Russian and Eurasian Studies

Invitation to Russian and Eurasian Studies

Only one university program in Japan offers undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue advanced, specialized, and comprehensive study of Russia and Eurasia: the Sophia University Faculty of Foreign Studies. The Russian and Eurasian Studies concentration is devoted to exploring the area encompassing the Russian Federation and other countries of the former Soviet Union through the study of topics pertaining to (1) the Russia/Eurasia region’s individual countries and sub-regions, (2) the Russia/Eurasia region as a whole, and (3) comparisons and relationships among the Russia/Eurasia region’s countries and sub-regions. We seek to equip our students with a thorough knowledge of the history, politics, economics, and society of the Russian and Eurasian region centered on Russia—which has emerged as one of the world’s most dynamic economies since recovering from the chaos of the Soviet Union’s collapse—as well as an understanding of the culture and spirit of the region’s people. Above all, our goal is to train our students to play an active role in forging new links between Japan and Russia, Eurasia, and the world as top-flight professionals in business, government, or academia.

Academic Aims of the Russian and Eurasian Studies Concentration

1. To build a rich fund of knowledge and insight regarding Russia and Eurasia and learn to interact flexibly with people and societies with a wide range of values and traits.

2. To deepen one’s own learning through wide-ranging multidimensional study of Russia and Eurasia, including the region’s history, politics, economics, society, and culture.

3. To make the most of advanced Russian and other foreign-language skills in order to conduct sound research, analysis, and discussion of phenomena pertaining to Russia and Eurasia.

4. To attain an insider’s understanding of Russia and Eurasia along with the ability to observe and analyze the region objectively and critically from a global, universal viewpoint.

Curriculum of the Russian and Eurasian Studies Concentration

The curriculum of the Russian and Eurasian Studies concentration is comprised of introductory courses, core courses, and seminar courses.

Introductory Courses

Students who select the Russian and Eurasian Studies concentration begin by completing the concentration’s introductory courses, which they are required to take as early as their first year. The concentration offers several introductory courses designed to equip students with the basic knowledge they need to pursue more advanced studies in the field.

Selected Course Offerings

Introduction to Russian and Eurasian Studies
Introduction to Russian and Eurasian Culture

Core Courses

After laying a foundation for study and research in the field by completing our introductory courses, students can begin in their second year to develop expertise in various areas through the concentration’s core courses. Using their own interests as a guide, students select among a rich variety of core course offerings in two broad domains, Humanities and Social Science. This coursework allows them to expand their horizons while at the same time narrowing in on a research topic for their graduation thesis.

Selected Course Offerings

Cultural History of Russia
Arts of Russia
Russian Politics and Foreign Policy
International Relations in Russia and Eurasia
Russian and Eurasian Economy

Seminar Courses

In seminar courses, open to third- and fourth-year students, learning is a student-directed process. Instead of passively receiving knowledge from the instructor, students choose research topics based on questions and concerns of their own, gather and read the relevant literature on the topic, conduct field research, analyze and interpret the data, and finally write up their research in the form of a graduation thesis. Seminars are an opportunity for students to sum up their college experience in a final research project that makes the most of the language skills they built through departmental work and brings their concentration studies to fruition. Like the concentration’s core courses, seminars in the Russian and Eurasian Studies concentration are classified as either Humanities or Social Science courses. Each of our six faculty members leads a seminar in his or her area of expertise.

Selected Course Offerings

Seminar in Russian Literature
Seminar in Russian Culture
Seminar in Russian Politics and Foreign Policy
Seminar in Russian Economy