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International Literatures and Cultures

This interdisciplinary major applies advanced proficiency in a foreign language and its application to the study of the cultural manifestations of a nation or region.

About International Literatures and Cultures

You will acquire a broad background in cultural theory, which you will apply to the study of the literature and culture of a particular nation or region of the world, such as France and the francophone countries of Africa, Asia and the Americas; Spain and Latin America (including Brazil); Germany and other German-speaking countries; Italy; Japan; and China. Students who follow this major are also encouraged to have a thematic, period, and/or genre focus, which will culminate in a research thesis written during the senior year. Such a focus may include but is not limited to: gender, ethnicity, the environment, the arts, literature, history, or film. Recent and current majors have combined Hispanic Studies with a tourism and hospitality industry focus; French Studies with film studies; and Latin American culture studies with a focus on Brazil.

Program Features

Required Courses
  • ANT 105 Introduction to Anthropology
  • Study of a foreign language through the 202 level

At least one of the following courses:

  • ANT 280 Traditional Ecological Knowledge
  • ANT 215 Sex, Gender, & Culture
  • ANT 235 Cultures of Latin America
  • ANT 320 Race & Ethnicity
Other Requirements

Students pursuing the interdisciplinary major in International Literatures and Cultures will complete eight upper-level courses chosen in consultation with their advisor from among course offerings in this department or related courses in other disciplines as outlined below:

At least four courses in literature and/or culture in a foreign language, of which at least two must be 400-level seminars. (For students who choose to focus on Chinese Studies, adjustments may be made in this requirement, allowing more courses to be taken in English.)

Four other courses chosen in consultation with the advisor from the ILC course listings and/or the course offerings of other departments as appropriate to the focus of the student’s program (e.g. History, Art, Music, Theatre, Philosophy)

Senior Capstone Experience (SCE) The capstone experience of the major is a senior research project which successfully brings together the language and thematic focus of the major. While the thesis may be written in English, a substantial portion of the research must be drawn from texts in the foreign language.

Majors must successfully complete the Senior Capstone Experience, which entails producing a thesis or other project related closely to the focus of the major. The project or thesis may be written in English or in the foreign language. Students will also give a formal oral presentation of their thesis or project before their peers and faculty, again either in English or the foreign language. The Senior Capstone Experience will be graded Pass, Fail or Honors. International Literatures and Cultures majors are strongly urged to engage in a semester-long or summer study abroad experience

Additional Information

If students are pursuing study in a language in which Washington College does not offer upper-level courses, culturally relevant courses in other disciplines taught in English may be substituted as necessary. The remaining courses may be chosen from among the International Literatures and Cultures courses (ILC) offered by the Department or appropriate courses from other departments or programs (such as History, Art, Music, Drama, Philosophy). With the help of the advisor, students will design their major to focus on a language or culture, a particular theme (such as gender or ethnicity), a historical period, or a particular literary genre or form of cultural expression (such as the novel, poetry, drama, film, art, or music). Students may choose Italian, Japanese, or Arabic cultural studies as the central focus of their major in International Literatures and Cultures by combining appropriate study abroad with courses that are available on campus in those fields.