Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive, safe, and healthy environment for every individual in our community. We believe that all aspects of a person's identity should be valued and respected and we emphasize the importance of cultivating and respecting human singularities, both in the classroom and beyond.

The members of our Department are actively taking the following steps to address the intersectionality of discrimination based on language background, race, ethnicity, gender identity, religious or spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, age, immigration status, and economic background, among other factors.

We are:

  1. Elaborating a statement to recognize and support a diverse community in RLL;
  2. Identifying present limitations and perceived barriers to inclusivity in the foreign-language and culture teaching/learning context;
  3. Collectively sharing a list of best teaching practices, such as incorporating options for students to choose non-binary pronouns in the RLL courses they take; or adding inclusion techniques for neurodiverse classrooms, among others;
  4. Designing workshops and discussion events to evaluate how RLL can further implement inclusivity in the classroom;
  5. Recommending that curricula are designed to respect all students’ identities and that instructors lead meaningful discussions surrounding the evolving impact of diversity in language and culture.

Related campus organizations and resources

Committee Members

Relevant Courses

The following list includes some of the more commonly-taught courses with connections to DEI-related themes in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. It is not meant to be exhaustive, nor are these courses offered every semester. Rather, the list is intended to help students familiarize themselves with the kinds of courses we teach. Please contact committee members or listed instructors for more information.


ROIT 20202 Intermediate Italian II

Instructor: Kathleen Boyle

ROIT 20202 is a fourth-semester Italian course that is designed to develop written and oral communication skills and to prepare students for upper-level courses in the Italian department. Throughout the semester, students will work towards obtaining linguistic fluency while exploring Italian culture through the films of some contemporary well-known directors. Each film will be presented in its historical and cultural context, which will provide us with the starting point of our class discussions. Cultural readings and literary excerpts drawing upon the themes of each unit and the themes presented in the films will be provided to supplement our discussion of the film.

ROIT 40115/63115 LLRO 40145 Dante I

Instructor: Laura Banella

Dante I and Dante II are an in-depth study, over two semesters, of the entire Comedy, in its historical, philosophical and literary context, with selected readings from the minor works (e.g., Vita Nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia). Dante I focuses on the Inferno and the minor works; Dante II focuses on the Purgatorio and Paradiso. Lectures and discussion in English; the text will be read in the original with facing-page translation. Students may take one semester or both, in either order.

ROIT 40512 Italian Cinema II: World of Illusions

Instructor: Charles L. Leavitt IV

This course begins in the 1960s, when Italy stood at the center of the film world, and traces the history of Italian cinema to the present day. We will focus on the heyday of Italian auteurs – Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luchino Visconti, and Pier Paolo Pasolini – examining how each brought a singular vision to the collective medium of cinema. Working against the hegemony of Hollywood, Italian filmmakers in the twentieth century created new forms of representation that inspired audiences worldwide. They continue to do so in the new millennium, building on the innovations of illustrious predecessors like Bertolucci and Pontecorvo, Wertmüller and Cavani to reveal new realities to moviegoers across the globe. We will analyze how questions of class, faith, gender, identity, and ideology intersect on screen as Italian directors seek both to expose and to recreate the illusions by which we live. With a filmography featuring both masterpieces of world cinema and cult classics, this course will investigate how pioneering Italian directors reshaped every genre of film, including action & adventure, comedy, crime, documentary, melodrama, mystery, thriller, horror, and more. The course is taught in English and all films will have English subtitles.


ROFR 40710 Public Women

Instructor: Madison Mainwaring

Britney Spears. Anna Nicole Smith. Janet Jackson. We thought we knew their tragic stories; we thought they only had themselves to blame. In recent years, however, we have reappraised these maligned women and the pervasive misogyny to which they were subjected in a supposedly post-feminist era. In this seminar, we will examine the gendering of celebrity in France and its former colonies over the course of the long nineteenth century, engaging with legacies of famous women from Marie Antoinette to Aïssa Maïga. Each week, we will study conflicting depictions of a public figure, seeking to understand the structures with which commentators controlled women’s narratives—and how women in turn developed their own strategies of resistance. Drawing from a range of sources including sculptures, choreographies, films, and autobiographies, we will engage with interpretive approaches that interrogate hierarchies of memory, history, and culture. Taught in French.

