Italian & French Studies


Contact Us

Kerry Lappin-Fortin
Associate Professor
519-884-8111 x 28278
Image of The Leaning Tower of Pisa and The Eiffel Tower
Welcome to the Department of Italian & French Studies



However small our department may be, we are big on this: award-winning teaching and one-on-one mentoring. We are dedicated to helping our students learn a second (or third!) language, and to introducing them to the richness of Italian and Francophone cultures.


Our Italian courses, which include beginner and intermediate level language courses, and an appealing array of literature and culture courses taught in English, may be taken either as electives or towards earning an Italian Studies Minor.


Our French students may pursue any of the major or minor programs offered by the University of Waterloo, and may be eligible for the third-year-away program to Québec (Chicoutimi) or France (Nantes) which is organized through the Department of French Studies.


All those interested in French and Québécois cinema are invited to come out to our movie nights, Soirées ciné!


Looking for something different in French this fall?


FR 373: Languages in Contact
A sociolinguistics course which explores the love-hate relationship between French and English since they first met in 1066. Students will learn how these languages have influenced each other over the centuries, from the days of Norman rule in England, through the conflict and cohabitation of English and French in Canada, to the impact of English in France today.


Note: The course is taught in French, but many readings may be done in either official language.

Prerequisites: at least two French courses at the 200 level, or instructor’s permission.

For more information, contact Dr. Kerry Lappin-Fortin:



ITALST 265: Mafia Culture and the Power of Symbols, Rituals, and Myth

The course will analyze the cinematic representation of the Mafia in North America and focus on the manner in which North American cinema productions often glorify the Italian Mafiosi’s lifestyle. Special attention will be given to movies of the 1930s, to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy, as well as to the television series The Sopranos. The goal is to deconstruct the romanticized portrayal of the Italian and Italian-American gangster lifestyle created on the silver screen and on television by analyzing the atrocities committed by organized crime.


Antonio Nicaso is a bestselling author, and an internationally recognized expert on organized crime. He is a regular consultant to governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world and a lecturer at various Italian and North American universities.