Sistine Chapel Ceiling – painted by Michelangelo (Creative Commons, Bren Buenaluz)

International Cultures designates a body of courses offered by the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Cultures. These courses are aimed at providing a cross-cultural approach to understanding today’s multicultural world. They involve art, film, popular culture, historical perspectives, and literature. Most courses fulfill Division II and special designations (especially R, S, and L) in the University Core Curriculum.

The courses listed below are chronologically arranged according to cultural areas (e.g., courses on East Asia are numbered 120-129, 220-229, 320-329).  For courses in classical cultures and languages (CL), see Classical Studies.

Generic: 100-109, 201-209, 301-309, 401-409

Africa: 110-119, 210-219, 310-319

East Asian: 120-129, 220-229, 320-329

Eastern European: 130-139, 230-239, 330-339

Francophone: 140-149, 240-249, 340-349

Germanic: 150-159, 250-259, 350-359

Italian: 160-169, 260-269, 360-369

Spanish-speaking: 170-179, 270-279, 370-379

Note: All International Cultures courses are taught in English.
International Cultures I

120. JAPANESE CULTURE AND SOCIETY 3 cr. Contemporary Japan viewed from diverse perspectives: religion, businessmen and women, educational system, food, urban and rural areas, traditional and new cultural phenomena, traditional and contemporary dramas, ‘serious’ literature and ‘manga’ (comic books), high culture and mass culture.

122. JAPANESE CULTURAL ART FORMS 1 cr. 122A JAPANESE SWORDSMANSHIP: KENDO Martial art combining mind, body, spirit training, and cultivation of one’s character through controlled matches governed by strict rules of etiquette and conduct, non-lethal instruments, traditional clothing, and protective equipment. 122B JAPANESE CALLIGRAPHY “The way of writing,” unlike its Western counterpart, an art form widely practiced by people of all ages and all walks of life in Japan. 122C JAPANESE IKEBANA Traditional flower arranging based on ancient rules and spiritual practices that include harmony with nature and the use of organic materials. Any combination of courses (A, B, or C) may be repeated for up to 4 credits.

140. FRANCE TODAY 3 cr. Emphasis on understanding French culture and society together. Topics include historical influences on contemporary culture; French patterns of daily behavior; artistic expression; and societal, religious, and political institutions. Topics serve as the basis for in-class discussion and composition assignments.

141. ROMANCING A CITY: PARIS THROUGH ART, FILM, AND LITERATURE 3 cr. The heritage of Parisian architecture, painting, music, film, and literature as they reflect life through the centuries.

145. FASHION IN FRENCH LITERATURE AND THE ARTS 3 cr.How clothes relate to culture and social interactions, as well as national, religious, and ethnic identities.

146. THE FRENCH IN THE AMERICAS 3 cr.  A literature and culture course in three parts: part I – North America, primarily French-speaking Canada; part II – North America, with emphasis on New England and Louisiana; part III – the French Caribbean, with emphasis on Haiti and Martinique, the impact of slavery, legacy of colonialism, and diversity. Two novels and epistolary literature, media, class discussion, individual and paired projects.

160. ITALY TODAY 3 cr. Historical and cultural background of modern Italy. Emphasis on themes such as immigration, the role of women in politics, and the reasons underlying Italy’s current zero birth rate.

162. ITALIAN AMERICAN CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION THROUGH LITERATURE 3 cr.  Prerequisite: EN 111-112 or equivalent. The Italian American experience from the late nineteenth century to the present. Sociopolitical issues seen through literary and other readings, and through cinema.

163. WOMEN IN ITALIAN SOCIETY THROUGH LITERATURE AND FILM 3 cr. The shift in social, political, and economic roles of women in 20th-century Italy. Focus on major Italian women writers and films that depict these changes.

164. ITALIAN LITERARY PARKS 3 cr. The relationship between writing and the writer’s homeland. Focus on major Italian writers and their literary, physical, and emotional portrayal of their place of origin.

