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Launch of Francophone Studies Program

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Department of French & Italian has announced the launch of a Francophone Studies Program that will support further interdisciplinary studies of French language and culture.

“Francophone studies is a critically important and diverse field, and we are deeply committed to providing students at KU with a greater understanding of the French-speaking world beyond France,” said Bruce Hayes, chair of the French & Italian department. “With our recent hire of a specialist in Francophone and transnational studies and our partnering with AAAS and other departments to create a certificate in Francophone studies, we are working to raise awareness and provide greater opportunities for our students.”

The program is a partnership with the departments of African and African-American Studies (AAAS), Anthropology, Art History, History and Theatre. Studies will enable students to get insights into the societies, cultures, histories, languages and literatures of Francophone areas such as Canada, Louisiana, the Antilles, the Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

AAAS serves as a prime example for interdisciplinary programming with the Department of French & Italian. The Institute of Haitian Studies is the only unit of its kind in Kansas and in the Great Plains region. 

Teaching of and research on the French-speaking world has been a staple at KU since the 1980s, including the approval of Haitian Studies in 1992. The French & Italian department has since offered a number of courses with focus on Francophone studies, and AAAS continues to promote Haitian studies through the teaching of Haitian Creole, access to materials in Creole on Haitian Studies via KU ScholarWorks, a collection of Haitian art in the Spencer Museum of Art and coordinating public programming about Haiti. The newly emergent, interdisciplinary Francophone Studies Program at KU will build on this experience and extend the scope of the unit to include a broader view of the global French-speaking community.

Photo: Students take a class in the Department of French & Italian in this 2011 image. Photo courtesy KU Marketing Communications


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The School of Languages & Cultures serves as a gateway to understanding the diversity of the world, through learning languages, literatures, and cultures, past and present. Through its research and teaching, the SLLC offers students opportunities for deep engagement with a wide range of languages, literatures, and cultures that provide the knowledge and skills to interact with and understand the world. The faculty and students who teach, research, and learn in the SLLC consider issues of diversity fundamental to all of our work. The study of others' languages, literatures, and cultures enables us to develop deep empathy and perspective informs the way that we approach issues before us, whether on a personal, local, regional, national, or global scale. Therefore take it as axiomatic that the SLLC stands for a campus that is committed to the meaningful sharing, contemplation, and discussion of ideas that emerge from multiple cultural perspectives and experiences. We continually rededicate ourselves to the principle of diversity. We strive to create an atmosphere where all students and faculty feel comfortable and welcome to express their views as well as work together to solve conflict. Further, we view our mission as a center of diversity on a flagship campus as requiring us to lead by example.

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