Russian Research

Next semester I will be completing my Honors Research in a Russian topic, in order to complete my Honors requirements and to incorporate more Russian content into my undergraduate studies, before beginning my Pharmacy Graduate Degree Program. Below I outline several topics of interest for this semester-long project, into which I plan to incorporate both cultural and scientific aspects in my research, again tying together my Russian and Biochemistry backgrounds.

  1. “Maternity hospitals,” in English, or “Родильный дом,” in Russian, were established by the Tsar Nicholas II in 1897 in order to keep women from having birth on the streets. Therefore, while they were helpful and provide more care and sanitation, they also brought the stigma upon women who had children in hospitals that they were poor or low-class. The more tasteful alternative, and the option available only to the rich and the royal, was to give birth with the help from a midwife at home. This concept of birthing hospitals was expanded upon during the period of Soviet Russia and an extensive infrastructure for greater maternal healthcare was established.
  2. There are several well-known Russian writers that also had backgrounds in medical training.  Of authors I have already read, this title includes Anton Chekhov and Mikhail Bulgakov, whose lifespans overlap for the last ten years of the 19th century. With this topic, I would like to compare and contrast the differences in medical training between these two men and how that affected each of their writing works. Then I would like to compare their works with those of a more modern Russian writer-doctor, such as of Leonid Tsypkin, who wrote in the mid-20th century. While I think it would be very interesting to analyze the way that science affected the writings of these men, I foresee that this project could also provide fascinating speculations on how their writings portrayed science to the general people.
  3. Film throughout the Soviet period would be a vast topic to cover, and would necessarily include an in-depth discussion on the widespread censorship of the time. With the topic of films, I am considering delving into science-fiction works, being critical of what these imply of scientific understanding and public impressions of the period.

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