Department of Modern &
Classical Languages

University of Houston
613 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3006
Phone: 713-743-8350
Fax: 713-743-2693



Congratulations to French student Muhammad Mahdi who completed an internship at the French Consulate General of France!Mahdi

Muhammad worked in close collaboration with Mr. Frédéric Bontems, Consul General of France in Houston, and his assistant, Ms. Marie-Laure Reed, on a special project recognizing WWII American veterans who had served in France, and were awarded the Legion of Honor medal, one of the most prestigious awards given for services to the French Republic.

Click here for his statement about the experience. 

Join UH MCL and The Russian Cultural Center for Winter, Go Away!

Winter, Go Away! is a documentary film covering the largest anti-government protest in Moscow since the 1990s. It takes the film of 10 young directors that was accumulated over a two month period and chronicles the events of the popular uprising against Vladimir Putin’s presidential run. View the flyer for more information.

Hindi poetry recital program to promote minor in Indian studies

hindi poets

The Hindi program of the University of Houston, with the help and support from the Indian Students Association, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, and the India Studies program in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, organized a very successful and entertaining Hindi poetry recital on June 23 in the Agnes Arnold Hall auditorium 1.  This program was held to promote and develop awareness of the newly established India studies minor at the UH among students and the Indian community at large.  About 350 distinguished members and leaders of the Indian community attended the program.  Hindi instructor Arun Prakash introduced the three well known Hindi poets visiting Houston from India. Assistant Director of the India Studies program,  Ms. Anjali  Kanojia  welcomed the audience and  spoke about the IS program. The audience welcomed the good news and many prospective donors showed interest and support for the India Studies program.

Poets Mr. Manjit Singh, Mr. Ras Bihari Gaur and Mr. Mahendra Ajanabi entertained the audience for four and a half hours with poems in humor, satire and jokes about Indian politicians, politics and social changes India is going through. Guests were also served snacks and tea at the intermission. Net proceeds from the program were donated to the India Studies program.

Congratulations to Jesse SifuentesJesse Sifuentes

For the second time the Region of Lombardy-Italian Embassy conjoined program has chosen one of our students as a one-semester teacher of English in an Italian high school.

Congratulation to Jesse Sifuentes, UH Italian major. He was selected to go to Brescia, Italy, in the spring semester of 2013 as a high school English teacher: "My name is Jesse Sifuentes.  The Italian language has been my passion since childhood. My mother's parents came to America from Sicily in the 1950s, as a kid I wanted to be able to communicate with them in their language. Since then, I have been a student of the Italian language. I'm currently majoring in Italian Studies at the University of Houston.

Congratulations Alessio M. Giudice first WCL Master Program graduateGiudice Photo

The World Cultures and Literatures Graduate Program is proud to announce that Alessio M. Giudice, one of the first student to enroll in the WCL Master Program, was also the first to graduate. Even before the defense of his thesis Mr. Giudice was accepted in two Ph.D. programs. Mr. Giudice has chosen the University of Texas at Austin, Department of French and Italian, where he will pursue the Ph.D. in Italian, and we wish him good luck!

Guidice handshake


Claudine Giacchetti recipient of Ross M. Lence AwardGiacchetti photo

Claudine Giacchetti, Professor and Director of the French Program in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages received the 2012 Ross M. Lence Award in the Humanities. Professor Giacchetti is a scholar of Nineteenth-Century French literature and has written extensively on women writers of the Romantic period. Her third book, Poétique des Lieux, on post-revolutionary Memoirs, was published in France in 2009.

Professor Giacchetti has introduced francophone literature and cinema courses to the French curriculum, created and developed the Minor in French for Business-related Professions, and has taught a variety of courses using multi-media approaches, such as distance education “live TV” and hybrid delivery. Dr. Giacchetti has directed the French study-abroad program since 2003.  Every summer, this popular program takes more than 20 students on a “total immersion” experience at the Université Catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. 

Professor Giacchetti has also worked closely with the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Houston to provide French business internship opportunities to her students.  

Read more

Dante in Auschwitz: Primo Levi Reads the Canto of Ulysses by Prof. Carrera

Join the South West Chapter of ISSNAF under the auspices of the Italian Cultural and Community Center for the lecture by Professor Carrera.

