The Department of Cultures and Languages is made up of staff teaching and researching in the areas of French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Latin American Studies. We are a friendly and welcoming department with an excellent reputation for teaching and research.
Our degree programmes
We offer a range of undergraduate programmes to suit students who want to engage with the language and cultures of other countries in different ways. For those who want to focus on one language and the culture of those countries in which it is spoken we have single language BAs: BA French Studies, BA German and BA Iberian and Latin American Studies (with a Spanish or Portuguese pathway). For those who want to focus on two languages we have a BA Modern Languages. We also offer degrees in all our languages in combination with English, Film/Media, Global Politics, History, Law, Management and Politics. The BA Modern Languages and all our combined degrees can also be taken with Japanese.
At MA level we have two programmes, the MA Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies and the MA Comparative Literature which is also available with a French or German pathway. We also have PhD pathways in all our language areas. All our degrees are available both part-time and full-time.
The student experience and the learning environment
Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and age groups and have very different kinds of educational experience. Our teaching is inclusive and supportive as well as intellectually challenging. Our language classes will help you develop high level skills in speaking, reading, writing and listening in your chosen language while our culture modules will help you gain a real understanding of the cultures of those countries in which it is spoken, as well as allowing you to develop a wide range of transferable skills vital in the world of work.
We also offer a variety of activities outside of the classroom for you to engage with. Some of these are student led – we have lively student societies in all our language areas. Others give you a chance to learn about the research our staff are engaged in, like our summer lecture series.
Most of our teaching takes place in the evening between 6.00 and 9.00, with some language teaching on Saturdays, in and around the Bloomsbury campus. The Department itself is located in the School of Arts building at 43 Gordon Square, formerly home to Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes amongst others. Here you will also find our cinema and exhibition space, the Peltz Gallery. Further resources are available in the College’s main building in Malet Street, including the library. You will also have access to a host of on-line resources to support your studies.
All of the department’s staff are research active and many are internationally renowned experts in their field. Our research covers a wide range of subject areas. We have colleagues working on German, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Latin American cultures from the sixteenth century to the present day and within and across a variety of different disciplinary areas, including literary, film and cultural studies, politics, thought, history, cultural geography, museum and memory studies. Colleagues are highly active in their fields, contributing to workshops and conferences, some of which are held here at Birkbeck, editing journals and contributing to public debate in the media, amongst other activities.
We also have two busy and successful research centres which are run from within the Department, the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies and Birkbeck Research in the Aesthetics of Kinship and Community (in cooperation with the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies). Colleagues from across the department are also involved in the activities of the Birkbeck Institute of the Humanities, the Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image and Birkbeck Gender and Sexuality.