A brief look into one of UBCO’s new departments.
On January 1, 2019 the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies added a new department. Critical Studies split to become English and Cultural Studies, with the addition of Languages and World Literature as a new department. The decision to split the faculty came in the Fall, and was approved by UBCO’s Senate and the Board of Governors.
Anderson Araujo, Acting Head of Languages and World Literatures, states that the designation of “Critical Studies” to include English majors, Cultural Studies majors, French majors, and so on came to be considered too large, and not an accurate reflection of the work being done by students and professors. As a result, Languages and World Literatures was formed. The decision to include another department in the faculty was the consensus of the faculty as a whole.
According to its website, Languages and World Literatures aims to allow “students to examine language and literature as inherently human endeavors that cross time and national boundaries.” Some of the programs offered include “courses in languages and global literatures, from the ancient Middle East to modern Japan and from ancient mythologies and oral traditions to current pop culture.”
However, World Literature is currently an initiative. Students can take elective courses in World Literature, but a major is not yet offered. Araujo states that “Languages and World Literatures is the only free-standing department that offers World Literature in Canada at a major research university.” The hope is to eventually offer a major in World Literature. World Literature differs from an English program, and offers a series of different courses. In the fall, World Literature will offer a course in the World History of Horror. Other courses include Literature and Power (offered simultaneously in English and Spanish) and Mythologies in Motion. World Literature courses extend beyond the typical Euro-American canon.
Languages and World Literatures also allows for professors in other departments, such as Creative Studies, English, and Cultural Studies to offer courses in its department. This can allow for two professors to co-teach or have a modular set-up. This can be beneficial to students, as it allows for the students to learn from the expert in a specific topic. Students from all faculties are welcome, and the department aims to have a university-wide appeal to all students.
Languages and World Literatures includes the Languages department. Speaking about the Language section of the department, Araujo discussed the practicality of the degree. Degrees in Languages can often lead to the Education Program, and Araujo said that there is “a shortage of French and French-immersion teachers in BC. Graduates of the French Program who then have completed the Education Program have all gotten jobs in BC.” The Department also offers a combined major in French and Spanish.
Speaking to the uniqueness of the Department, Araujo called attention to the fact that the Languages and World Literatures Department is “directly plugged into one of the UBC core pillars, which is Global Citizenship. [Languages and World Literatures] is really conceived to local and global engagement.” Every member of the faculty is plurilingual. All of the professors speak two or more languages.
Araujo has been involved with World Literature since his arrival at UBCO. He has been part of the World Literature Committee for eight years. Speaking of his ambition for the Department, Araujo says that he wants to “make [Languages and World Literatures] a destination for students. In BC, across Canada, and across the world.” Araujo states that UBCO is uniquely positioned, as most World Literature courses are taught in English, but with the merging of the Languages Department, there is the opportunity for these courses to be taught in French, Spanish, German, and Japanese.
For more information about the Department, visit https://fccs.ok.ubc.ca/about/languages-world.html