Faculty and professional interests
Jessie D. Dixon, chair
Caribbean literature, Afro-Hispanic literature
Caesar Akuetey, On-site Director, Besançon Program (2013-14)
Francophone African literature, 19th century French literature, linguistics
Post World War II literatures, literary multilingualism, transnational literatures
Spanish language, Latin American civilization, linguistics
Timothy J. Foster
Latin American literature
Golden Age Drama
Late 19th and 20th century German literature and culture, film and visual culture, narratology and media
Francophone literature (Maghreb), post-colonial Algeria, cultural identity and diaspora
Contemporary Latin American literature
(Director, Dorothy Johnson '39 and Richard Burkhardt '39 Language Center)
Julio Noriega, On-site Director, Barcelona program, 2013-14
Latin American literature, migrant indigenous literature, Quechua
Contemporary Spanish peninsular literature
19th & 20th century literature, contemporary Spanish literature, culture, and film
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers majors and minors in French, German, and Spanish. (See entries for individual languages for complete course offerings. Chinese and Japanese language instruction is offered through the Asian Studies Program.) In addition, the department offers three other programs:
- a major in Modern Languages;
- a major in Modern Languages and Classics;
- self-taught language instruction.
To pursue a new language seriously is to come in touch with another culture, another mode of thought and expression, another way of viewing ourselves and the world around us, another literature with its own great poets, its own peculiar rhythm and meter, its own attitudes and values. Such a pursuit necessarily leads to a more profound understanding and appreciation of our own culture, our own literature.
The department offers a complete program of courses both for those pursuing a major in the department and for those majoring in other areas. The Dorothy Johnson '39 and Richard Burkhardt '39 Language Center is a state-of-the-art language learning facility involving audio, video and computer programs that supplement and enrich the classroom learning experience.
The department sponsors programs of study in France, Spain and Argentina, open to students majoring in other departments as well as those majoring in French or Spanish. Students may study in Germany on the IES Programs at Humboldt University in Berlin or in Flensburg, Germany. Students in Spanish may also study in Costa Rica.
There are various opportunities for students to combine their interests in foreign language with co-curricular activities. The language clubs sponsor social and cultural events appropriate for each language. Students interested in foreign languages and cultures may live together in the International House.
The department urges students interested in foreign language study to elect a wide variety of courses in other areas as part of their undergraduate program. Courses in history, political science and economics are especially recommended. The College also offers courses in other languages on a self-taught basis.
A major in "Modern Languages" is offered as a broad program of study that combines intensive study in one language with complementary work in another.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - SPAN 302 and 399 serve as writing-intensive courses for Spanish majors; FREN 211 and 399 are writing intensive for French majors; GERM 320 serves for German majors
- Speaking Key Competency - FREN 210, GERM 210 and SPAN 230 serve as speaking-intensive courses for majors
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Students are expected to be or become competent in the following information technology skills: foreign language word-processing, on-line bibliographical research, use of campus networks and e-mail to store and transmit course assignments and to post on class bulletin boards. Students are also expected to become proficient in the use of digitized audio-visual materials. Workshops are offered as needed in the Department’s Language Learning Center.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing a major in Modern Languages will:
- Demonstrate a level of proficiency in their language that will allow them to pursue advanced study in that language whether in the United States or in other countries
- Have acquired advanced critical/analytical skills that allow them to assess, interpret and assign meaning to numerous types of cultural production including: literary texts; film; political, sociological and historical documents; rituals and folkways
- Have acquired the ability to design and carry out an original research project in which their target language is the major investigatory tool and vehicle of expression
Self Taught Languages
The program in self-taught languages enables students to study languages not normally offered in a small college. Students normally pursue this study in preparation for off-campus study or for advanced research projects. Students study these languages independently through the use of audio-visual materials made available through the Language Learning Center. In addition, weekly pronunciation and conversation practice is arranged with native speakers of the target languages. No academic credit is awarded for this study. Program Chair: Professor Dixon