Department of French and Italian

College of Letters & Science


Welcome to Department of French and Italian 


Known for our particular intellectual atmosphere of exceptional quality and openness, we have long been recognized for our leadership in literary and critical scholarship, teaching excellence, and pedagogical research and training. We have a long tradition of internationalizing our curriculum, from our decades-old study abroad programs in Italy and the French-speaking world to our doctoral-level research exchanges to our professional master's curricula and required internships.  


  • High School students learn about all things Italian during World Languages Day
  • High School students learn about 'French for Careers' during World Languages Day
  • Join us for a panel discussion on the first round of the French Presidential Election on 4/25 at 4pm!
  • New exhibit at Memorial Library celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the GAFIS Symposium
  • Visitors from Badger High School in Lake Geneva - sous le soleil!

Latest News

April 7, 2017

Italian Ph.D. graduate student, Caitlin Schaer, was recently interviewed about the Cinetica Italiana film series on WORT.  You can listen to the full interview here.


March 7, 2017

FRIT faculty and programs featured in recent Badger Herald article that discusses the benefits of non-native vs native foreign language instructors. 


February 28, 2017

"Language Study as a National Imperative" - American Academy of Arts and Sciences makes the case for increasing foreign language learning capacity in a political climate that's increasingly anti-global. 


February 20, 2017 

Celebrate Mardi Gras with a King Cake (aka "Galette des rois") made from scratch by French House Chef Karen! Order yours here by Friday, Feb 24!


February 15, 2017

Very proud of undergraduate French student and WI Idea Fellowship recipient, Swetha Saseedhar, for her work with a team of UW students who completed a comprehensive study of poverty in Dane, Jefferson, and Waukesha counties. Recent article


February 3, 2017

The department's Professional French Masters Program (PFMP) brings pro translators to its master's skills workshops - read the article here!


January 11, 2017

Congratulations to Lauren Goodspeed who is the recipient of a 2017 Campus-Wide TA Award for Innovation in Teaching. Thank you for your contributions to the French program at UW-Madison, Lauren, and kudos on this well deserved recognition!


Read More

Outreach & Events

Apr 24, 2017
Event Type: 

La vita che vorrei

7pm, Education L196

Apr 26, 2017
Event Type: 

This seminar will feature presentations of ongoing scholarly work by the graduate students, academic staff and faculty of the department, and a lively discussion following.  The languages will be English, French and Italian.  Discussion will be held in English.

Apr 28, 2017
Event Type: 

This symposium will support the development of future educational innovation in a global context, teaching and learning with technology, deepen and expand scholarly relationships with a strategic partner of UW.

Intellectual Endeavors

Le vivant, l’informe et le dégoût: Baudelaire, Flaubert et l’art de la (dé)composition

Baudelaire and Flaubert were both attracted to the question of the shapeless and the aesthetic challenges it raises. In more ways than one, the poem “Une charogne”, as well as the misadventures of Bouvard and Pécuchet, faced with putrescent matter, fall within the aesthetics of disgust. The shapeless and putrefaction also serve as a springboard for a claim to formal mastery aiming to make the filthy give birth to the beautiful. In Flaubert’s case, the mention of decomposed matter promotes an aesthetic ideal of autogenesis that echoes Félix-Archimède Pouchet’s theories on spontaneous generation.