Letter from the Chair

Whether you are an undergraduate student, graduate student, or faculty member at USC, the Department of Comparative Literature is a hub for cross-cultural activity that distinguishes itself for its historical, theoretical, and conceptual rigor. We are a diverse community of scholars from different parts of the world devoted to pushing the disciplinary boundaries of both Western and non-Western literatures and cultures. We contribute to the academic and public knowledge of literary and cultural practices through our publications, our teaching, and the events that we organize. Each semester features public lectures and colloquia in the areas of feminist and queer theory, postcolonial studies, critical race theory, ethical and political thought, and media studies.

If you are interested in global literatures and cultures, media, film, or translation, an undergraduate degree in Comparative Literature is an excellent way to hone your critical thinking skills, and prepare you for a career in law, medicine, education, media and entertainment, or graduate work in the Humanities. We are a welcoming, inclusive, and friendly department committed to expanding the access to the study of literatures and cultures across geographical areas and time periods, as well as an intellectually stimulating place where our majors and minors are intellectually, professionally and socially supported. We offer our undergraduates a variety of opportunities for working closely with faculty, including in our honors program, and we aim to support all of our students in their pursuit of original research. 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 political theory), and to work for DC Comics, Entertainment Weekly, Creative Artist Agency, and Teach for America. We have a fantastic team of twenty multilingual, multitalented faculty members (and twelve associated faculty members) whose passion is teaching.

On the graduate level, we offer a PhD degree through Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (CSLC),a unique, interdisciplinary, theoretically rigorous program that allows you to compare cultures, literatures, and media across linguistic and national borders. Our PhD graduates have gone on to postdoctoral fellowships at Cornell University, Tulane, and University of Chicago, and many are now faculty at top universities such as Columbia University,  University of Utah, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Santa Clara University, and Washington and Lee. We also offer a new Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies to supplement doctoral work in other departments, preparing you for a career in academia, literary translation, or international diplomacy.

If one of our programs appeals to you, or if you have further questions, I would be happy to talk to you about opportunities at USC and beyond!

Julián Gutierrez-Albilla
Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature 
Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature