The research and scholarly traditions housed in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures are largely unrelated to commonplace understandings of the English word, ‘romance’. Rather, the Romance traditions (which in our department comprise French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese languages) are rooted in Latin. They refer to the vernaculars (Romanice) of the geopolitical expanses of the former Roman empire, including its past and present cultural, linguistic, literary, political and socio-economic legacies, not only in reference to Europe but also to a good part of the planet. In RLL these expanses are conveyed via the conceptual traditions and ongoing innovations of French and Francophone Studies, Iberian Studies, Latinex Studies, Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Linguistics, and Luso-Portuguese Studies.
Our departmental research offers true international and comparative studies that encompass the geopolitical histories of Africa and its diaspora, the Americas both North and South, the Pacific, and Europe from medieval times to the post-medieval era of linguistic, economic, political, cultural, religious and racial expansionism (colonialism and the origins of racial capitalism etc); nation-state and culture formation in the modern era of independence, decolonization, and ‘emancipation’; the unequal and uneven development of modern forms of cultural, institutional , literary, filmic and linguistic representation; and the ever-migrating, diasporic complexities of ‘globalization’ experienced over the course of the last half-century.
RLL Research offers sophisticated, interdisciplinary, methodologically multifaceted, geographically and culturally diverse areas of study grounded in international awareness and in the never-ending reappraisal of common-sense understandings of language, literature, foreignness, home, image, politics, culture, sexuality, history, race, religion, patriarchy, heteronormativity, border, belonging etc etc.
For all of the above, RLL Research is intimately related to the examination of the diverse histories of human consciousness and its frontiers, from the medieval period to the present.