The Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures includes several academic units: the Departments of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures, French and Italian, German, Linguistics, and Spanish and Portuguese, and the programs in American Sign Language, Literary Translation, and Second Language Acquisition. An undergraduate minor is offered in translation for global literacy and a graduate certificate in literary translation, as well as an M.F.A. In addition to providing administrative leadership for all of its units, the division fosters interdisciplinary scholarship in languages, literatures, and cultures. It encourages synergy and collaboration among its faculty and enhances opportunities for cross-cultural course development and research.
Undergraduate and graduate programs in the division serve students with varied interests and career aspirations. Students are educated to become global citizens who understand and are understood by diverse populations. They are trained to be critical thinkers and problem solvers who are also capable scholars, lucid writers, and proficient speakers.
The division offers instruction in numerous fields related to language, literature, and culture.
- American Sign Language Program: American Sign Language
- Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Sanskrit
- Department of French and Italian: Arabic, French, Italian, Swahili
- Department of German: German
- Department of Linguistics: Linguistics
- Department of Spanish and Portuguese: Portuguese, Spanish
The Department of Linguistics provides scientific study of familiar languages, as well as less well-known languages. The division's Second Language Acquisition Program brings multidisciplinary resources together to examine the processes that underlie non-native-language learning. The Translation Program explores the literary, cultural, and historical contexts of work and their linguistic, aesthetic, and ideological dimensions while it builds skills for translating works from one language to another. The minor in Translation for Global Literacy introduces undergraduate students to the exploration of translation both as a practical application and as a tool for global literacy. The graduate Certificate in Literary Translation offers students the opportunity to develop stronger competencies in translation as a method of scholarly inquiry and pedagogy, and the advantage of the ongoing synergy between creative writing and literary translation. The M.F.A. in literary translation also is offered by the division. Translators in the M.F.A. program focus on creating works that can convey the distinctness of the original languages and the immediacy of contemporary languages.
The Language Media Center (LMC) provides a wide variety of services and facilities to the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, including a 54-computer Instructional Technology Center (ITC) and six "All in One" studios/small group study rooms, each equipped with video production and editing software. The LMC also has a digital media and hardware collection available for checkout.
Directed Independent Language Study (DiLS), administered by the Language Media Center in the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures, offers students guidance on engaging in self-instruction in languages that are not currently taught in the division. Any current University of Iowa student, staff, or faculty member who is interested in pursuing language study to enhance their professional research or academic profile can take advantage of this program. With the support of LMC staff, learners design their own study plans to learn basic language skills or improve upon existing skills in preparation for study or research abroad, and are paired with a language and culture consultant when possible.
Most Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures courses are offered by the division's departments and programs. They are listed and described in the corresponding General Catalog sections.
World Languages, Literatures and Cultures Courses
CL:1240 World Literature: Antiquity to 1700 3 s.h.
Reading and analysis of major literary texts from writing's origins to 1700 in the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa; interrelationship of literature and history. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts. Same as CLSA:1040.
CL:1241 World Literature: 1700 to Present 3 s.h.
Reading and analysis of major literary texts from 18th century to present in chronological sequence; emphasis on interrelationship of literature and history. Requirements: completion of GE CLAS Core Rhetoric. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts.
CL:2248 The Invention of Writing: From Cuneiform to Computers 3 s.h.
Invention of writing as one of the most momentous events in the history of human civilizations; how the use of written sign systems, notations, maps, graphs, encryptions, and most recently, computer programs have consequences that reach deeply into all aspects of people's lives; how writing fascinates and delights, fosters reflexive thinking and facilitates development of complex societies, and gives rise to institutions of social power and control; students explore the invention of writing and its consequences in broad international and interdisciplinary context. Taught in English. Same as ANTH:2248, ASIA:2248, CLSA:2048, COMM:2248, GRMN:2248, HIST:2148, IS:2248, LING:2248, TRNS:2248, WLLC:2248.
CL:3131 Undergraduate Reading Workshop 3 s.h.
