Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Language Department


Italian Studies is an interdisciplinary program in a wide-ranging field of studies with deep connections to ancient and modern Italy and Europe, as well as to our own society and ways of understanding and experiencing the world.  As the heart of the Roman Empire, the seat of the Catholic Church, the cradle of the Renaissance, the birthplace of Fascism, a theater of both World Wars, and a current economic and political pillar of the European Union, Italy – its history, culture and language – is of great interest to students from many different disciplines.  Indeed, the field of Italian Studies exemplifies Muhlenberg’s mission to expand understanding of globalization and strengthen interdisciplinary connections across the campus.

By studying a foreign language, students are uniquely poised to take on the challenges and opportunities that globalization offers them. They will gain the tools to understand, appreciate, and critically analyze cultures other than their own. Italian Language courses offer students the opportunity to acquire or advance communication skills in Italian, with a focus on Italian literature, culture, and society. Studying Italian at Muhlenberg not only gives students the means to communicate with Italians and directly experience contemporary Italian culture, but also allows them to gain an understanding of the treasures of Italian cultural and artistic production, stretching back to Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Italian Studies courses explore topics ranging from the history of Italian cuisine to the Holocaust in Italian Literature & Film, ensuring that students are exposed to a wide range of Italian literature, art, history and culture.  These courses are offered in English and Italian by professors from across the campus, schooled in various academic disciplines – Italian Studies, English, History, Political Science, Art History, Theater – affording students various entryways and points of view on Italian culture. 

Many Muhlenberg students choose to study abroad for a summer, a semester or a year, and Italy is the most popular non-English speaking destination. Muhlenberg students attend an array of programs in Italy, depending on their interests and areas of study.  These programs include: the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, for students of theater, music and dance; the Siena Italian Studies, for students wishing to immerse themselves in Italian culture and society; the Florence University of the Arts, for a vast array of courses and learning opportunities; the LVAIC summer program in Rome; and other programs around Italy.

Students may also choose to pursue a Minor in Italian Studies.

The classroom experience is complemented by extensive use of the Language Learning Center, a state-of-the-art technological facility that provides software and other instructional material, as well as Dish International TV and SCOLA programming for student use in support of their program of study. These daily broadcasts offer our students the opportunity to listen to actual Italian programs as well as appreciate the rich and varied Italian artistic treasures spanning over the centuries. Additionally, they will witness first-hand the vitality and vivaciousness of the Italian people, qualities that are contagious.

Practice your Italian at the Italian Table: La Tavola Italiana

Muhlenberg College - Languages, Literatures and Cultures