When: Monday April 23rd, 2012 6:15 P.M.
Where: Avenue: ICCC Houston, 1101 Milford Houston, TX 77006

Download a copy of the flyer here.

Methods in Linguistic Anthropology

This course covers the multifaceted relationship between language and culture and the methodologies to examine these connections. Check out this course flyer for this WCL 4396 / WCL 6397 and ANTH 4301 / ANTH 6301 Summer IV class.

University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award

marquart photoDr. Sharon Marquart, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, is a recipient of the 2011-12 University of Houston Teaching Excellence Award. Dr. Marquart teaches cinema studies courses, courses on sexuality and gender, and on representations of the Holocaust and the experience of displacement and exile in literature and film in our World Cultures and Literatures program.

This past year, Dr. Marquart published  Les revenantes: Charlotte Delbo,la voix d'une communauté à jamais déportée (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2011), coauthored with David Caron, and an article on "Authoritative Witnessing and the Control of Memory: On Jorge Semprun's L'écriture ou la vie." (French Forum, 36.2-3, 2011).

UH Chinese Studies Program recieves STARTALK grant

Check out the article at The Daily Cougar.

Congratulations to Casey Dué Hackney on her award from the National Endowment for the Humanities for "Who Owns the Past?"

Casey Dué Hackney, Professor of Classical Studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, has been awarded an NEH Enduring Questions grant for her application "Who Owns the Past?". The Enduring Questions program sponsors the development of courses that "will foster intellectual community through the study of an enduring question. This course will encourage undergraduates and teachers to grapple with a fundamental question addressed by the humanities, and to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential thinkers over the centuries and into the present day." Dué Hackney's course will address the many questions inherent in the concept of "owning" the past. The course will be centered around case studies having to do with particular objects, but the students will also leave the course with a much broader understanding of the issues at stake. They will think about how and why history matters to us, what purposes historical narratives and artifacts serve, who gets to interpret them, and why. Class sessions will include far reaching discussions about why we care about the past, when and how we seek to control it or "possess" it, and the influence narratives about the past have on current conflicts. A running (but by no means the sole) theme of the course will be how the reception of the Homeric Iliad, combined with contemporary aesthetics and trends, influenced the mania for antiquities in different time periods. We will also debate what role the study of antiquity should play in a modern education.

Dué Hackney will develop the course this summer, and will offer it in Spring 2013 and again in Fall 2013.

Ugo di Portanova Endowed Scholarship in Italian Studies for master's candidates

The Ugo di Portanova Endowed Scholarship in Italian Studies, benefitting students earning master of art degrees in the World Cultures and Literatures, has been established in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Ugo di Portanova is a longtime supporter and patron of Italian Studies at the University. His first donation in 1988 contributed to the creation of the Italian major and an undergraduate financial scholarship bearing his name.

That scholarship - now in its 24th year of aiding students - covers expenses associated with sending up to four students each summer to the University for Foreigners in Siena, Italy. In 2003, Mr. di Portanova donated funds to establish the "Ugo di Portanova Lecture Series" to bring Italian scholars, authors and artists to the University campus.

Since that time, 17 Italian luminaries have shared their expertise as series lecturers.

The new gift of $50,000 creates a sustaining endowment and provides cash support for the Italian Studies Program's recruitment and retention of high-caliber student leaders.

Thanks to Ugo di Portanova's generosity, the UH Italian Studies Program continues to grow and flourish and deserving students are being provided with resources essential for their academic success.

The University, the College, the students and the entire community have greatly benefited from Ugo di Portanova's philanthropy, and we are very grateful for his continued support.

The next talk in the series is "The Ghost of Life: For a Genealogy of Bioethics" to be delivered by Rocco Ronchi, professor of Philosophy at University of L'Aquila, Italy, at 6 p.m. on March 7 in the Honors College Commons on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library.


