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Comparative Literature

Applicable for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Comparative Literature Website

Professors DAVIS, SCHEINER (Chair); Adjunct Associate Professor HUGHES; Assistant Professor NAJI

Comparative Literature is the study of literature across languages, cultures, time periods, and genres as well as the study of the relationship between literature and other fields of knowledge. An essential feature of such study is the reading of texts in their original language(s) of composition. The study of Comparative Literature promotes an understanding of intercultural or cross-cultural relations and helps to foster a more international or cosmopolitan perspective of both literature and the world and, in turn, of one's own literature and culture. 

A vital component of Comparative Literature today is the study of World Literature, specifically, the examination of how great works of literature uncover understudied relations and transnational connections between various cultures, languages, and artistic traditions across the globe. Such work often relies on translations. The study of World Literature promotes an understanding of the deep roots of today's intertwined global cultures and supports a critical position that aims to dismantle the presumed centrality and dominance of certain cultural views and perspectives over others.

Major Requirements

New Major Requirements beginning in Academic Year 2020-2021:

11 units (in addition to language courses below level 306, and in addition to senior thesis work other than 430 and 431) required.

  1. 120: Literature, Power and Identities or 121: Literature, Place, and the World – 1 unit.
  2. 130: Literature and Contemporary Issues or 131: Literature, Texts, and Media  1 unit.
  3. 250: Introduction to Literary Theory or EN250: Introduction to Literary Theory  1 unit.
  4. 255: World Literature/Comparative Literature  1 unit.
  5. Four courses at or above the 300 level in literature, including one course in a language other than English at level 306 or above and one course that examines literature in a comparative context.  4 units.
  6. 391: Advanced Literary Theory or 390: Translation: Theory and Practice  1 unit.
  7. 430: Thesis Preparation  1 unit.
  8. 431: Senior Thesis (Prerequisite: 255 and 430)  1 unit.

Note: As a rule, the senior thesis demands more than one block of preparation and one block of writing and research. Students are encouraged to take one independent study block of preparation with either their departmental or their external reader (usually during the block preceding the thesis block).

Download a PDF of the major requirements and checklist.

For Majors declared prior to Academic Year 2020-2021:

11 units (in addition to language courses below level 306, and in addition to senior thesis work other than 431) required.

  1. 100: Introduction to Comparative Literature  2 units.
  2. 2 units in courses listed (or cross-listed) as Comparative Literature 200, 220, 351 or 352  2 units.
  3. 210: Introduction to Literary Theory or EN250: Critical Practices  1 unit.
  4. 300: Practice in Comparison  1 unit.
  5. 310: Junior Seminar – 1 unit.
  6. Two courses above 300 level in literature, including one course in a foreign language at level 306 or above and either a second such course in a foreign language or an advanced English course  2 units
  7. 391: Advanced literary theory or 390: Theory and Practice of Translation  1 unit.
  8. 431: Senior Thesis (Prerequisite: 310)  1 unit.  Senior students will be permitted to do a creative writing project or a translation project as a thesis under certain conditions and with approval of the program advisor.

Note: As a rule, the senior thesis demands more than one block of writing and research. Students are encouraged to take one independent study block of preparation with their primary thesis reader (usually during the block preceding the thesis block).

Download a PDF of the major requirements and checklist.

Literature and Other Disciplines Track

Comparative literature majors who have a special interest in the study of literature and other disciplines may elect this program.  They must fulfill all the requirements of the comparative literature major AND

  1. A minimum of three units in the other discipline appropriate to their program of study including an introductory or methodological course (1 or 2 units) in the other discipline;
  2. Students are strongly encouraged to take topics courses listed as CO220 or CO352;
  3. The thesis must reflect the course of study; and
  4. All of the above courses and the thesis topic must be approved by the program advisor

Minor Requirements

World Literature Minor — 6 units required.

  1. 120: Literature, Power, and Identities or 121: Literature, Place, and the World  1 unit.
  2. 130: Literature and Contemporary Issues or 131: Literature, Texts, and Media  1 unit.
  3. 250: Introduction to Literary Theory or EN250: Introduction to Literary Theory  1 unit.
  4. 255: World Literature/Comparative Literature  1 unit.
  5. Two courses above the 100 level in literature, one of which examines literature in a comparative context  2 units.

