Modern Languages and Literatures

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is committed to helping students become informed and liberally educated citizens of the world. Through the acquisition of language skills and cultural awareness, our students prepare for careers that have an international dimension. To that end, we strongly encourage them to spend their junior year abroad in order to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and perfect their language skills. We also run our own study abroad programs: two French programs (“The Paris Experience” and “The Montreal Experience”), one Spanish program (“The Cuban Experience) and one in Italy (“The Italian Experience”).

We work closely with other university departments and interdisciplinary programs as well as with the cultural institutions of University Circle to provide students with a broad understanding of the many opportunities that language and culture study offer. The department has strong interdisciplinary ties with the college’s programs in Asian studies, French and Francophone studies, German studies, international studies, women’s and gender studies, and world literature. Students also gain practical experience in different cultural and language environments through service learning in the Spanish, French, and Russian communities of Cleveland.


5 questions with… organizer of Italian Film Festival USA – Cleveland and senior instructor of Italian, Denise Caterinacci




Denise Caterinacci has an early childhood memory of wondering why the United States did not have a king. She recalls hearing her Italian grandparents, who immigrated to Cleveland in the early 1900’s, talk about monarchies who ruled their native country.

Raised in a household bustling with visits by extended family and friends from Italy, Caterinacci could not help absorbing their manners, language, and traditions—even if in those years she was unaware what surrounded her was “Italian.” She has since made a career of her appetite to delve deeper into the culture and history of her ancestors—and share this knowledge with others.

For the past nine years, that desire has driven Caterinacci to help bring a public festival to Cleveland that imports one of Italy’s most influential artistic contributions of the last century—cinema.

“There’s always great beauty and visual aspects that carry forward traditions of Italian art. Starting with superior cinematography, Italian cinema has its own language,” said Caterinacci, a senior instructor of Italian at Case Western Reserve, who has taught at the university since 1989.

All films in this year’s Italian Film Festival USA – Cleveland were chosen for how they captured—and reflect—the spirit of modern Italy.


Page last modified: October 6, 2016