2020-2021 Catalog 
    Jan 29, 2022  
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Comparative Literature Major

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Associate Professors Merkel, Sokolsky
Assistant Professor Raizen-Colman                                                                                                                                           
Lecturer: J. Stone-Mediatore, Neel

The Comparative Literature Department is a cross-cultural and cross-temporal study of literatures written originally in languages other than English and offers a major and minor in Comparative Literature. Courses are taught by faculty trained in languages and literatures from around the world including Russian, German, Latin, Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Hebrew. Courses cover a variety of themes (myth, love, gender, rites of passage, freedom, tragedy, cosmopolitanism, and sense of place) as well as periods (Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, Modern, and Post-Modern). Students learn about the extraordinary wealth of pre-modern and modern works of literature from Europe, Russia, Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Courses are therefore structured to encourage students to compare the values and literary strategies of different traditions and to observe numerous formulations from around the world of enduring questions regarding freedom and constraint, love and sexuality, social duty versus personal desire, the transition from childhood to adulthood, and the sense of space and place. We also combine the study of literature with comparative literary and cultural theory written by writers from around the world. Finally, because we study foreign literatures in English translation, we discuss the art of translation and the various issues that arise when one reads a story not in the original language.

Learning Objectives

By the time a student graduates with a major in Comparative Literature, a student should be able to do the following:

  • Analyze literature in a sophisticated and nuanced way beyond plot;
  • Be able to read literature in a comparative way across genres, broad themes of humanities, geographic locations, historic time periods, and linguistic expression;
  • Understand comparative literary theory, cross cultural theory, and translation theory;
  • Be able to articulate such theory in the student’s own words, both verbal and written, and be able to apply such theory to comparative literary analysis as well as a broader understanding of cross-cultural trends in the real world;
  • Be aware of the social constructions which shape one’s own viewpoint and that of others;
  • Be able to translate from a foreign language into English at least five pages of foreign literature depending on the student’s linguistic ability in the foreign language;
  • Understand the difference between primary and secondary sources;
  • Be able to analyze both primary and secondary sources and incorporate such scholarship into a substantial literature research paper of at least 15 pages with proper footnote and bibliographic citations according to the standards of the field, The Chicago Manual of Style;
  • Become a thoughtful and culturally sensitive human being with an appreciation of the important role literature plays in understanding the big picture regarding patterns of humanity both at the local and global level.

Major Requirements

Complete 10 courses as follows:

Required Courses (3 courses):

Elective Courses (7 courses):

  • 2 CMLT courses numbered below CMLT 250  
  • 2 CMLT courses numbered between CMLT 250  and CMLT 299
  • 3 - 300-level CMLT courses

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