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Curriculum Overview

Overview of Undergraduate Courses in Comparative Literature

Information regarding current and past offerings (incluidng topics and course descriptions), LSA distribution requirement designations, enrollment requirements, and repeatability may be found in the LSA Undergraduate Course Catalog.

COMPLIT 100. Global X 

This course explores elements of contemporary US American popular culture within a global framework. Richly contextualized, "Sports Culture," "Apocalypse," "Fairy Tales," or "Vampires" emerge in their complex historical and transnational dimensions. Through a careful selection of guest lectures, "Global X" serves as an introduction to Comparative Literature.

COMPLIT 122. Writing World Literatures

An intensive writing course designed to increase cultural literacies and to fulfill the LSA First-Year Writing Requirement. It requires intense work on composition, argumentation, and contextualization of the creative texts from a comparative perspective. Topics and readings vary by instructor.

COMPLIT 140. First-Year Literary Seminar

A course in the LSA First-Year Seminar Program. Led by a faculty member, this course is a study of selected topics in literature through classroom discussion and the writing of essays.

COMPLIT 141. Great Performances 

What makes a "great" performance? This course considers the relation between tradition and innovation in performing "great" works in music, theatre, dance. Students attend live performances and explore the concept of performance from various historical, critical, and creative perspectives; they also develop their skills in writing about performance. Fulfills the LSA First-Year Writing Requirement

COMPLIT 200. Translation Across Disciplines

This course introduces translation as a movement across languages, media, cultures, discourses, and disciplines. We will explore the following questions: Why and how should we think about translation? What is translation? Who translates? When and where do we encounter translation in our daily lives, in our communities, and in the world at large?

COMPLIT 222 / GTBOOKS 212. Great Books in World Literatures

Students will read great books of world literature across temporal and geographic boundaries, to explore a central theme (for example, “Youth” or “Revolution” or “The City”).  The course encourages students to appreciate the complexity of texts in diverse cultural contexts, and to reflect on the idea of “World Literature.”  

COMPLIT 240. Literature Across Borders 

Emphasizing international and interdisciplinary approaches to literary studies, this course introduces students to current topics in comparative literature. Readings come from Western and non-Western cultures and are considered within a variety of contexts.

COMPLIT 241. Topics in Comparative Literature

An introduction to the range of comparative literature through topics representative of the discipline. Subjects vary but might include literary periods or movements (e.g., symbolism), genres (e.g., comedy), themes (e.g., the Don Juan theme), influence across national boundaries, relations between literature and other disciplines.

COMPLIT 250. Translating Race and Ethnicity in Local and Global Contexts

Students will develop a broad understanding of the ways the complex vocabulary of race, ethnicity, identity and belonging responds to local contexts by comparing translations in literature and popular media surrounding current topics. They will build critical skills in close reading and analytic writing in response to assigned examples.

COMPLIT 260. Europe and Its Others

This course is designed to introduce students to the pan-European origins of literary study and alternatives to them and to increase their cultural fluency.

COMPLIT 300. Global Humanities 

Explores topics in world cultures with a global perspective and a humanities point of view: how different human societies respond imaginatively to pressing issues like "Human Rights," "Revolutions," or "Religious Conflict" and manifest their understandings in specific cultural productions and practices across media, including film, literature, and visual cultures.

COMPLIT 310 / PHIL 310. Topics in Literature and Philosophy & COMPLIT 311 / PHIL 311. Topics in Philosophy and Literature

This course explores literary works and philosophy and how this relation changes. Important issues might include human rights, racism, politics. This course provides the opportunity for offerings on special topics by Comparative Literature and Philosophy faculty in a variety of course formats. Topics vary by section and term.

COMPLIT 322. Translating World Literatures

 This course provides an opportunity for students to use their skills in a foreign language to think about the history, theory, and practice of translating literary texts, and to work on a translation project of their own choosing.  To meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement, the course is structured around a series of critical and creative writing assignments. The course also includes a range of readings in translation studies, with an emphasis on the cultural function of translation and the role of the translator in cross-cultural communication.

