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International Literature and Culture

NOTE: This page contains information from the 2012-2013 Catalog. It remains available for archival purposes only. For the most current WC Catalog content, please visit http://catalog.washcoll.edu and download this year’s edition.
Interdisciplinary Major


Students pursuing the interdisciplinary major in International Literature and Culture will complete nine 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. In addition they will successfully complete the Senior Capstone seminar (See below.) The prerequisites for the major are completion of ANT 105 Introduction to Anthropology and study of a foreign language through the 202 level (or demonstration of proficiency at that level). The major courses must include one of the following Anthropology courses: ANT 215, ANT 235, ANT 320 and ANT 355. Of the remaining eight, at least four should be selected from the upper-level offerings in a foreign language, literature or culture in this department or at study abroad sites. At least two of these must be at the 400-level.

If students are pursuing study in a language in which Washington College does not offer upper-level courses, four culturally relevant courses in other disciplines taught in English may be substituted as necessary. The remaining four courses may be chosen from among the International Literature and Culture courses (ILC) offered by this Department or appropriate courses from other departments or programs (such as History, Art, Music, Drama, Philosophy, Humanities). 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, Portuguese, or Arabic cultural studies as the central focus of their major in International Literature and Culture by combining appropriate study abroad with courses that are available on campus in those fields.

Majors must successfully complete the Senior Capstone Experience, during which they will produce 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 Literature and Culture majors are strongly urged to engage in a semester-long or summer study abroad experience.

Courses Taught In English

305. Introduction to the Film

The study of film as an art form. Special attention will be given to the various dimensions of film structure and criticism, with emphasis upon foreign language films (with English subtitles). Selected films will be viewed and analyzed.

306. French Literature in Translation

Study of a selected author, movement, genre, or theme. Open to all students.

307. German Literature in Translation

Devoted to selected themes in German literature. Recent topics have included the study of the myth of Dr. Faustus; a reading of texts by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud; literature of the holocaust; and treatment of German literature in the medium of German film. Open to all students.

308. Spanish and Latin American Literature in Translation

A study of a selected author, movement, genre, or theme from the literature of Spain, the Spanish-speaking republics of Latin America, and Brazil. Topics taught in this course have included the works of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Hispanic Women Writers, The Quest for Identity in Latin American Literature, and War and Revolution in the Literatures of Spain and Latin America.

311. Contemporary France

This course provides an introductory historical and cultural study of contemporary France. Students will be provided tools for cultural interpretation via critical texts and the analysis of French films and their American remakes; they will then apply them to the cultural history of France. We will explore the impact of World War II, of the student protests of May ‘68, and of women’s emancipation movements. We will examine France’s position in the world—its past as a colonizing nation, its present post-colonial actions, and its multicultural identity enriched by different waves of immigration. We will study the political and economic roles of women, their place in the family, health concerns, and struggles for autonomy through works by women. This course counts toward the French major and minor if the journal entries, mid-term exam, and final paper are written in French.

312. The Contemporary Francophone World

This course provides an introductory historical and cultural study of the contemporary Francophone world. Designed as a survey of the non-European Francophone world, it will offer for study both literary and cultural documents from the Caribbean, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Canada. Initially students will be provided tools for cultural interpretation via critical texts, media analysis (including print and Internet sources) and the analysis of Francophone films; they will then apply them to the cultural history of the Francophone world. We will explore French colonization, the process of decolonization, and subsequent independence movements. We will examine social, political, and economic roles of both women and men, changing gender roles, and contemporary divisions of labor. Finally, we will reflect on the political, historical, and sociocultural situations of post-colonial Francophone nations.

317. Mexico, Ancient and Modern

A study of the historical, political, and literary evolution of Mexico from the Pre-Colombian period to the present. In addition to historical texts, the course will include readings from Pre-Colombian poetry (Maya and Aztec), The True History of the Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the poetic and autobiographical writings of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, The Itching Parrot by Fernández de Lizardi, The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela, and works by such contemporary writers as Rosario Castellanos, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, and Laura Esquivel. Also included is Octavio Paz’s classic analysis of Mexican national character and culture, The Labyrinth of Solitude.

413. The Film in Spain and Latin America

A study of the film as art form and as social and cultural document in Spain, Spanish America, and Brazil. The thematic focus of this course and the films included will vary. Important topics include gender issues, the quest for identity, and freedom versus repression. Prerequisite: ILC 305 or permission of the instructor.

194, 294, 394, 494. Special Topics in International Literature and Culture

Study of a selected topic within a single national literature or culture, or a comparative study across cultures. Recent and planned offerings include: Perspectives on International Film; Food in Film, Literature and Culture; Shakespeare and Cervantes (Honors); The Big City in Literature and Film; Love and the Ideal in European Literature and Film; and The Reception of the Middle Ages.

SCE. Senior Capstone Experience in International Literature and Culture

The senior capstone seminar is required for graduation and is devoted to the completion of a thesis or other project in the field of International Literature and Culture. Senior ILC majors register for this course in the last semester in which they have full-time status at the College. While much of the work is done by each student independently in consultation with a faculty advisor, there are occasional group meetings in which students discuss their respective theses or other projects. All students will give a formal oral presentation of their thesis or project before their peers and the faculty at the end of the seminar. Both written and oral work may be presented in English or in the foreign language. The Senior Capstone Experience will be graded Pass, Fail or Honors.