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Learning a foreign language contributes to our education by providing an intimate exercise in cultural and linguistic concepts that open up new vistas. The Department of Modern Languages offers Arabic language courses for the purpose of general education and in support of other college programs, introducing the diverse and dynamic culture, writings, and traditions of Arab society from Africa to Asia.
Foreign language courses allow entry into the subjectivity of the language on its own cultural and linguistic grounds, allowing for a more profound redefinition of culture. The Department of Modern Languages provides Chinese language courses for the purpose of general education and in support of other college programs.
As part of the Department of Classics, the major and minor in Classics entails an education in both ancient Greek and Latin, focusing on the literature, history and culture of both ancient Greece and Rome. Whether through the art of poetry, the rhetoric of politics, the logic of philosophy, or the analysis of historiography, the study of Greek and Latin inculcates a lucidity of expression and a predilection for reason, as it inspires creativity, civic awareness, ethical behavior, and critical inquiry.
Students at Denison enjoy a curriculum in English that balances the need for broad introductory courses with abundant opportunities to focus on special topics. In our small classes, students find varied but uniformly passionate instruction in American, British, and world literature. And for more than 50 years, Denison students have studied the art and craft of creative writing through the Writing Program’s workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.
Our department provides a robust and creative program on cultures and literatures of France and the French-speaking world. In addition to the regular curriculum, we offer stimulating cultural activities, continual opportunities to improve linguistic aptitudes, and sustained intellectual challenge through our program in Martinique, as well as unique summer research projects. Our majors develop a superior knowledge of language and cultures. Some graduates continue their education in highly selective graduate programs, while others are successfully engaged in exciting roles around the world.
Many of the Western world’s most important works of literature, philosophy, music, art history, theology, psychology, chemistry, physics, engineering and medicine are written in German. Whether developing the four basic skills of aural comprehension, speaking, reading and writing, or examining culture, civilization, and literature, the study of German at Denison, within the Department of Modern Languages, provides an exercise in cultural and linguistic concepts that opens new vistas on the world.
Within the Department of Classics, the major and minor in Greek focuses on the language and culture of ancient Greece from the Mycenaean world of Olympian gods, kings and heroes, through the cultural and intellectual domination of the democracy of fifth century Athens, to the Hellenistic empire and legacy of Alexander the Great. The study of Greek enables students to read the original works that have defined western literature and philosophy, from the epics of Homer to the dialogues of Plato.
The Department of History seeks to develop in its students an appreciation for the richness, diversity and complexities of human history. In the course of their studies, students are exposed to a wide range of different historical periods and geographic regions, including courses on the history of America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Within the Department of Classics, the major and minor in Latin focuses on the language and culture of ancient Rome from its origins as a small village in central Italy, through its transformation into the capital of a Mediterranean and European empire, to its identity as the ‘eternal city’ and center of Christendom. The study of Latin enables students to read and comprehend a language that has defined a literate and educated citizen of western society since the Roman Empire of the Caesars.
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.
Philosophy challenges students to move beyond uncritical patterns of thought, to recognize problems, and to exchange a more naive world view for a more considered and justifiable one. In doing so, students learn to think in ways that are simultaneously both disciplined and imaginative.
Religion is an essential part of the humanistic studies in a liberal arts education. The study of religion is one way to establish a view of reality, and more specifically a view of the meaning of human existence as individuals and as social beings in relation to ultimate reality, however that reality is understood.