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 300 million people 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 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 coursework with exciting new areas of study in Environmental Humanities, Digital Humanities, Socio-linguistics, Translation, and Film and Media.

Nearly 2,200 students enroll in FIS courses every year, from elementary through advanced language courses, to upper division courses on Dante and the Middle Ages, French cinema, business communication, and translation, to graduate seminars in textual theory and criticism, and digitalization of manuscripts. 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 City, 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


Winter 2023

  • 41 Undergraduate majors
  • 52 Undergraduate minors
  • 3 Graduate students, French Studies

Degrees Awarded


  • 18 BA degrees
  • 3 MA degrees, French Studies

Major Student Awards

Since 2016

  • 2 Dean’s Medals in the Humanities
  • 1 Distinguished Dissertation Award
  • 1 Elizabeth Kerr Macfarlane Scholarship
  • 4 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships
  • 3 Husky 100 Awards
  • 1 Joff Hanauer Endowment for Excellence in Western Civilization Fellowship
  • 4 Library Research Awards
  • 1 Mellon Fellowship
  • 2 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; digital humanities, data science, and the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI); non-binary identities in French language; the intersection of race, language, and identity among members of the Francophone African diaspora; 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 Devenir non-binaire en français contemporain; Défi Francophone 1 & 2; 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 alumnus Ethan Walkley with French & Italian Studies Professor Geoffrey Turnovsky.

Winter 2023

  • 5 Associate Professors
  • 1 Assistant Professor
  • 2 Teaching Professors
  • 2 Associate Teaching Professors
  • 1 Assistant Teaching Professor

Faculty Awards & Honors

  • 1 Aldo and Jeanne Scalione Prize for French and Francophone Studies
  • 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
  • 1 Bailey Prize for Best Journal Article by The New York State Association of European Historians
  • 1 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) 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. 


  • 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 2023