Comparative Literature and Culture


Explore the study of literatures and cultures in a globalizing world, enhance your understanding of your own culture as well as other cultures, and attain a well-rounded education in the humanities! The programs in Comparative Literatures and Culture challenge you

  • to read across cultures, time periods, media and disciplines,
  • to make connections by examining themes, theories, and concepts,
  • to examine cross-cultural contacts and exchanges
  • and to expand and improve your analytical, critical thinking and intercultural skills.

In essence the programs engage you to become a more observant, flexible thinker open to manifold complexity by gaining a refined understanding of cultural differences and diversities across spaces and times. As you discover intriguing texts from around the world in translation, consider study abroad and add a “real world” occasion to interact with other cultures and languages.

Features of the new program: 

A. Flexible modules:

  • complete a module either completely in English or include language and culture courses in non-English languages
  • develop your individual interests further by double-counting up to 1.0 courses toward a Certificate or Module in German, Italian or Spanish, giving you room to take further courses of interest to you 

Minor in Comparative Literature and Culture (4.0 courses)

  • This flexible Minor enriches your understanding of cultures through the choice of a wide variety of courses taught in English. Read across literatures and cultures engaging with media, everyday or urban culture.  The module expands your career choices by providing future employers with evidence of your interest in culture and diversity.

Major in Comparative Literature and Culture (6.0 courses)

  • The module features no language requirement. Read across literatures, cultures and time periods, examine the similarities and mutual influences among literatures and cultures and break through national, cultural and disciplinary boundaries. You can easily combine the program with a Major focused on a language and culture (Spanish, Italian, German, French) or with a major in history, sociology or anthropology. Depending on the type of major combination you choose, different career doors will open, for example in areas demanding deeper understanding of culture.

Honors Specialization in Comparative Literature and Culture (9.0 courses)

  • Gain strong skills in one non-English language and in English to interpret complex texts belonging to different media, genres, disciplines, cultural and historical contexts, and develop a deep understanding of diversity and its implications for comparative analysis. In your final year, you could select your own topic and complete an undergraduate thesis. This course of study prepares you for any career that demands a deep understanding of interculturality such as government and diplomatic service, non-profit organizations, teaching at all levels and publishing.

Specialization in Comparative Literature and Culture (9.0 courses)

  • Engage with world cultures and literatures not only through courses in English that address a range of national, intercultural, intermedial, interdisciplinary issues, but also by studying a language of your choice at the intermediate level. The Specialization hones your powers of expression and of analysis to prepare you for careers in teaching, public service, international relations, publishing and editing across different media.

New course highlights:

  • lay the foundation for a well-rounded education in the humanities in one of two different introductory courses:

CLC 1040: Ideas and Apps that Changed the World

  • An exploration of the great ideas that have revolutionized cultures and their application in our public and private life: from clay tablets to the Ipad, from manuscripts to movies, from Encyclopedias to Wikipedia, from Marx to Ford, from the soul to psychoanalysis.

CLC 1050E: World Cultures, Literatures, & the Arts Across the Ages

  • Discover how writers and artists have shaped, challenged, and connected civilizations. Explore the roots of today's global world and think outside the box of your cultural environment.
  • explore world literatures and cultures across literatures and cultures, or across literatures with a focus media, gender, human rights, science or commerce, or across literature and art centered around everyday culture or world cities in 2100 level courses without prerequisites and count 1.0 of the 2100 level courses toward the Major, Specialization or Honors Specialization in Comparative Literature and Culture or construct your own flexible minor based on these courses
  • build from common core for all modules with two required half courses for the Major, Specialization or Honors Specialization in Comparative Literature and Culture

CLC 2200F/G-Exploring Comparative Literature & Cultures

  • What happens when written texts and cultural products cross chronological, cultural, linguistic, or geographic boundaries? Consider the consequences of translation between genres, media and periods. Hone your writing, research and critical thinking skills through studying how texts move between different cultural contexts.

CLC 3300F/G-Literary and Cultural Theory

  • Explore a broad range of theories from Plato to the hottest contemporary trends, in a global perspective. Discover how the vocabulary and concepts of literary interpretation travel across time and cultures, and learn how to use them to think with/through a variety of literary texts worldwide
  • develop intercultural competence through community service learning

CLC 2500F/G-Bridging classroom and community: Languages and Cultures in Action

  • Connect theory, examples from literature, visual art, film and real experiences of immigrants.
  • immerse yourself in another language and culture by Exploring German Cultures, Exploring Italian Cultures or Exploring Hispanic Cultures I, II after completing only Beginners German, Beginners Italian or Beginners Spanish
  • engage with depth and breath in 3000 level courses that focus on epochs or on comparative, interdisciplinary or intercultural issues or on specific issues in the German, Italian and Spanish cultures
  • choose your capstone experiences with 4000 level courses that allow you to participate in current research interests of faculty through Research Seminars or develop your own Senior Research Project in conjunction with peers and professors and presented in your choice of medium ranging from the traditional to the experimental 

 See our courses page for more information

Western Academic Calendar