The Institute for Comparative Literature and Society also offers a concentration in Comparative Literature and Society that allows qualified students to complement their work in other majors with the study of literature, culture, and society. Like the CLS major track, the concentration is designed for students whose interest and expertise in languages other than English enable them to work comparatively in several national or regional cultures. The concentration is also interdisciplinary, affording students the opportunity to explore a variety of methodological and disciplinary approaches to the study of cultural and literary artifacts. Students pursuing a concentration share with students in the major the experience of the Introduction to Comparative Literature and Society seminar in their sophomore year.

If you have questions or are interested in finding out more about a major or concentration in Comparative Literature and Society please contact our DUS.

Requirements for the Concentration

The concentration in Comparative Literature and Society consists of a minimum of 27 points or 9 courses, distributed as follows. Please note that courses taken to fulfill the application requirements do not count toward the major. With the exception of courses taken to satisfy the global core requirement, any double counting of courses to the CPLS major and another program or university requirement must be approved by the DUS.

  1. Introduction to ICLS (CPLS V3900), taken in the spring of the sophomore year (3 points).
  1. Two courses with a CPLS designator. CL– courses, i.e. courses cross-listed between ICLS and other departments, may also be counted toward this requirement (6-8 points)
  1. Two seminars in a humanities or social science discipline other than literature (e.g. Architecture, Anthropology, Art History, Economics, Gender & Sexuality Studies, History, Law, Linguistics, Music, Political Science, Race & Ethnicity Studies, Sociology…). The two courses must be grounded in the same disciplinary approach but don’t have to be offered by the same department or program (6-8 points)
  1. Two courses requiring readings in a language other than English (the two courses don’t have to be in the same foreign language) (6-8 points)
  1. One course focusing on a specific national or regional literature or culture, chosen from any discipline (3-8 points)
  1. Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature and Society (CPLS V3991)

The senior seminar is taken in fall semester of the senior year. Students  explore three areas of contemporary reflection in the field of comparative literature and society. Topics change yearly and are aligned with current ICLS research projects. Recent examples include: Bandung Humanism; Global Language Justice; A Safer Online Public Square

  1. (Optional) Senior Thesis (CPLS 3995) (3 points)

Students sign up for thesis credits (CPLS 3995) in the spring semester of the senior year but should begin to prepare in the fall semester. They work with an adviser from the Columbia/Barnard faculty who oversees the project and assigns the final grade. The DUS of ICLS is the second reader for all projects. The thesis must be a minimum of 35 pages double-spaced and must include footnotes and a bibliography. Translations, creative work and multi-media projects can be submitted with the prior approval of the DUS. These must be accompanied by an introduction that situates the project intellectually. The thesis should be written in English unless a student receives permission from the DUS to write in another language. Note that the completed thesis is submitted before the end of the spring semester, usually by April 15. The thesis is considered as a 3-point course. It may be counted in lieu of a course taken to meet requirements 2, 3, 4, or 5.

Students should consult frequently with the DUS to ensure that their program of study develops in consonance with the intellectual project described in the focus statement that was presented as part of the admissions process. The faculty understands that this statement is itself a work in progress, but also that it serves as a useful guide to the student’s academic pursuits and course selection.

Comparative Literature and Society concentration students should also consider the Barnard College course offerings in Comparative Literature. They are also strongly encouraged to avail themselves of the opportunity to study abroad.