Analysis of different types of texts—theoretical, cultural, political, philosophical, literary, poetic—and exploration of varying ways to frame and read them. Same as WLLC:3131.
CL:3222 City as Text/Text as City 3 s.h.
Ways of reading cities: how built environments are shaped by history; how European cities differ from American or postcolonial cities; how to map, inhabit, remember, touch, smell, and experience a city; what is a global city; what is a sustainable city; how city spaces are felt in terms of gender, class, race, and ethnicity; models that architects, planners, politicians, and designers use to create habitable spaces; how to think of texts as cities (i.e., as spaces where people congregate, meet, live); research paper that combines class readings with independent research on a city of students' choice.
CL:4100 Approaches to Critical Theory 3 s.h.
Introduction to major critical approaches in literary and cultural theory from a variety of traditions; studying existing models, students learn to think theoretically about language and society, and to orient themselves among existing theoretical discourses, interrogating the latter critically in terms of their own perspectives and theoretical needs; selections from influential works, shared class discussion, and presentations; no prior knowledge in the area of critical theory is presumed. Same as TRNS:4100.
CL:4800 Seminar in Comparative Literature 3 s.h.
CL:4900 Independent Study arr.
WLLC:1000 First-Year Seminar 1 s.h.
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities, field trips). Requirements: first-semester standing.
WLLC:1016 Classical Chinese Short Fiction 1 s.h.
Reading and discussion of classical Chinese short fiction in English translation. Taught in English. Recommendations: completion of required ESL courses. Same as ASIA:1016.
WLLC:1100 Contraception Across Time and Cultures 3 s.h.
Methods and history of contraception and abortion; issues of unwanted pregnancy and birth control in fiction, film, and media around the world. Taught in English. Same as CLSA:1100, GHS:1100, GRMN:1100, GWSS:1100.
WLLC:1131 Introduction to Russian Culture 3 s.h.
Development of cultural history in Russia during the Romanov period (1613-1917); painting, music, architecture, and literature viewed against their political, historical, and social settings. Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture. Same as RUSS:1131.
WLLC:1200 Disabilities and Inclusion in Writing and Film Around the World 3 s.h.
Exploration of human experiences of dis/ability and exclusion/inclusion as represented in recent international film and popular writing from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; how these experiences contribute to and reflect awareness of the challenges of disabilities as well as public policy; strategies that filmmakers and authors deploy to contain, complicate, and challenge cultural preconceptions of the disabled body; how disability intersects with other major identity categories (i.e., sexuality, nationality, race); tools for researching history, policy, and activism. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as DST:1200, GHS:1200, GRMN:1200.
WLLC:1355 Approaches to Global Cultural Studies 3 s.h.
Framework for thinking about global perspectives on culture; examination of themes within a transnational context; analysis of cultural expression from national and linguistic contexts.
WLLC:1510 Ghost Stories and Tales of the Weird in Premodern Chinese Literature 3 s.h.
Reading of Chinese literature concerning ghosts, marvels, and supernatural from the first millennium B.C.E. through the 1800s; readings analyzed against changing historical and religious contexts. Taught in English. GE: Interpretation of Literature. Same as ASIA:1510.
WLLC:1600 Wonder Woman Unleashed: A Hero for Our Times 3 s.h.
Development of the woman warrior archetype in mythology (Athena/Minerva and Artemis/Diana), literature (Camilla from The Aeneid by Virgil), and history (Artemisia and Joan of Arc); focus on the development of Amazon narratives in Metamorphoses by Ovid, The Book of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizzan, and On Famous Women by Boccaccio; students read Wonder Woman Chronicles and one or two critical studies on the subject, which may include The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. Same as GWSS:1600.
WLLC:2001 Global Science Fiction 3 s.h.
Science fiction from around the world; spanning poetry, fiction, drama, film, television, comics, mobile phone games, and music; produced on six continents. Taught in English. Same as ASIA:2001, FREN:2010, RUSS:2001, SPAN:2001, TRNS:2001.
