The Seminar is offered every Fall and Spring Semester, Tuesday and Thursday from 4:50 p.m. to 6:05 p.m. (CLT 389-4 credits)
The Major Seminar introduces you to the critical study of many of the significant theories involved with the study of language, literature, and culture. Furthermore it asks you to reflect on what it is you do when you study languages and national cultures. Languages are not empty—you have to talk about something, and the ways you talk about something in a given language relate directly to the theories and contents of cultures. (Because the material in the Major Seminar applies to advanced work in the major, students are encouraged to enroll in the Major Seminar (CLT 389) in their junior year if at all possible.)
Working closely with other students across the department, you will receive guided instruction on how to formulate a thesis for your paper, how to research the topic, and how to produce a persuasive argument. You should expect not just to passively follow instructions and to do homework, but to think critically about what you’re doing and what it means to study language, literature, and culture. Class sessions will provide you with ample opportunity to reflect analytically on all of the readings you do.
You can expect a challenging course in which you will learn how to read different kinds of literary and academic prose and how to write a major research paper actively using the theoretical language you have learned in the seminar. To prepare you for this, you will do a significant amount of reading that will familiarize you with various directions in literary and cultural theory, including but not limited to:
This is a capstone course for all concentrators in Modern Languages and Cultures because the course reflects the methods and ideas that we share in all sections of the department. You can expect to be able to answer the following questions after you’ve completed the Seminar:
Your major in MLC requires you to take the Major Seminar. If for reasons acceptable to the Department you absolutely cannot participate in the required seminar, there is a process to petition a departmental committee to write a senior essay instead, but you will still need to address critical and theoretical issues. Consult with your advisor on the petition process.
You will have the opportunity to learn from other MLC majors, who come from Comparative Literature, French, German, Italian Studies, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.
Professor Susan Gustafson will be teaching this class in the fall and spring semester.