy: Cameras in the Hands of Russian Authors": A Talk by Katherine Reischl, Assistant Professor at Princeton University 


Featured Alumni

Milda Zilinskaite, Ph.D.
Comparative Literature, 2014
Dissertation: “Witold Gombrowicz and Virgilio Piñera, the Argentine Experience”

After completing her dissertation at UC San Diego, on lives and works of two émigré writers – the Polish Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969) and Cuban Virgilio Piñera (1912-1979) – Milda embarked on a new academic career path. Following her teaching experience in language instruction, leadership and cross-cultural communication, as a visiting lecturer at the Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management and at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, she took a position at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, where she teaches courses on English business communication and cross-cultural competence. One of Milda’s two current lines of research has, nevertheless, been greatly influenced by her background in cultural history, ethnicity and migration, as it examines the impact of organizational climates for inclusion on the processes of acculturation undergone by highly-qualified migrants in OECD countries. Her other area of research focuses on present-day discourses of (ir)responsible leadership.

Yuliya Ladygina, Ph.D.
Literature, 2013
Dissertation: "Narrating the Self in the Mass Age: Olha Kobylianska in the European Fin-de-Siècle and Its Aftermath, 1886-1936"

After completing her Ph.D. at UC San Diego in 2013, Yuliya Ladygina took a position at Williams College, where she teaches courses on Russian and comparative literature, film, rhetorical writing, Russian language, and the 19th-century Russian intellectual history. Currently, Yuliya pursues two research projects, focusing on the intellectual history of the European fin-de-siècle, and on the state-sponsored informational warfare in contemporary Russia. Yuliya’s first project is an extension of her dissertation, which examines the literary oeuvre of Olha Kobylianska (1863-1942) – one of the most sophisticated Ukrainian prose writers. Yuliya is particularly interested in the complex evolution and dialogical nature of the multiplicity of cultural, social, and political discourses (feminism, populism, socialism, Nietzscheanism, elitism, Marxism, nationalism, and Fascism) in Kobylianska’s writings. In the spring of 2014, Yuliya will be a Research Fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, where she will continue developing her dissertation project into a book. Yuliya’s second research project is a study of the representations of the on-going Russo-Chechen conflict in contemporary Russian films. The project stems from Yyuliya’s general interest in postcolonial studies, issues of nationalism in Eastern Europe, and Russia’s relations with its neighboring nations.

Margarita Levantovskaya, Ph.D.
Literature, 2013
Dissertation: "Rootless Cosmopolitans: Literature of the Soviet-Jewish Diaspora"

After defending her dissertation in 2013, Margarita (Maggie) Levantovskaya began teaching in the department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and the Jewish Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. There she teaches courses on post-Soviet culture, Russian language, and twentieth-century Jewish literature and film. Her current research project examines representations of cultural identity and diaspora in contemporary fiction about the migration of Russian-speaking Jews in the late-twentieth century. She is particularly interested in the work of Russian, Russian-Israeli and Russian-American authors. Her project interrogates the place of Jews in the larger Russophone diaspora and highlights the ways in which ex-Soviet Jews challenge traditional conceptions of Jewish diaspora. Maggie is also conducting research on "experiments with autobiography" in the work of Russian-Jewish fiction writers and visual artists.

Tatiana Sizonenko, Ph.D.
Art History, Theory, and Criticism, 2013
Dissertation: "Artists as Agents in Venice, 1450-1550: The Artistic Exchange and Cultural Translation between Venice and Constantinople - The Case of Gentile Bellini"

After completing her dissertation at UC San Diego, Tatiana Sizonenko began teaching art history at several universities and colleges in San Diego, including CSU San Marcos, UC San Diego, the University of San Diego, and Grossmont College. Her upper division courses include: Early Renaissance Art, Introduction to Renaissance Art and Visual Culture, Art in 1492: A Global Survey of Art and Architecture, and Russian Art from Icon to Avant-Garde. Tatiana’s research has focused on cultural exchange in the early modern Mediterranean world, and artistic and humanist discourse in Venice. Developed from the dissertation, her current book project is a study of the central role of court artists in diplomatic exchanges between Italian citystates and the Islamic regimes. Tatiana is especially interested in the development of polyglot artistic forms in portraiture that contributed to a politicized discourse in which Western and Moslem courts, though sharing ideas and tastes, nonetheless competed for status and recognition. Her second research project, “The Myth of Roman Imperium Outside of Italy: Constructing Rulership in the Eastern Mediterranean—Muscovy and the Crimean Khanate, 1450-1550,” is a study of the artistic ties between Venice and the Crimean Khanate and Muscovy at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Tatiana examines the works of the Venetian sculptor and architect Alevisio Novy (Alevisio Lamberti da Montagnana) for the Crimean Khan Meñli I Giray (1475-1515) and the Muscovite Tsar Ivan III (r. 1462-1505). This project was funded as part of a research seminar “From Riverbed to Seashore: Art on the Move in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean in the Early Modern Period,” sponsored by the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories Initiative in 2014-15.

