Majors in Comparative Literature explore two different literary and cultural traditions through the study of literary works in their original language in combination with the study of literary and cultural theory. They are encouraged to focus on the relationships between those two fields and to develop interdisciplinary approaches to literature.
In consultation with the Program Director, students devise a wide-ranging but cohesive course of study centered on primary disciplines and literary and cultural theory. The B.A. program culminates in the writing of a senior thesis. Students wishing to participate in the program must have proficiency in one foreign language. English may be chosen as one of the two areas of specialization.
The Comparative Literature major requires 10 courses and a senior thesis (written in the context of a tutorial and a senior seminar), for a total of 36 credits. The Comparative Literature curriculum covers four main areas:
- Two core Comparative Literature Courses (CPLT 090 and a 200-level CPLT topics course)
- Literature courses in two national traditions, to be taken in the original language
- Theoretical approaches to texts
- Literature courses in English translation
The program structure is as follows:
- CPLT 090 “Introduction to Global and Comparative Literature” (the first mandatory core-course, to be taken in the fall semester of the first year).
- A 200-level CPLT course (the second mandatory core course, a topics course to be taken in the fall semester of the second year). This course is taught by rotating members of the Comparative Literature faculty with a different central theme and syllabus each time. Students can therefore take more than one of these courses, and if they do, it will count the second time as “literature in translation” or “literature in English.”
- 4 upper-level (above the gateway level) literature courses in the primary literature, in the original language
- 3 upper-level literature courses in the secondary concentration, in the original language (4 courses if the student’s primary concentration is in English)
- 1 upper-level literature course in translation. The Gen Ed course “Introduction to Biblical Literature” fulfills this requirement.
- Completion of a senior thesis written in English by the end of the Spring semester of the senior year (Fall semester: tutorial; Spring semester: Senior Seminar)
For a more detailed description of the Comparative Literature, please consult the current online version of the Undergraduate Bulletin.
Each semester Comparative Literature majors can choose from a wide selection of course offerings in their two areas of specializations as well as in plenty of other departments in the main college at large; see the Comparative Literature course catalog.
However, please keep in mind that majors have numerous options beyond the crosslisted courses that appear on the schedule of classes. The Program Director meets with students every semester to discuss personal interests and appropriate course selections.