Lecture by Rocco Ronchi

Rocco Ronchi is Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of L’Aquila and teaches Philosophy of Communication at the Bocconi University in Milan. A scholar of Bergson, Sartre, Bataille, Jankélévitch, and Lacan, he has written extensively on communication as the very foundation of philosophical enterprise. Recently he has also undertaken a critical analysis of the “philosophy of life.” Dr. Ronchi has translated works of Bergson, Sartre, Bataille, and Ignace J. Gelb into Italian, and he contributes to the cultural pages of Italian newspapers. His most recent books are Liberopensiero (2006), Filosofia della comunicazione (2008), Bergson (2011), and Come fare. Filosofia e resistenza (2012). His article, “The Ghost of Life,” co-written with Federico Leoni, is included in Italian Critical Theory (“Annali d’Italianistica,” 29, 2011), edited by Alessandro Carrera.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2012 – 6:00PM

This event has been made possible by the generosity of Ugo Di Portanova
Refreshments will be available

Download the Flyer


Film Flyer Header

March 1: A Screaming Man. Director: Mahamat -SalehHaroun (Chad / France: 2010)
Adam, a former swimming champion in his sixties, is a pool attendant at a hotel in Chad.
When the hotel gets taken over by new Chinese owners, he is forced to give up his job
to his son, Abdel, leaving Adam humiliated and resentful. Meanwhile the country is in
the throes of a civil war. Rebel forces are attacking the government and the authorities
demand the people contribute to the "war effort" with money or volunteers old enough to fight.
Introduction: Dr. Julie Tolliver, MCL

March 8: The Colors of the Mountain. Director: Carlos César Arbeláez (Colombia, 2010)
A modern-day portrayal of daily life in a remote part of the mountainous Colombian
countryside, set around the friendship between Manuel and Julián. One day, while
playing a game of football, they kick the ball into a minefield. Accompanied by Poca
Luz, they do everything they can to recover their prized belonging, an essential part of
their everyday lives and dreams. Introduction: Dr. Christina Sisk, Hispanic Studies

March 29: The Man of the Year. Director: Jose Henrique Fonesca (Brazil 2006)
Meet Maiquel (as Michael) in his incredible destiny: the unemployed car salesman
turned assassin-for-hire who becomes the owner of a highly successful security firm.
Based on the award-winning novel by Patricia Melo "O Matador" (Brazil 1995).
Introduction: Dr. Teresa Nunes, Hispanic Studies.

April 12: A Film Unfinished. Director: Yael Hersonski (Germany / Israel 2010).
Raw film material, shot by the Nazis in Warsaw in May 1942, and found in 1954 in East
German archives quickly became a resource for historians seeking an authentic record
of the Warsaw Ghetto. However, the later discovery of a long-missing reel complicates
earlier readings of the footage. A Film Unfinished presents the raw footage in its entirety,
carefully noting fictionalized sequences, and probes deep into the making of a nowinfamous
Nazi propaganda film. Introduction: Dr. Sandy Frieden, MCL.

April 19: Summer in Berlin. Director: Andreas Dresen (Germany: 2006)
This tragicomic movie focuses on two women and their daily
struggle for survival during a summer in Berlin. Katrin, a jobless
single mum, and Nike, a nurse, live in the same house and are
best friends. Although always dating the wrong men and still
pursuing for happiness, they don't lose their humor and spend
many nights together on Nike's balcony, drinking and
chatting. Introduction: Dr. Hildegard Glass, MCL

Download a copy of the flyer here.


Reverberations of Sexual Dissonance: Colonial Nostalgia and Myth in Contemporary French Cinema

A public lecture by Dr. Lowry Martin, Assistant Professor of French, University of Texas-El Paso

Sponsored by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Thursday November 17, 4-5:30 PM Agnes Arnold Hall Room 15

Dr. Martin’s research interests include the intersections of law and literature, French colonial narratives and cultural history as well as French and Francophone film. His current research explores the ways that narratives of colonial trials reflected and contested various ideologies behind France’s civilizing mission.


Global Cinema Series

This film series covers contemporary, independent movies from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. It is free and open to the public. Check out the flyer.

September 22: The Way I Spent the End of the World. Director: Catalin Mitulescu (Rumania, 2006)
  Bucharest during the last year of Ceausescu's dictatorship. Eva (17) accidentally breaks a bust of Ceausescu, is forced to confess her crime and expelled from school. After Eva escapes Romania, her 7- year-old brother plots with his friends from school to kill the dictator. Introduction: Dr. Sharon Marquart, MCL

October 6: In Love We Trust. Director: Xiaoshuai Wang (China 2007).
    Divorced couple leans that the only way to save their daughter who is suffering from a blood disease is to have another child. A story of parenthood, love, marriage, betrayal, trust and giving that touches upon changes in contemporary society and family life. Introduction: Dr. Marshall McArthur, MCL.

