Romance cultures are simultaneously the foundation and the horizon of modern European thought and they are relevant to our region as part of a unified Mediterranean space with a common ancient Greek heritage. But we should also keep in mind that Romance languages and cultures are present around the world, from South and Central America, to Canada, Africa, the Antilles and Polynesia. Therefore, taking all of this into consideration, the study of Romance languages and literatures at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo offers many possible choices and tracks for a comparative, theoretical and historical study of both Romance languages, linguistics, literatures, cultures, and the works of great artists, political and free thinkers, as well as those who fought for freedom and progress.
The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures was established with the founding of the Faculty of Philosophy in 1950. Today it consists of the Chair of French Language and Literature, the Chair of Italian Language and Literature, the Chair of Latin Language and Literature, and the Chair of Spanish Language. In the first study cycle (BA), the curriculum at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures includes the following core study groups: French language and literature, Italian language and literature, Latin language and literature, and a combination of these groups, as well as a combination with other study groups at the Faculty of Philosophy. Upon completing their undergraduate studies (BA), students have a certain level of linguistic and cultural knowledge and the proficiency necessary to teach in primary schools or to act as language intermediaries for commercial, administrative and cultural institutions and exchanges, to work in tourism, media, publishing, etc. After obtaining a BA diploma, students can continue their education with a master’s programme (MA) in the second study cycle for two years and then a doctoral programme that is as part of one of the existing three-year doctoral programmes at the Faculty.
Since its founding, the teaching staff and students from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures have nurtured cooperation with other Universities, especially in Romance-speaking countries, primarily France (Paris IV—Sorbonne, Paris VIII), Italy (University of Trieste, University of Pavia) and Spain (Madrid, Girona), where several members of the Department obtained their master’s or doctoral degrees, as well as with Universities in other countries, especially those in the region. Members of the Department participate at local and international academic conferences and publish work in specialised academic journals at home and abroad. The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures also organises professional training and academic conferences.
The Department has gained additional affirmation through the appointment of its members to various administrative bodies at the Faculty and the University (Deans, Vice-Deans and Vice-Rectors), at the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as Ambassadors, as Emeriti, and especially to visiting positions (as lecturers or lectors) at universities and prestigious higher schools in France and other Romance-speaking countries.
Librarians who have worked here—Anica Sušić, Smilja Kuzmić, Bosa Sunarić, Jasminka Oluški, Gordana Hadžidamjanović-Išek, Zlata Rimpapa, Vesna Čaušević, Jasna Šebalj and Jasmina Šuvalija—have also contributed to the overall activities of the Department.
Since its founding, the Department has developed a fruitful teaching and research practice. This growth lasted until the beginning of the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992, when there was a significant loss of staff and work continued under difficult conditions with the Faculty relocated to the building of the Faculty of Law in Sarajevo. Despite all this, the Department did not stop operating thanks to, among other things, the assistance of Paris VIII. Professors and associates from the Paris VIII University—Pierre Bayard, Jean-Louis Fournel, Christopher Lucken, Christine Ferret, Tiphaine Samoyault—and the André Malraux cultural centre (founded in 1994 in Sarajevo) provided valuable assistance to the Department to overcome many obstacles during the aggression (1992-1995).
CHAIR OF FRENCH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
There were two basic reasons for establishing a Chair of French Language and Literature: on the one hand, the significant role of French culture in the history of the modern world, the great value of French literature and its many connections to literatures from our region, as well as the worldwide importance of the French language in the world and on the other hand, the lack of experts in French language and literature in schools, at faculties and at academic and cultural institutions.
Teaching at the Chair of French Language and Literature, the core of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, began with the founding of the Faculty in 1950. The first instructors were respected scholars and teachers: Milenko Vidaković (for French language) and Midhat Šamić (for French literature). At first, in addition to the full-time staff, teaching was carried out by visiting professors from the faculties of philosophy in Belgrade and Zagreb: Prof. Miodrag Ibrovac, Prof. Nikola Banašević, Prof. Anton Polanščak, Prof. Vlado Drašković and Prof. Vojimir Vinja. The teaching staff was enriched with the arrival of new teachers and associates: linguist Prof. Henrik Barić (1954), who took over the teaching of Old French, lector Mauricette Sullerot-Begić (1954), assistant professor Branko Džakula (1956), who took over the teaching of contemporary French literature, and teaching assistant Vera Geresdorfer (1958), who taught Old French.
