About Romance Languages and Literatures

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Wesleyan University is a community of teacher-scholars committed to promoting greater understanding of the languages, literatures and cultures of the French, Italian, and Spanish-speaking worlds.  We strive to accomplish this through our scholarship, through the various programs and events that we organize, through the broad spectrum of courses in the languages and literatures that we teach, and through the majors that we offer.

Our program of instruction and our majors are designed with three objectives in mind:

LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION

The department is committed to providing Wesleyan students with the opportunity to become fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish.  To this end, it offers a program of instruction ranging from the elementary level to advanced courses, which allow students to continue refining their communicative skills (oral and written) through the study of literature.  The elementary and intermediate courses are designed to prepare students for advanced instruction in our department, for study abroad, or for research requiring the use of the target language.

STUDY ABROAD

Learning to speak another language entails the acquisition of new cultural sensibilities.  The department promotes this by actively encouraging its students to study abroad for at least one semester, preferably for a year, in a French speaking country, Italy, Spain, or Latin America.  Study abroad is an essential step toward fluency in a second language.  It leads to the type of cultural competency that Wesleyan promotes within its program of liberal studies.  It also facilitates a keen understanding of one's own place within the global context.

LITERATURE AND ITS CONTEXTS

The department believes that the study of a literary tradition in its relevant contexts is indispensable for students seeking fluency in a second language and the associated cultural competencies.  Accordingly, the department offers a wide spectrum of courses in the literatures and cultures of the French speaking world, Italy, Spain, and Latin America, from the Middle Ages to the present.  Our program of instruction, which is intellectually rigorous and informed by current critical theories, treats topics, works, and authors that are essential to a liberal arts education. We actively encourage students to enhance their critical sensibilities and to broaden their aesthetic, ethical, and historical horizons through these advanced courses in literary and cultural studies.


The various majors offered by our department in French Studies, Hispanic Literatures and Cultures, Italian Studies, and Romance Studies help our students to achieve these primary goals: fluency, cultural competency, and knowledge of a foreign literature in its multiple contexts.