Courses Recommended For First Year Students

Why Comparative Literature?

Reading, translating, thinking about how we use languages, asking questions about what's just and beautiful—these things help us build communities, and they are fundamental to our everyday lives. Comparative Literature takes root in them and helps you share and grow your interest in or commitment to them.

What is Comparative Literature?

Comparative Literature is an exciting interdisciplinary program that promotes the study of literatures in different languages and encourages reading in translation. It also explores relationships between literature and other areas of culture, disciplines, and practices, such as the visual and performing arts, philosophy, history, politics, religion, and the sciences. Among the critical perspectives that it fosters are rhetoric and poetics, translation and reception, film theory and media studies, colonial and postcolonial studies, theories of ethnic and national identities, gender and queer theory, and psychoanalysis.

Courses in Comparative Literature typically have no pre-requisites and satisfy a range of college requirements. We welcome everyone, regardless of your class standing, in our topics courses with high course numbers. We encourage you to explore the breadth of what we offer and to meet our wonderful faculty. If you would like to be more methodical about exploring Comparative Literature, we recommend either COLT 1: Read the World or COLT 10: Introduction to Comparative Literature.

Talk to us!

If you are looking ahead to a possible major in Comparative Literature, this is a good time to talk to us and your first-year advisor about developing competence in at least one language other than your mother tongue. This will help you could work with original materials, which we do require of all our majors. If you are already competent in two languages or more (congratulations!), Comparative Literature is a meaningful way to put your knowledge to use.

If you think about translation as an everyday thought process, as part of yours or your family's  life in society, and a literary activity—or if you would like to start thinking about it—talk to us about taking translation-themed courses in Comparative Literature and explore our Translation Studies minor.


Course Descriptions for First Year Students

First-year students are allowed to enroll in any of our courses:

COLT 01. Read the World @ 2 (F)

COLT 10: Intro to Comparative Literature:


01. Read the World (F)

Do you know how to read? Faces. Words. Pictures. Bodies. Games. Books. People. What are you really doing when you read the world? This course teaches comparative methods designed to confront the (mis) understandings and (mis) translations that constitute reading across the world's languages, locations, cultures, historical periods, and expressive forms. Classwork consists of hands-on exercises that engage ancient and modern myths and materials drawn from various media: text, movies, video games, anime, and digital arts.



For more information about the major.

For more information about the minor in Translation Studies.