Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


  • Russell Ganim
Web site:

The Division of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures includes several academic units: the Departments of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures, French and Italian, German, and Spanish and Portuguese and the American Sign Language, Comparative Literature, Second Language Acquisition, and Translation Programs. In addition to providing administrative leadership for all of its units, the division fosters interdisciplinary scholarship in languages, literatures, and cultures. It encourages synergy and collaboration among its faculty members and enhances opportunities for cross-cultural course development and research.

Undergraduate and graduate programs in the division serve students with varied interests and career aspirations, educating them to become global citizens who understand and are understood by diverse populations. Students are trained to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, capable scholars, lucid writers, and proficient speakers.

The division offers instruction in a wide array of languages and in the cultures associated with them:

American Sign Language Program: American Sign Language and deaf studies;

Department of Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures: Chinese, Czech, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Sanskrit;

Department of French and Italian: Arabic, French, Italian, Swahili;

Department of German: German; and

Department of Spanish and Portuguese: Portuguese, Spanish

In addition to providing language instruction, the division focuses on theoretical and applied linguistics; non-Anglophone literatures and cultures, including those of bilingual, deaf, postcolonial, and heritage communities; and aesthetics, cultural theory, and creative writing in languages other than English.

The division's Second Language Acquisition Program brings multidisciplinary resources together to examine the processes that underlie non-native-language learning. The Translation Program explores the literary, cultural, and historical contexts of work and their linguistic, aesthetic, and ideological dimensions while it builds skills for translating works from one language to another. The Comparative Literature Program addresses culture across regions and languages in relation to literature, social theory and philosophy, history, and other disciplines.

The division also administers the Language Media Center, which provides facilities for traditional language laboratory work as well as for language video and computer-based activities. The center sponsors a multimedia development studio, where faculty members and graduate students produce and test media-based materials for language instruction.


World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Lower-Level Undergraduate

WLLC:1100 (218:050) Contraception Across Time and Cultures3 s.h.
Methods and history of contraception and abortion; issues of unwanted pregnancy and birth control in fiction, film, and media around the world. Same as GHS:1100 (152:030).
WLLC:1355 (218:005) Approaches to Global Cultural Studies3 s.h.
Framework for thinking about global perspectives on culture; examination of themes within a transnational context; analysis of cultural expression from national and linguistic contexts.
WLLC:2550 (218:070) Mardi Gras and More: Cultures of Carnival3-4 s.h.
Literature and customs associated with carnival from antiquity through present day; readings on theories of carnivalesque (Mikhail Bakhtin, Peter Burke, and others); materials from three distinct carnival cultures—Renaissance Europe (Francois Rabelais, German carnival plays), 19th‑century New Orleans, and present day Rio de Janeiro. GE: Values, Society, and Diversity.

World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Upper-Level Undergraduate and Graduate

WLLC:3185 (218:185) Global Women's Cinema3 s.h.
Introduction to contemporary women's cinema and feminist filmmaking from around the world; emphasis on post‑1968 period and cinema produced outside the United States. Same as GWSS:3185 (131:185), CINE:3185 (048:185).
WLLC:3191 (218:191) International Literature Today1,3 s.h.
English majors may apply this course to the following area and/or period requirement. AREA: Transnational Literature and Postcolonial Studies. PERIOD: 20th/21st‑Century Literature. Same as ENGL:3595 (008:191), IWP:3191 (181:191).
WLLC:3700 (218:160) Topics in Global Cinema3 s.h.
Identification of new models and methods to investigate cinema's relationship to current global issues beyond traditional scholarly focus in Western Europe and the United States; exploration of an emerging field, moving away from the paradigm of national cinema and bringing together shared theoretical frameworks while acknowledging different historical and cultural contexts. Same as JPNS:3700 (39J:162), ASIA:3700 (039:164).
WLLC:3834 (218:165) Arab Spring in Context: Media, Religion, and Geopolitics3 s.h.
Protest movements that started in Tunisia in 2011 and swept across North Africa and the Middle East transforming Arab and Islamic societies in radically different ways; function of social media, satellite television, communication technology; influence of religious leaders and groups on some protest outcomes; impact of wealth and geopolitics on social fabric of Islamic societies within and outside Arab countries. Requirements: for COMM:3834 (036:129) — g.p.a. of at least 2.50, completion of Foundations of Communication requirement, and 6 s.h. of intermediate‑level course work. Same as RELS:3834 (032:134), IS:3834 (187:126), JMC:3146 (019:146), COMM:3834 (036:129).
WLLC:4512 (218:172) Topics in Global and Transnational Culture3-4 s.h.
In‑depth look at a theme in cultural expression arising from interactions between countries and regions; focus on contemporary or historical issues; use of materials ranging from literature and the visual arts to music, mass media, and more; general processes through which cultures are formed in mutual and uneven relationships; research project. Recommendations: completion of an international and global issues GE course. Same as GRMN:4512 (013:172), ARAB:4512 (195:172).
WLLC:4800 (218:195) Topics in Global and Transnational Culturearr.
In‑depth look at a theme in cultural expression arising from interactions between countries and regions; focus on contemporary or historical issues; material from literature, visual arts, music, mass media, and more; general process through which cultures are formed in mutual and uneven relationships; original research project. Requirements: a general education course in international and global issues.

