Study the language of Barcelona and Catalonia. Catalan courses at IU give you the chance to acquire another Romance language and learn about its related culture. At the same time, you discover the internal diversity of Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, and France. Given the historical circumstances and peculiar political situation of these areas, Catalan cultural production is a particularly fascinating space to explore the intricate relations between language, culture, the modern state, and globalization.
Catalan is spoken by approximately 10 million people. The Catalan language area spans four separate countries: Spain, France, Italy, and Andorra. Its main city is Barcelona. In Spain, the Catalan-speaking areas are Catalunya, País Valencià, Illes Balears (Mallorca, Menorca and Eivissa), and the “franja” of Aragó bordering Catalunya; in France, it is the Rosselló-Catalunya Nord; in Italy, the city of l’Alguer in Sardinia. Catalan is also the official language of Andorra, a tiny country in the Pyrenees.
Despite the repressive policies of the Spanish and French states, Catalan has maintained a high cultural prestige since the Middle Ages and has played a central role in the political re-emergence of Catalonia as “a nation without, or in search of, a state.”
Catalan literature constitutes an extraordinary cultural event that, for multiple reasons, has remained marginal amidst the great European literary traditions. Some prominent writers are Ramon Llull, Ausiàs March, Bernat Metge, Joan Maragall, Josep Pla, Mercè Rodoreda, and Quim Monzó. The Catalan areas have also produced a prominent tradition of art, architecture, and urbanism. Some outstanding figures, among many others, are architect Antoni Gaudí and painters Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, and Antoni Tàpies.