Comparative Literature


Alexander Deneyka, 1934. Oil on wood.The Comparative Literature minor offers students a broad perspective on the interpretation of texts, covering diverse languages, geographies, cultures and eras. In this regard, transnational, transcultural and global connections are presented through the study of literary history, literary criticism, critical theory and poetics. This intercultural approach to reading texts highlights the unique relationship between literature and other elements of a given culture that help produce that literature. By closely analyzing texts, students develop a deep understanding of the social, political, cultural and philosophical functions of literature in its many contexts. The program allows students to explore literary texts from different linguistic and cultural traditions and to experience a variety of areas of critical inquiry such as the origins of literary culture, the ethical and philosophical questions raised in particular literary cultures, questions of censorship, gender roles in literary production, the aesthetics of literary forms, the reception of literary texts and the like. Students minoring in Comparative Literature take courses in a variety of academic departments, coordinating their study of textual interpretation in various literary, historical and cultural contexts.

Requirements for the Minor in Comparative Literature

Six courses including the following:

  1. ENG 201: Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (offered annually)
  2. Electives: Five courses from the list of approved courses. The choice of courses should reflect the broader scope and rigor of the program and thus must include courses taken from at least three academic departments or programs. In addition, students must complete three courses of the five electives at Level II or above, at least one of which must be a Level III course. With written approval of the Director, Special Topics courses that focus on reading and analyzing literary texts may count toward the minor.

In addition, students are asked to consider the following as part of their course of study:

  1. Given the broad and global nature of comparative literature studies, students are greatly encouraged to study a foreign language beyond the elementary level.
  2. Study abroad. Students are encouraged to study abroad and may present some of their courses for credit in the Comparative Literature program. To determine how many credits are transferable, the Director of the program will assess the content of the courses taken abroad. In most cases, no more than two courses or two course equivalents from abroad will be applied to the minor.

Courses Approved for the Comparative Literature Minor

(Please be aware that course offerings change over time. While every effort is made to keep this list as current as possible, it is advisable to check with your academic advisor or the Program Director to make certain that any given course is being offered.)

Classics - Classical Studies

  • CLA101 Myth and Meaning
  • CLA103 Theatre of Greece and Rome

Classics - Latin

  • LAT202 Vergil’s Aeneid
  • LAT302 Horace and the Roman Poets
  • LAT303 Cicero and Sallust: The Fall of the Roman Republic
  • LAT304 Roman Drama

Classics - Greek

  • GRE202 The Greek New Testament
  • GRE302 Greek Drama
  • GRE303 Homer
  • GRE304 Murder in Ancient Athens: Greek Orators

Three Crowns Curriculum

  • CUR250 The Literary Experience

English (ENG)

  • 115 British Literature I (to 1789).
  • 116 British Literature II (since 1789)
  • 117 Arthurian Literature and Its Cultures
  • 121 American Literature I (to 1865
  • 122 American Literature II (since 1865)
  • 124 American Women
  • 126 Introduction to U.S. Ethnic Literature
  • 130 Introduction to World Literature
  • 217 British Women Writers
  • 220 The Fine de Siècle: Literature and Culture of the 1890's
  • 226 Topics in U.S. Ethnic Literature
  • 228 American Pastoralism
  • 231 Modern Poetry
  • 234 Modern Drama in Text and Performance
  • 261 The British Novel
  • 273 The American Novel
  • 281 Postcolonial Literatures in English
  • 317 Renaissance Studies
  • 321 Shakespeare
  • 333 Romanticism
  • 334 The Victorian Age
  • 336 American Renaissance
  • 337 Contemporary American Literature

French (FRE)

  • 363 Francophone Women Writers and Artists
  • 364 Francophone African/Caribbean Literatures and Cultures

Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWS)

  • 236 Gender, Sexuality, and the Holocaust

Japanese (JPN)

  • 170 Introduction to East Asian Literature in English Translation
  • 270 Modern Japanese Literature and Culture In English Translation
  • 272 Women in East Asian Literature and Culture

Religion (REL)

  • 110 The Bible
  • 240 Prophets
  • 250 Women and The Bible
  • 280 Paul and His Letters
  • 290 Jesus in Tradition and History
  • 350 Apocalypse

Russian (RUS)

  • 221 19th Century Russian Literature in English
  • 223 Russian Literature Since 1900 in English
  • 321 19th Century Russian Literature
  • 323 Russian Literature since 1900

Scandinavian Studies (SCA, SWE)

  • 224 Scandinavian Women Writers
  • 230 Nordic Theater and Drama
  • 250 Scandinavian Crime Fiction
  • 244, 344 Topics in Swedish Literature and Culture

Spanish (SPA)

  • 322 Masterworks of Spanish American Literature
  • 323 Love, Honor, Authority, and Social Justice in Spanish Literature

In addition, many of these programs offer Special Topics courses that will be applicable to the proposed minor.

(Listing revised March, 2018)

Picture credit: Alexander Deneyka, Picture of a Young Woman with a Book. Oil on wood. 1934. St. Petersburg, The Russian Museum.

NameTitlePhoneGustavus Email Address
Robert KendrickRobert KendrickAssociate Professor and
Blake CoueyBlake
Ursula LindqvistUrsula
Denis CrnkovićDenis CrnkovićResearch
Kjerstin MoodyKjerstin MoodyAssociate
Lianying ShanLianying ShanAssociate