Comparative Literature (CML)

Academic Catalog: 2020–2021

  • Blake Couey, (Religion), Program Director

The Comparative Literature minor offers students a broad perspective on the interpretation of texts, from diverse languages, geographies, cultures, and eras. Students make global connections through the study of literary history, criticism, critical theory, and poetics. This intercultural approach 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, philosophical, and religious functions of literature in its diverse 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, and the reception of literary texts.

Students minoring in Comparative Literature take courses from a variety of academic departments including English; Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies; Modern Languages and Literatures; Religion; and Scandinavian Studies. Along with providing skills in close reading, critical thinking, and effective communication, the study of Comparative Literature helps students develop the intercultural competency necessary to be good global citizens. The minor will strengthen applications to graduate school in many disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. It also prepares students for careers in publishing, law, journalism, and education, to name just a few.

Requirements for the Minor in Comparative Literature:

Six courses including the following:

  1. ENG-201 Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory (a comparable theory course may be substituted with permission of the Program Director).
  2. Electives: Five courses from the list of approved courses, which can be found on the Comparative Literature page on the Gustavus website. To reflect the broad scope of the program, these courses must come from at least three academic departments or programs. In addition, students must complete three of the courses at Level II or above, and at least one must be a Level III course.

    With approval of from the Director, special topics courses that focus on reading and analyzing literary texts may also 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
    1. to complete at least one course that focuses on a non-Western literature and
    2. to study a foreign language beyond the elementary level.
  2. Students who study abroad may present some of their courses for credit in the Comparative Literature program. To determine how many credits are transferable, the Program Director will assess the content of the courses taken abroad. In most cases no more than two courses or course equivalents from abroad will be applied to the minor.