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Check out these new course offerings from the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures.
Prerequisites, meeting times and other details can be found in the Course Search.
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Did you know that American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most commonly used language
in North America, after English and Spanish? ASL is a distinct visual language of the Deaf
community with its own syntax and grammar. In this introductory course, you’ll learn the basic
skills of American Sign language (ASL) productive signing and comprehensive signing – the
manual alphabet, basic grammar, and numbers – and attain basic conversational ability so that
you can start communicating right away. You’ll also develop a valuable understanding of
culturally appropriate behaviors and explore the rich and dynamic world of Deaf culture,
community, and history. Not only is learning ASL a profoundly rewarding experience in its own
right, but – like all forms of bilingualism – it can also bring cognitive benefits, from enhanced
abstract and creative thinking to sharper problem-solving capabilities, and is a valuable asset in
many career paths.
Why study American Sign Language? There are many reasons to learn ASL, including
Like watching Korean dramas and listening to K-pop, yet you constantly rely on the translations and subtitles? If you know the original language and its modes of expression, you can understand meaning in a far more nuanced way, and you'll have more fun learning about the culture! The KORE language sequence courses would be a great chance to get to know Korean and how it is used. KORE105 is an elementary course for students who have never formally studied Korean and have no previous knowledge of it. In this course, you will learn the alphabet and the fundamental grammar of Korean, in addition to useful essential vocabulary and expressions. The course has been structured to develop all four language skills - reading, writing, listening, and speaking - simultaneously, through topics based on contemporary Korean society.Additional 100-level sequence courses, KORE106 and 107, are offered in subsequent sessions/semesters and completing the entire sequence fulfills the language requirement.
Covid-19 Pandemic, Russian-Ukraine war, the increasingly deteriorating environment, global warming, economic sluggishness, military antagonism, racial tension, the huge imbalance in the distribution of wealth and the personal depression/repression, with which so many of us are afflicted, loom ever larger in our minds as time goes on. What went wrong with our postmodern world? Through a study of (post)modern thinkers such as Nietzsche, Deleuze, and of pre-Socratic thought, Egyptian and Mesopotamian cultures, and ancient Chinese civilization (as well as philosophy), this course aims to teach students our postmodern conditions, the ancient worldviews of the East and West—worldviews that have shaped, amongst other things, diverse cultural values—to enhance students' understanding of postmodernity in relation to the ancient beliefs; and to help them explore a way of self-empowerment.
The temporal framework of this course covers human history from antiquity to postmodernity. On one hand, Plato, inspired by the pre-Socratic philosophers, established the dualism-based thought pattern, which grounded the overarching thought trajectory of the West and shaped western cultural values since antiquity. On the other hand, in the East the symbiotic Yin/Yang dynamics imbued ancient Chinese mode of thought since the Shang dynasty. To compare the western ancient thought with the ancient Chinese Way (Dao) through study of I Ching (the Book of Changes), Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, would help students understand both the resonance between East and West at the birth of their civilizations, and the resultant diverging paths undertaken in the process of their respective intellectual development. Resultantly, by comprehending the larger picture of the evolution of human belief systems, students may work through the disturbing phenomena of postmodernity and envision possible solutions for the future. Students will also learn how the ancient Chinese worldviews give shape to the Chinese cultural values in modern China. In numerous discussion sessions and memos (homework), students will be guided to compare these Chinese values with the western values and apply them to their daily experiences.
Watch a video of students acting out the Confucius' Analects in a short skit (Spring semester 2022):
Ancient werewolves and sea monsters, Frankenstein in Baghdad, the Golem of Prague, Godzilla and Pokémon, Russian zombie soldiers, Mexican Mummy Mashup (Day of the Dead); the Hindu Rashtra, Spanish serranas (wild women); Delaware's own monstrous slave trader Patty Cannon, and more! Vampires, too
This course is designed to improve students' integrated language skills through dialogues from TV programs and films. Students will develop abilities to comprehend authentic language materials, understand features of spoken and written Chinese, and produce paragraph-level Chinese on familiar topics.
