Department of Culture and Language Studies

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Joseph Marshall Baron d'Avray, the second full-time professor of Modern Languages at King's College (later known as UNB), [18--]. UA PC 13; no. 17.

Previously named: English and French Languages and Literature; French Languages and Literature and German Languages; English, French, and German; French and German; Modern Languages; Romance Languages; Department of German; French and Spanish

Established: 1999

History: The Department of Culture and Language Studies (CLS) is the most recently formed department of the Faculty of Arts. This department was established in 1999 to bring together the diverse selections of language and culture that were offered at UNB. With the exception of French, languages other than English that are studied at the university have fallen into this category since its creation. Historically, the study of various languages and cultures has been shuffled around to different departments. Before 1872, there was no official study of languages other than English and French at the university. Beginning in that year, an instructor in German was hired and the study of German was added to the Department of French Languages and Literature. This only lasted until 1876, when the course in German was cut from the curriculum. In 1886, when the University switched from a three to a four year B.A. program, German was once again offered as an elective course in all four years of the degree but only in conjunction with French, falling into the Department of English and French Languages and Literature. The study of both German and French persisted at the university going forward and the two languages remained connected well into the twentieth century.

In 1940, under the Department of Modern Languages, Spanish was added as a third option to French and German. This was the first addition to the study of language at UNB in close to fifty years, but it precipitated the growth of the study of other languages. The following year, Dutch was added to the Department of Modern Languages bringing the tally of course choices to four different languages. In 1945, the Department of Modern Languages was sub-divided into two headings: Romance Languages, which included French, Spanish, and Italian; and Germanic Languages, which included German and Dutch. At this time, there were fourteen classes in French, two in Spanish, one in Italian, four in German, and one in Dutch. This remained the same until 1948 with the creation of the Department of French and Italian and a new focus of teaching German and Spanish each separately under the leadership of individual professors.

In 1950, the department of Modern Languages was re-constituted and beginning in the 1951-52 academic calendar, French, German, Italian, and Spanish were all once again listed together. The course offering was limited with seven French, six German, four Spanish, and one Italian. In 1953, German separated to form its own department with one professor offering eight courses. That same year Modern Languages changed its name to Romance Languages, offering eight French courses, four Spanish courses, and one Italian course. The Department of Romance Languages grew slowly until 1971 when Italian was dropped as a field of study at UNB; by that time there were twenty-one French courses and fourteen Spanish courses. Also by 1971, the German Department had grown to become the 'Department of German and Russian' offering fifteen courses in German and two in Russian. For the next decade, these two departments remained the same until French and Spanish were each given their own independent chairs in 1982. The Department of French from this time forward has been an autonomous entity and has not merged with the Department of Culture and Language Studies. Until the formation of the CLS department in 1999, German and Russian remained one department and the study of Spanish remained on its own. Starting in the 2000-2001 academic calendar, CLS is listed as a department comprising the study of Spanish, German, Russian, Eurasian, Linguistics, Music, Film, Media Arts, and World Culture and Literature Studies. This has continued to be the case until 2013 with the total offering of courses from all the different divsions within the department reaching 129 classes.

World Literature and Culture Studies (WLCS), German (GER), German Studies (GERS), and Spanish (SPAN) were phased out beginning in the Fall term 2014.

In 2016 there was a new Comparative Cultural Studies program, and the department was renamed to Culture and Media Studies.

Following Senate approval the preceding year, in the Academic year 2015-16 the new course codes for Comparative Cultural Studies (CCS) replaced the existing course codes for all World Literature and Culture Studies (WLCS), German (GER), German Studies (GERS), and Spanish (SPAN) “content” courses. (Content courses are all non-language acquisition courses, such as Literature, Culture and Film courses). The SPAN and GER course codes were, however, retained for the relevant language-acquisition courses, in parallel with language-acquisition courses in other languages in the department. The new (‘modified’) program’s “gateway” course, CCS 1021 Introduction to Culture, Arts, and Media, a new team-taught course, is being introduced in the fall term of 2015. It is cross-listed as a ‘gateway’ course with its sister-program MAAC (Media Arts & Cultures).

The modifications respond to trends in the overlapping fields of Literature, Cultural Studies and Language Studies towards greater interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity in the context of a globalizing world. The proposed program in Comparative Cultural Studies (CCS) reflects a new and innovative approach which provides an opportunity to explore the study of culture and cultures from comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives with a clear focus on international content. With an emphasis on core courses in cultural studies, including grounding in a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives, the new program also addresses the need for increased cultural awareness and intercultural competence in 21st-century education in an increasingly internationalized world as reflected, for example, in society, the workplace, media and the arts.

Physical location: Carleton Hall

Faculty: Arts

Notes: The year that a certain department was established can be a subjective figure. For the purpose of this wiki, the year that a department is considered first established is the first year it was listed in the academic calendar as an independent chair with no other affiliation, unless there is documentation to demonstrate otherwise


  • UA Case 111; Section 3.
  • UNB Calendars (UA RG 86), 1862, 1872, 1876, 1886, 1940, 1945, 1948, 1952, 1953, 1971, 1975, 1981, 1982, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2012, 2013.
  • The update covering 2014-2021 was from an email from Culture and Media Studies sent to UNB Archives 4 August 2021.

--TonyGoss 19 March 2013 (ADT)
© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014