Students Walking Outside

The study of French and Italian language and culture is more important than ever. Italy and France are core members of the European Union and important players in the global economy. French is spoken daily by an estimated 220 million native speakers worldwide and is an official language in 29 countries across five continents. Italian ranks sixth among all languages studied in the US, while French ranks second. Both languages open up many doors to students interested in international careers.



Undergraduate majors


The Department of French and Italian Studies (FIS) has among the largest number of French majors of any university on the West coast and offers a vibrant Italian minor. Recently revised curricula in both wings of FIS have invigorated undergraduate study, articulating coursework in the department with exciting new areas of study at the UW in Environmental Humanities, Digital Humanities, Socio-linguistics, Translation, and Film and Media.

Nearly 2400 students enroll in FIS courses every year, from elementary through advanced language courses, to upper division courses on Dante and the Middle Ages, science fiction, Italian film, immigrant cultural production, and translation, to graduate seminars in qualitative research and digital editing. In these courses, students learn language and research skills that are essential to succeeding in the 21st-century global workplace.

In addition, FIS offers exciting study abroad programs and exploration seminars for undergraduates in Paris, Nantes, Québec, and Rome (UW Rome Center). Travel support for conferences and research is available to graduate and undergraduate students in FIS.

Lo Spirito di Carnevale, Venice, Italy
Lo Spirito di Carnevale, Venice, Italy


Autumn 2019

  • 61 Undergraduate majors
  • 67 Undergraduate minors
  • 5 Graduate students, French Studies

Degrees Awarded

2018 - 2019

  • 27 BA degrees
  • 2 MA degrees, French Studies
  • 2 PhD degrees, French Studies

Major Student Awards

Since 2011

  • 1 Bonderman Fellowship
  • 3 Dean’s Medals in the Humanities
  • 1 Dissertation Fellowship Award
  • 1 Elizabeth Kerr Macfarlane Scholarship
  • 4 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
  • 5 Fulbright Awards
  • 3 Husky 100 Awards
  • 1 Joff Hanauer Endowment for Excellence in Western Civilization Fellowship
  • 3 Library Research Awards
  • 2 Mellon Fellowships
  • 3 Rome Center Internships
  • 5 Teaching Assistant Program in France Awards


FIS faculty engage in cutting-edge research in a range of fields and time-periods. This work covers France, Italy, the Caribbean, Francophone Africa, and Québec and employs a range of approaches from ethnographic fieldwork to literary and cultural analysis to archival research. Current projects explore the early manuscript traditions of Dante’s works; images of women in Renaissance portrait books; the politics of water usage and consumption in the French Antilles; multilingualism among Senegalese immigrants in Paris, Rome and New York; the history of literacy and typography in the 17th and 18th centuries; French cultural attitudes towards animals; and modern Italian cinema.

Recent and soon-to-be-published books by FIS faculty include Senegal Abroad: Linguistic borders, racial formations, and diasporic imaginaries and Dante’s Convivio: The Creation of a Cultural Icon.

Areas of Scholarship & Research

  • Modern Literature and Culture in France and Italy
  • Contemporary French and Italian Cinema
  • Francophone Postcolonial Cultures
  • Medieval and Early Modern French and Italian Literature and Culture
  • Environmental Humanities
  • History of the Book and Textual Studies
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Intellectual and Cultural History
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Applied Linguistics


French major Ethan Walkley with French & Italian Studies Chair Geoffrey Turnovsky
French major Ethan Walkley with French & Italian Studies Chair Geoffrey Turnovsky

Autumn 2019

  • 1 Professor
  • 7 Associate Professors
  • 1 Principal Lecturer
  • 3 Senior Lecturers
  • 1 Lecturer
  • 6 Adjunct Faculty

Faculty Awards & Honors

  • 1 Celebrating UW Women Award
  • 1 Finalist for the Prix Anne-Hébert
  • 1 Finalist for the Prix Marguerite-Yourcenar
  • 2 Chevaliers dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques
  • 1 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship
  • Modern Language Quarterly Editorial Board Members
  • PMLA French Advisory Committee Member
  • 3 Newberry Library Fellowships
  • Oxford Studies in the Enlightenment Editorial Board Member
  • 1 Renaissance Society of America-Kress Bodleian Library Fellowship
  • 9 UW Royalty Research Fund Recipients
  • 11 Society of Scholars Research Fellowships, UW Simpson Center for the Humanities
  • 2 UW Solomon Katz Distinguished Lectureships in the Humanities
  • 1 Sixteenth Century Society & Conference Literature Prize
  • 1 Woodrow Wilson Fellowship
  • Numerous Course Development Grants (Center for West European Studies, Canadian Studies Center, Foster School of Business, Center for Teaching and Learning Technology Teaching Fellows Institute)


FIS places a high priority on outreach to the Northwest community. Departmental benefactors include distinguished representatives of the regional French and Italian communities. We regularly schedule lectures, conferences, and film series open to the public, as well as workshops for K-12 teachers. We also have assisted local high schools with curriculum development. Our faculty work closely with the consulates for France and Italy and are actively involved in local organizations such as the French-American Chamber of Commerce, the Seattle-Nantes Sister City Association, SIFF, and the Dante Alighieri Society. In addition, many of our graduate students and faculty volunteer for University Beyond Bars.


  • Carmine Smeraldo Endowed Fund in Italian Studies
  • Di Capua-Magnotto Endowed Fund for Italian Studies
  • Eugene Vance Endowed Fund
  • Gloria and Daniel Woodward Endowed Fund
  • Italian Studies Advisory Board Endowed Fund
  • Jeff Alfieri Endowment for Italian Studies
  • Joan Cremin Endowed Fund in French Studies
  • Joe and Mary Zavaglia Family Endowed Fund for Italian Studies
  • Mario Pastega Endowment for International Travel
  • Nesholm Family Endowed Fellowship for French Studies
  • The Pasquale and Lidia Perrina Endowed Fund for Italian Studies
  • Pia Friedrich Endowment for Graduate Student Support in Italian Studies
  • Richard Altig Jr. Family Endowed Fund for Italian Studies
  • Simone Angelillo Memorial Endowed Fund for Italian Studies
  • Thomas Hubbard Endowed Fund for French Studies
  • William B. and Adelaide L. Kimball Endowed Fund


Department of French and Italian Studies
Box 354361
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 616-3486


last update: December 2019