Michigan State University
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Romance and Classical Studies
Romance and Classical Studies


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Welcome to Romance and Classical Studies at Michigan State University! Our department fosters knowledge of the human experience as expressed historically and globally in the Romance and Classical languages. Together, students and faculty study French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish and the cultures throughout the world where they are spoken and written, as well as the classical languages and cultural heritage of Greece and Rome. We enable students to become proficient in these languages, literatures and cultures, and to think critically about their world.

Our department offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in French and Spanish; undergraduate minors in French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and in Classical and Ancient Mediterranean Studies; and Teacher Certifications in French, Italian, Latin and Spanish. Graduate study leads to Master of Arts degrees in French Studies, Hispanic Literatures and Spanish as a Second or Bilingual Language, as well as to Doctoral degrees in French Studies and Hispanic Cultural Studies. Our students develop and apply their knowledge and skills through the extracurricular activities and study abroad opportunities in Europe and Latin America.

 Vision Statement

As part of its vision, Romance and Classical Studies aims to become recognized as a national leader in innovative research and teaching while preserving the values of the core curriculum. To this end, we will:

  1. Advance and disseminate linguistic, literary, and cultural research on Ancient Greece and Rome and the Romance world, their complex legacies and transnational ramifications. The range of this research addresses the diversity of human experience by considering the individual and social issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and geopolitical identity, as expressed in language and culture.
  2. Form engaged citizens who participate critically in local and global communities and who navigate the world's ever-changing dynamics by furthering students' cultural understanding through broad and rigorous curricular initiatives.
  3. Create collaborative initiatives that not only generate digital cultural products but also critically examine such products.
  4. Strengthen pedagogical and research connections between our undergraduate and graduate programs within and across disciplines.




Safoi.jpgThe award-winning documentary feature and 2017 MSU production Growing up Hmong at the Crossroads, directed by Professor Safoi Babana-Hampton was screened at the Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, on September 19, 2017, as part of its fall programming, followed by a panel discussion.  This event was sponsored by the University of Michigan. 

This transnational film is a 2017 production of Michigan State University in partnership with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Humanities Without Walls Consortium, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Institutional and international project partners include Indiana University, the University of Michigan, the Musée de l'Histoire de l'Immigration (France) and the Collège d'Études Mondiales (France).  To know more about the film,visit: http://growinguphmong.com


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Congratulations to RCS faculty members who have been awarded 2017-2018 Collaborative Initiative Grants from the College of Arts and Letters. The projects are Migration Studies Cluster (Professors G. Alfaraz, M. Cabañas, D. Méndez, B. VanPatten);  Picturing Others: Indigenous Photography, (Self) Portraits, Preservation and Epistemic Desobedience (Professors S. Babana-Hampton, R. Quispe-Agnoli in collaboration with Professors C. Keller and L. Smith, Art, Art History and Design), and Syntax for Second Language Professionals (Professor Adolfo Ausín in collaboration with Professor Patti Spinner, Second Language Studies). 


frey.jpgCongratulations to Jon Frey, Associate Professor of Classics and Art History, has received the 2017 Faculty Leadership Award from the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University. This award seeks to recognize faculty who go beyond the routine tasks, are generous in sharing insights, and provide hard work and mentorship to others that creates excellence and vision in programs and departments



rocio.jpgLatest Book and Book  Award: The latest book by Professor Rocío Quispe-Agnoli was published last spring: Women’s Negotiations and Textual Agency in Latin America, 1500-1799  (Routledge 2017) is a collection of essays on colonial women’s writings, edited with Professor M. Díaz (University of Kentucky).  In addition, her 2016 book, Nobles de papel, received the 2017 LASA-Peru Flora Tristán Book Award for being “an innovative study that fits well in the current global critical situation characterized by immigration bans and women’s claims on gender equality” and for its “remarkable interdisciplinary method.” More information: http://www.cal.msu.edu/news/bookaward  


safoi.jpgCongratulations to Safoi Babana-Hampton, Associate Professor of French, for receiving the Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Universe Multicultural Film Festival, in Palos Verdes, CA, a festival dedicated to bridging cultures and people through film. Her film, Hmong Memory at the Crossroads weaves the stories of three generations of Hmong refugees in the Midwest and France. This film is a 2015 production of Michigan State University, in partnership with the Humanities Without Walls Consortium, based at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Trailer: https://vimeo.com/138744767


BVPFINALCOVER.jpgCongratulations Bill VanPatten, Professor of Spanish, for his most recent book publication. Bill VanPatten is an international scholar of second language acquisition and second language teaching. In this book, he uses an accessible and conversational style to present six principles that underlie contemporary language teaching. The principles are related to the nature of communication, the nature of language, the nature of acquisition, the role of input, the role of tasks, and what is called "focus on form." In addition, the second edition of his 2015 book "Key Terms in Second Language Acquisition" has been translated to Japanese. 



Student News

jonathan.jpgCongratulations to Jonathan Montalvo, for the successful defense of his Doctoral Dissertation "Rhetoric of Imitation: Sexual Identity and Race in Contemporary Dominican and Puerto Rican Cultural Production" under the guidance of Professor Danny Méndez. In fall of 2017, Jonathan starts a position as Assistant Professor of Spanish at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa. 




Co-Chair Announcement

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It is our pleasure to announce that Professor Rocío Quispe-Agnoli has been appointed Interim Co-Chair of the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. The 12-month appointment is effective August 16, 2017 through August 15, 2018. 

As Interim Co-Chair of MSU’s Department of Romance and Classical Studies, Quispe-Agnoli will work together with Co-Chair Doug Noverr to serve as the chief representatives of the department. 

Quispe-Agnoli will also serve as the chair of the Executive Planning Committee (EPC), which will lead Phase 3 of the planning of the School of Language Sciences and Literary and Cultural Studies.

Please welcome Rocío to her new position.


 RCS Past News 

RCS Language Help Rooms Spring 2017 TBA

CeLTA B-135 Wells Hall

Main Office Contact Info:

Romance and Classical Studies
619 Red Cedar Road
Wells Hall B-331
East Lansing, MI 48824

P: (517) 355-8350
F: (517) 432-2736

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