College Bulletin 2016-2017 
    Apr 16, 2024  
College Bulletin 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Comparative Literature



Sibelan Forrester (Modern Languages and Literatures, Russian)


Khaled Al-Masri (Modern Languages and Literatures, Arabic)

Elizabeth Bolton (English Literature)

Rachel Buurma (English Literature)3

William O. Gardner (Modern Languages and Literatures, Japanese)

Maria Luisa Guardiola (Modern Languages and Literatures, Spanish)

Alexandra Gueydan-Turek (Modern Languages and Literatures, French)1

Haili Kong (Modern Languages and Literatures, Chinese)

Allen Kuharski (Theater)3

Rosaria V. Munson (Classics)

Bob Rehak (Film and Media Studies)

Hansjakob Werlen (Modern Languages and Literatures, German)3

Absent on leave, fall 2016
Absent on leave, 2016-2017.

The comparative literature major is administered by a Comparative Literature Committee, made up of the coordinator and faculty representing the Classics, English literature, Modern Languages and Lteratures, Film and Media Studies, and Theater departments. The basic requirement for the major is work in two literatures in the original language.

The major in comparative literature is designed for those students who have a love for literature and a strong desire to write, and who are interested in literary critical research. This major is not for everyone:  it assumes a fair degree of discipline, independence, and self-motivation on the part of the student, especially in the development and writing of the thesis.

The Academic Program

In planning a comparative literature major, students should look at course listings in the Classics, English literature, Modern Languages and Literatures, Film and Media Studies, and Theater departments. In Classics and Modern Languages and Literatures, only courses in the original language numbered 011 or above may count as constituents of the comparative literature major. Only one course in English Literatuer numbered ENGL 008A-Z and 009A-Z, may be counted toward the major.

Major in Course

Ten credits in two or more literatures in the original languages, including a substantial concentration of work—normally four or five courses—in each of the literatures of specialization. The Senior thesis (described in the section on “Thesis/Culminating Exercise” section, below) does not count toward these 10 credits.

Students working in French, German, Russian, or Spanish may propose one course in translation (or LITR course) from that language. Because of the special demands of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and (to a lesser extent) Russian, students working in any of these languages may propose a program based on attachments (in Arabic, Chinese, Japanese or Russian) to literature courses taught in translation.

A 1- or 2-credit thesis of 35 to 40 pages for one credit, 50-60 pages for two credits, covering work in at least two languages (see “Thesis/Culminating Exercise ,” below).

An oral comprehensive examination, of 1 hour, during the final exam period of the senior year, based on the thesis and courses and seminars that the major comprises.

Honors Major

Four 2-credit preparations—3 seminars and a 2-credit thesis—in at least two literatures in the original language. One of the preparations may be used as an independent minor (in Russian or Theater, for instance) if the minor’s departmental requirements have been met. Minors requiring unrelated preparations such as biology or psychology are not allowed. All four honors preparations are necessary components of the comparative literature honors major.

A 3-hour written examination for each preparation, prepared by the external examiner and a 30-minute oral based on the contents of the written examination, s well as an oral thesis examination with two Honors examiners


Honors Minor

Five credits in two literatures in the original languages, with a minimum of 2 courses in each of the literatures.

A 2-credit thesis of 50 to 60 pages, integrating preparations that have been done in two literatures in the original language.

Thesis / Culminating Exercise

All majors and minors will meet the Coordinator of the Comparative Literature Program before the end of the junior year to review and assess the student’s program.

At this time, the student will submit a general thesis outline, and will propose faculty advisers from appropriate departments. In some cases, the committee may ask that the thesis be written in whole or in part in the language of a literature studied other than English.

The  final draft of the thesis will be submitted no later than April 30 of the senior year, and it may be due earlier for Honors Majors.

Application Process for the Major and the Minor

Successful completion of an advanced literature course in each of the literatures of the student’s program of study is a prerequisite for admission into the Honors Program. A minimum grade of B is required.

Students applying for the (Honors) major will submit to the comparative literature coordinator a proposal of integrated study that sets forth the courses and/or seminars to be taken and the principle of coherence on which the program of study is based. The student will also submit a 6- to 10-page writing sample from a previously completed course. The committee will then review the proposal and the essay to advise the student.

In lieu of a traditional course, the Comparative Literature Committee will consider proposals for one or more research papers written as course attachments.