Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies
Can you major in this program? Yes
Can you minor in this program? Yes; a minor in the Russian language is also available
Emphasis within the major: social science-based approach to institutions, geography, history, peoples of the Russian Federation and areas that historically have been the Russian Empire; Russian language, study abroad
Popular second majors: political science, history, environmental studies
Students in this program become proficient in the Russian language.
This fact sheet is also available as a PDF.
Stetson's Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies (S.P.R.E.E.S.) trains students to analyze and interpret the territory, people, history, language and cultural practices of the Eurasian landmass from a multidisciplinary perspective.
Founded more than 50 years ago, the program offers students the opportunity to learn about the varieties of history, geography, politics, economics and culture in the countries that once formed part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Students learn not only about the diversity within this fascinating region but also about how Russia and its neighbors fit into global patterns of political, economic and cultural interactions.
S.P.R.E.E.S. students become proficient in the Russian language by taking a broad array of courses at Stetson University and by spending a semester or summer in language study in the Russian-speaking world, including places like Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine.
The skills and opportunities acquired through studying the languages, cultures and social sciences of the region have allowed Stetson University students to enter leading graduate programs and to find employment immediately after graduation in business, government and the nonprofit sector in the United States and abroad. Typically, our students spend a year or more teaching or working in Russophone countries before heading to graduate training.
A Distinctive Program
One of the most exciting aspects of S.P.R.E.E.S. is its artists and lecturers series. The series has brought to campus artists and lecturers such as NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger, Russian poet and cultural figure Yevgenii Yevtushenko, ABC News and National Public Radio Russia correspondent Anne Garrels, Center for Political and Strategic Studies director and granddaughter of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower Susan Eisenhower, Soviet entrepreneur and Russian presidential candidate Sviatoslav Federov, and Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to the United States, Zamira Sydykova.
For half a century, Stetson University has been designated as a member institution of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida that focuses on study of the Russian area.
For the latest news on happenings in the program, visit our Facebook page!
Academics and Research
Students work closely with faculty on research projects, particularly as a part of their senior research project.
Facilities and opportunities
The home of the S.P.R.E.E.S. program is the S.P.R.E.E.S. Center, a facility that contains classrooms, a library of books, periodicals and films, a language computer lab and television viewing areas. Monthly teas with faculty, S.P.R.E.E.S classes, and numerous social events make the center a gathering place of teaching and learning.
Preparation for graduate study
We have an excellent track record of placing students in top-ranked Russian studies graduate programs. Our students' success stems from the broad and deep program of study, from excellent language preparation and from close scholarly collaboration with faculty.
Awards and Recognition
Eugene Huskey holds the university's distinguished William R. Kenan, Jr. Chair, and Michael Denner is the editor of the Tolstoy Studies Journal and director of Stetson University's University Honors program. The S.P.R.E.E.S. faculty and their areas of research include:
- Michael Denner, Ph.D., Northwestern University; Leo Tolstoy, 19th and 20th century Russian prose classics, Asian intellectual influence on Russia, avant-garde aesthetic theories, Russian Formalism, intellectual history, Soviet film and film theory
- Mayhill Fowler, Ph.D., Princeton University
- Eugene Huskey, Ph.D., London School of Economics; comparative politics, Russian and Central Asian politics, Russian presidency and bureaucracy, Russian law, politics in Kyrgyzstan
- Ekaterina Kudrayavtseva, Ph.D., University of Southern California; historiography and canon formation, collecting and display, aesthetic and critical theory of modern and contemporary art, the impact of art institutions and the art market on the art historical discourse
- Jelena Petrovic, Ph.D., University of New Mexico; online news media and their relevance for the representation and constitution of national identities, discursive tensions between media structures and audiences' need to participate in institutional production of knowledge
- Karen Ryan, Ph.D., University of Michigan; Russian satire, Russian contemporary literature, Russian women's literature, Russian émigré literature
- Daniil Zavlunov, Ph.D., Princeton University
Students are encouraged to take part in the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), which provides funding for equipment, room and board, and travel. Our students have presented their research at conferences around the country.
Undergraduate awards and honors
The department awards the Zenkovsky Prize for the outstanding student of Russian language, and an annual award to the outstanding student working on research in the S.P.R.E.E.S. area. The department also has a Russian Club and a Dobro Slovo honorary chapter.
Beyond the Classroom
Our students have recently interned with Human Rights Watch, Moscow; the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg; and the independent voting watchdog group, Golos.
Stetson's Program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers, including naval intelligence officer, judicial clerk, author and English teacher in Russia, Peace Corps volunteer, employee of Lockheed-Martin at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and English literature teacher in Kyrgyzstan. Many alumni have gone on to graduate studies at top-tier institutions including the University of Wisconsin, Harvard’s Davis Center, the University of Iowa, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Florida, Oxford University, Georgetown University and the University of Chicago. They also have attended law school at Georgetown University and Florida State University.