Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are undergoing unprecedented political, social, and economic transformations. These changes have produced substantial uncertainty, instability, and in some cases (most notably the former Yugoslavia and Chechnya) significant violence, as the citizens of these nations adjust to the new realities.
The changes underway in these countries have also given rise to tremendous economic opportunities, as formerly state enterprises are privatized and emerging market economies are opened for foreign investment.
Even though the Cold War is long over, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union remain one of the most dynamic and fascinating regions of the world. The outcome of the transformations currently taking place there will dramatically affect U.S. security, commercial, and cultural interests for decades. This vital region offers abundant opportunities and challenges for the scholar, business person, and policy analyst. At no time in recent memory has the study of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union been more important or more stimulating.
Duke University offers an extensive selection of courses, programs, and scholarly resources for students interested in studying this region.
Undergraduates may choose from courses in several languages of the region: Russian, Polish, Romanian, Persian, and Turkish, as well as courses on the literature, history, economics, and politics of the region. For a list of the courses currently being offered at Duke, please see the "Classes in Slavic and Eurasian Studies" section of this website. In addition, to the courses offered at Duke, Duke undergraduates may also take courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which also offers an extensive selection of courses.
A new cluster in the first-year FOCUS program, “Between Europe & Asia: Explorations in Culture, Law & Cognitive Science,” provides first-year students with an opportunity to engage in concentrated, interdisciplinary study of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The classes included in the cluster are Linguistics 133S: Neuroscience & Human Language, Russian 119S The Empire's Western Front: Russian & Polish Cultures, Russian 118 Islam & Orthodoxy, and Public Policy 135S Law & Globalization in Emerging Markets
Language instruction in the Slavic & Eurasian Studies Department is supported by state-of-the-art language laboratories, computer-assisted instruction, live television programming from Russia and Eastern Europe, residential living programs, and language tables and clubs. Through the language laboratory and through the Duke University Television Network students have access to daily Russian and East European news and television programs.
Undergraduate students who wish to concentrate their studies on this region may choose a major or minor in the Slavic & Eurasian Studies Department. In addition, the interdisciplinary International Comparative Studies major permits students to concentrate their course work on various regions of the world, including Russia and/or Eastern Europe.
Students may also participate in a variety of off-campus programs and activities. The study abroad program, Duke in St. Petersburg, Russia, is offered at St. Petersburg University both during the academic year and summer.
Slavic & Eurasian Studies majors who recently graduated have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in Slavic languages, linguistics, and literature, history, law, business, and medicine. With the expansion of trade and investment between the United States, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, students with a background in Slavic area studies have also found many opportunities to use their special skills and expertise with governmental and private sector employers in the U.S. and abroad.