Department of World Languages & Literatures

The Department of World Languages & Literatures (WLL) offers courses in Comparative Literature and in Arabic, Chinese, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Russian, and Turkish languages and literatures. Majors can combine their coursework with Study Abroad, international internships, and programs in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, as they acquire insight into other cultures and into dimensions of literature and film that cut across national boundaries. The BA prepares students to enter an increasingly global workplace permeated by cultural and linguistic diversity.

Majors and Minors in World Languages & Literatures

Students may choose a major or a minor in Comparative Literature, Chinese, German, Japanese, Russian, or Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages & Literatures (MESALL). Minors are also available in Arabic, Hebrew, Korean, and Persian Cultural Studies.

Language and literature majors prepare themselves for careers or advanced study in international relations, government, education, journalism, international business, and translating. Students in premedical or prelaw programs find the majors and minors in WLL a satisfying way to broaden their programs of study with global experience, and many graduates have entered professional programs in these fields.

The department encourages CAS students to obtain the greatest benefit from their second language requirement by pursuing a minor in their chosen language. Advanced courses in a language or its literature increase proficiency in that language, present the great works and epochs of the literature, and acquaint students with the contemporary culture and that culture’s roots in the past. Students plan a minor program with their advisor, consisting ordinarily of six courses in their language or literature.

Foreign Language Specialty Community

The Global House Living-Learning Community at Myles Standish Hall welcomes students who are passionate about languages and cultures. Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors who are proficient in one of twelve languages at the second-semester level (112) or above are invited to apply. The language groups available are: African languages, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

For more information, visit BU Housing.

Language Center

The Geddes Language Center, on the fifth floor of 685 Commonwealth Avenue, in the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) building, includes language laboratories, specially equipped classrooms, computers, audiovisual production facilities, screening rooms, and libraries of audiovisual materials. Use of these facilities is required for many courses and is assigned for supplementary work in other courses.

Study Abroad Programs

Programs in Haifa, Istanbul, Kyoto, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo offer intensive language study as well as literature, civilization, and linguistics courses. Detailed information is available from the Study Abroad office and online.

Courses in World Literature and Culture

The following list is a sampling of the department’s courses that are offered regularly with lecture, discussion, and readings in English. Most of these courses fulfill several areas in the BU Hub. Some satisfy major and minor requirements within specific programs. Full course descriptions for current offerings can be found in the Courses section of this Bulletin.

  • CAS XL 100 Explorations in World Literature: Leaving Home
  • CAS XL 222 Introduction to Western Literatures
  • CAS XL 223 Introduction to Middle Eastern Literatures
  • CAS XL 224 Introduction to East Asian Literatures
  • CAS XL 225 Introduction to South Asian Literatures
  • CAS XL 244 Greek Drama
  • CAS XL 281 Representations of the Holocaust in Literature and Film
  • CAS XL 315 Film and Identity in the Islamic World
  • CAS XL 325 Global Modernist Fiction
  • CAS XL 342 Travel Writing and the Muslim World
  • CAS XL 343 Alexander the Great in the East
  • CAS XL 380 Gender and Identity in Contemporary Middle Eastern Film
  • CAS XL 381 Topics in Gender and Literature
  • CAS XL 382 Topics in Gender and Film
  • CAS XL 540 Theory and Practice of Literary Translation
  • CAS LC 250 Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature
  • CAS LC 251 Masterpieces of Modern Chinese Literature
  • CAS LC 260 Gateway to Asia
  • CAS LC 280 Chinese Classics in Today’s World
  • CAS LC 283 Chinese Civilization
  • CAS LC 285 Topics in Chinese Literature
  • CAS LC 287 Screening Modern China
  • CAS LG 250 Masterpieces of German Literature
  • CAS LG 283 Faust Tradition
  • CAS LG 388 World Cities: Berlin
  • CAS LH 250 Masterpieces of Modern Hebrew Literature
  • CAS LH 283 Israeli Culture through Film
  • CAS LJ 250 Masterpieces of Japanese Literature
  • CAS LJ 251 Modern Japanese Literature
  • CAS LJ 283 Modern Japanese Culture in Cinema
  • CAS LJ 388 World Cities: Tokyo
  • CAS LK 250 Introduction to Korean Literature
  • CAS LK 383 Modern Korean Culture through Cinema
  • CAS LN 225 Tradition and Modernity in Indian Film and Literature
  • CAS LR 250 Classics of Russian Prose
  • CAS LR 280 Dostoevsky
  • CAS LR 281 Tolstoy
  • CAS LR 282 Russian Prose Classics of the Twentieth Century
  • CAS LR 355 Chekhov: The Stories and Plays
  • CAS LR 456 Topics in 20th-Century Russian Literature
  • CAS LT 388 World Cities: Istanbul
  • CAS LY 284 War in Arabic Literature and Film
  • CAS LY 441/XL 441 1001 Nights in the World Literary Imagination
  • CAS LZ 380 Persian Epic and Romance
  • CAS LZ 381 Rumi and Persian Sufi Poetry
  • CAS TL 500 History and Theory of Translation
  • CAS TL 505 Literary Style Workshop
  • CAS TL 541 Translation Today
  • CAS TL 551 Topics in Translation