ROFR 40780 The French at Work

Instructor: Sonja Stojanovic

The enviable “French work week,” long lunch-breaks, the numerous holidays and paid vacations come readily to mind when we think about French policies and attitudes towards work. In this course, we will focus, however, on crucial contemporary issues: unemployment, mental health and corporate culture, and the rise of so-called precarious jobs. Through French literature and film, and with a particular emphasis on representations of gender and racial disparity in certain types of precarious work (nannies, maids, security guards, and nuclear plant workers, among others), we will examine what it takes to work in France today. We will also look at how these questions are discussed in the press, and follow current events and ongoing social movements. Taught in French.

ROFR 40958 Global Francophone Cinema

Instructor: Alison Rice

This course focuses on French-language films that transcend national boundaries, depicting movements - and individuals - that go beyond borders and allow us to understand how current cinematic creations are not limited to "Franco-French" actors and productions, but extend around the globe. We study a number of films that deal with questions of immigration and migration in the French context, recent films that reveal the current multicultural environment within the hexagonal space of France. We also examine films that come from the larger francophone world, from locations such as Algeria and Senegal. Assignments include brief written responses to each of the films under study, an oral presentation, two short papers, and a final paper. We will read two novels that are related to very recent films as well and explore the relationship between the written work and the cinematic creation. The goals of this course are not limited to increasing students' knowledge and understanding of the art (and the politics) of filmmaking; they are also are meant to enhance their appreciation of diverse cultural settings that interact and intersect with France in important ways in a contemporary world marked by postcolonial tensions and "globalized" transnational relations. Taught in French.

ROFR 20201 Intermediate French I

Instructor: Anne Schaefer

ROFR 20201 course fulfills the language requirement. This is a third-semester second-year language sequence, with equal focus on oral and written production. It includes a review of basic grammar and then transitions into more difficult features of French. Students learn to discuss and write about French cultural topics, current events, and literary texts. This course is to be followed by ROFR 20202. Students must have a Language Exam Score between 301 and 350 to enroll in this class. Students who do not meet the prerequisites need to contact department DUS for approval.

ROFR 63732 Writing Disappearance

Instructor: Sonja Stojanovic

Following challenges in the 1970s and 1980s to the dominant narrative of French resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II, in the 1990s, the term devoir de memoire [the responsibility or duty to remember] becomes prominent in French public discourse as a way to acknowledge French collaboration during WWII and the Vichy regime. Later, around the turn of the century, it is also used to speak of France's prominent role in the transatlantic slave trade, leading, in 2001, to the country's recognition of the slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity. While the term devoir de memoire has been a point of contention amongst scholars, it provides a good starting point to think more broadly about questions of memory. Turning to post-1945 fiction written in French, we will see how authors have relentlessly been emphasizing this duty to remember, and to remember everything, even the outright shameful. We will take memories of the Shoah as our starting point and also consider the mnemonic practices that follow several other conflicts, wars, and genocides that have marked the 20th century. We will examine how authors are working with and through their own traumas, using their personal experience or their imagination to empathize with others, and showing a resolve to testify and remember. All of the texts we will read grapple with a double wound: the disappearance of loved ones and the attempted erasure of their memory. Together we will investigate how authors make these absences visible in their texts through various structural, rhetorical, and narratological means. We will study works that emphasize both the frailty of human memory and its power to haunt us; this course will also serve as an introduction to memory studies. Please see enhanced information for a longer description. Taught in French.


ROPO 30551 Brazilian Pop Culture

Instructor: Marcio Bahia

Students will hone their oral and written skills through the study of a myriad of the most popular cultural activities in Brazil. MPB, Música Sertaneja, Pop, Funk, Soap Operas, Popular Movies, Soccer and Volleyball will provide students with a rich panorama of Contemporary Pop Culture in Brazil while revealing deeper conflicts and tensions within Brazilian society. Offered in Portuguese.

ROPO 20201 Intermediate Portuguese

Instructor: Ana Leticia Fauri

Through selected readings in Portuguese, Brazilian, and Lusophone African literatures, films, newspaper and magazine articles, and popular music, students discuss a variety of cultural issues and expand their vocabulary. Particular attention is placed on reviewing major topics in Portuguese grammar and on developing students' writing abilities. ROPO 20201 fulfills the language requirement and prepares students to study abroad in Brazil.