This course places early modern fiction and memoir in their historical context as it explores the experience and the influence of French queens and princesses from the Renaissance to the Revolution. Along with fictional and autobiographical writing by the princesses themselves—including Marguerite de Navarre, Catherine de' Medici, Anne of Austria, Mme de Maintenon (Louis XIV's “secret" wife), Marie Antoinette and a woman who was crowned king, the controversial international figure Christine of Sweden—we will study literary portraits by Mme de Sévigné and fiction by Mme de Lafayette (La Princesse de Clèves); excerpts from contemporary theater; official portraiture, including Rubens's Marie de Medici cycle; fairy tales; and films.
Thirty-three years ago, the world witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, a monumental symbolthat divided not just the city of Berlin but also the entire Germany and Europe. The fall of theWall in 1989 and the consequent reunification of East and West Germany served as a turningpoint not just on a large scale of the world history but also in the lives of individuals whoseattitudes and experiences varied greatly. While some Germans supported the unification, othersbelieved that it was not the right decision. What were their motivations, perceptions, ideas? Have the attitudes towards the Wall changed in the decades following its demise and if yes, how? Does the existence and experience of the Wall still influence lives today? We will ponder such questions as we explore different written texts, film and imagery produced over the span of about 40 years, pre- and post the fall of the Wall. Participation in this course will enable you to improve your critical reading and writing skills and foster a better speaking, listening, reading and writing ability in German. Students will be expected to submit several written assignments, including a research paper, and write a midterm exam. They will present their research to class at the end of the semester.Honors students will explore the works in greater depth by completing extra assignments, someof which will involve secondary sources, and delving into a deeper analysis in their researchpapers.
What motivates the action in German literature and film? How has that changed over time? In this course we will consider why the era of “modern" German literature is said to have begun 250 years ago, and how many of the topics and concerns of the authors and their characters in German drama, prose and poetry between the late 18th and early 20th centuries have remained relevant since then, and how some of those themes appear in films of the 20th & 21st centuries. Students will receive an overview of German literature and culture from the 18th to the 20th century, improve their German language skills and learn how to do close reading. Students will write multiple short papers, quizzes, and a midterm and final exam.
Is Italy nowadays mainly a country of art preservation or a living culture between the past and future? Can Italian be considered a “Language of Culture" par excellance? This course will answer these questions, while guiding students through an examination of contemporary Italian culture and society as expressed in politics, art, theater, music, fashion, and cinema. The course will provide students with opportunities to enhance their communication skills. Honors students must complete an additional presentation along with an additional research paper.
Tales of knights in shining armor, magical encounters, princesses, and damsels in distress fill up the pages of many works of fiction. These stories, set in some imaginary Middle Ages conflict with other stories that equate this time with societies and cultures described as backward, dirty and immoral (Think: A Knight's Tale or Game of Thrones!)
How to separate myths from reality?
This course offers a view of the Middle Ages that attempts to reevaluate some of these romantic and (post)modern ideas about the Middle Ages. We'll use Heath Ledger's peasant knight as a point of departure for examining the legendary Castilian knight, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, and how he is seen in artistic representations from the 12th to the 21st centuries.
While the knight is emblematic of the feudal order, another of the big institutions of the Middle Ages is the Church. Not the Catholic Church (this didn't exist at the time), but still a powerful group that educated and exercised power over the masses. We will examine the power exercised by this institution in the development and control of gender norms and social relations. Our study of the development of social and sexual norms (some of which are still ingrained in us today) lets us segue into our final section for this course: women in power. We will end the course with a particular case: that of the medieval princess who should NEVER have been queen: the Catholic Queen, Isabel I of Castile. The last weeks of study we will read how Isabel's identity was shaped both by the conduct books and the chivalric tales, which glosses the brutal acts with which they achieved power.
In this course, students will explore the relationship between love and power, mystery and fantasy in a collection of outstanding short stories written in Spanish during the 19th century. Students will improve their listening and speaking skills while developing the ability to read and write more proficiently through critical reading and storytelling. Students will read one short story per week. The instructor will provide a relevant vocabulary and a set of questions before reading each story. After reading and understanding the story, students will discuss the story in class and answer questions focusing on the plot and the characters. There is a creative writing component, as students will have the opportunity to work on writing techniques and offer alternative endings to the stories read. Instead of a final paper, students will write a short story under instructors' guidance.
