Modern Languages and Literatures
Claudia N. Ross, Ph.D., Professor and Chair
The courses offered by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures provide a rich means for the intellectual and aesthetic development of Holy Cross students through the study of foreign languages, literatures, and cultures. Foreign languages lie at the very heart of the broader liberal arts curriculum and language study is a vehicle for the understanding of the cultural worldview of speakers of other languages. As such, it plays a key role in the multicultural or cross-cultural dimension of all majors and concentrations, and is an integral part of such concentrations as Asian Studies, Deaf Studies, German Studies, as well as Russian and Eastern European Studies. The department offers courses in Arabic, American Sign Language (ASL), Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, and foreign literatures in translation. Major programs are offered in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian and Studies in World Literatures (STLW). Minor programs are offered in Chinese, Deaf Studies, French, German, Italian, and Russian. Students have also used the department’s language and literature courses in the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (CIS)-sponsored concentrations and student-designed multidisciplinary majors and minors. See the descriptions for each in the section of this Catalog titled Center for Interdisciplinary Studies.
Department advisors for majors and minors help students become aware of the College’s many academic opportunities and assist them with their individual curriculum. Classroom instruction in the languages is complemented by small-group practice with native foreign-language assistants and through the use of state-of-the-art facilities in the Multimedia Resource Center. Cocurricular activities are provided by language tables, language clubs, honor societies, film series, lectures and cultural outings.
The department also offers a major program in Studies in World Literatures. Courses are conducted in English and employ translated texts. The program is designed to introduce students to the most representative works of various national literatures while highlighting the commonalities and differences among these works. Courses instruct students in approaches to textual interpretation and criticism, as well as guide them toward an understanding of the cultural themes reflected in the respective works.
All students, and modern-language majors in particular, are encouraged to avail themselves of study abroad opportunities which strengthen language skills and cultural understanding. The College offers semester- or year-long programs in Cameroon, China, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia as well as summer programs.
All Holy Cross students must satisfy the College’s Common Area Requirement for language study. This requirement is satisfied by two consecutive levels of language study. Students who wish to satisfy this requirement by continuing the study of a language must begin their study at the level in which they are placed by the College’s placement procedures. A score of 4 or 5 in the Advanced Placement exam for a particular language satisfies one semester of this two-semester Common Area requirement provided the student continues the study in that language at Holy Cross for at least one additional semester. Students who wish to satisfy the requirement with a language which they have not previously studied can do so with two semesters of the elementary level of a language.
Advanced Placement Credit: Students with AP credit in a modern language or literature earn placement in the curriculum but not progress toward the minimum number of courses required by the major. Students who take a course that duplicates the AP award in a language will forfeit the AP credit. Students with AP credit in the literature of a modern language will not be permitted to enroll in a course below the 300 level.