In addition to these teachers who established the Chair and made it functional, the teaching staff was gradually enriched from the ranks of talented students. Hanifa Kapidžić-Osmanagić (1958), Nikola Kovač (1961), and somewhat later Vesna Čaušević-Kreho taught French literature, while French language was taught by Almasa Defterdarević-Muradbegović (1963), Vladimir Osipov (1965), Muhamed Nezirović (1968), teaching methodology instructor Vlado Sučić (1971), Fahrudin Kreho (1973) and others.
Mauricette Sullerot-Begić and Marie-Agnès Faix-Vujić worked as full-time lectors. Maurice Jordy, André Argaud, Daniel Simonin, André Ringenbach, Jean-Louis Depierris, Marguerite Vincent-Babić, Jacqueline Georges, Jean Risse, Geneviève Sautel, Jean-Pierre Sautel, Maurice Le Blanc, Jocelyne Hubert, Christian Petr, Michelle Beyssac, Jean-Michel Gras, teaching methodology instructor Avdo Tanković and Tatjana Jovanović worked as part-time lectors for periods at a time. Hélène Ducret, Dalibor Tomić, Véronique Beucler, Cécile Derbois, Marie Montaud, Valérie Sombrun and others joined the Department as lectors after 1995.
As part of our cooperation with foreign Universities, primarily those in France, respected foreign professors, writers and literary critics, including G. Gougenheim, R. Escarpit, R. de Lage, J. Ehrard, R. Barthes, J. Lefèbre, Ch. Dédéyan, A. Martinet, E. Henriot, M. Blancpain, Claude Simon, E. Roblès, G. Devoto, M. Aubin and others, visited the Chair of French Language and Literature.
In 2014, thanks to special efforts by members of the Chair of French Language and Literature, the University of Sarajevo became a member of the Francophone University Agency (AUF). Cooperation has also been established with universities in Arras and Poitiers, as well as with our long-term partner University Paris VIII, as part of the Erasmus exchange programme for students and faculty. The Chair of French Language and Literature has nurtured an active cooperation with the Embassy of the Republic of France and with the French Institute. The Student Francophone Theatre Workshop is active as part of the Department.
The Chair of French Language and Literature currently employs teachers of French language: Alma Sokolija (graduated in French Language and Literature and English Language and Literature, in 1991, from the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo and received her master's degree (1993) and doctorate (2001) in France at the Rene Descartes University, Paris V) and Lejla Tekešinović (graduated in French Language and Literature from the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo, where she also completed her master's (2007) and doctoral (2012) degrees), as well as associates Emir Šišić and Bisera Cero, doctoral candidates in France in Poitiers and Bordeaux. Teachers of French literature are: Vesna Kreho (received her doctorate in French Baroque theatre at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne and teaches 16th, 17th and 20th century French literature with a focus on drama), Ivan Radeljković (graduated from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo and received his master’s degree and doctorate in 2015 from the University of Paris VIII in France, also leads the Student Francophone Theatre Workshop which has to date produced seven plays in French and performed at home and abroad), and Lejla Osmanović (graduated from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo and received her master's degree at the University of Paris VIII in France and doctorate from the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo (2015)).
CHAIR OF ITALIAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
The teaching of Italian language was introduced to the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in 1954 and it was initially headed by Glorija Rabac. After she moved to Zadar in 1960, teaching stopped for some time. In 1968, lector Giuseppe Gillardini, who was later replaced by lector Sofia Zani (1974-1976), re-established the lectorate of Italian language. In 1976, Aleksandar Đukić was employed as a teaching assistant for Italian language and Vittorio Bevilacqua was employed as a lector.
Taking into account the needs and interests of students, in 1978, Italian language with literature was elevated to the level of a second primary subject (B) and it was taught by visiting professor Dr. Nikša Stipčević from the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade and later by Dr. Mladen Machiedo from the Faculty of Philology in Zagreb. In 1983, with the goal of forming the Chair’s own teaching staff, Smaragda Mujagić was employed as a teaching assistant for Italian literature. In the following years, Dr. Tvrtko Kulenović from the Department of Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Sarajevo taught Italian literature.
At the beginning of the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Chair of Italian Languages and Literatures stopped offering courses, only to resume in 1994 with the employment of Jasmin Džindo as a teaching assistant. Advancing in his career from teaching assistant to full professor, Jasmin Džindo at the same time developed the Chair of Italian: in 2006, the two-year study programme for Italian language became a three-year two-subject study of Italian language and literature that could be studied only in combination with French language. Mirza Mejdanija was employed as a teaching assistant for Italian literature in 2007, thus creating the conditions for establishing a five-year two-subject study of Italian language and literature in combination with French language and literature in 2008. That same year, Nermina Čengić was employed as a teaching assistant for Italian language and in 2011 a five-year study of Italian language and literature in combination with other study groups from the Faculty of Philosophy was established. Finally, in 2013, a five-year single subject study of Italian language and literature was established.