Courses

Arabic

Basic skills in oral comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing Arabic. Also covers the basics of Arabic morphology and grammar. Designed to serve the needs of daily conversation in any part of the Arab world, and also to serve the needs of the prospective scholar. No prior knowledge of Arabic required.

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Review course that drills students in basic vocabulary and grammar acquired in AR101. Trains students for efficient reading in Arabic. Highly recommended for students who have completed AR 101. (Not offered 2020-21).

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Drills students in basic vocabulary and grammar skills acquired in AR101. Highly recommended for students who have completed AR101.

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Development of skills in oral comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing Arabic. Builds on the basics of Arabic morphology, syntax, and grammar. Expansion of knowledge of Arabic grammar and development of more advanced reading and writing skills. Vocabulary serves the needs of daily conversation in any part of the Arab world. Attention to the rules of morphology, syntax, and grammar also serves the needs of the prospective scholar.

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Further develops and strengthens knowledge acquired in Arabic 201.

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Drills students in the vocabulary and grammar acquired in AR 201. Trains students in speed reading and translation in Arabic. High recommended for students who finish AR 201. (Not offered 2020-21).

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Drills students in the vocabulary and grammar skills acquired in AR202. Also trains students in speed reading and translation in Arabic. Highly recommended for students who have completed AR 202.

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Develops skills in reading, writing, listening, and oral practice. Course builds on intermediate knowledge of Arabic morphology, syntax, and grammar. Further knowledge or Arabic grammar and reading and writing skills. Expansion of presentation abilities, and a brief exposure to the Egyptian dialect through media. (Not offered 2020-21).

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Offers students the chance to engage intellectually with representations of Arab culture through literature, film, and popular culture. Taught in English.

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Comparative Literature

An examination of literature as a venue for explorations of power and identities, particularly of how identities are constructed as well as of how literary texts (re)present and can work to deconstruct identities. Emphasis on close reading of texts as well as on critical analysis and writing. 1 unit.

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An examination of literature as a venue for understanding the rich diversity of global humanity and perspectives, with special attention to how “place” informs literary settings as well as sites of composition and sites of consumption. Emphasis on close reading of texts as well as on critical analysis and writing. 1 unit.

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An examination of the intersections of contemporary issues and the aesthetics and production of literature in the world today. Emphasis on close reading of texts as well as on critical analysis and writing. 1 unit.

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An examination of the intersections between literary texts and other forms of media and textuality, in an international context. Emphasis on close reading of texts as well as on critical analysis and writing. 1 unit.

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Consideration of literature in a comparative context. Comparisons may take place across languages, cultures, periods, genres, or disciplines.

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Introductory examination of significant trends and movements in literary theory including such approaches as formalism and structuralism, post-structuralism, psychoanalytic approaches, theories of gender and sexuality, historical and materialist approaches, posthuman, and digital theories. Study of theoretical texts as well as literary works from a variety of cultural and linguistic traditions, exploring the ways in which theory informs possibilities of interpretation.

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What is comparative literature? What is world literature? Examination of the history, methods, conceptual frameworks, canonical thinkers, critics, current issues, and debates in these interrelated fields and how they shape our reading of literature. Emphasis on close reading of both theoretical and literary texts, critical analysis, and writing in a comparative context. 1 unit. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement.

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Consideration of literature in a comparative context. Comparisons may take place across languages, cultures, periods, genres, or disciplines

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Practical experience translating literary texts paired with reading and discussion of critical texts from translation studies. Exploration of the questions that translation raises about language, literature, authority, and power. Translation workshops and discussion of practical issues. Discussion of translations as a cultural force. Individual research projects on translation. (Not offered 2020-21).

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Close examination of specific topics or issues in literary and cultural theory. Includes in-depth work with theoretical ideas and movements as well as practice with the application of theory to the analysis of literary and other cultural texts.

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Opportunity for advanced students to do guided research, specialized topics or thesis preparation.

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Opportunity for students, either individually or as a group, to engage in research in collaboration with and under the supervision of a faculty member.

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Preliminary work on the senior thesis: identification of a compelling research question; training in how to conduct research; creation of an outline; creation of a preliminary bibliography; creation of a timeline for completion; and beginning of the writing of the thesis. Opportunity for students to discuss their work, the work of their colleagues, and theoretical texts of common interest in a workshop setting. 1 unit.

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Thesis subject chosen by student and approved by Comparative Literature Program Director. Choice of subject, research, outline and writing completed in this course.

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Last updated: 01/15/2021