165. MODERN ROME IN LITERATURE AND FILM 3 cr.Representation of the city of Rome as capital city of Italy and center of Italian political and cultural life.

170. CONTEMPORARY SPANISH CULTURE THROUGH FILM 3 cr. Contemporary Spanish culture since the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) as seen through a series of films and cultural texts. Explores how the cinema as a medium was used to critique and undermine the restrictive cultural politics of the Franco dictatorship.

171. CONTEMPORARY LATIN AMERICAN CINEMA 3 cr. Major trends and movements in Latin American cinema from the 1980s to the present. Through the analysis of representative films, students are introduced to a variety of cinematic styles, with particular focus on the historical contexts in which the films were produced.

198. BEGINNING INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-3 cr. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Supervised independent study on special topics at the beginning level. May be repeated with a different topic.

199. SPECIAL TOPICS 1-3 cr. One or several aspects of a culture or cultures—either in the country of origin or as American heritage—especially as found in its language, literature, ideas, or art forms. May be repeated with a different topic.

International Cultures II

203. GLOBAL FAIRY TALES, FABLES, FOLK TALES, AND SHORT FICTION 3 cr. The international roots and literary merits of tales; tales as a reflection of time, place, and social norms. Class discussions and independent research. Students will write their own interpretation of a fairy tale focusing on the elements of the genre as presented in the course.

209. FOOD IN FILM AND CULTURE: THE GLOBAL GENDERED TABLE 3 cr. Viewing and discussion of feature films and documentaries that have as their major theme some aspect of food, food and culture, or the globalization of food production. How food is biological and cultural, personal and political, national and international, and may even define social class/caste, race, ethnicity, and socially or culturally imposed gender roles. Films are supplemented with academic and scholarly readings.

210. LITERATURE FROM FRENCH-SPEAKING AFRICA 3 cr.Emphasizes various genres of literature by African authors and the heritage of French-speaking countries which were part of the French colonial empire until the 1960s.

220. JAPANESE POPULAR CULTURE 3 cr. Focuses on the culture of ordinary Japanese, their interests, lifestyles, and activities, rather than the aesthetics of the elites.

221. A HALF-CENTURY OF POSTWAR WRITING IN JAPAN 3 cr. The works of authors such as Mishima, Tanizaki, Abe, and the Nobel Prize winners Kawabata and Oe.

229. SURVIVAL CHINESE FOR EVERYONE 3 cr. Introduction to Chinese culture from various perspectives. (Does not meet Division I language requirement.)

230. SHORT FICTION OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: RUSSIAN, SLOVAK, CZECH 3 cr.  Survey of translated short stories and/or novellas from these Slavic peoples depicting their 19th-century society, history, and culture.

231. SHORT FICTION SINCE 1900: RUSSIAN, SLOVAK, CZECH 3 cr.  Survey of translated short stories and/or novellas from the literatures of these Slavic peoples since 1900, depicting recent society, history, and culture.

232. HUNGARIAN CULTURE AND SOCIETY 3 cr. Aspects of contemporary Hungarian society and cultural traditions that focuses on outstanding representatives and works of Hungarian history and politics, ethnography, literature, music, film, and fine arts.

240. SUB-SAHARAN FRANCOPHONE NOVELS 3 cr. Major novels by African writers that represent the life, culture, and aspirations of the colonial as well as post-colonial periods of the French-speaking countries south of the Sahara.

260. ITALIAN LITERATURE AND FILM 3 cr. Study of Italian novels that have cinematic counterparts, concentrating on how the spectacle of film gives a different reading from that of the novel to show the changing conditions of 20th and 21st-century Italy.

262. FRAMING SPIRITUAL MODERNITY: JUAN DE VALDÉS, MICHELANGELO AND VITTORIA COLONNA 3 cr. The writings of Juan de Valdés and how they influenced the poetry of Vittoria Colonna and Michelangelo Buonarroti.

