2023-2024 Pitzer Catalog 
    Jun 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Pitzer Catalog

Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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At Pitzer College, Field Groups (similar to a discipline or department) organize major requirements and courses.

Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures is a multidisciplinary field group encompassing curriculum and programing in both languages and cultures and in writing. We invite students to see languages and literacies as social practices.  Based on the assumption that communication is always situated, the field group-across its domains of interdisciplinary expertise-engages students to speak, write, and read within communities of practice as co-producers of knowledges. In praxis- and community-based courses in languages, writing, and teaching, students investigate the cultural production, circulation, and uses of communicative practices, exploring how language shapes and is shaped by its diverse practitioners. Students are also equipped with skills to participate meaningfully in the intellectual life of the college and beyond and to reflect critically on the ways in which language mediates identity, power, and culture.


Languages and Cultures


International Scholars Program

Spanish, Portuguese, and French at Pitzer

Pitzer offers language and culture courses in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Our program focuses on Latin America and the Caribbean, offering courses that approach a variety of sociocultural issues and their intersections from interdisciplinary perspectives. Course topics include environmental issues, popular culture, migration, race, gender, politics, journalism, public health, music, urban culture, literature, and visual and performing arts. 

A community-based approach

Our program is distinctive within the consortium and nationally because of our community-based approach to teaching and learning. Our guiding principle is the deceivingly simple idea that language is a social practice. We believe that students learn and develop cultural competency and global citizenship skills by interacting with communities of speakers. These interactions are local and global. For over 20 years, students have been interacting with local Hispanic families through our Spanish Community-Based Practicum. Our lower-division Spanish students also have the opportunity to develop proficiency through interactions with their Spanish heritage speaker peers who are fellows at the Fletcher Jones Language and Culture Lab. Globally, our virtual learning communities connect our students with English learners in Spain, the French Caribbean, Brazil, and several Spanish-speaking communities throughout Latin America. 

Teaching Standards

In addition to these local and global community-based components, our program has a rigorous approach to second language acquisition that is rooted in state-of-the art pedagogical approaches. We follow the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) standards in all our curricular design and assessment efforts. Our program is rooted in these standards and is proficiency oriented, which means that our goals and objectives for student learning promote intercultural communication based on what students “can do” with the language in meaningful and real-world contexts. All our language faculty are trained in ACTFL standards and engage in professional development to be up to date in best practices in second language acquisition and teaching. 


Spanish Major
Spanish + Portuguese Major
Spanish Minor

We offer a Spanish major with three tracks (Spanish Language and Literature, Spanish Language and Cultures, and Interdisciplinary Studies in Spanish), a Spanish minor, a major in which students combine Spanish and Portuguese, and a minor in Portuguese. 

Portuguese Minor

The Portuguese Program at the 5Cs is a collaboration between Pitzer and CMC. The program focuses on Brazil, the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world. Pitzer has a direct-run summer program in Salvador da Bahia hosted by our community partner the Steve Biko Cultural Institute


Pitzer is part of the 5C Northern French Program (Pitzer, Scripps, and CMC). The focus of Pitzer’s French curriculum is the French speaking Caribbean. We partner with the Université des Antilles to offer students opportunities to engage with French speakers in Guadeloupe and Martinique. 

Other language offerings at the 5Cs

Courses in Italian, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Russian, and German are also available to students through the consortium. Students have the option of working with language faculty advisors at Pitzer to discuss designing Special Majors combining one of the languages taught at Pitzer with other languages available through the consortium. 



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