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 Prof. Madeleine Dobie, Director of Undergraduate Studies. Her office hours will be posted soon.

The requirements for the concentration in Comparative Literature and Society consist of a total of 36 points, or twelve advanced courses in comparative literature and society. Please note that language courses taken to fulfill the application requirements do not count toward the major. In the description below “affiliated disciplines” refers to the humanities (except the language and literature departments), the social sciences (History, Anthropology, Political Science, etc.), law, and architecture.

  • Introduction to Comparative Literature (CPLS UN3900), normally taken in the spring of the sophomore year
  • two courses with a CPLS designator, or courses designated as comparative in nature by the various language and literature departments (i.e., CL– courses)
  • two seminars (discussion-driven courses at the 3000 or 4000 level) chosen from among the affiliated disciplines
  • one to two courses requiring readings in a language other than English, preferably conducted in the target language and for which written assignments are composed in the language as well
  • two to three courses in a single national or regional literature and/or culture, chosen from any discipline or school
  • two to four courses in literature or any of the affiliated disciplines and related to the student’s historical or thematic focus. The focus is a period, theme, problematic, movement, etc., that is explored from an interdisciplinary and/or a comparative perspective.

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.