Elena Aronova, Ph.D.
History and Science Studies, 2012
Dissertation: "Studies of Science Before "Science Studies": The Cold War and the Politics of Science in the U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R., 1950s-1970s"

After completing her dissertation at UC San Diego she took a position at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, where she is a Research Scholar in Department II, headed by Lorraine Daston. Her current research is divided between two projects. The first project, Cold War: the Politics of Science in the U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R., 1950s-1970s, an extension of her dissertation research which she plans to turn into a book, shows how in the context of Cold War cultural struggle for hearts and minds, and the expansion of science into Big Science, "science studies" emerged at the very center of the cultural and political landscape of Cold War, as an apparatus for managing the Cold War anxieties and concerns. Moreover, it was a parallel phenomenon on both sides of the Iron Curtain -- distinct in their ideologies and approaches but parallel in their structural relationship to political and institutional situations. The second project, Big Science in the Archive, examines the history of world-wide data collection on the global environment in the 1950s and 1960s in the Cold War America and Soviet Union.

To find out more about Elena and her research see her website:



UC San Diego Undergraduate Student Resources

Russian at the High School and College Level

Funding and Opportunities

Fellowships at Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is pleased to announce that it has been awarded Title VIII funding for the coming program year. We’d like to express our deep gratitude to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research for this critical funding. Renewed Title VIII support will enable the Kennan Institute to maintain its policy-relevant programming in Eurasia and to generate the expertise, linkages, and outreach that supports U.S. policy in the region. Please see the information below on all of our fellowships as well as more details about the Title VIII Research, Summer Research, and Short-term grants. 

The Kennan Institute offers five types of fellowship opportunities. Galina Starovoitova Fellowships on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution are available to citizens of the Russian Federation who have successfully bridged the worlds of ideas and public affairs to advance human rights and conflict resolution. Title VIII  Scholarships (Research, Summer, and Short-term) are available to scholars who are U.S. Citizens; Fulbright-Kennan Research Scholarships are available to scholars in Russia and Ukraine. George F. Kennan and Billington Fellowships are not limited by citizenship. The Kennan Institute offers paid research assistant positions lasting three to nine months for undergraduate, graduate, and prospective graduate students who are U.S. citizens.

In addition, Woodrow Wilson Center Fellowships are also available to scholars studying Russia, Ukraine and other states in the region.

Title VIII Research Scholarships
Title VIII Summer Research Scholarships
Title VIII Short-Term Grants
Billington Fellowship
George F. Kennan Fellowship
Galina Starovoitova Fellowships on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution
Fulbright-Kennan Research Scholarships
Research Assistantships

Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute

The only program of its kind in North America, the Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute (HUSI) offers seven weeks of intensive accredited university instruction in Ukrainian studies. The program includes three academic courses offered through the Harvard Summer School and a weekly event series hosted by Harvard's Ukrainian Research Institute (HURI). Every summer since 1971, HUSI has brought together exceptional undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals from around the world. The Harvard Ukrainian Summer Institute provides students with the opportunity for academic advancement, career development, and membership in a diverse and interdisciplinary community of scholars that spans five decades of HUSI cohorts.

HUSI courses are administered through Harvard Summer School, allowing students to earn academic credit while intensively learning about Ukraine.

  • Ukrainian for Reading Knowledge (8 credits) with Volodymyr Dibrova
  • Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Ukrainian Literature: Rethinking the Canon (4 units) with George Grabowicz
  • Tradition and Modernity in Ukraine, 19th and 20th Centuries (4 units) with Serhiy Bilenky

Students may take up to 8 credits.

