Participants in the program will work to improve their proficiency in Russian in the heart of Central Asia, where they will immerse themselves in the linguistic and cultural landscapes of postcolonial and rapidly modernizing Qazaqstan. Issues to be explored through readings, discussions and travel include: the problem of Russophonia and the changing role of the Russian language in the post-Soviet world, linguistic and cultural hybridity, the postcolonial search for national identity and cultural roots, social and cultural activism as a way to solve contemporary problems of climate and environment, urbanization, and migration. We will also consider current debates about major historical and cultural traumas of the 20th century.