The minor in Comparative Literary Studies investigates the development of literature in an international and historical context. In this program, students study foundational works of literature from a variety of historical periods and national traditions in order to understand the diverse ways in which literary processes unfold in different social milieus and the interrelationships among different literary traditions. The study of genres, periods and themes across diverse cultures promotes “liberal education” in its truest sense, by enabling students to see beyond the parochial constraints of any single literary tradition.
Since antiquity, humanity has produced literary documents that serve as a repository of knowledge and wisdom, offering us the opportunity to reflect on the human experience. In addition to inspiring, literature enables us to see the ways in which other cultures are like our own, since we can discern in their literatures basic commonalities of form and theme that ground and sustain all peoples from otherwise diverse cultural, aesthetic and linguistic backgrounds.
The study of literary works offers a rich field of study for scholars from a broad range of academic disciplines. Because literature has always served as both outlet and inspiration for artists, historians (and makers of history), social thinkers and musicians, understanding literature prepares students in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences to participate actively in the global exchange of ideas.
A minor in Comparative Literary Studies consists of six courses. One of these is the required core course, LIT 201 Introduction to Comparative Literary Studies. The other five are electives; at least two of these must be at the 200 level or higher.