Slavic Studies


The Department of Slavic Studies is the center for campus study of Eastern Europe and Russia at Brown and is strategically linked to a number of fields across the humanities and social sciences, including literature, performing arts, history, economics, and international relations.

Academic Programs

Our undergraduate and graduate programs encourage individually-tailored research opportunities, both on campus and in Russia, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Students in Slavic may choose from various summer and semester/year study abroad programs.

The department prepares future experts in Slavic studies and related fields, and its pedagogy is based on the collaborative exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of Brown’s Open Curriculum.
The Department of Slavic Studies offers a comprehensive doctoral program in Slavic studies specializing in Russian literature and culture, in modern Czech culture, and in Polish literature and culture.
Students in Slavic may choose from various summer and semester/year study abroad programs.

What is Slavic?

The term "Slavic" refers to the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian (East Slavic), Polish, Czech, Sorbian, Slovak (West Slavic), and Bulgarian, Slovenian, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbianand Macedonian (South Slavic). The number of speakers of all Slavic languages is estimated to be 315 million, of which the most commonly spoken languages are Russian (145 million), Polish (43 million), Ukrainian (39.5 million), Czech (11 million), and Serbian (11 million). In addition, Russian is used as a second language in most of the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Interwoven Histories and Diversity

Although closely related linguistically and geographically, Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic followed different paths in history, culture, religion, arts, and politics. Yet their histories are interrelated and exemplify both cultural cross-fertilization and often tumultuous confrontations that are connected with national aspirations and ambitions. They continue to be key players in the constantly changing political landscape of Central and Eastern Europe; their recent histories—most notably Poland and the Czech Republic  joining of the European Union—reflect the tensions and hopes of all European countries.