COMPLIT 323. Adapting World Literatures

This course introduces students to the circulation of world literatures through various forms of adaptation across space and time, genres and media. Students consider how literature is adapted to produce new meanings, explore approaches to multi-modal writing, and create their own adaptation of a literary work as a final project. Meets the Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

COMPLIT 340 / MODGREEK 340. Travels to Greece

The course examines the literature of modern travel to Greece and the issues it raises about antiquity, modernity, ethnography, otherness, exoticism, orientalism, and Western identity. Readings include works by British, French, German, American, and Greek authors. Art, film, and the media are also used to provide different measures of comparison.

COMPLIT 350. The Text and Its Cultural Context

A comparative study of literature and some expository writing from diverse cultures, focusing on the interdependence of text and context.

COMPLIT 364. Comparative Literary Movements and Periods

This topics course proves an introduction to studies in literary movements and periods across national boundaries. Examples include the traditional literary periods such as Romanticism or Modernism as well as movements such as surrealism, dada, or futurism, to name only a few. In each case, a basic understanding of the issues concerning literary movement or period would supplement the close examination of literary works.

COMPLIT 372. Literature and Identity  

This course explores the emergence of literary works in relation to identity, tracing how literary and human kinds relate and how this relation changes. Important issues might include how specific cultural contexts affect the making and reading of literary works, how attempts to preserve ethnic heritage and memories play out through literature, and how migration and globalization influence literary creation and meaning.

COMPLIT 374. Literature and the Body

This course interrogates the corporeal context of literary creation and meaning. It focuses not only on the influence of gender, sex, ability, disability, and race within the world of the text but questions the relation between literary and bodily form. Is the body a text, or is it an origin for texts? Do we write out of the body or is the body itself written? How do the body of the text and the text of the body interact to create meaning?

COMPLIT 376. Literature and Ideas

This course offers a general consideration of the ways in which particular ideas have affected the creation and history of literature, whether considered in terms of the history of ideas or as the content of an individual work. Its subject matter is varied, depending on the instructor. It might address the influence of "freedom" in a selection of literary works. It might track the influence of the French Revolution. It might invent other new and useful keys to literary interpretation.

COMPLIT 382. Literature and the Other Arts

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary study of literature and the arts. It poses general questions about the concerns shared by different media (language, paint, music, etc.) as well as arguments between them. It introduces students to basic ideas about aesthetics broadly conceived and permits an exploration of art issues in an inclusive climate where language, music, and the representational arts may come together.

COMPLIT 422. Comparing World Literatures and Cultures 

An advanced seminar studying literature and cultures in a globalizing world. What does "literature" mean when considered in a comparative global context? The course is designed to encourage theoretical and interdisciplinary thought about pressing issues in the Humanities.

COMPLIT 434. Comparative Studies in Poetry.

Advanced introduction to the comparative study of poetry.

COMPLIT 438. Comparative Studies in Film.

 An advanced introduction to the comparative study of film.

COMPLIT 490. Comparative Cultural Studies

An advanced intro to comparative studies in culture and cultural theory. Approaches will vary but might include questions of social identity, formations of social discourse, postcolonialism, issues of cultural racism and status of "national" identity.

COMPLIT 492. Comparative Literary Theory  

An advanced intro to comparative studies in literary theory. Topics might include narrative theory, gender theory, ideology, semiology, and postmodernism.

COMPLIT 495. Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature

The culmination of undergraduate work in comparative literature. The course consists of an overview of current literary theory; readings; and student presentations of seminar papers developed in a tutorial situation with the instructor.

COMPLIT 496. Honors Thesis

Tutorial for writing the honors thesis, a paper usually begun in the Comparative Literature Senior Seminar taken in a previous term.

COMPLIT 497. Translation Studies Undergraduate Capstone

This course gives translation students an opportunity to incorporate the skills and knowledge acquired while completing the degree requirements in a final project.

COMPLIT 498. Directed Reading 

This course is individually developed by a student in consultation with an instructor who may be any Associate Faculty member of the Program.