What is Comparative Literature?

Comparative Literature is traditionally known as the study of two or more literatures in comparison (English and German, for example) and their multi-dimensional components which may encompass aspects such as the historical, gender, economic, cultural, social, philosophical, religious, and linguistic factors of the distinct cultures being analyzed.

Non-traditional study may include other forms of readable expression such as film, gender studies, ethnicity, politics, graffiti or television. 

Student browsing library shelves.

Student Testimonials

  • "Comparative Literature to me isn't really just about literature. It's about paying attention to the ways in which we read, understand, and engage with the world and with meaning-making."

    - Bess Rose, Program Alumna (MA, 2001)

  • "Comp Lit was interdisciplinary before interdisciplinarity became a trend."

    - Program Alumnus

  • "For me comparative literature is simply an education in critical consciousness."

    - Heidi Bohn, Program Alumna (PhD, 2010)

  • "To me Comparative Literature is a chance pursue interdisciplinary work and a way to challenge canonized approaches to theory and literature. It calls for constant dialogue between languages and fields both within and outside of academia."

    -Mairéad Farinacci, MA Student 

  • "As a discipline, I believe Comparative Literature sets itself apart in methodology and praxis. Unlike other Humanities departments, Comparative Literature lends itself to a more experimental, cross cultural, and critical approach to knowledge and its production."

    -Hunter Capps, PhD Student

  • "Comparative Literature offers a unique opportunity within contemporary academic practices to explore texts and ideas across barriers of language, temporality and discipline. While doing this, this program also allows us to reflect more deeply upon the nature of those barriers and how they gain their validation. "

    -Rachit Anand, PhD Student