Welcome to the Department of French and Italian at the University of Southern California. Our faculty members are collectively committed to working across disciplinary and national boundaries—and indeed to rethinking disciplinarity itself in innovative ways. As a department, we emphasize the global resonance of French and Italian Studies in addition to the impact of literature and film on cultural, political, social, and environmental contexts. The interests of our faculty range across contemporary literary theory and philosophy, Francophone cinema and culture, Italian and French modernity, Renaissance intellectual and cultural life, and early modern thought and narrative. We work in close collaboration with the Francophone Research and Resource Center, part of a national network of pluridisciplinary centers, which sustains physical and intellectual spaces for the critical exchange of ideas and facilitates the visit of Francophone and French writers, critics, scholars, artists, and filmmakers to USC. Through support from the Center, and through faculty initiatives sponsored by programs including the College Commons, Visions and Voices, the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute and the Shoah Foundation Institute, we regularly reach out to students and colleagues throughout the university, and to the wider Southern Californian community as a whole.
In cultivating flourishing undergraduate programs, we promote the study of French and Italian across the university. We provide our undergraduate majors and minors with a wide variety of opportunities to work closely with our faculty in exploring the richness and diversity of French and Italian language, literature, history, and culture. With the support of the USC Office of Overseas Studies, we also run a successful summer study abroad program in Dijon. Our new Italian study abroad program in Rome made its debut in the summer of 2013. Overseas French and Italian learning experiences are also available to USC students via our semester-long programs in Paris and Florence (and, in conjunction with Sweet Briar, a year-long Paris program).
Our graduate program in French and Francophone studies is part of the new CSLC Doctoral Program. The French Track of this program is among the most innovative in the country. Our graduate curriculum takes advantage of the eclectic interests of our faculty, even as it allows students to move beyond the bounds of narrow forms of periodization and encourages them to ask transhistorical, transnational, and transdisciplinary questions. In our teaching, advising, and mentoring, we prepare students to pursue doctoral research that reunites the study of literature with that of philosophy, of film, of sound, and of the work of representation more generally.
It is truly a great pleasure and an honor to be a part of this vibrant and diverse community. I invite you to explore our website, and to contact us with any questions.
Sherry Marie Velasco
Chair, Department of French and Italian