263. MODERN ITALY AND MASS MIGRATION THROUGH LITERATURE 3 cr.  Historical and cultural background of modern Italy, especially as found in the works of Ignazio Silone. Study of the conditions of southern Italy which led to mass migration to the U.S. in the nineteenth century.

264. ITALIAN IDENTITY WITHOUT BOUNDARIES: VIEWS FROM LITERATURE 3 cr. Exploration of the interrelationship of literary theory with ethnicity and diversity through its socio-cultural context.

270. ART AND SOCIETY IN EARLY MODERN SPAIN 3 cr. The relationship of art to society, politics, religion, and imperial ideology. Introduces students to the idea that art can meet objectives that go beyond aesthetic values.

298. INTERMEDIATE INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-3 cr. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Supervised independent study at the intermediate level. May be repeated with a different topic.

299. SPECIAL TOPICS 1-4 cr. One or several aspects of a culture or cultures—either in the country of origin or as American heritage—especially as found in its language, literature, ideas, or art forms. May be repeated with a different topic.

International Cultures III

302. INTERNATIONAL CULTURES THROUGH CINEMA 3 cr.Major trends and movements that have emerged from various national cinemas and contributed to the historical development of film as an international art form. Focus on selected films and how they reflect cultural/historical contexts and global creative confluences. Course materials offer a comprehensive culture-based overview of international film history.

303. INTERNATIONAL FILM AND LITERATURE 3 cr.Experiencing “culture” critically by analyzing film and literary works in a global context. Emphasis on establishing connections between literary and cinematic works from majority and minority cultures; comparative methods to understand literary diversity; critical knowledge of cinematic and literary themes, motifs, structures, narratives, points of view, and values that are typical of various regions of the world.

304. MASTERPIECES OF WORLD LITERATURE 3 cr. Survey of translated literary works by authors from one or more cultures/populations involving any time period and one or more literary genre(s).

340. CHINA THROUGH THE EYES OF THE FRENCH 3 cr. French literature within the context of correspondence, travel literature, and narratives, with a particular focus on works authored by Far East-bound French travelers, missionaries, and diplomats.

343. FRANCO-ITALIAN CROSS-CULTURAL RELATIONS 3 cr. Italian influences on the political, religious, artistic, and social structure of French culture.

360. DANTE’S DIVINE COMEDY 3 cr. Study in modern English translation of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise focusing on theological issues and literary content. Dante is examined as both a supreme poetic craftsman and a Church reformer.

361. ITALIAN HUMANISM AND RENAISSANCE 3 cr.  Study of Italian Humanism and the Renaissance through the writings of Petrarch, Alberti, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Collonna, and Leonardo da Vinci. Includes an intensive, on-site learning tour. Travel fee required.

363. FRAMING GRACE: ARTISTS AND POETS IN THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE 3 cr. Study of literary theory as seen in the poetry of Vittoria Collonna and Angelo Poliziano and in the artistic representation of Michelangelo Buonarroti and Alessandoro Botticelli.

370. HISPANIC WOMEN WRITERS 3 cr. Reading and analysis of the writings of contemporary U.S. Latina and Latin American women, such as Julia Alvarez, Cristina Garcia, Esmeralda Santiago, Isabel Allende, Zoe Valdes, Luisa Valenzuela, and Laura Esquivel. Takes a literary, cultural, and comparative approach, while emphasizing critical thinking and writing as a process.

398. INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-3 cr. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Supervised independent study on special topics. May be repeated with a different topic.

399. SPECIAL TOPICS 1-3 cr. One or several aspects of a culture or cultures—either in the country of origin or as American heritage—especially as found in its language, literature, ideas, or art forms. May be repeated with a different topic.

International Cultures IV

498. ADVANCED INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-3 cr. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Supervised independent study on special topics. For advanced students. May be repeated with a different topic.

499. SPECIAL TOPICS 1-3 cr. For advanced students. Occasional course on a selected topic announced in advance. May be repeated with a different topic.