In this course, we will examine how detective fiction in the Hispanic world evolved from the classic British mystery or “enigma" and the North American hard-boiled genre toward the crime novel or novela negra. In Latin America, the novela negra has become a favored genre to address political reality, particularly in situations where the state is involved in criminality and wrongdoers escape with impunity. It has the capacity to describe the world of political and economic power and, when it incorporates the psychological thriller, to explore the inner recesses of the human psyche. The addition of intrigue and suspense to this already compelling mix explains the popularity of this genre. We will study the traditional “grammar" of the genre—for instance the character trio of criminal-victim-detective and the plot which develops to resolve an enigma—and how these elements are employed or altered to paint a gripping portrait of contemporary society. Course readings will consist of a selection of critical essays, short stories, two novelettes—¿Quién mató a Palomino Molero? by Mario Vargas Llosa and Tuya by Claudia Piñeiro—and the novel Betibú, also by Claudia Piñeiro.
LLCU topics courses are taught in English, with no prerequisites and many meet breadth requirements.
Check the Course Search for details.
Check the Course Catalog for information about Breadth Requirements, and Course Search for meeting times and other details.
Arabic calligraphy is a traditional artistic practice combining the Arabic alphabet and the visual representation and design of handwriting styles. Rooted in Arab Islamic culture and civilization, it was first used to represent religious texts, and is now linked to poetry, proverbs, architecture and modern Arabic graphics and design.
“Every age creates the vampire that it needs" – Nina AuerbachThe vampire is one of the most popular and enduring images in the world. Yet the Western vampire image that we know today is very different from its Slavic and Eastern European progenitors. In this course we explore the origins of the vampire and how the vampire—in its look, nature, vulnerabilities, and threat—has changed over the centuries. In analyzing the metaphor of the vampire, from Slavic and East European myth to contemporary Western media, we will investigate how the vampire evolved from association with disease to countercultural and civil rights movements. By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss the origins, classifications, functions, natures and evolution of the vampire and what that can tell us about historical periods and our own contemporary cultures.
In ancient Rome, paintings covered the walls and ceilings of palaces and ordinary homes, shops and baths, tombs and shrines, while mosaics paved floors with intricate patterns. This class will explore ancient Roman wall paintings and mosaics from ca. 200 BCE to ca. 450 CE. We will consider the variety and versatility of subjects that decorated elite and ordinary ancient spaces—myths, landscapes, rituals, commerce, still lives, ornament, portraits. The ubiquity of this decoration allows us to ask “big questions" about ancient society: How did two-dimensional imagery operate within three-dimensional spaces? What roles did imagery have in the lives of ancient Romans? How did the visual world express, reflect, or shape class, gender, or social roles and behaviors?
This course offers an overview and an introduction to cinema in the Arab world, its role in the development of cultural identity and cultural memory. It explores cinematic depictions of major political and cultural issues covering film screenings and discussion of films from Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine.
The aim of this course is to gain a sense of what life is like in contemporary Japan by reading a selection of novels, manga, short stories and critical essays by Japanese writers, as well as watching films and anime (animation). Rather than taking a historical approach to artworks through time, we will focus on the 'here and now' to examine Japanese society, including attitudes, customs and beliefs of the Japanese people as expressed in art. Issues problematized in Japanese literature and film include nuclear anxiety, social breakdown, ambivalence towards technology and doubts regarding established institutions such as the educational and Imperial systems. We will use the literary and filmic works to see how some of these problems are universal human issues, while others are particular to Japan. We will also use the artworks as an aesthetic conduit to cultural understanding, coming to know the similarities and differences between Japanese culture and our own. Honors students have the opportunity to pursue a research project of their own choosing, related to course material.
This course examines the representation of terrorism in Italian film. Students will view a selection of movies organized around three intertwined critical approaches: historical, cinematic and cultural. Students will gain an understanding of the internal tensions in Italy that stretched from the Civil War of the Italian Resistance during World War II, to the so-called “years of lead" (“anni di piombo," c. 1969-83) and the ideological terrorisms to which this period gave rise, to the Cold War era. The course will explore how the trauma of political extremism, violent uprisings and protests, and organized and clandestine terrorism were elaborated and reinterpreted through distinctive ideological frameworks and filmic techniques. Finally, students will observe and discuss connections between the issues raised by these Italian films, which highlight tensions between competing social groups and ideologies, and the broader landscape of contemporary global terrorism, fueled by religious fanaticisms.