October 20: A Peck on the Cheek. Director: Mani Ratnam (India 2002). When Amudha learns on her ninth birthday that she has been adopted, she insists on searching for her biological mother. The search takes the family into strife-torn Sri Lanka. Introduction: Dr. Michael Adair Kriz, MCL.

October 27: Harvest Time Director: Marina Razbezhkina (Russia, 2004).
       Intimate and affectionate portrait of a hardship-wracked collective farming family in the Soviet Union of 1950. The director will be present at the screening and introduce the film.

November 3: A Matter of Size. Director: Erez Tadmor (Israel 2009)
  A group of fat people from the Israeli city of Ramla is fed up with the sanctity of diets. They leave their diet workshop and discover the world of sumo wrestling where people like them are honored and appreciated. Introduction: Kenneth Weiss, Religious Studies/Hillel

Time: 5:45-8:00 PM

Location: 105-SEC

MCL congratulates ALISON MARCOM

Alison Marcom, German major in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages has been selected for the Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers at the Holocaust Museum Houston: "The Warren Fellowship for Future Teachers is a week-long program that introduces university students preparing for a career in teaching to the history and to the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides. Participants attend a six-day, all-expense-paid institute designed to immerse the Fellows in historical and pedagogical issues related to the Holocaust."

Congratulations Alison!



After competing with more than 550 applicants nationwide, Carlos Valenzuela, a junior at the University of Houston majoring in Communications was selected for the highly competitive Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange For Young Professionals Programm and will spend a year in Germany. The program, "is a full-year work-study scholarship program with a strong focus on cultural exchange. CBYX annually provides 75 young Americans with an understanding of everyday life, education, and professional training in Germany. The program begins in July and includes two months of intensive German language training in Germany (no prior German language knowledge required), four months of classroom instruction at a German university or college of applied sciences, and a five-month internship in a participant's career field." (

Carlos has taken German language classes in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages at UH and his appreciation and admiration for the German culture and language as well as his interest in the history and political developments of Europe led him to apply for this program. His goals are to pursue a career as a television journalist or as a diplomat for the United States He is looking forward to his experiences in Germany which will be important in his professional and personal development.

Chinese Government Scholarship

This prestigious scholarship is offered to students in American educational institutions by the Chinese Ministry of Education via the Consulate General of PRC in Houston. The scholarship is intended to strengthen the educational exchanges and cooperation between China and United States. It provides a full scholarship to study in China for one year. The scholarship recipient may choose a university in China.

This scholarship provides registration fee, tuition, laboratory fee , internship and learning materials. It also provides accommodation, monthly living allowance, and a one-off settlement subsidy. Furthermore, it covers outpatient medical service and insurance.

This scholarship is highly competitive. Scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated academic excellence in, and significant commitment to, the study of Chinese.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Preference will be given to students who have declared majors or minors in Chinese Studies and who are juniors or seniors.
  • Overall minimum GPA of 2.75.
  • Overall minimum Chinese GPA of 3.25.
  • Applicants should currently be full time students at the University of Houston.

Application process:

  • Submit 3 copies of the “CHINESE GOVERNMENT SCHOLARSHIP from the Ministry of Education of P.R. China APPLICATION FORM”.
  • Submit 3 copies of the candidate’s personal statement in English, stating the

reasons for the application. (limit 1 page)

  • Submit 1 copy of a recent transcript.

The deadline to submit the application is Feb. 25, 2011. Please submit your complete application to MCL department 613AH or to your Chinese course instructor.

Download Application Form


Public lecture by Sabine Hake

CLASS students and faculty are invited to a public lecture by Sabine Hake, Professor and Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture, Department of Germanic Studies, University of Texas at Austin, on "The Fascist Imaginary in Postfascist Cinema" on November 3, 2010, 4-5:30 PM in SEC 105. She will talk about the "Third Reich" in European and American Films.

The lecture is sponsored by the German and World Culture and Literatures programs of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

For more information download the flyer