World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Graduate

WLLC:5000 (218:200) Teaching and Learning Languages3 s.h.
Readings in pedagogical theory and practice, second language acquisition; experience designing activities for teaching and assessment with critiques based on current theories and approaches; development of reflective practices toward one's language teaching. Same as SLA:5000 (164:200).
WLLC:6320 (218:210) Topics in Contemporary Critical Theory3 s.h.
Focused discussion of critical discourses and paradigms that have contributed to development of contemporary literary and cultural theory.

Translation, Lower-Level Undergraduate

TRNS:1017 (218:017) Workshop in Literary Magazine Publishing2 s.h.
Hands‑on introduction to literary magazine publishing; major differences between print and digital publishing, the processes of design, layout, soliciting work, editing copy, proofing, promotion, and distribution; University of Iowa and Iowa City community resources; editors and writers share their expertise through a series of informal question‑and‑answer sessions and task‑based assignments.
TRNS:1018 (218:018) Workshop in Literary Review Writing2 s.h.
Hands‑on introduction to literary review; process of selecting books (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction) for review; writing, revising, and submission of work; University of Iowa and Iowa City community resources; editors and writers share their expertise through a series of informal question‑and‑answer sessions and task‑based assignments.
TRNS:2179 (218:079) Undergraduate Translation Workshop3 s.h.
Translation exercises, discussion of translation works in progress; alternative strategies for translation projects. Requirements: working knowledge of a language other than English. Same as ENGL:2810 (08W:079).
TRNS:2499 (218:078) Undergraduate Translation Seminar3 s.h.
Translation studies for undergraduates; topics related to practice of literary translation.

Translation, Upper-Level Undergraduate and Graduate

TRNS:3201 (218:130) Workshop in Japanese Literary Translation3 s.h.
Workshop in translation from Japanese to English, with emphasis on literary translation; issues in theory and practice of translation; special features of Japanese as a source language for translation. Corequisites: JPNS:3103 (39J:105), if not taken as a prerequisite. Same as JPNS:3201 (39J:130).
TRNS:3202 (218:131) Workshop in Chinese Literary Translation3 s.h.
Translation from Chinese to English with emphasis on literary translation; issues in theory and practice of translation; special features of Chinese as a source language for translation. Prerequisites: CHIN:3102 (039:116). Same as CHIN:3201 (039:143).
TRNS:3480 (218:180) Literature and Translation3 s.h.
Translation in the broadest sense; originality, authority, authorship, accuracy, ownership, audience; issues problematizing differences between medium and message. Same as SLAV:3480 (041:180), PORO:3480 (160:180).
TRNS:4481 (218:181) Introduction to Computer-Assisted Translation1 s.h.
Translation memory, terminology management, multimodal translation, and project management to increase proficiency in a range of technological skills; evolving translation technologies emphasize learning skills required to employ tools of today and effectively learn to use those of tomorrow; use of translation technology in freelance and agency settings from document receipt through delivery. Requirements: completion of General Education Program rhetoric and interpretation of literature requirements.
TRNS:4497 (218:197) Techniques of Translation3 s.h.
Prerequisites: FREN:3300 (009:112). Same as FREN:4890 (009:197).

Translation, Graduate

TRNS:5205 (218:205) International Translation Workshop1-3 s.h.
International writers pair with University of Iowa translators to write new works of poetry and fiction in English; second‑language fluency not required for international writers. Same as IWP:5205 (181:205).
TRNS:5491 (218:291) Translation Internshiparr.
TRNS:6050 (218:299) Independent Studyarr.
TRNS:6400 (218:240) Thesisarr.
Translation thesis with critical introduction.
TRNS:6459 (218:259) Issues in Translation3 s.h.
Contemporary and historical theories.
TRNS:7460 (218:260) Translation Workshop4 s.h.
Requirements: at least one foreign language. Same as IWP:7460 (181:260).