Language and Cultural Studies
To study in this department is to consider how African American culture has been a cornerstone of American society. Courses emphasize close reading, research and writing, and give students a chance to engage contemporary popular culture alongside earlier cultural material. The curriculum also includes the Caribbean, Africa and diaspora communities in Europe and elsewhere.
The object of inquiry in American studies is culture—usefully defined as a society's "whole way of life"—the sum of the ways a society and its subjects at once understand and remake the world. Taking the contested and complex geographical, political and cultural space(s) named by "America" as a field for exploration, we ask how people in these spaces, in the present and in the past, make sense of their world, their relationships and themselves.
The Department of Classical Languages and Literatures instructs students in the languages and literatures of Ancient Greece and Rome. Through this deep study of language— including literary, historical and philosophical texts—students are encouraged to confront cultures that, though vastly different from their own, are preoccupied with many of the same universal human concerns: love and death, freedom and tyranny, justice and injustice, piety and impiety.
A concentration in Buddhist studies is an excellent adjunct to majors in such fields as religion, philosophy, American studies, anthropology, art history, Asian studies, comparative literature, East Asian languages and literature, East Asian studies, the study of women and gender, and more. It allows for a deeper focus in Buddhism, offering an interdisciplinary complement to one's major as well as an important credential for graduate admissions.
The Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures offers students the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of particular cultures in East Asia by delving into the language and literature of these regions. Courses taught in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean on literature, culture and language.
The French Studies program helps students become better citizens of the world by allowing them to develop a critical understanding of cultures other than their own. Students explore Francophone cultures through the study of their languages, the history of their thoughts, their arts and their institutions. Course work in the languages is linked to studies in culture and literature from France and Francophone cultures in Canada, Africa and the Caribbean.
How is it that the culture of German-speaking Europe has so profoundly influenced and shaped Western civilization—and especially the culture of the United States—through the centuries and into today? The Department of German Studies provides the opportunity for students to explore this question and many more in its language, literature and culture courses.
The Italian Department provides students opportunities to acquire both proficiency in Italian and a true appreciation of Italy's rich cultural tradition. By learning the language within a cultural context, students are broadening their minds and opening them up to the possibility of a variety of interpretations of life. In this way, students will gain a deeper understanding of Italy's rich cultural offerings in literature, in art, and in music, to name just a few.