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Students study in and around Harned building

Languages and Literature

The Department of Languages and Literature promotes the value of language learning, good writing, critical thinking, and an informed appreciation of literature to our students, the university, and the community. One of the largest departments at the university, the Department of Languages and Literature offers students small classes and a diverse, experienced faculty including many award-winning teachers.

Department of Languages and Literature


Because words matter, the Department of Languages and Literature is dedicated to engaging its students with the power of spoken and written words. Through inspired teaching and scholarly and creative achievement, we foster critical thinking and an understanding and appreciation of how languages are foundational to cultures, and how literature illuminates and reflects those cultures. We work to strengthen cross-cultural literacy by showing that languages and literature play to and through each other, helping students locate their own voice and their own power.

Total Credit Hours
Full-Time Faculty
Degree Concentrations

Faculty & Programs of Study

One of the largest departments at the university, the Department of Languages and Literature offers students small classes and a diverse, experienced faculty including many award-winning teachers.

The Department provides composition, world literature, and world language classes for all students as components of the general education core curriculum. The Department also offers majors in English and World Languages, and minors in English, Creative Writing, English Writing, Film Studies, Linguistics, Professional Writing, French, German, Greek, Latin, Classical Languages, Classical Civilization, and Spanish. At the graduate level, we offer a Master of Arts in English and graduate courses in Spanish for a master's degree in Education.

Our faculty and students also participate in a number of related programs including African- American Studies, Honors, International Studies, Women's Studies, several study-abroad and exchange programs, and the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts. The Department and the Center of Excellence regularly bring to campus major literary figures as lecturers, readers, and writers-in-residence. Distinguished visitors have included Maxine Kumin, Galway Kinnell, Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wilbur, Allen Ginsberg, Carolyn Forche, David Bradley, and Gary Snyder. Through the Center, the creative writing program also publishes a distinguished literary journal, Zone 3.

Josh Rees
Josh Rees
World Language – Spanish

My professors at Austin Peay have always asked me to think about how I can take what I’m already good at and use that to help a bigger group of people than I have before.
Madison Hobson
Madison Hobson

Being a Governor means so much more to me than a mascot; it means that I have the power to bring change and be change.
Nicholas Lee
Nicholas Lee

How can I make myself better and what kind of person do I want to be in 10 years? It’s not about what things will I have, but what kind of person do I want to be?

Learning Environment

The Department is located in Harned Hall, the oldest building on campus, which in 1988 was saved from the wrecking ball by a concerted effort of faculty, students, and townspeople. Formerly a women's dormitory, Harned was converted into a state-of-the-art showpiece brimming with the newest technologies. 

What Do Languages and Literature Majors Do After Graduation?

  • Author
  • Adjunct Faculty
  • Communication Expert
  • Editor
  • Linguist
  • Professor
  • Jobs in Publishing
  • Researcher
  • Technical Writer
  • Many employers benefit from:

    Excellent Communication Skills

    Critical and Analytical Thinking Expertise

    Data Interpretation
  • Translator/Interpreter
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Archaeologist 
  • Opportunities in global job markets
  • International educators
  • Diplomatic Representative
  • Many careers that would factor in:

    A cultivated and open mind

    Superb Language Skills

    Cultural Immersion
Osvaldo Di Paolo poses for photo in his office

Osvaldo Di Paolo Harrison, Ph.D.

Professor of Latin American literary and cultural studies

Earlier this year, Dr. Di Paolo Harrison published his fifth scholarly book, “Queer Noir Hispanico,” in an effort to bring homosexual detective characters out of the margins of the Hispanic world.

“I gathered a small corpus of Hispanic hardboiled books in which homosexuality is present by the incorporation of gay detectives, gay murderers and gay victims,” he said. “This book will continue to diversify the varied and complicated facts of homosexuality in Spain and Latin America.” The Argentinean press recently named Di Paolo Harrison as one of the top 10 literary critics of contemporary hardboiled fiction.