Comparative Literature

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Literature is a cultural site where the present is negotiated, the past excavated, and the future envisioned. In a globalized world where the circulation of blogs, legal documents, political manifestos, manuscripts, online journals, and images constantly shapes and reshapes human experience, understanding texts is utterly essential. 

Majoring in comparative literature provides students with tools for analyzing texts, writing, editing, translating, and thinking across disciplinary and national boundaries. Our majors engage a variety of literary traditions and historical periods, from Latin American concrete poetry to Yiddish experimental fiction. The department offers rigorous training in the following areas of strength of our internationally recognized faculty: French, German, Italian, Hebrew studies, classics, critical theory, East Asian literatures and arts, performance studies, film and media, poetry and poetics, gender and sexuality, postcolonial theory, English and American literatures, early modern and Renaissance studies and Slavic literatures and cultures.

All members of the department are deeply invested in the academic development of our students and value you as an integral part of the Comparative Literature community at UC Berkeley. The department aims to develop your creative and intellectual interests and talents. As a major, you receive the opportunity to pursue rigorous research in a variety of literatures according to your interests, engage in team-based projects, participate in discussions about political, aesthetic, and social issues, and develop a nuanced cross-cultural understanding of historical and social processes. All of our students have close contact with cutting edge scholars in their fields in a small classroom setting, with extensive individualized work. Our undergraduate majors edit their own journal of comparative literature and run an annual research conference. Most majors also choose to spend time in study abroad to deepen their cultural and linguistic knowledge.

Our students benefit from training in comparative literature and go on to work in a variety of professions, including journalism, media, publishing, translation, theater, and politics as well as in many roles in the legal, corporate, social, medical, and arts sectors. Additionally, we prepare our students to enter top graduate programs in the US and abroad.

"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you are not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."

—F. Scott Fitzgerald

Declaring the Major

If you are thinking of majoring in Comparative Literature, come meet with the major adviser at your earliest opportunity. You will probably discover that the requirements are flexible enough to suit you, and may find it to your advantage to ask the department's adviser to suggest relevant freshman and sophomore courses.

Majors must see the major adviser each semester to plan a program for the coming year in order to pre-enroll via the CalCentral enrollment system. The Major Requirements tab to the right outlines the basic requirements. Keep in mind that most of these requirements will be adjusted according to the language areas in which you plan to work and your own long range plans.

Honors Program

Students who have attained junior standing may be admitted to the honors program if they:

  1. Have accumulated at least an overall 3.3 grade point average (GPA) and at least a 3.55 GPA in the major, and at the time of graduation have accumulated at least a 3.65 GPA in the major and a 3.4 average in all work completed at the University.
  2. Have completed at least 8 upper division units in literature, including COM LIT 100 or the equivalent.
  3. Are prepared to do upper division work in one vernacular foreign literature or one classical literature.

In addition to the requirements for the regular program outlined above, candidates for the BA with honors in Comparative Literature must demonstrate, through either examination or coursework, a sense of the historical development of their principal literature, and earn a grade of B or higher for an honors thesis in COM LIT H195. Students interested in the honors program are urged to consult an adviser in the Department of Comparative Literature at their earliest opportunity.

Minor Program

The Department of Comparative Literature has a new minor program.

Visit Department Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in upper division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Upper Division Requirements

COM LIT 100Introduction to Comparative Literature4
COM LIT 190Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature4
Select one period course of the following:4
The Ancient Mediterranean World
The Middle Ages
The Renaissance
Eighteenth- and 19th-Century Literature
The Modern Period
Special Topics in Comparative Literature
Primary (formerly referred to as "major") literature: select at least four upper division courses (minimum 12 units), with readings in the original language.12
Secondary (formerly referred to as "minor") literature: select at least two upper division courses (minimum 6 units), with readings in the original language and selected to fit the student’s period of primary interest.6
Classical literature: select one upper division course in a classical literature where works are read in translation or in the original from Greek, Latin, Classical Arabic, Biblical Hebrew, Sanskrit, or Classical Chinese or Japanese.4

Minor Requirements

For the minor in Comparative Literature, students must take five courses for a letter grade: the three departmental core courses (COM LIT 100, one from Com Lit 151-160 or 170, and COM LIT 190), and two in a secondary literature, which should be in another language aside from the student's main language. This document (pdf) shows the differences between the major and minor. It is best that interested students meet with the major adviser to discuss planning for the minor.  

To complete the minor, interested students should fill out the "Completion of L&S Minor" forms and submit to the departmental adviser no later than the fifth week of classes of your final semester before graduation. The College of L&S will be notified of minor completion approximately four weeks after the final minor course has been completed for inclusion in the student's diploma.

