MIT Global Studies and Languages (GSL) offers a rich collection of courses, seminar series, and research projects to give students the training they need to be thoughtful and active global citizens. Global engagement requires sensitivity to enduring local differences—language, culture, history, politics and more. Subject offerings allow students to attain both linguistic and intercultural competence.

Global Studies and Languages

Global Studies and Languages (GSL), formerly named Foreign Languages and Literatures, is committed to promoting research agendas that will transform international cultural studies for the 21st century while also training students to be the next generation of engaged global citizens. To accomplish these goals, we offer a rich collection of courses, seminar series, and research projects that explore global connection and local differences. Contrary to some early predictions, globalization has not eliminated cultural diversity. Rather, global engagement requires sensitivity to enduring national distinctiveness in terms of language, culture, history, politics, and more.

We aim to be a hub for research and teaching on subjects that investigate international diversity. Subject offerings allow students to attain both linguistic competence and a solid understanding of cultural and historical contexts. GSL faculty encompass a number of disciplines, including anthropology, history, linguistics, cultural studies, and political sociology.

Like other area studies departments, such as at Harvard and Princeton, GSL is shifting away from the study of foreign cultures primarily in terms of literature, to embrace instead a more multidisciplinary group of faculty, a process that has been underway at MIT for about 15 years. With recent and upcoming searches, we plan to continue to build a multidisciplinary faculty. To better reflect the section’s mission, Head Ian Condry, on behalf of the section, requested a change of the name of the section to Global Studies and Languages. This was approved, becoming effective July 1, 2014.

The Global Studies and Languages Section is a part of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA.

For more information about studies in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, see the Student's Guide to the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.