The Comparative Literature program offers an A.B. Degree in Comparative Literature.
The Comparative Literature major provides students the opportunity to study literatures and other media within their cultural contexts. Majors in Comparative Literature focus on two different traditions through the study of literary works and cultural artifacts in their original languages. In addition, students in this interdisciplinary program are encouraged to explore the relationships between literature and philosophy, literature and politics, literature and the arts, or literature and film.
The Program Structure
The Comparative Literature curriculum includes the following four areas:
- Literature and cultural courses in the original language: These courses require students to work with literature and other media in their original language. The aim is to provide students with a comprehensive view of the literary and cultural traditions in their concentration, while at the same time offering them a close analysis of literary and cultural texts.
- Theoretical approaches: these courses aim to provide students with a broad conceptual framework for the various approaches to text and cultural analysis. This course may be taken from any department named below.
- Literature and culture courses in translation: These courses enable students to explore themes across a variety of literary traditions.
- Comparative literature courses: The objective of these courses is to compare different literary and cultural traditions and to develop the tools required for such comparison.
Students apply for admission to the major no later than the Spring of their sophomore year. At the same time, they declare primary and secondary concentrations. Students may choose their primary and secondary concentrations from among the following departments: Arabic Language, Literature and Linguistics; Classics; East Asian Languages and Cultures; English; French; German; Italian; Slavic Languages; and Spanish and Portuguese. The program allows students to explore many disciplines, learn about a variety of crucial approaches to texts and other forms of creative expression, and work closely with faculty members. Furthermore, students with a particular interest in literature can double-major in English or a foreign language and Comparative Literature. For those students, the literature of the first major will be designated as the primary concentration of the Comparative Literature major. Students may then count two upper-level courses toward both the first major and the primary requirement of the Comparative Literature major.
Requirements for the A.B. in Comparative Literature
The major requires 10 courses plus a full-year senior thesis sequence (CPLT-401 and 402) for a total of 36 credits, in addition to core requirements and any prerequisites determined by individual language departments. Students develop an intellectually coherent program in consultation with the Program Director. Each program of study consists of the following required courses:
- 1 Introduction to Comparative Literature (CPLT-090)
- 4 literature courses above the gateway level in the primary literature, in the original language
- 3 literature courses above the gateway level in the secondary concentration, in the original language (4 courses if the student’s primary concentration is in English)
- CPLT 250, a designated comparative literature course
- 1 upper-level literature course in translation
- Completion of a senior thesis (written in English) by the end of the spring semester of senior year. Students enroll in CPLT-401, Senior Thesis Tutorial, in senior fall, and CPLT-402, Senior Thesis Seminar, in senior spring.
Integrated Writing Requirement
The Comparative Literature program considers writing to be fundamental to the development of students’ intellectual, academic and professional lives. All students in the major are encouraged to perfect their writing skills at various stages of their academic career. Seniors must complete a senior research thesis project, in which they will have the opportunity to showcase the writing skills they have learned, including theoretical, critical, and analytical approaches to comparative literary criticism.
For course listings for Comparative Literature see Schedule of Classes