About the Department
Founded in 2012, the Department of European Languages and Studies is a site for dynamic and innovative exploration of culture and society in both national and international contexts. The department strives to foster an understanding of particular national traditions while pursuing transnational perspectives that involve the study of Europe in the context of colonial and postcolonial history. ELS integrates the faculty members of the departments of German and French & Italian and the programs in Russian and European Studies. It further includes affiliate faculty members from Spanish, Comparative Literature, the arts, and the social sciences. In the belief that the complexities of European cultures can best be understood by applying a multidisciplinary approach, we offer courses that explore a wide range of fields including literature, film, critical theory, philosophy, linguistics, politics and ethics, political theory, popular culture, and the performing and visual arts. The department includes both undergraduate majors and graduate programs. The inclusion of the word “language” in the department’s name—unique among European studies programs in the United States—signals our commitment to enabling students to become fluent in one or several foreign language(s) and to developing translingual and transcultural competence, i.e. the ability to operate between languages and cultures. For this reason, we also strongly encourage students to spend time studying abroad in a European country.