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Comparative Literature

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The purpose of the Comparative Literature Program is to foster cooperation between the Department of English and the School of Languages and Cultures. The program achieves this purpose by encouraging the study of literature, by promoting the study of a second or third foreign language, and by sponsoring courses and dissertations that cut across national boundaries. Comparative Literature recognizes that some fields - classics, medieval studies, Renaissance, post-colonial - are inherently comparative and seeks to facilitate the work of students and scholars in these fields. The program also recognizes the role of other disciplines-particularly history and philosophy, but also the social sciences and psychology in developing theoretical approaches to literature. While recognizing the value of cultural studies and linguistics, and encouraging investigations based in these disciplines, the program recognizes that other areas make these disciplines their priority. By contrast, Comparative Literature takes as its special mandate the teaching and comparing of world literature, not only as social documents but also as works of art whose full appreciation depends on the study of languages, an understanding of diversity and globalization, and an appreciation of various media.

By virtue of the Program's ability to draw on the curricular strengths of several academic departments, we have the flexibility and resources to accommodate individualized plans of study for qualified students. Each student has the opportunity to do graduate-level work in the original language in the following literatures: British, Chinese, French (both continental and francophone), German, Classical Greek, Italian, Japanese, Latin (classical and medieval), Portuguese (Luso-Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (both Peninsular and Spanish/American), and American literature. In addition, the student may work in areas such as Cultural Studies, Feminist Thought, Folklore, Literary Theory, Philosophy of Aesthetics, Postcolonial Studies, Queer Studies, Rhetoric, and Visual Culture. In addition to the body of knowledge and methodology appropriate to each individual program of study, students acquire a familiarity with the history, methods, and bibliography of Comparative Literature through a core seminar (ENGL 660/FLL 630, required of all incoming students in their first semester) and with the corpus of critical approaches and literary theory. In coursework pertaining to their special areas, students are strongly encouraged to design their research papers along comparative lines.

For graduate students, Comparative Literature Program offers the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees.  Students should apply directly to the program through the Graduate School.  With approximately ninety faculty members in two departments, of whom a dozen or so regularly participate in Comparative Literature, the graduate program allows cross-disciplinary studies in a variety of areas, including literature, visual aesthetics, women's studies, philosophy, Afro-American and Latino studies. A range of financial resources are available to fund graduate students. Our graduate students come from China, Egypt, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Spain, India, the United States, and many other countries.

Charles Ross, Director
Professor of English and Comparative Literature

The Steering Committee of the Program in Comparative Literature consists of Charles Ross, Angelica Duran, Shaun Hughes, Beate Allert, Elena Coda and Daniel Hsieh.


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