Comparative Literature

Applicable for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Comparative Literature Website

Professors DAVIS (Chair), SCHEINER; 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

Major Requirements:

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.

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

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. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement. Meets the Equity and Power: EPG requirement.

Read More

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. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement. Meets the Critical Learning: HP requirement. (Not offered 2023-24).

Read More

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. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement. Meets the Critical Learning: SHB requirement.

Read More

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. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement.

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

Focus on the ethics of comparison of literatures, peoples, cultures, and languages. Exploration of the conceptual tensions between the “world” and the “comparative” to think about identity and difference in relation to the history, methods, conceptual frameworks, canonical thinkers, critics, current issues, and debates in these 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. Course meets the General Education requirements of Analysis and Interpretation of Meaning and Equity and Power: Global. Meets the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement. Meets the Critical Learning: AIM requirement. Meets the Equity and Power: EPG requirement.

Read More

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

Read More

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 2023-24).

Read More

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. (Not offered 2023-24).

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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. (Not offered 2023-24).

Read More

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

Read More

Report an issue - Last updated: 07/12/2023