The study of international languages and literatures celebrates its 50th anniversary and has a new name at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures is now the Department of World Languages and Literatures.
The world language experience at UAB includes classroom learning, scholarship and research, experiential learning, and extracurricular opportunities. Academic programs are offered in French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and more, and are rooted in diversity within and across cultures. The department’s mission is to educate, motivate and inspire students to interact with people from other nations and cultures in a multiplicity of languages. Faculty and staff strive to develop linguistically proficient and culturally competent individuals who think critically and communicate effectively in local, national and global communities.
Julián Arribas, Ph.D., chair of the Department of World Languages and Literatures. “We are a young institution, and yet, the Department of World Languages and Literatures has already added and phased out several languages at different times; changed its name a few times, as well as its physical location; enrolled thousands of students in its courses; and graduated hundreds more with a language major or minor. We all, past and present faculty and administrators, have moved the department forward in waves of progress, to meet the demands of the times.”“We have passed a 50-year milestone,” said
Faculty are commemorating the occasion with a cookbook, filled with 70 original recipes contributed by them and their friends and family. Recipes include croquetas, gazpacho, paella, tortilla Española, burrata cheese with figs and pesto, sangria, cordon bleu, boeuf bourguignon, spätzle, Japanese deep-fried marinated chicken, tonkatsu, arepa, and more.
The cookbook will be revealed at a special event for alumni, students, donors and others to launch the 50th anniversary celebration and highlight the name change.The 50th anniversary of the UAB Department of World Languages and Literatures inaugural celebration will be from 3-5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, in the University Hall Auditorium. The department will also unveil a new department anthem and invite alumni to come to campus and speak.
The department’s faculty created this cookbook to share with readers a small piece of their identity, Arribas says. The Department of World Languages and Literatures has courses on food in several languages, in which students are invited to learn language through culture and culture through language.
“Experts consider food a strong and defining element of cultural identity,” Arribas said. “Those who have ever participated in a study abroad experience will genuinely understand the meaning of this statement. Now we would like to share this cookbook with our friends and guests, and with those willing to take an international culinary adventure with us.”
Learn more about degrees in the UAB Department of World Languages and Literatures here.
The department was established in 1972 with the name Modern Foreign Languages. Housed in a division of humanities within the School of Arts and Sciences, it offered Bachelor of Arts degrees in French, German and Spanish, minors in these languages, and an additional program in Russian. Classical Languages formed a separate unit. In 1973, the name of the department changed to Foreign Languages and Literatures. In 1979, the name shifted again, this time to Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures. In 1986, the name returned to the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. The department continued to offer B.A. degrees in French, German and Spanish, minors in these languages, and a program in Russian. Most recently, a concentration in Applied Professional Spanish and another in Japanese language have been added to the departmental offerings.