As from this coming academic year the University of Massachusetts is to offer a Minor in Catalan Studies. This university, where since 2006 a Catalan language and culture studies programme has been given with the support of the Institut Ramon Llull, is now going to offer the possibility of specializing in these subjects with a Minor made up of 15 credits.
During the 2013-14 academic year, over 30 students have studied Catalan language and culture at the University of Massachusetts. The new Minor will feature subjects that were already part of the study programme and other newly created ones. Nine of the fifteen credits will be compulsory, and will include an intensive introduction to Catalan language and a course on Catalan culture. The optional subjects will deal with aspects such as Catalan cinema, contemporary literature or studying certain aspects of the language in depth. All the courses can be taken on the campus of the five colleges that make up the University of Massachusetts, and this will be complemented by the chance to stay in Catalan-speaking areas, which has proved popular with students.
The University of Massachusetts points out the fact that the new Minor in Catalan Studies offers a chance to redefine the essence of the University’s Hispanic Studies programme, as “it will make it possible to change the classical and obsolete view of a Castilian-speaking Spain for a broader and more dynamic perspective, in which twenty-first century multiculturalism will be at its core”. They also say that it will be advantageous for Linguistics students who, with the incorporation of Catalan Studies, will be able to approach the Ibero-American cultures from a broader perspective.
In recent years, Catalan Studies have grown in importance at the University of Massachusetts, thanks to the teaching staff coordinated by Professor Barbara Zecchi, made up of Catalan studies lecturer Guillem Molla and two other lecturers, Albert Lloret and Meghan Armstrong, who specialize in medieval literature and phonetics respectively. This team has made the University of Massachusetts an especially dynamic centre too when it comes to scheduling academic and cultural activities, as in the case of the Cicle de Cinema Català. This year it has reached its sixth edition and every year it features directors well known in Massachusetts.
In America, Montreal and Chicago Universities are joined in offering Minors
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