The minor in Comparative Literature offers students a unique opportunity to study literature across cultural and linguistic boundaries. The discipline of comparative literature traditionally focuses on literary phenomena that traverse national and linguistic frontiers, such as broad literary periods or trends, genres and stylistic conventions, reception, literary influence, theories of literature and aesthetics, and intertextuality.
Through the systematic comparison of literary works from more than one culture or era, students of comparative literature come to a clearer understanding of what literature is – its forms and traditions – as well as its relation to adjacent fields such as art, history, linguistics, and philosophy. By studying literatures of other cultures in their original languages, students also gain an awareness of the politics and pragmatics of literary translation, as well as a sensitivity to the concrete historicity and cultural specificity of literary texts. Students who study comparative literature can employ the skills and information learned in their courses to supplement and further their careers in a wide range of fields, including education, law, creative writing, international business, marketing, librarianship, editing, technical writing, publishing, communications, translation, history, international studies, literature, and philosophy.
In consultation with an advisor, students who minor in Comparative Literature are expected to design an intellectually coherent program of study which focuses on the literature of at least two distinct cultures (e.g., French and African literature of the French colonial period, classical literature and the Renaissance, or Latin American and U.S. literature of the twentieth century). While courses in fulfillment of this requirement may be drawn from a wide range of disciplines, including English, Modern Languages, History, Philosophy, Classical Studies, African-American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Honors Program, the goal of the minor is to enable students to put the literatures of different cultures and eras in dialogue. This cultural and literary juxtaposition will culminate in a required capstone independent research course designed by the student, approved by an advisor of the Comparative Literature program, and supervised by a faculty member of the student’s choice.
Requirements for the Minor
• One of the following: ARA 201, CHI 201, FRE 240, FRE 241, GER 201, GRE 202, ITL 240, JPN 201, LAT 201, RUS 252, SPA 241 or the equivalent in another language
• Three additional courses (at least two of which should be at the 300 or 400 level) from the CMP courses listed here or from offerings in literature by other departments, chosen in consultation with a faculty member in the Comparative Literature Program.
• CMP 498/Capstone Independent Study in Comparative Literature