Department of French and Italian

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French Alumni publish textbook for language & lit classes

May 30, 2018

Elizabeth Berglund Hall, Anne Theobald, and Mark Hall, all UW-Madison French Ph.D. alumni, are co-authors (with James Pfrehm, German) of TEXTURES, a new textbook for the transition from language to literature and culture-centered courses. The book just appeared with Yale University Press, and is available for purchase and use at

 “Language proficiency emerges not solely as mastery of discrete skills, but also through one’s ability to express ideas fully in a variety of cultural contexts. This innovative French-language textbook employs a holistic approach that integrates listening, reading, writing, and conversation—placing communication at the heart of the learning experience. It provides intermediate-level students with the interpretive tools necessary for literary and cultural studies. There are interactions with a variety of texts and media, including short stories, poems, essays, images, and podcasts.”

Italian Students Embody the Wisconsin Idea

May 2, 2018

Undergraduate and graduate students in this semester's ITALIAN 450 class took on an interesting project: translate Carlo Goldoni's comedic play La familia dell'antiquario, or The Antiquarian's Family, into English. Inspired by an article about the UW-Madison professor who founded the original Wisconsin Dramatic Society, which produces lesser known and foreign plays, Professor Stefania Buccini developed the course for advanced undergraduate students and native Italian graduate students. The class has spent the entire semester translating Goldoni's play, first from Venetian dialect to modern Italian, and then from Italian to English. The English-language translation will allow Goldoni's work to reach a larger Wisconsin audience - a great example of the Wisconsin Idea in action!  Read the full article here

Course on Machiavelli Reaches Across Departments & Programs

April 5, 2018

ITALIAN 365: Machiavelli and His World is a three credit course that introduces students to the major works of Machiavelli through the close reading of his writings in cultural and historical contexts. Offered jointly with Political Science, Integrated Liberal Studies, and Literature in Translation, the course aims to cultivate in students a broad understanding of Machiavelli's principal intellectual attitudes, a deeper understanding of his literary sensibility, and the ability to articulate controversies and complexities surrounding his thought. Offered Fall 2018, MW 4:30 - 5:45 PM. Instructor: Kristin Phillips-Court.

New French course connects Literature and Medicine

March 28, 2018

This 3 credit course, taught in French, will examine "Les maux et let mots: La médecine et la culture de Molière à Mesmer" / "Woes and Words: Medicine and Culture from Molière to Mesmer." Using the tools of both cultural history and close literary analysis, this course will survey the interactions between literature and medicine in the eighteenth century, the period commonly known as the Enlightenment. FRENCH 464 is designed to provide a capstone-like experience for undergraduate French majors and certificate students, as well as to meet medical school requirements for a literature course, including the required writing component (a substantial final term paper that entails some research). Offered Fall 2018, TR 4:45 - 6:00 PM. Instructor: Anne Vila.

Online Course Option for Summer

March 22, 2018

Looking to earn some credit this summer? Whether you're on campus or off, Littrans 360: French and Italian Renaissance Literature Online is an ideal course for summer! It's flexible (take it anywhere, anytime), simple (no midterm or final), and fun (creative and optional extra credit opportunities). This 3 credit, intermediate course will run from June 18 through August 12. More information available in Course Guide. 

Canadian Author Kim Thúy to Visit FRIT

March 7, 2018

During her visit to campus on Monday, March 12, Canadian author Kim Thúy will present "de l'écriture migrante à l'écriture transculturelle"  followed by a reading of excerpts from her book "Ru" from 4:00 to 6:00pm at the French House. Born in Saigon, Thúy and her family left Vietnam to live in Québec when she was 10 years old. Throughout her career, Thúy has worked as a designer, interpreter, lawyer, restaurateur, and food commentator for radio and television. She holds degrees in translation and law and currently resides in Montréal. 

Keith Busby elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America

January 23, 2018

Emeritus Professor of French Keith Busby was recently elected Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America. Founded in 1925, the Academy is the largest organization in the US promoting medieval studies, and supports research, publicatioin, and teaching in all aspects of the Middle Ages. Fellows are scholars who have made notable contributions to the mission of the Academy. Congratulations, Keith!

Student Data, LinkedIn, & Alumni Expertise

January 10, 2018

The Department of French and Italian would like to congratulate Professor and Chair Gilles Bousquet and PhD student Lindsey Smith on their presentation at the MLA National Convention in New York City in early January.  The presentation, which was part of a panel called World Languages and Humanities Majors: Career Trajectories and Advocacy, brought together scholars from Montclair State University, the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages (ADFL), George Mason University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss how departments can lean on the expertise of alumni to support the career objectives of current students.  Using 15-year career data collected from LinkedIn by FRIT graduate students Caitlin Yocco and Sandra Descourtis, this presentation showed that graduates in the world languages are finding a wide variety of paths, and are especially well represented in the private sector.   


December 1, 2017

Congratulations to Associate Professor, Nevine El Nossery and Teaching Assistants Lindsey Smith and Hilary Emerson!  All three were selected as Fall 2017 Honored Instructors by University Housing through the Honored Instructors Program.  Each semester, University Housing residents have an opportunity to honor instructors that have impacted them positively - instructors that have challenged them, helped them learn, or inspired them. Nominations were made by a student living in University Housing currently enrolled in one of their instructor’s Fall 2017 courses.

Week of Italian Cuisine in the World

Chef "Marietta" leads a pasta making demonstration.

November 27, 2017

The Week of Italian Cuisine in the World is an annual celebration of Italian gastronomy abroad. This year the focus was on quality, sustainability, culture, food security, right to food, education, identity, territory, and biodiversity. A series of events took place around the world and at UW-Madison. Food historian Massimo Montanari (University of Bologna) gave a well-attended public lecture on "Eating Italy: A History of Italian Food and Identity" and a series of pasta demonstrations at Slow Food UW and at Osteria Papervo restaurant drew large crowds. Students, faculty, and community members learned how to make homemade pasta from the Emilia-Romagna region and got to hear from chefs "Marietta" Barbara Asioli from Casa Artusi in Italy and Francesco Mangano, owner of Osteria Papavero.