Language, Literature and Culture

Greek Tablet

The National Imagination: Our Core Course

"The National Imagination" (CMLT 130) is the Department's core course, providing insight into our approach to fundamental questions of language and national cultures. The course is required for students majoring in French, Spanish, Combined Languages and Comparative Literature.

National languages and cultures promote the identity of particular communities.  The National Imagination looks at those subjective expressions of culture—images, symbols, narratives—which lead people to feel that they are members of the communities we call nations.

Students are trained to examine the nature of the national imagination as an idea that has shaped modern cultures. The course looks at a variety of cultural texts and contexts, including literature and the arts, news, and film.

The National Imagination is taught each spring semester, with a team of three professors focusing on the "imagined communities" that we call national cultures. A variety of different faculty have taught this course and will continue to do so, in order to give students the opportunity to look at as many different cultures as possible.