With a diverse and international student body and the wide-range of course development and the teaching experience of our full-time and part-time faculty, the Romance, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Literature in Translation sections of the Modern Languages and Comparative Literature Department of Baruch College are especially well-suited to offer electives that complement not only other disciplines in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but also those taught in the School of Business and the School of Public Affairs. In our role as scholars and teachers of language and literature, we deal constantly with issues of identity and diversity. Therefore, our department is particularly well adapted to the College priorities of developing cross-cultural communication, internationalization and entrepreneurship among our students.
Whether it be the contact with a foreign language other than one’s own, the refinement and development of one’s own native tongue, or the experience of another culture through literary texts or sociopolitical documents, modern languages and their comparative literature components are an essential part of success in contemporary society. Success is measured not only in the ability to speak, read and write the language of another culture, but also in the intellectual development of the individual as a whole.
The Department of Modern Languages and Comparative Literature prepares students for success on several levels. First and foremost, the study of foreign languages and literature is the foundation for critical thinking and communication. For the non-native student, our language courses develop the essential skills necessary to communicate in the target language and to gain access to another culture. For our Hispanic and Chinese students who possess mainly an oral command of their language, we offer Spanish and Chinese courses for heritage speakers, especially designed to improve their abilities in writing and speaking.
Second, by studying and learning another language, students learn by comparison about their own native language, its structures and syntax. It has been proven that second-language acquisition improves the student’s communication skills in his/her own language.
Third, our foreign literature and culture courses introduce students to diversity of thought and experience, teaching them how to synthesize and analyze literary texts and sociocultural documents. In the process, they gain perspective and judgment about their own culture.
Finally, the Modern Languages faculty brings to the teaching of Comparative Literature–the LTT series–a knowledge and experience of the original text that no other department can duplicate. Literary translations may often mislead; our intimate contact with the original language, however, prevents this, thereby adding to students’ understanding and enjoyment of the text.