Comparative Literature is the interdisciplinary study of literature and culture from different perspectives and from different national groups.
Different students choose Comparative Literature for different reasons. Generally, students whose interests in language, literature, or culture traverse national boundaries find a rich variety of material for their studies. Additionally, students who study popular culture, literary or cultural theory, film, gender studies, music, and/or art also find that Comparative Literature provides them ample opportunity to pursue their inquiries.
Comparative Literature at the University of Rochester offers students significant flexibility in designing a concentration both broad in national and historical diversity and rich in depth. Students who study Comparative Literature choose their courses from a huge selection of national literatures and cultures. They can choose either to pursue work in a foreign language (or two), or complete their coursework in English.
Comparative Literature is by definition interdisciplinary. Students who pursue work in Comparative Literature, either through a cluster, a minor, or a major, will gain access to several different national cultures and, depending on the level pursued, a deeper sense of how those cultures interact with their neighbors, their regions, and the world.
Those who study Comparative Literature will possess valuable skills in literary analysis, cultural awareness, and critical thinking and writing. Sensitive to the manner in which different national groups conceive their identities in an era of ever-increasing globalization, students of Comparative Literature aim at international awareness through humanistic inquiry.
That depends on the student. You can do work in Comparative Literature either with language-intensive courses, or you can do all your work in English.
Students with interest and proficiency in foreign languages can do work in Comparative Literature in two ways: you can construct your major with concentration on the literature and culture of two national areas (see below), in which case you can do advanced level courses in the language, or you can do one area in the original language and one in English.
Students whose interests and skills do not necessarily include advanced work in a foreign language can take all of their courses in English. Any courses that is listed under the "CLT" rubric is taught in English, and that includes literature, culture, as well as theoretical or other kinds of courses.
For more information about the Comparative Literature cluster click here.
In consultation with the Comparative Literature faculty advisor, students choose 5 courses representing an area of concentration in the field. Students can define that area according to their own interests and educational and career goals.
There are literally dozens of courses in Comparative Literature-please see the Modern Languages and Cultures Department web site for more information. Here's a small sample of what you will find:
Students are encouraged to study abroad in one or more of the national areas of their interest. Generally speaking, coursework undertaken abroad will count toward a major or minor in Comparative Literature.
For more information about programs in Comparative Literature, contact Professor Susan Gustafson at (585) 275-4253.