World Literatures (WRLD) is a new program area offered in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (FCCS) at UBC Okanagan. The courses offered in this area are designed to enable students in all programs to explore how politics and ideology shape and define literatures across geographical, cultural and ethnic boundaries.
With assistance from the Aspire Learning Transformations Fund, an advisory team of five faculty members lead by Alwyn Spies and including Francisco Peña, Anderson Araujo, Francis Langevin, and Sarah Brears, is developing a major and minor in World Literature and Intercultural Communication. The proposed major and minor programs will centre around questions as to how cultural, linguistic, social and historical circumstances shape the production and dissemination of literary and artistic works in a global context.
World Literatures courses have been offered at UBC Okanagan for the last few years, allowing Bachelor of Arts students to take these courses as electives or to expand the scope of their major. Now with the expansion of these offerings, students will be able to complete a major or a minor and work to improve their knowledge of the world’s diverse literary traditions as an important medium for intercultural dialogue.
World Literatures creatively takes advantage of FCCS faculty’s range of expertise and proposes to open a dialogue between worldviews through the study of literatures from a range of cultures and historical periods, explains World Literatures professor, Francisco Peña.
“The international awareness fostered by the study of literature in global perspectives helps to prepare students to flourish academically and professionally in an increasingly interconnected world,” he says.
Combining language and global literatures in a dynamic and research-enriched learning environment will foster students who will be ideally equipped to communicate and thrive in a fast-changing global economy.
“One of our main goals is to enable students to overcome fear and judgement of otherness and to become aware of how their own socio-cultural and linguistic backgrounds shape how they see, interpret, and create,” notes Alwyn Spies, professor of World Literatures.
The program, which will be housed in the Department of Languages and World literatures, will be distinctive in its fully integrated combination of literatures, languages and intercultural communication via a core focus on re-thinking difference. The courses in this area work to bridge language and literature with distinct but complementary learning outcomes.
The anticipated launch for the major and minor options is fall 2021.