Under this track, students major broadly in literary studies, and may draw upon a wide range of courses on literature and culture in translation. Using methods of literary criticism, students situate texts within their original cultural context, and also probe the act of linguistic and cultural translation that occurs when these same texts are read across cultural boundaries. Students furthermore join their study of literature to another mode of inquiry (philosophy, religion, history, psychology, or others), understanding literature in dialogue with intellectual currents, and gaining other methodological tools to help in analyzing literary texts.

To receive a proper grounding in the role of language and culture in the production and reception of literature, all students are required to take LACS 299. Study of texts need not be done in the original language; however, since all culture is language-based, students undertake language study in order to become informed interpreters of literary and cultural texts. Through language study and the foundational course, students will learn to identify blind spots in translated texts and gain the tools for an informed study of literature. The amount of required language study varies from four to six semesters and is determined by the adviser in accordance with the student’s program of study. Students with strong foreign language skills are encouraged to do some or all of their textual study in the original.

Note: All courses with the LACS prefix are offered “in translation”—all readings and class sessions are in English—and no foreign language knowledge is required. Courses with prefixes such as FREN, HISP, CHIN, RUSS, etc., require foreign language knowledge.


Twelve courses in fulfillment of categories A through E below:

  • A. LACS 299. Between the World and You: Language, Culture and the Creation of Meaning.
  • B. Four to six language courses in a single language, the exact number to be determined in consultation with the adviser. (Two upper-level courses focusing on textual study may be double-counted toward the requirement C.)
  • C. Three courses in literature/culture in the department of language and culture studies.
  • D. Three appropriate courses in one of the following departments: philosophy, religion, psychology, English or history. Courses in other departments may be possible with the approval of the adviser. Normally all three courses will be in a single department, but one course from another department may be approved at the discretion of the adviser.
  • E. LACS 401. Senior Project. This project will normally be done in English. Students with strong language skills may elect instead to take the appropriate 401 class in the LACS department.

Note: At least three of the courses taken in the department of language and culture studies must be at the 300 level or higher.

Students may double major within the department of language and culture studies, but no more than two courses may be double counted.


Honors: Students qualifying for honors must attain a cumulative average of A- or better in all courses counting toward the major, including LACS 401.

To declare this major, please see the Coordinator, Senior Lecturer Julia Assaiante.