MinorsThe principal aims of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures are to develop in the student an ability to understand, speak, and write the languages of his or her choice, and to read with appreciation literary and cultural texts in the foreign languages. The study of a foreign language enables students to understand a foreign culture and to broaden perspectives on their own culture.
The department is the primary resource for the college's language requirement. Any course taken at the appropriate level in a foreign language (i.e., not in translation) fulfills the foreign literature and language requirement.
Advanced literature courses provide students with the skills needed to interpret texts linguistically, stylistically, and historically and enable them to gain knowledge of major periods, authors, and genres of literature. Courses in culture and civilization explore major achievements in art, history, politics, economics, media, and intellectual history as well as issues of gender and race. Advanced language courses provide practical skills for specific purposes such as translation, business, and other professional applications.
The department supports academic and extracurricular programs both on the campus and abroad in order to enhance understanding of foreign languages and cultures. Department faculty are key advisors in such self-determined majors as Italian, and they are committed to participating in such college interdisciplinary programs as Asian Studies, International Affairs, Latin American Studies, and Women's Studies. The department is committed to offering less commonly taught languages through the self-instructional language program.