Chair's Welcome


Welcome to the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. For nearly 200 years, the University has been a leading center of intellectual inquiry and creative problem-solving in the arts, sciences, and social sciences. The study of literatures, cultures, and languages is central to those pursuits, and to the University’s mission as a public institution that prepares students to think critically and creatively about problems at a local level and around the world. Our exceptional achievement in the research and teaching of diverse world regions and historical moments has been recognized with very high rankings from the National Research Council, and our faculty have received some of the top awards in their fields.

Our innovative courses and collaborative approach to faculty-student research prepare undergraduate and graduate students for critical thinking and afford great employment flexibility in academia, the private sector, and public service. Undergraduates often double major in related fields like Global Development Studies, Media Studies, and Latin American Studies. Graduate students are encouraged to develop interdisciplinary expertise by taking courses in related fields of study, such as Anthropology/Linguistics, French, English, History, and Religious Studies. Our graduate program continues to flourish, with students from around the world researching a wide range of topics from established fields like medieval studies, modern Peninsular literature, and contemporary Latin American writing to emerging areas like the Global South and digital humanities. We welcome all prospective and new students to our classes, and to the University’s community of students and scholars. For more information on our research and teaching expertise, please consult our profile pages. To learn more about course offerings and sequences, please visit the program pages for Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Each year the Department hosts a distinguished visiting professor; some recent visitors include Diamela Eltit (Chilean novelist), Roger Wright (University of Liverpool), Ana María Shua (Argentine writer), Leonardo Romero Tobar (Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain), Veronica Salles-Reese (Georgetown University), Anna Caballé (Universidad de Barcelona, Spain), Diana L. Ranson (University of Georgia), Guillermo Martínez (Argentine novelist), José María Pozuelo Yvancos (Universidad de Murcia, Spain), and Kemy Oyarzún (Universidad de Chile, Santiago). For a list of invited faculty and creative writers, please see our Visiting Professors page. To learn more about our academic and cultural events, please visit our events page.

The University of Virginia is an excellent place to study the interconnected literatures and cultures of the Hispanophone, Italian-speaking, and Lusophone world. Our 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. The Fralin Museum of Art holds a rich collection of Mesoamerican and indigenous artwork from the Americas. Our faculty and students collaborate with colleagues across departments at Digital Humanites centers like the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, SHANTI, and Scholars' Lab facilitate to develop projects like The World of Dante. Our proximity to Washington, D.C., enables us to participate in literary events at the Library of Congress and to host conferences at the Mexican Cultural Institute and National Museum of the American Indian.

Thank you for visiting our website, and for your interest in the department.


Joel Rini
Professor of Spanish and Department Chair