Class Schedule 

Class Discussion Website

Hand in essays


UW Baltic Studies Program

Syllabus, Winter Quarter 2010
Instructor: Guntis Đmidchens 
Office: Raitt Hall 305 V
Office Hours: Monday afternoons, 3:30-5:00 and by appointment
Phone: (206) 616-5224

Class Meeting times: MW 1:30-3:20, Balmer Hall 414

This course gives a broad introduction to the cultures of the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians.  Baltic literature will be studied in its historical context, exploring the relation between people and culture in the Baltic countries.  

Course Objectives:

  • Encounter about fifteen leading cultural figures in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and engage works they created.  
  • Read four classic books by Baltic authors, analyze these works in historical and cultural context
  • Develop skills for interpreting and writing about culture.  
  • Gain an appreciation and understanding of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian cultures

Required Readings

  • Readings online or handouts, as listed in the lecture schedule
  • Anton Hansen Tammsaare, Misadventures of the New Satan (Norvik, 2009)
  • Agate Nesaule, A Woman in Amber (Penguin, 1995)
  • Ričardas Gavelis, Vilnius Poker (Open Letter Books, 2009)
  • Tonu Onnepalu, Border State (Northwestern University Press, 2000)


  • 25% Class participation: discussions and quizzes about reading assignments
  • 25% Online participation / discussion of reading assignments (one post per week)
  • 25% Review essay about one of the four books discussed in this class (6-10 pages), due Friday, March 12.
  • 25% Final exam, March 15 (essay questions, as discussed in class and online)

Class participation: Come to class prepared to discuss the works assigned for that day:

  • Choose a passage in the assigned work that sparks your interest;
  • Formulate an analytical idea about the work, based on that passage;
  • Be prepared to present your ideas in class!   
  • Class participation includes participation in online discussions. 
  • Post your own ideas about assigned readings, and respond to ideas posted by your colleagues.  
  • You must initiate at least one online conversation.
  • Over the entire ten-week course, you should contribute a total of at least ten posts to the class discussion website (one per week).  

The final exam will test your knowledge of people and works we've encountered in class assignments. 

Write notes as you prepare for each class discussion (see above), add to the notes during class discussion, and study them for the final exam! 

Review essay (6-10 pages), about one of the four books assigned for this class.    

  1. Introduce the author;
  2. Summarize the content of the book;
  3. Summarize what others have written about this book.  Using resources such as the MLA Index, Google Scholar, etc., find reviews and analyses of the book.  List these sources in a “References quoted” section at the end of your essay.      
  4. Present your own, unique interpretation of the book.  You may agree or disagree with the persons you have mentioned in #2, or you may look at the book from an entirely different perspective.  
  5. Include quoted passages to support your analysis.  (refer to pages in parentheses)
  6. Create a title that captures the essence of your essay.  
  7. Hand in the essay: Upload it at the "Collect It" website.  

·        A basic tip for excellence:   If you haven't already done so, take the online tutorial, "Research 101," at the UW Libraries website!



 Last Updated: 03/09/2010 

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