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Why Study Languages, Literatures, & Cultural Studies?

The Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies has a unique place within the College of Arts and Science at the convergence of the pragmatic acquisition of language and communication skills through to the analysis of literature and other cultural manifestations. Within this inherently multicultural body of inquiry lie two objectives from which stem all others: the enhancement of communication skills in the languages which we teach and the widening of inter-cultural awareness leading to a world-minded perspective fundamental to responsible world citizens. At the practical level, students gain the necessary building blocks to develop and expand their oral and written comprehension and expression in three of the world’s most spoken and studied languages: French, German and Spanish. At the more advanced level, studies in literature and culture in these languages allow students to develop critical thinking skills and perfect their oral fluency and written competence as they also learn the process through which meaning is arbitrarily and linguistically fabricated and can therefore be critically assessed and deconstructed or modified. Students also learn about the historical and contemporary world cultural realities most conducive to an understanding of the power structures which sustain divergent cultural practices as conveyed through language, literature and other cultural manifestations.

It should be noted that students who major in our programs will study a combination of courses in languages, literature and culture or cultural studies. The Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultural Studies does not offer full independent degrees in any of these three areas of study. Our programs are rather a combination of these three fields in French or with a focus on German, French or Spanish within the scope of our Modern Languages programs.