The Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia acknowledges the Monacan Nation, the traditional custodians of the lands and waters upon which it stands. To learn more about the history of the Monacan Nation and federal- and state-recognized Tribes in what is now called Virginia, please visit the land acknowledgement of UVA's Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights Office.

Chair's Welcome

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. Our faculty and staff are glad to assist you in achieving your educational goals and academic objectives related to the study of the Literatures, Languages, and Cultures of Italy and the Mediterranean, the Iberian Peninsula, and the Americas.

Our intellectual community is pushing research and teaching in the “new humanities” in innovative directions, providing comprehensive undergraduate and graduate education, and engaging with local communities in significant ways. We welcome all prospective and new students to our classes, and to the University’s vibrant community of students and scholars.

We offer an extensive range of exciting courses that explore the medieval through the contemporary periods, with interdisciplinary interests in anthropology, history, indigenous studies, environmental humanities, film, television and theater, gender and sexuality studies, art and aesthetics, poetry, translation, material culture, and literary theory. We are committed to fostering inclusive, trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchanges and conversations and to offering an array of potential research and teaching collaborations involving race, anti-racist pedagogy, justice, and equity in fields like Global South Studies , European Studies, Mediterranean Studies, Caribbean Studies, Latin American Studies and Latinx studies, Trans Studies, Environmental Humanities, Digital Humanities, Indigenous Studies, Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and Transoceanic Studies.

Our faculty (with a distinguished visiting professor hosted every year) and students regularly interact and collaborate with colleagues across departments at centers like the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, the IHGC (Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures)SHANTI, and the Scholars' Lab. UVA’s Special Collections library holds more than 2,000 works by Jorge Luis Borges, including manuscripts, personal correspondence, and drawings. Students and scholars interested in the history of the book in the early Americas and early modern European empires (especially England, Spain, and Portugal) will find ample materials to research in the Tracy W. McGregor Collection. Finally, the Fralin Museum of Art holds a rich collection of Mesoamerican and indigenous artwork from the Americas.

The University of Virginia is an excellent place to study the interconnected literatures and cultures of the Hispanophone, Italophone, and Lusophone worlds. Our proximity to Washington, D.C. facilitates participation in major cultural events at venues such as the Library of Congress, the Italian Embassy, the Portuguese Embassy, the Mexican Cultural Institute and the National Museum of the American Indian, among several others. Undergraduate students who wish to have a learning experience away from the US can choose among several top-rated and well-established study abroad programs in Spain, Central/South America, and Italy (see tab at top to explore our programs).   

At a time when the role of the humanities in a world increasingly dominated by technology is increasingly questioned, we firmly believe that the study of literatures, cultures, and foreign languages is even more crucial to prepare students to think critically, meaningfully and creatively about problems both at a local level and around the world. Equally important, it promises to afford them the flexibility to find employment in academia, education, public service, and the private sector. Our exceptional achievement in the research and teaching of diverse world regions and historical moments has been recognized historically with high rankings from the National Research Council, and our faculty have received top awards in their fields.



Enrico Cesaretti
Professor of Italian Studies and Department Chair