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 outgoing University Core Curriculum while others fulfill requirements in the new Integrative 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 Classics.
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

109. THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE 3 cr.
Focuses on issues of “deculturalization,” colonization, diversity, oppression and poverty that impact the daily lives of individuals in communities around the world; special emphasis on developing nations. Parallel studies of same issues with regard to immigrants and other marginalized populations in the U.S. Students acquire communicative and cultural skills necessary to promote social justice in a global environment.

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 and graphic novels), high culture and mass culture.

122. JAPANESE CULTURAL ART FORMS 1 cr. each
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.

128. CHINESE CULTURE AND SOCIETY 3 cr.
Introduction to China, including its peoples, customs, cultures, history, geography, cities, demographics, economy, languages, and government. (Does not meet Core language requirement.)

129. CHINA THROUGH FILM 3 cr.
Exploration of China through its cinematic representation of the Chinese people who lived through and/or reflected back on the often tumultuous events of their culture and history. Background readings and documentaries provide a basic historical and geographic narrative. Class discussions focus on Chinese representations of cultural, social, and political change over the centuries.

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. 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, women in politics, and the reasons for Italy’s zero birth rate.

162. ITALIAN AMERICAN CULTURE AND CIVILIZATION 3 cr.
The Italian American experience from the late nineteenth century to the present. Sociopolitical issues seen through literary and other readings, as well as cinema.

163. ITALIAN WOMEN AND SOCIETY 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 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

202. 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.

203. INTERNATIONAL FILM AND LITERATURE 3 cr.
Experiencing “culture” critically by analyzing film and literary works in a global context. Emphasis on 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 typical of various global regions.

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

205. 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.

208. FOOD FOR THE SOUL AND SOUL FOOD: THE ROLE OF FOOD, FAMILY, AND FEASTING ACROSS HUMAN EXPERIENCE 3 cr.
Analysis of fiction and non-fiction as well as dramatic and documentary films that deal with food as it relates to family structures and relationships, foreign and domestic ethnic identity, and religion/spirituality. Exploration of the ethics of the globalization of food production.

209. FOOD IN FILM AND CULTURE: THE GLOBAL GENDERED TABLE 3 cr.
Viewing and discussion of feature films and documentaries that deal with 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.

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. Students discuss and reflect on the human experience in a non-American context that affects their own understanding of a global and diverse viewpoint.

231. SHORT FICTION SINCE 1900: RUSSIAN, SLOVAK, CZECH 3 cr.
Survey of translated short stories and/or novellas from these Slavic peoples since 1900, depicting their recent society, history, and culture. Students discuss and reflect on the human experience in a non-American context that affects their own understanding of a global and diverse viewpoint.

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

260. ITALIAN LITERATURE AND THE ARTS 3 cr.
Study of the history of the metaphor of food and its presence in literary, cultural, and artistic representations.

262. MICHELANGELO AND VITTORIA COLONNA 3 cr.
The relationship between the poetry of Vittoria Colonna and the poetry and art of Michelangelo.

263. ROME AND THE WORD OF WONDER: IGNATIUS’ SPIRITUALEXERCISES IN BAROQUE LITERATURE, ART AND MUSIC 3 cr.
Study of the imagination in Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises and its reception in Baroque literature, art, and music. Includes an intensive, on-site learning tour. Travel fee required.

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 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

 

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, Colonna, and Leonardo. 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 Colonna and Angelo Poliziano and in the artistic representation of Michelangelo Buonarroti and Alessandro Botticelli.

370. HISPANIC WOMEN WRITERS 3 cr.
Reading and analysis of works of contemporary U.S. Latina and Latin American women, such as Julia lvarez, Cristina Garcia, Esmeralda Santiago, Isabel Allende, Zoe Valdes, Luisa Valenzuela, and Laura Esquivel. A literary, cultural, and comparative approach that emphasizes critical thinking and writing.

398. INDEPENDENT STUDY 1-3 cr.
Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Supervised independent study. 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 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.