WLLC:2050 Women from an Unknown Land: The Fight for Independence 3 s.h.
Exploration of past and current issues related to the Caucasus—a mountainous region located where Europe, the Middle East, and Asia meet—forming a geographical and cultural crossroad; topics include those related to women's rights, causes of poverty and ethnic conflicts, and foreign policy including terrorism in the region, the fight for freedom, and the struggle over natural resources. Taught in English. GE: International and Global Issues. Same as RUSS:2050.
WLLC:2222 Women in Premodern East Asian Literature 3 s.h.
Reading of East Asian literature portraying women from the first millennium B.C.E. through the 1800s; discussion of issues related to representations of women and conventional social, familial roles in premodern China, Korea, and Japan; cross-cultural comparison of different perceptions and portrayals of women in premodern East Asian literary traditions. Taught in English. Recommendations: completion of all ESL courses. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as ASIA:2222, GWSS:2222.
WLLC:2248 The Invention of Writing: From Cuneiform to Computers 3 s.h.
Invention of writing as one of the most momentous events in the history of human civilizations; how the use of written sign systems, notations, maps, graphs, encryptions, and most recently, computer programs have consequences that reach deeply into all aspects of people's lives; how writing fascinates and delights, fosters reflexive thinking and facilitates development of complex societies, and gives rise to institutions of social power and control; students explore the invention of writing and its consequences in broad international and interdisciplinary context. Taught in English. Same as ANTH:2248, ASIA:2248, CL:2248, CLSA:2048, COMM:2248, GRMN:2248, HIST:2148, IS:2248, LING:2248, TRNS:2248.
WLLC:2550 Mardi Gras and More: Cultures of Carnival 3-4 s.h.
Literature and customs associated with carnival from antiquity through present day; readings on theories of carnivalesque (Mikhail Bakhtin, Peter Burke, and others); materials from three distinct carnival cultures—Renaissance Europe (Francois Rabelais, German carnival plays), 19th-century New Orleans, and present day Rio de Janeiro. Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture. Same as GRMN:2550.
WLLC:2618 The Third Reich and Literature 3-4 s.h.
Nazi literature, literature of the Holocaust and the Opposition, and exile literature in English translation. Taught in English. GE: Values and Culture. Same as GRMN:2618.
WLLC:2620 Anne Frank and Her Story 3-4 s.h.
Analysis of the Diary of Anne Frank, its media adaptations, and related materials (e.g., fictionalizations, additional first-hand accounts); examination of Holocaust in the Netherlands, Belgium, and other countries outside Germany; anti-Semitism, discrimination, tolerance, resistance, identity formation, human aspiration and belief. Taught in English. GE: Diversity and Inclusion. Same as GRMN:2620.
WLLC:2666 Pact with the Devil 3-4 s.h.
Since early modern times, the pact with the devil has served as a metaphor for humankind's desire to surpass the limits of knowledge and power; students explore a variety of works from German, British, and Russian literature and culture from early modern time to the present, and critique different twists that fascination with the forbidden takes in regard to women. Taught in English. GE: Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts. Same as GRMN:2666, RUSS:2666.
WLLC:3000 Big Ten Academic Alliance: Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures CourseShare 0-5 s.h.
Opportunity for students from universities across the Big Ten to participate in courses together; this course is a part of the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) CourseShare program.
WLLC:3090 Autonomous Language Learning Network (ALLNet) 0 s.h.
Autonomous language learning through learner goal driven instruction, and autonomous study through web-based and print resources; focus on development of language (e.g., speaking, listening, reading, writing) and cultural competency skills in target language.
WLLC:3122 Tolstoy and Dostoevsky 3-4 s.h.
WLLC:3131 Undergraduate Reading Workshop 3 s.h.
Analysis of different types of texts—theoretical, cultural, political, philosophical, literary, poetic—and exploration of varying ways to frame and read them. Same as CL:3131.
WLLC:3185 Global Women's Cinema 3 s.h.
Introduction to contemporary women's cinema and feminist filmmaking from around the world; emphasis on post-1968 period and cinema produced outside the United States. Same as GWSS:3185.
