Studying modern languages at Denison
Learning a foreign language provides an exercise in cultural and linguistic concepts that open up new vistas on what it can mean to be human. Foreign language courses allow entry into the subjectivity of the target language on its own cultural and linguistic grounds, allowing for a more profound redefinition of culture.
Our basic courses offer the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the eventual mastery of a foreign language. Students can then use the target language in subsequent courses dealing with the foreign culture. For the most part, courses are conducted in the foreign language, as students can best appreciate a foreign culture from within its own mode of expression.
A student wishing to spend a summer, a semester, or a year abroad with programs approved by Denison should consult members of the department and the Office of Off-Campus Studies.
Each semester the department offers students opportunities for cultural enrichment in foreign languages. Thanks to the Patty Foresman Fund, generously endowed by the John B. Hutchins family, the Department of Modern Languages can provide its students with exceptional experiences usually available only through study-abroad programs. These opportunities include off-campus trips to target-culture plays, movies, and performances, as well as campus visits by native scholars and performers.
Additional opportunities for students to improve their command of the language are provided on the campus by the Multimedia Language Learning Center, language tables and language clubs.
The department sponsors a magazine for the language arts, Collage. Students are encouraged to contribute poetry, prose and artwork.
The Modern Languages Major and Minor
The modern languages department offers majors and minors in French, German and Spanish. It also offers courses in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese for the purpose of general education and support of other college programs.
Students majoring in French, German or Spanish must take a minimum of nine courses beyond the entry level course. Students are encouraged to fulfill some of their upper level course requirements abroad.
Senior German majors are required to complete a senior project in the context of a 300 level course.
Senior Spanish majors can petition to do a full-year senior research project.
Students minoring in French must take six courses beyond FR 211.
A student minoring in German must take at least three advanced language courses above the 211 level, one literature course and one course in area studies.
A student minoring in Spanish must take at least five courses above the 213 level, including three required courses at the 200 level and two electives at the 300 or 400 level.
With a view toward career opportunities, the department encourages integrating foreign language study with a variety of other academic areas, which present multiple perspectives on other cultures and areas of intellectual experience.
What do modern languages majors do after Denison?
A major in a language provides students with a range of skills that serve them well in many career fields. Language majors have continued on to law and business schools. Some students continue on to do graduate work in their language or related fields.
Other students have moved directly into the job market, seeking careers in fields such as advertising, investment banking, publishing and sales.
Who are our professors?
- Professor Xinda Lian, Chair of the Department, joined the department in 1994 and teaches Chinese. He earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan. His research interests include Chinese poetry, Song Dynasty culture, and early texts of Philosophical Daoism. He has supervised senior research and summer research on Chinese literature and Chinese cinema.
- French Teaching Assistant Lorraine Ajavon joined the department in 2012. She earned her Licence and Maîtrise at the Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV) in Paris, France.
- Assistant Professor Hanada Al-Masri joined the department in 2012 and teaches Arabic. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Jordan, Jordan and her Ph.D. degree from Purdue University, Indiana. Her research interests include linguistics, pragmatics and Translation studies (with a focus on literary translation).
- Associate Professor Christine Armstrong joined the faculty at Denison in 1992 and teaches French. She earned her D.E.U.G. and Licence from the Université de Franche-Comté, her M.A. from Miami University and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. Her research interests include 20th century French literature and medieval French literature. Armstrong also directs the Denison French Summer Program in Besançon.
- Visiting Instructor Stephanie Aubry joined the department in 2012 and teaches Portuguese. She earned her B.A. from U. of Central Florida, a B.A. and M.A. from Southern Illinois U. and she is a Ph.D. candidate at The Ohio State U.
- Associate Professor Mónica Ayala-Martínez joined the faculty at Denison in 1997 and teaches Portuguese and Spanish. She earned her B.A. from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, her B.A. from Universidad de Antioquia, her M.A. from West Virginia University and her Ph.D. from the University of Miami. Her research interests include Hispanic (particularly Brazilian) literature, culture and history.
- Professor Gary Baker joined the faculty at Denison in 1989 and teaches German. He earned his B.A. from Juniata College, his M.A. from Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. His research interests include Germany, Netherlandic topics and Henriette Roland Holst-van der Schalk.
- Assistant Professor Jason Busic joined the department in 2012 and teaches Spanish. He earned his B.A. and M.A. from Ohio U and his Ph.D. degree from The Ohio State U. Professor Busic studies medieval and early modern Iberia with a focus on cultural studies. His principal area of investigation focuses on intellectual and ideological engagement between Christians and Muslims.
