News | European literature minor coming next term

Students of foreign literature consider creation of new student council

This semester, the Faculty of Arts saw the creation of a new minor within the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures (LLC) set to be launched in January. The minor, entitled “European Literature and Culture,” requires students to take courses from various units including German Studies, Hispanic Studies, Italian Studies, and Russian and Slavic Studies.

The minor is meant to focus on “the development and interconnectedness of European culture, and its relevance for the comprehension of today’s world through the study of literature and the arts from the Middle Ages to modern times,” according to the program’s website.

Despite its broad focus on European literature, the minor does not have a language requirement.

“[This allows] the student to go right away into the really interesting 300-level courses,” explained Stephanie Posthumus, a professor in the LLC department and advisor for the new minor, to The Daily.

Posthumus also mentioned that Andrew Piper, an associate professor in the LLC department, also worked to get the minor approved. Piper was very interested in how the department “could go beyond just our national boundaries and traditions,” said Posthumus, adding, “the minor is what we created as a first step [toward this goal].”

There is only one required introductory course for the minor, which will be offered for the first time next academic year. The minor also allows students to take LLC courses, which, according to Posthumus, are cross-cultural and often concentrated on a specific topic. LLC classes draw students from many disciplines, said Posthumus. “They appeal to a larger audience.”

According to Posthumus, “the idea was to offer something outside of English literature” for students interested in studying literature who felt “stuck in the Anglo-American perspective.”

LLC student council

The LLC department may be expanding in other ways in the future. Beyond the new minor, some students are working to create an LLC student association in order to better to represent the needs of students studying foreign literature.

“The creation of the LLC minor is a huge first step,” said Vincent Simboli, president of the Caribbean and Latin American Studies & Hispanic Studies Association (CLASHSA), in an interview with The Daily. According to Simboli, who is spearheading the initiative, the council would be “a specific legislative body that is pertinent to the interests of language, literature, and culture students.”

According to Simboli, a specific LLC association is necessary due to the special interests shared by students studying foreign literature and languages, such as the importance of studying abroad and the disproportionate impact of budget cuts. “If there are budget cuts to Arts, which there will be in the future, who’s going to get cut first? A Portuguese language class or ECON 208?” posed Simboli.

“I’m not looking to splinter from the AUS [Arts Undergraduate Society], I am just looking for a sister council,” stressed Simboli.

According to Simboli, the new council has faced some barriers. “[There is] general apathy you come across whenever you try to organize students. […] Convincing people that what we’re studying is relevant to a global world [can be difficult].”

“Whenever you try to get people to go anywhere, you basically have to provide free food,” added Simboli.

In light of these barriers, Simboli said that he is “likely not going to be a student when this actually comes to fruition,” and that the LLC student council may be created in two or three years.