Comparative Literature (CML)

Academic Catalog: 2015–2016

  • Lianying Shan (Japanese Studies), Program Director

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 The Art of Interpretation

  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. For a list of courses approved for the minor please contact the program director or visit the Comparative Literature page on the Gustavus website.


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 a. to complete at least one course that focuses on a non-Western literature and b. 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.