Comparative Literature * : About The Program

About Our Degrees

The minor in Comparative Literature consists of two mandatory courses in literary theory (see COL 301 and COL 302), as well as a choice of up to five additional courses at lower and upper levels. Specific requirements vary slightly according to affiliation with the College of Arts and Sciences as opposed to other divisions. Certain courses from romance languages, English, and media study can be credited toward this minor.

Acceptance Criteria - Minor

Minimum GPA of 2.0 overall.

Degree Requirements

Please see Degrees and Policies.

About Our Courses

The mandatory courses for the minor in Comparative Literature, COL 301 History of Literary Theory and COL 302 Contemporary Literary Theory, make splendid elective courses in culture for students in all fields. They afford students a working knowledge of the current models of cultural interpretation (e.g., psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, Frankfurt School, post-colonialism, structuralism, and post-structuralism). These courses dramatically enhance the power with which students are able to decode and enjoy, among other things, paintings, films, plays, poems, and performance art. These courses are acceptable for the critical methods component of the English major.

Other comparative literature undergraduate offerings are designed to be in synch with the broader issues, questions, and methods raised in COL 301 and COL 302. From semester to semester, the Department of Comparative Literature offers a wide range of courses in literature, film, popular culture, and gender and post-colonial studies. These courses are constantly being updated to maintain their relevance.

Recent elective comparative literature undergraduate offerings have included: 'The Culture of Rebellion,' 'The Quarrel between Philosophy and Literature,' 'Literature and Desire,' 'Literature into Cinema,' 'The City in Literature,' 'Women and Literature,' 'Literature and War,' and 'Signs and Representation.' These courses all satisfy the General Education Humanities requirement. They also form part of a splendid cultural background, whether taken as part of the comparative literature minor and special major or not.

For course descriptions, please see Courses.

About Our Faculty

The faculty of the Department of Comparative Literature have distinguished themselves over recent years through both the quality and the quantity of their book publications. The department's scholars have also achieved national and international esteem for the quality and magnitude of their research. A large number of the department's faculty members have been the recipients of distinguished grants, such as Guggenheim, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and American Council of Learned Societies fellowships.

The entire faculty regularly participates in major national and international conferences and other significant intellectual events. Since the faculty's professional activities represent an especially lively part of the department, students have the opportunity to study with noted scholars who are strongly committed to research.


See a list of our Undergraduate Faculty.

Practical Experience and Special Academic Opportunities

The Special Major in Comparative Literature is an individualized program of study that students design in conjunction with comparative literature faculty advisors. Participation in this program requires independent studies courses with the Comparative Literature faculty.

The department offers a regular summer study abroad program in Africa, and, in its emphasis on foreign languages and multicultural study, encourages undergraduates to take advantage of any and all appropriate study-abroad opportunities.

Extracurricular Activities

Over the duration of its history, the department has organized a stellar sequence of lectures by outside guests and a series of annual theme-centered academic conferences. Visitors to the Comparative Literature department have included such world-renowned scholars and intellectuals as the late Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, J. Hillis Miller, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy, Julia Kristeva, Lucette Finas, Samuel Weber, and Dalia Judovitz. Undergraduates as well as graduate students are encouraged to participate in these events, which constitute a significant intellectual resource on campus.

The department also sustains a "Philosophy Goes to the Movies" film series and a Theory Reading Group.

See the UB Student Association.

Complementary Programs and Courses

As suggested above, comparative literature offerings naturally complement any of the majors in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. They enhance pre-legal study and interdisciplinary programs in the humanities and social sciences.

Links to Further Information About this Program

Updated: 13 Nov 2012 06:02:28 EST