For more information or assistance, please contact Programs Coordinator, Megan K. Duncan Smith at

Intensive Russian Language Study Abroad Opportunity

Study intensive Russian through Stony Brook University's faculty-led "ACLI" Program (the Advanced Critical Languages Institute for Russian Immersion) while earning up to 3-9 credits from Stony Brook and living for 4 weeks or 6 weeks in beautiful St. Petersburg!

The program is hosted by The Herzen State Pedagogical University, and features small group instruction, individualized tutorials, media and press study, a comprehensive cultural program, an optional trip to Moscow, and full local staff support. Minimal language requirement: 1 year of college Russian instruction or the equivalent.

Visit the Advanced Critical Language Institute's website for more information.

Title VIII Fellowships for Summer Language Study & Research

University of Southern California Ph.D. Program in Slavic Studies

The Slavic department at USC is internationally known. Their dynamic faculty have wide-ranging research interests with particular concentration in Russian literature and culture of the modern era.  In addition to the core of faculty whose focus is literature (Greta Matzner-Gore, Sarah Pratt, Kelsey Rubin-Detlev, Thomas Seifrid, and Alexander Zholkovsky) they have a specialist in eastern European cinema (Anna Krakus). They have just been joined by Professor Colleen McQuillen, a scholar of Russian modernism, who comes to them from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

USC offers excellent opportunities for graduate support leading to the Ph.D., starting with standard five-year packages that include three years of fellowship support and two teaching years, tuition, and health insurance.

If you have any questions, please visit USC's website.


Publications by UC San Diego Faculty, Alumni and Neighbors

Connected: How Trains, Genes, Pineapples, Piano Keys, and a Few Disasters Transformed Americans at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century
Steven Cassedy, UC San Diego Professor of Literature
(Stanford U.P., 2014)

Bought and Sold: Living and Losing the Good Life in Socialist Yugoslavia
Patrick Patterson, UC San Diego Associate Professor of History
(Cornell University Press, 2012)

Jews and Ukrainians in Russia's Literary Borderlands
Amelia Glaser, UC San Diego Associate Professor of Literature
(Northwestern University Press, 2012)

Gnedich: A Novel
Maria Rybakova (SDSU)
(Moscow: Vremi, 2011)

Spartak Moscow: A History of the People's Team in the Worker's State
Robert Edelman, UC San Diego Professor of History
(Cornell University Press, November 2009)

Standards and Their Stories: How Quantifying, Classifying, and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life
Martha Lampland, UC San Diego Professor of Sociology, and Susan Leigh Star (Ed.)
(Cornell University Press, 2009)

Thin Culture, High Art: Gogol, Hawthorne, and Authorship in Nineteenth-Century Russia and America
Anne Lounsbery, UC San Diego Literature alumnus
(Harvard University Press, 2007)

Where Nation-States Come From: Institutional Change in the Age of Nationalism
Philip G. Roeder, UC San Diego Professor of Political Science
(Princeton University Press, 2007)

Dostoevsky's Religion
Steven Cassedy, UC San Diego Professor of Literature
(Stanford University Press, 2005)

Proletpen: America's Rebel Yiddish Poets
Amelia Glaser, UC San Diego Assistant Professor of Literature (Trans. and Ed.)
(University of Wisconsin Press, 2005)

Sustainable Peace: Power and Democracy After Civil Wars
Philip G. Roeder, UC San Diego Professor of Political Science, and Donald Rothchild (Ed.)
(Cornell University Press, 2005)


Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below for responses to commonly asked questions. If you have further questions, please contact the Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies program through the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).

Do I have to know Russian or another language from the region to major or minor?

The major requires a study of the Russian language. It consists of LTRU 1A-B-C (First-Year Russian) and LTRU 2A-B (Second-Year Russian), or their equivalent. 

The minor does not require knowledge of Russian or another language from the region, but it is strongly recommended.

I've taken lower division courses at my community college. Can they count toward my REEES major/minor?

You will need to petition the course to see if it will apply towards the major or minor. 

Instructions on How to Petition Courses

I found a UC San Diego course I want to use for the REEES major or minor. Can I take it?

You will need to petition the course to see if it will apply towards the major or minor. 

Instructions on How to Petition Courses