WLLC:3191 International Literature Today 1,3 s.h.
English majors and English and Creative Writing majors may apply this course to the following area and/or period requirement. AREA: Transnational Literature and Postcolonial Studies. PERIOD: 20th/21st-Century Literature. Same as ENGL:3595, IWP:3191.
WLLC:3202 Russian Literature in Translation 1860-1917 3 s.h.
Survey of major works, figures, and trends of 19th- and early 20th-century Russian literature; age of the Russian novel; works of Turgenev (Fathers and Sons), Tolstoy (Confession), Dostoevsky (The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov), and Chekhov (plays). Taught in English. Same as RUSS:3202, TRNS:3203.
WLLC:3208 Classical Chinese Literature Through Translation 3 s.h.
Reading of English translations of classical Chinese literature; discussion of special features of classical Chinese as a source language for translation; issues in translation practice and theory with focus on trends in translation of Classical Chinese literary works to English. Taught in English. Recommendations: completion of required ESL courses. Same as ASIA:3208, TRNS:3208.
WLLC:3210 Comparative Arts 3 s.h.
Cultural and aesthetic issues arising from side-by-side investigation of several art forms, including literature, cinema, painting, music, opera, architecture; periods, schools, styles, and their theories. Taught in English. Same as ASIA:3210, FREN:3210, IWP:3210, RUSS:3210, SPAN:3211.
WLLC:3700 Topics in Global Cinema 3 s.h.
Identification of new models and methods to investigate cinema's relationship to current global issues beyond traditional scholarly focus in Western Europe and the United States; exploration of an emerging field, moving away from the paradigm of national cinema and bringing together shared theoretical frameworks while acknowledging different historical and cultural contexts. Taught in English. Same as ASIA:3700, JPNS:3700, TRNS:3700.
WLLC:4210 Slavery Museums, Memorials, and Statues in the United States, Europe, and the Global South 3-4 s.h.
Comparative study of museums, memorials, statues, performances, and artistic works that encapsulate the entangled history and memory of transoceanic slave trades and slavery in the United States, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Europe (France and the United Kingdom); critical tools to analyze public debates over politically charged monuments; exploration of transnational and political predicaments of the contemporary world; approaches include trauma theories, memory studies, history, postcolonial ecocriticism, cultural anthropology, heritage studies and museology, and Francophone cultural critique. Taught in English. Requirements: for 4 s.h. option—prior or concurrent enrollment in FREN:3060 or FREN:3300. Same as FREN:4210, MUSM:4310.
WLLC:4512 Topics in Global and Transnational Culture 3-4 s.h.
In-depth look at a theme in cultural expression arising from interactions between countries and regions; focus on contemporary or historical issues; use of materials ranging from literature and the visual arts to music, mass media, and more; general processes through which cultures are formed in mutual and uneven relationships; research project. Taught in English. Recommendations: completion of a GE CLAS Core International and Global Issues course. Same as ARAB:4512, GRMN:4512.
WLLC:4800 Topics in Global and Transnational Culture arr.
In-depth look at a theme in cultural expression arising from interactions between countries and regions; focus on contemporary or historical issues; material from literature, visual arts, music, mass media, and more; general process through which cultures are formed in mutual and uneven relationships; original research project. Requirements: GE CLAS Core International and Global Issues course.
WLLC:4801 Seminar in Comparative Literature 3 s.h.
WLLC:4990 Independent Study arr.
Special work arranged with faculty advisor.
WLLC:5000 Teaching and Learning Languages 3 s.h.
Readings in pedagogical theory and practice, second language acquisition; experience designing activities for teaching and assessment with critiques based on current theories and approaches; development of reflective practices toward one's language teaching. Taught in English. Same as FREN:5000, GRMN:5001, SLA:5000, SPAN:5000.
WLLC:6320 Topics in Contemporary Critical Theory 3 s.h.
Focused discussion of critical discourses and paradigms that have contributed to development of contemporary literary and cultural theory.