- Visiting Assistant Professor Mirela Butnaru joined the faculty at Denison in 2011 and teaches Spanish. She earned her B.A. from The Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, her M.A. from U. of Western Ontario and is doctoral candidate in Modern Languages and Cultural Studies from University of Alberta, Canada. Her research interests focus on 20th century revolutionary literature, testimonial literature, and indigenous cultural productions with emphasis on Central America, especially on Nicaragua.
- Assistant Professor Isabelle Choquet joined the department in 2012 and teaches French. She earned her Licence LLCE and Maitrise Licence from the Université de Poitiers, her M.A. from Michigan State U. and her Ph.D. from the U. of Virginia. Her teaching and research interests include Francophone literatures and cultures and New World Studies.
- Emerita Professor of French, Judy Cochran joined the faculty at Denison in 1984. She earned her B.A. from Smith College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. Her research interests include contemporary French poetry, literary translation and Andrée Chedid.
- Associate Professor Gabriele Dillmann joined the faculty at Denison in 2000 and teaches German. She earned a B.A. at Ruprecht-Karls-Universitat Heidelberg, Germany and a B.A. at California State University, Sacramento and her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include German Romanticism, Psychoanalysis and the study of death and suicide in literature and cultural studies.
- Professor Susan Paun de García joined the faculty at Denison in 1987 and teaches Spanish. She earned her B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include 17th century Spanish prose and theater and early 18th-century Spanish theater and zarzuela.
- Associate Professor Dosinda García-Alvite joined the faculty at Denison in 2003 and teaches Spanish. She earned her B.A. at Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, her M.A. at Eastern Michigan University and her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include 20th century peninsular Spanish literature, literature and cultures of Equatorial Guinea, film, culture and women's studies.
- Assistant Professor Véronica González López joined the department in 2008 and teaches Spanish. She earned a B.A. from the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain, a M.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests include generative syntactic theory, bilingualism and contact.
- Visiting Associate Professor Richard J. Gray II joined the faculty at Denison in 2012 and teaches French. He earned his B.A. from Eastern Michigan University, his M.A. from Purdue University and his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to French literary studies and French radio-television-film studies.
- Assistant Professor Minggang Li joined the department in 2009 and teaches Chinese and Japanese. He earned a B.A. and M.A. from Peking University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.
- Asistant Professor Francisco López-Martín joined the department in 2010 and teaches Spanish. He earned a B.A. from the Universidad de Huelva, Spain; a M.A. from the U. of Western Ontario and a Ph.D. from Duke University.
- Visiting Assistant Professor Bobby Nixon joined the department in 2011 and teaches Spanish. He earned his B.A. from U. of North Carolina and an M.A. from U. of California, Davis.
- Emeritus Professor of French, Charles O'Keefe, joined the faculty at Denison in 1975. He earned his B.A. from St. Peter's College and his Ph.D. from Duke University. His research specialties are French literature and André Gide, and his publications include work on Stendhal, Léopold Senghor, André Gide, and Patrick Modiano. He has also directed a number of junior-year programs in France.
- Visiting Assistant Professor Eva Revesz joined the department in 2010 and teaches German. She earned a B.A. from Wayne State University, a M.A. from Ludwig-Maximilian-Universitat, Munchen and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.
- Visiting Assistant Professor Iliana Rosales-Figueroa joined the department in 2012 and teaches Spanish. She earned her B.A. from the Universidad Veracruzana, her M.A. from the U. of Missouri and her Ph.D. from the U. of Cincinnati. Professor Rosales-Figueroa's research interests include Comparative studies on Hispanic and Francophone Caribbean literatures with an emphasis on the representation of power, resistance, and space. Her research agenda also focuses on postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and 20th and 21st century Latin American fiction.
- Visiting Professor Marie-Madeleine Stey teaches French and Spanish. She earned a Licence en Philologie Romane from the University of Louvain, Belgium and a Ph.D. in French language and literature from The Ohio State University. In her research, she is a medievalist working on Occitan and French literature.
- Associate Professor Michael S. Tangeman joined the faculty at Denison in 2001 and teaches Japanese. He earned his B.A. at Denison University and his M.A. and Ph.D at Ohio State University. His research interests include Japanese literature.
- Visiting Instructor Elizabeth Tatko joined the department in 2007 and teaches Spanish.
- Teaching Assistant Dongqian Zhao joined the department in 2012 and teaches Chinese.
For more information about the department and curriculum, go to:
Xinda Lian, Chair
Department of Modern Languages
Fellows Hall, Room 301
Granville, Ohio 43023
Phone: (740) 587-6422
Fax: (740) 587-6772