ROPO 40598 Cinema of Portugal and Luso-Africa

Instructor: Ana Leticia Fauri

This course aims to evaluate how major cultural, social and historical events are portrayed in cinematographic productions of Portugal, Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde. We will explore issues such as gender, racial and social disparities, the legacies of dictatorship and the colonial wars, the Luso-African struggles for independence, the role of the language in building a nation, and the influence of the Portuguese culture in its former colonies. Our goal is to investigate how film productions from and about those countries contest hegemonic accounts, and to examine the interconnections between history, memory and cultural identity and praxis. Films such as All is Well, by Pocas Pascoal (Angola), Dribbling Fate, by Fernando Vendrell (Cape Verde), Sleepwalking Land by Teresa Prata (Mozambique), Cats Don't Have Vertigo, by Antonio Pedro Vasconcelos, April Captains, by Maria de Medeiros (Portugal), as well as the documentaries Lusitanian Illusion, by Joao Canijo, and Hope the Pitanga Cherries Grow, by Kiluanje Liberdade and Ondjaki will serve as a vehicle for a deeper and broader understanding of how social, racial and cultural issues play a role in the past and present time in Portugal, Angola, Mozambique and Cape Verde. Conducted in English.


ROSP 30201/ILS 20701 Introduction to Latino Studies

Instructor: Marisel Moreno

This course will examine the Latino experience in the United States, including the historical, cultural, and political foundations of Latino life. We will approach these topics comparatively, thus attention will be given to the various experiences of a multiplicity of Latino groups in the United States. This course has an optional community-engaged learning component with La Casa de Amistad.

ROSP 30310 Introduction to Hispanic Lit & Culture

Instructor: Differs by section

This is an upper-division course for students with advanced preparation. It serves as the introduction to the analysis and explication of Spanish-language literary texts. Short texts in prose, poetry, and theatre from a variety of periods and countries within the Hispanic world are read, presented, and discussed. The course is a prerequisite for the survey courses, and must be completed by the end of the junior year.

ROSP 30035 CEL: Immigration and Memory

Instructor: Tatiana Botero

This is an advanced-intermediate fifth-semester culture-based Spanish course designed for students who want to improve their communication skills in Spanish and broaden their understanding of the Hispanic world. Students will work with selected Latino families to preserve and document their histories, creating a lasting record that they can proudly pass down to future generations. By being involved in this important project, students will not only enhance their language skills, but also their cultural awareness, of and sensitivity to, this growing demographic group, as well as further develop their civic engagement. Through literature, film, current events, and guest speakers, students will develop knowledge about migration issues, family immigration histories, and problems facing our Latino communities in general, and particularly in South Bend. Students through ethical engagements will work on a collaborative creation and preservation of memory (memory of an experience that shapes everyday life and the future). Using storytelling techniques, students will work with families to create a collaborative book detailing their life and path to our community. The dispositions that the students will further develop through this class are a better understanding of the Latino culture and appreciation for our customs, an awareness of the diversity of Latino culture, an intercultural competence as well as a reflective sensibility.

ROSP 30051 CEL: 'Once Upon a Time'

Instructor: Rachel Parroquin

Students will be introduced to Literatura Infantil y Juvenil (LIJ) in the Spanish-speaking world through a combination of considerable reading of LIJ across genres and levels and a critical perspective of LIJ via academic text and articles. Books read will include many award winners by prolific writers and illustrators of LIJ, as well as widely known writers for adults who have also written children's books. Among genres read will be folklore, narrative, fiction (representing afro-latino, indigenous and other multi-cultural groups; contemporary, realistic, historical), short story, and poetry. In addition, students will develop criteria for evaluating quality LIJ through a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. Finally, there is a Community-Based Learning (CBL) component where students will share LIJ with the local Latino community through CBL projects and a reading program with Latino youth. Pre-requiste: ROSP 20202 or above or placement by exam. This course can count as an advanced elective towards the major. Taught in Spanish. Students must have a Language Exam Score between 440 and 600 to enroll in this class.

