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World Languages and Cultures

International Literatures and Cultures

This interdisciplinary major emphasizes the acquisition of an advanced level of proficiency in a foreign language and its application to the study of the literary and non-literary cultural manifestations of a nation or region.

The student will acquire a broad background in cultural theory, which s/he 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.

The Senior Thesis may be written either in the foreign language or in English, but in either case, it is expected that a major portion of the research will involve texts in the foreign language.

Prerequisites for an ILC Major

  1. A foreign language through the 202 level or its equivalent
  2. Anthropology 105, Introduction to Anthropology

Requirements for the Major

Students pursuing the interdisciplinary major in International Literatures and Cultures 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 two of the following Anthropology courses: ANT 215, ANT 235, ANT 320 and ANT 355. Of the remaining seven, 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. All students majoring in ILC will take courses from the following categories:

  1. Anthropology - At least TWO of the following courses
    • ANT 200 Introduction to Language
    • ANT 208 Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    • ANT 215 Sex, Gender, & Culture
    • ANT 235 Cultures of Latin America
    • ANT 320 Race & Ethnicity
  2. Foreign Language, Literature, & Culture
    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.)
  3. THREE other courses chosen in consultation with the adviser from the ILC course listings and/or the course offerings of other departments as appropriate to the focus of the student’s program.
  4. Senior Thesis
    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.

Senior Project

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; however, the research on which it is based will involve use of 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 study abroad experience.       

Additional Info

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 three courses may be chosen from among the International Literatures and Cultures 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, 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.