1. Literature and cinema are different forms of artistic expression and students are introduced to many of the most important and exciting works of each medium. Because students critique and analyze literature and film, using different critical theories and methods, as well as other secondary sources, they not only learn about and appreciate the works of artistic expression but develop a critical sensibility and artistic literacy.
2. The study of foreign languages, literatures, and cultures necessarily encourages students to become critical readers of different kinds of complex texts: prose, drama poetry, literary theory and criticism. Because the department offers a language-based cultural studies curriculum, students learn to interpret texts within and from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective that in turn hones their critical thinking skills.
3. Students in the Department of Language and Culture Studies develop their research and analytical skills in the many literature and culture courses and in the senior thesis projects that all majors undertake. Besides doing research and analyzing texts in English, students typically write papers in intermediate and advanced literature and civilization courses in the target language, thereby learning to think, critique, and analyze in a foreign language.
4. Students learn to work independently and collaboratively in all courses in the curriculum. For example, introductory and intermediate language courses involve team and group work almost on a daily basis. In advanced literature and civilization courses students frequently work together on research projects and oral presentations.
5. The Languages and Culture Studies Department promotes students’ ability to communicate clearly, coherently, and effectively in writing and in oral expression by building on communications skills required for language learning. Moreover by improving their oral comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking skills in the foreign languages and literature courses taught in the department, students not only develop their linguistic and critical faculties in the target languages they study, but in English too.
6. The LACS’s curriculum is structured in such a way as to optimize students’ foreign language learning, culminating in a senior exercise that typically is researched and written in a foreign language. Foreign language competency is at once an all-important means and ends to understanding foreign cultures.
7. Many, if not most, of the culture and literature courses deal with how individuals and groups make ethical judgments in both a historical and contemporary perspective. Indeed, the study of a foreign language and culture is itself arguably a moral statement and act because students engage with the values of people from other cultures as well as with their own. Most literature and cinema courses treat this subject and challenge students in class debate about the ethical choices made by characters, writers, and entire groups of people.
8. The primary aim of the LACS Department is to promote learning about diverse cultural traditions and global perspectives through the teaching of foreign languages, literatures, and cultures. LACS offers a rich curriculum that spans the globe in a diachronic perspective, from courses in Medieval Spanish, French and Italian literature and culture to contemporary Asian cinema and to women’s literature of the Middle East. Moreover, there are many natural links between the department’s course offerings and those of other departments that also promote global learning.