Culture, Text and Language

Culture, Text, and Language (CTL) philosophy and critical theory invite students to engage in rigorous critical inquiry about the human experience. Our curriculum covers many disciplines and fields of study, including literature, history, women’s studies, philosophy, religious studies, classical studies, art history, post-colonial studies, linguistics, cultural anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, race and ethnic studies, American studies folklore, and creative and critical writing.

Through the study of cultures, students explore the webs of meaning that individuals and groups use to make sense of the world. Through the study of texts, they learn to interpret the products of culture in forms ranging from enduring works to popular media and the artful practices of everyday life. Through the study of languages, they learn the means of communication used by different societies and nation states, and how to use the tool of language to develop their own intellectual and expressive voices.

Many of our programs are organized as area studies, which we define as the interdisciplinary study of topics framed by geography, language, culture, and history. We provide a curriculum that is rich in the study of diverse cultures and languages so that students can learn about shared legacies across significant differences such as race, class, gender, and sexuality. Our geographic areas of inquiry include America, the ancient Mediterranean, East Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Spain, Russia, and Western Europe and the Francophone/Anglophone regions, including Africa and the Caribbean. We regularly offer programs which integrate the study of French, Russian, and Spanish.  Courses are also offered in Chinese, Arabic and American Sign Language and periodically in Japanese, Latin, and Greek.

Most Culture, Text and Language programs bring together two or more disciplines to pose crucial questions about the human condition; many also include community-based activities that put ideas into practice. Thus, students gain an interconnected view of the humanities and interpretive social sciences. Faculty members act as advisors and mentors in their subjects of expertise, supporting students in advanced work, internships, study abroad, and senior theses.

Students with a special focus on the humanities and interpretive social sciences are strongly encouraged to undertake a senior thesis or senior project as a capstone to their learning at Evergreen. By working closely with one or more faculty members as part of a larger program or through an individual contract, seniors have the opportunity to pursue advanced study while producing an original thesis or project in their area of interest. To prepare for this work, interested students should begin to discuss their plans with potential faculty sponsors during their junior year.

The faculty of Culture, Text and Language invite students to work with them to create living links between their past and present in order to become, in the words of Evergreen’s first president Charles McCann, “undogmatic citizens and uncomplacently confident individuals in a changing world.”