We are committed to the study and teaching of the literatures and cultures of the French and Italian speaking worlds.
We believe that the study of a foreign language provides the best means to understand a foreign culture, and we are committed to helping our students acquire both linguistic and cultural fluency in French or Italian.
Through their study in the department, students will gain a greater understanding of the cultures and societies of Europe, Africa, and North America and of their own role in a complex world.
Faculty research interests extend beyond the traditional scope of the field to embrace the relations between literature and the other arts, comparative Medieval and Renaissance studies and modern and early modern intellectual history.
Our faculty conduct research and offer courses in a wide range of fields, from Medieval European literature to contemporary African cinema, from French linguistics to Italian theatre, from Dante to deconstruction.
Our faculty practices almost every variety of formalist, historical, and linguistic criticism in its approach to texts and other cultural artifacts, both in its research and in teaching.
Indeed, there has been considerable effort in our department to reconcile traditional philology and literary history with new methodological tools developed over the past 30 years in linguistics, structuralism, and deconstruction.
Our faculty also have highly developed interdisciplinary orientations and interests, cutting across such fields as esthetics, art history, translation studies, film, intellectual history, the Greek and Latin classical traditions, contemporary politics, psychoanalytic criticism, and women's studies.