Comparative Literature, B.A.
Comparative Literature is the study of the world through its literatures and cultures. Critical theory and translation provide frameworks for making moves: across languages, media, geographic borders, and political visions.
In the Department of Comparative Literature, graduate and undergraduate students immerse themselves in national and regional literatures—of Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, and Europe—while simultaneously placing those cultural practices within dynamic global exchanges, both historical and contemporary. Through courses, conferences, collaborative projects, and digital media, Comparative Literature at UCI advances critical cosmopolitanism—a kind of worldliness cultivated by creative engagements with power, peoples, and their symbolic practices. From novel to poetry, drama to film, monuments to political protest, comics to audio, urban space to visual culture—Comparative Literature introduces students to global cultures in the widest sense, and to the theoretical lenses essential for putting them in perspective. Writing, speaking, visualizing, blogging, social networking: through multiple media Comparative Literature students at every level interpret and engage with other academics and publics outside the academy. Together, students of Comparative Literature strive for a continually evolving practice of critical awareness and political action: a global literacy and citizenship through which to face the challenges of life and work in the 21st century.
The Department seeks to foster and maintain a lively community that includes undergraduates, graduates, and faculty, and to that end holds a variety of meetings and activities so that majors can get to know one another and other members of the Department.
Planning a Program of Study
The Department offers close consultation for academic planning. All students should plan courses of study with faculty advisors. Students who wish to pursue double majors, special programs, or study abroad are urged to seek advising as early as possible.
All students must meet the University Requirements.
All students must meet the School Requirements.
Department Requirements for the Major
|COM LIT 60A||World Literature|
|COM LIT 60B||Reading with Theory|
|COM LIT 60C||Cultural Studies|
|COM LIT 190W||Advanced Seminar in Comparative Literature and Theory (capstone seminar)|
|C. Two additional courses selected from upper- or lower-division Comparative Literature courses or other upper-division courses offered in the School of Humanities.|
|D. Completion of one of the three emphases:|
|1. Emphasis in Comparative Literature and Critical Theory|
|(a) Select five upper-division courses in Comparative Literature.|
|(b) Competence in a foreign language sufficient for reading and understanding literature and culture in that language may be demonstrated through course work in one of the following ways:|
(1) Two upper-division courses in a foreign literature or culture in which texts are read in the original, or
(2) One upper-division course in a foreign literature or culture in which texts are read in the original, plus one upper-division course in a literature or culture in translation, or
(3) Students of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean take three years of language training plus one approved upper-division course in a foreign literature or culture in which texts are read in the original language or in translation, or
(4) Students of languages for which no language training is offered past 2C may take any two upper-division courses in a foreign literature or culture in translation.
(5) Students who study Greek and Latin fulfill the entire requirement by successfully completing two years of college-level language training and one upper-division course in a foreign literature or culture in translation.
|An Independent Study course may substitute for any part (i.e., either a language or literature course) of the foreign language requirement upon petition to the undergraduate studies director in Comparative Literature.|
|2. Emphasis in Cultural Studies|
|(a) Select six upper-division courses in Comparative Literature (three of which must be from the following list):|
|Topics in Comparative Multiculturalism|
|Gender, Sexuality, Race, Class|
|Discourse, Ideologies, and Politics|
|Critical Cultural Studies|
|Topics in Popular Culture|
|The Metropolis and Other Cultural Geographies|
|Literature, Arts, and Media|
|Literature, History, and Society|
|3. Emphasis in World Literature|
|Select six upper-division courses in Comparative Literature (three of which must be from the following list):|
|Nations, Regions, and Beyond|
|Topics in Comparative Multiculturalism|
|Colonialisms and Postcolonialisms|
|Diasporic Literatures and Cultures|
|Literatures in Dialogue|
|Literature in Translation 1|
COM LIT 150 may be replaced with other approved foreign literature-in-translation courses offered in the Humanities.
Residence Requirement for the Comparative Literature Major: COM LIT 190W and four additional upper-division courses in Comparative Literature or other upper-division courses offered in the School of Humanities must be completed successfully at UCI. By petition, two of the four may be taken through the UC Education Abroad Program, providing course content is approved by the appropriate program advisor or chair.
Courses in Comparative Literature train students to read critically, to think and write analytically in a variety of genres and media, to learn languages, and to do independent research, always in a global context. This course of study helps qualify majors for careers in education, international relations, law, government, technology, communications and media, nonprofit organizations, and publishing. In recent years graduates from the Department of Comparative Literature have won Fulbrights, gone on to law school, nursing school, and master’s programs in social work or psychology, and found jobs in public relations firms, done editorial work, and conducted clinical research in pharmaceutical firms. The Comparative Literature major is also excellent preparation for an academic career. Graduates have gone on to Ph.D. programs at Michigan, Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and other schools. Many also teach English, world literature, and modern foreign languages at the high-school level.