Requirements: Comparative World Literature


Beginning the Comparative World Literature Courses

Comparative world literature is an interdisciplinary approach to literature that combines the study of literature with other disciplines. Our courses move between different national literatures and languages and explore the non-Western and cross-cultural perspectives offered by world literature. Fundamental to the concentration is coursework in two literary traditions. Students may choose to complete coursework in two of the three fields: classics, English and/or modern languages and literature. These lower-level courses will satisfy the prerequisites required for advanced coursework in each discipline.

Concentration Requirements — Five courses 

Core Courses — three courses

  • CWL 120 What in the World is World Literature? or select cross-listed sections of ENGL 103 or MLL 100- / 200-level courses (in translation) or CLAS 130 Classical Mythology or 225 The Ends of the Earth in the Ancient Imagination
  • CWL 220 No Comparison: The Practice of Comparative Literature
  • CWL 333 Reading World Literature

Advanced Coursework — two courses

Students must complete one course in two of the following three departments: 
Any advanced Greek or Latin course in the Department of Classics (normally at the 300 level) will count toward the Comparative World Literature Concentration.

Any advanced literature course in the Department of English (normally at the 300 level) will count toward the Comparative World Literature Concentration. Most students must take several lower-level English courses in preparation for this advanced coursework.

Modern Languages and Literature 
Any advanced literature course offered and taught in the language of study in the Department of Modern Languages and Literature (normally above the 321 or 322 level) will count toward the Comparative World Literature Concentration. For language disciplines that do not offer advanced literature courses in the target language, such as Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian, students must have completed an advanced-level language course (321 or its equivalent) in order to count a literature course in translation (taught in English) toward the concentration.

Language Study

Students are expected to work in at least one foreign language at an advanced level. Demonstration of this competency is satisfied by the completion of the modern languages and literatures requirement detailed above. Study abroad is strongly recommended.

Senior Capstone

All CWL concentrators are required to submit a 1012 page capstone essay that highlights a thematic and/or methodological aspect of World Literature. For students majoring in English, modern languages and literatures or classics, the CWL capstone essay should be considered a supplement that enhances and broadens the scope of their capstone project in the major. For CWL concentrators majoring in a different discipline, the 1012 page capstone essay is a freestanding paper.

In cases of a written supplement of 1012 pages, the deadline will be the established due date of the capstone project within the home department (English, modern languages and literatures or classics); in cases of a separate 1012 page paper for CWL concentrators majoring in a department other than English, modern languages and literatures or classics, that paper will be due at the end of week seven in spring term.

Concentrators should consult CWL-affiliate faculty when conceptualizing and writing their paper. While faculty will not take on an active and intensive supervisory role in relation to the CWL capstone essay, they will provide advice and guidance on texts and approaches that the student should consider. The CWL director will serve as an optional second reader of the capstone papers carried out by CWL concentrators in the home departments of their majors (if English, modern languages and literatures or classics), and in cases of CWL concentrators outside of these primary departments, the capstone essay will be submitted directly to the CWL director.