Early Modern Studies in French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese lay the ground for understanding the later periods up to the present day, since so many of the frontiers, borders, attitudes, and mindsets we see even today were established in the pre-colonial and then colonial period. For example, it is in the 17th century that France established its colonies in the Caribbean, West Africa, today’s Canada, and Louisiana. Each of these European countries – Spain, Portugal, Italy, with France, has a similar story; they set down roots all over the world as well as spheres of cultural influence during this period. The history of Latin America makes no sense without familiarity with Portuguese and Spanish Studies, and our cultural heritage owes much to the cultural production of early Modern Italy. Many of the struggles and questions today are direct consequences of these earliest days of European expansion and expression. Early Modern Studies in the four concentrations furnishes a window into those times and opens our eyes to our heritage, to who we were, who we are, and who we may become.