ROSP 30715 Imagined Worlds

Instructor: Juan Vitulli

Since its first uses in the Sixteenth Century, the term utopia meant both "good place" and "no place." Thus, the concept carried two different ideas in its own meaning, an ideal society and an unreachable one. In the past years, the concept—as well as its opposite, dystopia—has been applied to explain literary representations of imagined worlds that hold a mirror up to our own "real" world. Analyzing and discussing cultural products that create, depict, and represent invented societies is, without a doubt, a good path to understand and to critique key aspects of this complex world we live in today. In this class, we will study Early Modern Hispanic texts (written by Late Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque authors) as well as contemporary fictions (films, short stories, plays) that have in common their way to create and describe imagined/utopian/dystopian universes. We will pay specific attention to descriptions of imagined places in order to see how they explore real tensions around class, gender, society, religion, racial identities, imperial subjects, and power. During the semester, we will read texts written by Cervantes, Colón, Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Cortés, Gracián, Vespucio, Nieremberg, and Fuentelapeña and will watch and analyze films such as Children of Men, Blade Runner, Pan's Labyrinth, Avatar, Elysium, among other contemporary works.

ROSP 30727 Democracy & its Others in Spain

Instructor: Pedro A. Aguilera-Mellado

This course is an invitation to explore problems of social representation and aesthetic expression through contemporary Spanish literature and cultures. Readings include texts produced since the beginning of the Spanish democracy in 1978 through the present, and draw from different literary styles and overlapping themes, including: the self, the question of alterity or "the other," violence, memory, biography, feminism and post-feminism, nation and racism, the European community, globalization, rural life, contemporary capitalism, and migrations. In order to consider voices that traditionally have been excluded from nation building discourses in Spanish democracy, a variety of genre (poetry, novel, short stories, tales, drama, film) are incorporated in this course. Taught in Spanish.

ROSP 30820 Modern Latin American Lit & Culture

Instructor: Differs by section

A survey of literary trends and major figures in modern Spanish-American literature from 1880 to the present. Readings of selected texts in prose, poetry, and theatre. Recommended prerequisite: ROSP 30310.

ROSP 40477 Cuba and Puerto Rico: Two Birds

Instructor: Thomas F. Anderson

While she was living in exile in Cuba in the 1890s, Puerto Rican Poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió wrote the following lines, which are among the most iconic in Hispanic Caribbean verse: "Cuba y Puerto Rico son de de un pájaro las dos alas, / reciben flores y balas en un mismo corazón...". At the time these lines were seen as a testament to the the similar histories that these two Caribbean islands had developed after some four centuries of Spanish rule, but, as one critic has put it, "they can also be seen as a chilling presage of what was to come after the U.S. won the Spanish American War in 1898 and became a consistent presence in the future of both countries." In this class we will explore, through the study of Cuban and Puerto Rican History and Literature, the islands' many shared legacies such as colonialism, slavery, political unrest, and US intervention. Moreover, through readings of works by a variety of authors and literary genres, we will examine the many political, economic, social and cultural factors that have served to shape each island's identity over the past five centuries. Students will be required to write journal entries for each class, several short papers, and a final essay. There will also be a mid-term exam.

ROSP 40864 Renegades in Yucatán

Instructor: Carlos A. Jáuregui

"Gonzalo Guerrero's Offspring. Colonial Renegades in Yucatán." This is a seminar that focuses on a selection of historical and literary narratives about the figure of Guerrero (the Spanish conquistador that went native and fought on the side of the Maya) as well as on what I call Guerrero's progeny: a series of renegades who - like Guerrero in the 16th century - went native and ended up fighting against different forms of colonialism since the 16th century until today.

ROSP 63895 Crossing Borders

Instructor: Marisel Moreno

In this course we will examine how borders are established and challenged in Latina/o literature and culture. We will focus on the impact that US Empire and globalization have had on the Mexico-US border, the Caribbean, and Central America as key regions defined by mass migratory movements, and how these are represented in literature and art.

College seminars

CESM 23102 Identity in the Americas

Instructor: Ben Heller

What determines your identity? Your place of birth? Your ethnicity? Your race? The color of your skin? Your language? Your gender? Your biological sex? Your socio-economic status? Your DNA? Is it some of these or all of the above? And how do these factors interact with one another? Can you have multiple identities? Can you change your identity or is it fixed somehow? Can identity be useful as political strategy? Can identity be a concept that isolates or limits freedom? These are some of the questions we will pose in this class, with particular attention paid to the Americas, especially Latin America and Latin(o) America. We will approach our study of this thing we call “identity”; from a variety of theoretical perspectives drawn from the fields of sociology, philosophy, cultural and literary studies, fine arts and biology. We will place a premium on the formulation of productive questions rather than the quick arrival at comforting answers.

Past Events