Selecting Courses

Our program seeks to foster linguistic fluency and appreciation of two or more romance languages and cultures. In addition to acquiring advanced reading, speaking, listening and written proficiency in two romance languages, our students may access their literary and cultural heritage through a variety of courses as well as activities and events. Please see the Programs page for requirements for the major and minor.

Besides taking courses at Mount Holyoke and in the Five College community, we encourage our student majors to investigate the many study abroad and international summer internships programs, available to them in such culturally diverse cities as Mérida (Mexico), Montpellier (France), Florence (Italy) and Seville (Spain). Regularly our students arrive at Mount Holyoke with an intermediate proficiency level in one of the romance languages (201 or higher) and decide to add a second romance language, starting in 101.

Students considering Romance Languages and Cultures as a possible major or minor, need to talk to the chair as soon as possible. Planning is essential from their arrival at Mount Holyoke until graduation. Regular conversations between the student, their major advisors, and the chair are a key for student’s success.

The Romance Languages and Cultures Advanced Seminar (375)

The Romance Languages and Cultures Seminar is open to any major or minor in French, Italian, Spanish, as well as, students from any other disciplines. For our RL&C majors, the seminar is a requirement and capstone of their experiences as majors. The seminar is taught in English and has a comparative approach. However, readings are available in the target languages, and in English. RLC students must inform the professor of the language/s in which they will do their work. RLC seminar topics are frequently cross-listed with film studies, gender studies, history, and medieval studies.

Meets Language requirement or Humanities I-A requirement.
Prereq. for language majors: two courses in culture and literature at the 200-level; 4 credits
Note: Students wishing to obtain 300-level credit in French, Italian, or Spanish must read texts and write papers in the Romance language for which they wish to receive credit.

First-year Seminar Topics (RMLG 105f)

Seminar in Reading Writing and Reasoning taught in English.

Sex and the City: Gender-Power Relations in Early Modern Europe: First-year seminar (Writing-intensive course; taught in English; FREN 120, SPAN 105, ITAL 106) Political, social, and economic life was radically changed by growth of Europe's cities between medieval and modern times. These changes were debated in sexual terms as conflicts between men and women. As we study short stories from Early Modern France (Madame de Lafayette), Italy (Giovanni Boccacio), and Spain (Miguel de Cervantes and María de Zayas), and place them in their historical contexts, we will ask questions such as: To what extent do these works challenge or reinforce dominant models of gender relations and negotiate concepts and institutions such as marriage, honor, patriarchy, and blood purity? How do those topics apply to us today?
N. Romero-Diaz

Advanced Seminar Topics (ROMLG-375)

This interdisciplinary seminar will focus on a comparative study of Romance languages or literatures. Topics will vary from semester to semester. Seminar discussions will be conducted in English, but students wishing to obtain language credit are expected to read works in at least one original language. Papers will be written in either English or the Romance language of the student's choice.

Mothers and Daughters - cross-listed as FREN-321, ITAL-361, and SPAN-360 

Heroes & Infidels: Masculine Identity and The Birth of Europe in Medieval Romance Classics 

History of Romance Languages - cross-listed as ITAL-361HS, SPAN-360RL and FREN-321RL

The Mind of the Traveler - cross-listed as ITAL-361, FREN-321, SPAN-360

Don Juan, Valmont, Casanova: Iconic Latin Lovers - cross-listed as Spanish 360, Italian 361, French 321: If all is fair in love and war, are there rules for the game of power and seduction? As we move through the golden ages of absolute power in Spain, France, and Italy, will we witness a change for women? Students will explore such questions as they read plays by Tirso de Molina, José Zorilla, Molière, Beaumarchais, Goldoni; Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, and film versions of Dangerous Liaisons and Casanova's Memoirs. Students will be encouraged to explore works by major Spanish, French, and Italian artists of the Baroque and Rococo periods, and view relevant contemporary films such as The King is Dancing, and Goya's Ghosts.The final term project is a digital narration in the target language of the student.
N. Vaget

Sweet Cruelty: Anti-Humanism and Gay Writing - cross-listed as Spanish 330, Italian 361, French 321, Gender Studies 333: Much of twentieth-century gay writing in Latin America is characterized by an estheticist celebration of anti-humanism, which has often clashed with left-wing progressive politics in these countries. But how does a "gay style" come about? What is its genealogy? How does it identify itself, and what does such an identity mean politically and historically? In this seminar, we will study a number of writers from Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Perú, and Uruguay, and examine their roots in French and Italian anti-humanist authors from Baudelaire, Lautréamont, and Rimbaud to Genet and Pasolini. We will also read a few key texts in queer theory.
C. Gundermann

New Cinemas 1945-1970s: From Bicycle Thieves to Guerrilleros: Italian, French and Latin American New Cinemas In this seminar, we will study the cross-cultural influences between Italian neo-realism, the French nouvelle vague, and the New Latin American Cinemas. Both the Italian and the French movements represent models and counterpoints for those Latin American filmmakers of the 1950s and 60s who sought to redress the dominance of the realist American model in Latin America and the domination of the markets by the products of Hollywood. The New Latin American Cinemas, in turn, paved the way for the emergence of Third Cinema. We will study films, as well as cinematic theory, from Italy, France, the Soviet Union, Japan, Cuba, Brasil, Argentina, and Mexico.
C. Gundermann

Romance Languages Faculty

Allied Courses

Students are advised to complement their study of romance languages and cultures with related courses in the fields of humanities and social sciences. These courses should broaden the cultural and linguistic expertise of the student.

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