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Languages and Literatures

The study of languages, literatures, and cultures contributes vitally to the intellectual development of socially responsible transnational citizens. In an era of multiculturalism and globalization, we believe that Mills students must have the linguistic competence as well as the necessary critical tools to reflect on issues of national and cultural identities, intellectual traditions, and the diversity of human thought and experience. By addressing the theoretical and practical aspects of language, literary, and cultural study, languages and literatures prepare students for a critical engagement with the contemporary world.

Proficiency in languages and familiarity with world cultures open doors to communities inside and outside the United States. Many of our graduates go on to pursue careers in international relations, business, education, and many other fields where the ability to negotiate between and across cultures and in different languages is crucial. Graduate programs in fields such as history, literature, music, and art require reading proficiency in one or more languages.

From beginning language to advanced seminars, our courses are informed by the most recent methodologies and theoretical approaches. Language classes in Chinese, French and Spanish stress the development of communicative skills and intercultural competence at all levels. Our advanced courses draw on the latest developments in literary and cultural studies, gender studies, post-colonialism, and diaspora studies. Philosophical and social issues, both historical and current, are fundamental elements of inquiry in modern languages and literatures. Mills students may also study languages not offered on our campus (such as Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Russian) through cross-registration at UC Berkeley.

We encourage our students pursuing a major or minor to spend one semester or one year in a foreign country through affiliated Study-abroad Programs. We have affiliations with many programs in Africa, Asia, Central America and South America, and Europe, which can offer an optimal fit even for students with double majors.

Languages and Literatures offers a major or minor in Literary and Cultural Studies, as well as two specialized majors or minors in French and Francophone Studies and Spanish and Spanish-American Studies. Literary and Cultural Studies focuses on the critical study of cultures across linguistic and national traditions, and requires two years of language study by the time of graduation; all other requirements may be satisfied through courses taught in English translation (see course descriptions under Letters or appropriate department). French and Francophone Studies and Spanish and Spanish American Studies offer language-based area studies approaches to literature and culture, and require more advanced language proficiency, since most courses for the major and the minor must be taken in the language of specialization.

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Last Updated: 2/28/13