Afterwards, Nerma Kerla and Ana Lalić, teaching assistants for Italian language and Mirela Boloban, a teaching assistant for Italian literature joined the Chair. Lectors Marco Noce, Gianluca Paciucci, Daniele Onori and Alice Iannuzzi were employed during the post-war period.
After finishing the first and second study cycle, students from Italian Language and Literature have the possibility of continuing their studies with a third cycle, choosing between a doctoral programme in literature or in linguistics.
All three study cycles offer the possibility of a study trip to Italy or other countries as part of the Erasmus programme and the Italian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina offers frequent scholarships for study trips to Italy.
CHAIR OF LATIN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE
The Chair of Latin Language and Literature has been operating as part of the Department of Romance Languages and Literature since its founding. Assistant professor Petar Pejčinović was the first instructor at the Chair and he was soon joined by Matija Lopac, a visiting assistant professor. Since 1951, Dr. Ahmed Tuzlić has also been employed at the Chair, first at the Department of History and later at this Department. In 1958, Željko Puratić was employed at the Chair as a teaching assistant and in 1971, Šimun Šonje joined as an expert associate. In 1977, the Chair employed Pavle Knezović, first as a teaching assistant and then as an assistant professor. He moved to Zagreb in 1991. Outside associates Zlata Bukvić and Husein Lojo also contributed to the successful teaching of Latin language.
In addition to teaching, members of this Chair have directed their studies towards the Latin world in Bosnia, comparative studies and the translation of texts by Latin authors.
During the war (1992-1995), the Chair of Latin Language and Literature ceased to function. After many years of not being operational (since 1992, because of the war in BiH), the Chair of Latin Language and Literature was re-established in 2012/13 and it employed only two people (philologists classicists): Dr. Drago Župarić and teaching assistant Dijana Beljan MA. During the 2012 academic year, the first generation of undergraduate students was enrolled.
In 2017, the first generation of students completed master’s studies in Latin language and literature. At the beginning of 2018, teaching assistant Seada Brkan started working at the Chair.
CHAIR OF SPANISH LANGUAGE
Keeping in mind that Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers and the third most widely spoken language in the world, as well as the fact that more than 20 million students worldwide study it as a foreign language, the Chair of Spanish Language was established at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in 1978/79. Dr. Muhamed Nezirović is responsible for establishing this study of Spanish. In December 1978, Alica Pšorn-Knezović was employed as a teaching assistant for Spanish. The following lectors have also played an important role in teaching: Isabel Santos Gargallo (1989-1990), Pilar Gil Ganovas, Pilar Dolado, Jose-Daniel Espejo Balanza (2000-2002), Sonia Torres-Rubio (2003-2005), Isabel Ibarra Garcia (2005 – 2010), Vanessa Ruiz Torres, Isabel Leal and Míriam Domínguez Requena (2011-2018).
In April 2004, Edina Spahić, who studied Spanish language and literature at the Faculty of Philology of the University in Girona and later received her master’s and doctoral degree in Spanish linguistics at the Spanish universities Autónoma UAM and Complutense UCM in Madrid, was employed as a teaching assistant.
The Chair of Spanish Language has a very active cooperation with several European universities as part of the Erasmus faculty and student exchange programmes (UGR Granada, U JAEN, UB Barcelona, Paris VIII), as well as with other European universities as part of other programmes and projects (Faculty of Philology in Trieste, Ca Foscari Venice, UCM Madrid). Professors from these universities have frequently given visiting lectures at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.
In cooperation with the Chair of Hispanic Studies at the University of Trieste, the Chair of Spanish Language has been working on preserving the Ladino language and culture and has organised numerous lectures and published academic articles in Sephardic studies.
The Embassy of the Kingdom of Spain also contributed to the development of the Chair. Since the Chair was established, they have been sending their lectors and supporting the teaching of Spanish language in other ways as well (for example improving the library holdings) through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECI). For the past decade, they have been assisting in and organising seminars for teachers of Spanish language and literature where eminent experts in Spanish philology have participated. The Embassy helped to organise the first seminar of Hispanic scholars in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This meeting was the first of its kind in our region and respected regional philologists and workers in culture participated.
The Spanish language is studied at the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures as a second/B language, but it is also offered as an elective course at all the departments of the Faculty of Philosophy. Given that the interest for studying Spanish grows every year, the Chair of Spanish Language has as a goal of improving the study of Spanish language and literature in the upcoming period so that it can keep pace with other chairs around the world where Spanish is studied as the first foreign language. This would ensure continuation for the study of one of the three largest world languages.