For more details about the Comparative Literature major and minor, the list of our courses, and descriptions of courses currently being offered, click on the appropriate links. And you are always welcome to visit the department or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The discipline of comparative literature was originally based in the study of literary works across linguistic, national, and historical boundaries with the goal of taking up a comparative perspective on different literary traditions. This makes it an excellent choice for students with proficiency in one or more languages who wish to expand and hone their knowledge of literature in culture context. Over time the field has broadened to encompass the study of literary theory and cultural criticism globally and to incorporate the comparison of literature with other arts and media, including film, visual art, digital and new media, and performance. Comparative literature is a great field for students with interdisciplinary interests and/or with a focus on innovative, experimental, and radical cultural critique. It is also an excellent choice for students who wish to supplement or enhance work in history, anthropology, media studies, and/or gender and race studies (among many other fields).
Students in comparative literature are trained to ask broader and better questions about the many forms of cultural production surrounding them. And they know they have to look at cultures comparatively because they’ve learned that no one language culture has all the answers. As a discipline, comparative literature seeks out and encourages multicultural and hybrid cultural experiences. As a result of their comparative study of literature and the other arts, as well as different cultures, graduates with this degree tend to see the world differently. It becomes a larger place than it was before, more varied, less uniform, with many histories rather than just one.
Our graduates pursue vibrant careers in diverse fields, including law, education, journalism and communications, writing and editing, media and entertainment, the travel industry, translation, medicine, and post-graduate study in the humanities (among others). Our most recent alumni have gone on hold Fulbright Fellowships, to attend Stanford University (Law), Harvard University (Comparative Literature), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Cambridge University (Literature), and to work for DC Comics, Entertainment Weekly, Creative Artists Agency, and Teach for America. Our students get extensive training in writing effectively, thinking critically, reading thoughtfully, and deepening and enriching their understanding of cultures around the world.
We prioritize working with each student in our program to help craft a trajectory and experience that are most meaningful for them. Our courses are small, and our faculty are passionate about working closely with students to help them explore their own interests in comparative contexts. For students who want to pursue more advanced research, we encourage them to work with faculty in the Comparative Literature Honors Program on an extended research project of their choice and/or to take graduate seminars. We also invite our majors and minors to seek our research opportunities with our faculty.
Comparative Literature is not based on one national language tradition. Comparatists study literature and cultural production across and between different language cultures. Our undergraduate classes may be organized around themes, topics, problems, historical periods, or genres. The works studied within these frames are selected from a wide variety of different language traditions, including English, French, Italian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hindi, Latin, Portuguese, Polish, Spanish, or still many others. The list is almost endless and, as you can see, our students are not limited to work in modern or in western European contexts. Our faculty include specialists in Chinese, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Latin American literatures and cultures and in ancient literatures and cultures (including Classics) as well as modern ones. Courses in all of these literary traditions may count toward the major and/or minor.
If you are interested in declaring a major or minor in Comparative Literature, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Prof. Natania Meeker), can help you with first steps. You should contact her (email@example.com) for an appointment. Then, you will need to meet with departmental advisor Jessica Kanoski to complete the process and to develop a course plan. Natania Meeker and Jessica Kanoski, as well as professor and department chair and Julián Gutiérrez-Albilla(firstname.lastname@example.org) are also available at any point if you have questions about the major/minor or would like to discuss any aspect of the program further.
There are two different tracks for the major (40 units/10 courses)/minor (24 units/6 courses). Between them, they offer a lot of flexibility and accommodate different interests or goals. Both tracks also combine well with a second major/minor and with study-abroad programs.
To talk more about our program, please contact our Director of Undergraduate Studies, Natania Meeker (email@example.com) or the department’s Chair, Julián Gutiérrez-Albilla (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are happy to talk to you about the exciting work we are doing in the program and to answer any questions you may have.
Come join us in Comparative Literature! We look forward to welcoming you!