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Why Study Comparative Literature? Who Chooses the Major?


Comparative Literature Major Snapshot

Literature students have a passion for words, for images. Many are enthralled with stories and aesthetic forms. They are avid readers and film buffs, who like to think about the way words and images communicate, create moods, address the ambiguity of human experience. They are interested in aesthetics and in ideas, structures, and theories. They have an intuitive sense that form and content are intricately intertwined. They are interested in social justice and imagining more equitable worlds and they want to better understand the one they occupy.

They are curious. They know that stories circulate, that ideas cross national borders, that cultures are influenced by each other. They want to think across disciples both because they have multiple interests and because they understand that each informs and expands the other.

Comparative Literature is the home for students who are interested in a humanities approach to studying culture and cultures. We offer award-winning professors, innovative pedagogy, internship opportunities, mentorship programs, and publishing opportunities in Nomad.

Different Tracks within the major and Focus Fields that count courses taken outside the department allow students to individualize the program, and double-major with relative ease.

Students choose between Language and Culture (Track 1) and Disciplines in Dialogue (Track 2). Track 1 requires 3rd year proficiency in a second language; it is well suited to students who are considering graduate school, who have a background in more than one language, or who begin their language acquisition early enough to meet the proficiency requirements. Track 2 combines the study of literature and film with another discipline and is well-suited to students considering a double-major or who find their way to Comparative Literature later in their studies.

In Comparative Literature we take the steps we can to read and view cultural texts in their original languages; when we cannot, we pay careful attention to what is gained and lost in translation. Wherever students begin and whichever track they choose, a language requirement asks students to begin the journey toward fluency, marking the fundamental value of seeking to understand cultures on their own terms.

Why consider a double-major if you know that you want to pursue a career that another major leads to more directly and efficiently?

Comparative Literature will add a level of intellectual rigor and creativity to whatever you pursue. You can become a journalist, lawyer, activist, film-maker, writer, or business-executive without a degree in Comparative Literature. But a Comp. Lit. education will make you a different kind of professional than you would otherwise be. Read on to discover how!