Requirements

Take Five Courses for a Letter Grade
Two core courses:8
Introduction to Comparative Literature
Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature
One final core course from the following list:4
The Ancient Mediterranean World
The Middle Ages
The Renaissance
Eighteenth- and 19th-Century Literature
The Modern Period
Fiction and Culture of the Americas
Special Topics in Comparative Literature
Two courses in a secondary language (consult with adviser about specifics)8

College Requirements

Undergraduate students in the College of Letters & Science must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide.

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

American Cultures

American Cultures is the one requirement that all undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete a first-level reading and composition course by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units, including at least 60 L&S units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department

Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP) or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding EAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Student Learning Goals

Learning Goals for the Major

  1. Achieve solid proficiency in at least one language other than English, to the level needed to work with original texts in at least two national literary traditions.
  2. Attain a solid grounding in at least two national literary traditions, one of which is considered the student’s major literature.
  3. Understand key characteristics of historical periods in the major literature.
  4. Achieve knowledge of one relevant classical literature.
  5. Recognize and understand the workings of genre in literature (novel, poetic form, epic, drama).
  6. Achieve fluency in the use of major critical and theoretical modes of analysis.
  7. Situate literary movements in their relation to historical and cultural contexts.
  8. Analyze aspects of literature that can or must be studied cross-culturally (such as translation, avant-garde movements, romanticism, modernism, diasporic literatures).

Skills

  1. Critical reading. Students develop the capacity to:
    • Perform a strong and revealing close analysis of a text.
    • Recognize the literary and rhetorical features that structure texts and shape their reception.
    • Employ the conceptual tools and insights of literary theoretical texts in reading and interpreting texts drawn from various literary genres, literary criticism, historical materials, and literary theory itself.
    • Present accurately the arguments of a literary critic or theorist, uncovering unarticulated assumptions to illuminate the context in which the argument is made.
    • Understand the implications of different interpretive approaches, considering the benefits and limitations of different strategies.
  2. Argumentation. Students learn to:
    • Develop a line of questioning that leads to the construction of a logical, well-supported argument.
    • Evaluate their own arguments and those of others on the criteria of logical coherence, good use of evidence and comprehensiveness.
    • Respond to new evidence or new perspectives on the evidence by refining or revising their argument.
  3. Oral and written expression. Students learn to:
    • Present complex information and ideas orally, both in a prepared presentation and spontaneously.
    • Participate in a discussion with multiple participants by asking questions, listening closely to others, building upon their contributions, and formulating productive and relevant responses.
    • Write formal expository prose that is clear, persuasive, and economical.
    • Revise their own writing to improve its clarity and effectiveness.
  4. Research. Students learn to:
    • Formulate a productive research question that has a rigorous conceptual framework and makes good use of the available evidence.
    • Use databases, indices, and other tools to identify and locate relevant materials.
    • Assess the relevance and reliability of available materials.
    • Cite published work properly.

Academic Opportunities

Study Abroad

Many Comparative Literature students study abroad. The department actively encourages this experience. International study can be enlightening and fulfilling, both personally and academically. Although study abroad requires some planning ahead, the benefits are well worth the effort for most students.

Berkeley Study Abroad (BSA) is a University of California, system-wide program. Located in 160 Stephens Hall, BSA administers education abroad for Berkeley students. To begin planning an overseas program, or for more information, contact an adviser in the BSA Office or phone 510-642-1356.

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions offers assistance to students who want to participate in non-BSA programs. The office at 110 Sproul Hall provides advising during scheduled drop-in hours.

The Department of Comparative Literature expects its students to make normal degree progress and will review standing in the major before approving a semester or year abroad. Advanced consultation with the department adviser is highly recommended.

Comparative Literature Undergraduate Journal (CLUJ)

Students have the opportunity to run their own departmentally-supported journal, including writing, editing, and publishing. For more information, contact the Comparative Literature undergraduate academic adviser or look for the corresponding DeCal course at DeCal course listings.

Comparative Literature Research Symposium

Another opportunity is to participate in the annual Research Symposium, where scholars from around the world discuss their research. Typically the Symposium is held in early April. For more information, contact the Comparative Literature undergraduate academic adviser. 

Courses

Comparative Literature

COM LIT H1A English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2008, Fall 2007, Fall 2005
Expository writing based on analysis of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature. Limited to 10 qualified freshmen and/or sophomores who meet for round-table discussions and attend weekly tutorial sessions. Individual assignments provide each student with the opportunity to exploit his or her linguistic and literary training. H1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement, and H1B satisfies the second half.

English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT H1B English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2009, Spring 2008, Spring 2007
Expository writing based on analysis of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature. Limited to 10 qualified freshmen and/or sophomores who meet for round-table discussions and attend weekly tutorial sessions. Individual assignments provide each student with the opportunity to exploit his or her linguistic and literary training. H1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement, and H1B satisfies the second
half.
English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT N1A English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2011 First 6 Week Session, Summer 2005 10 Week Session, Summer 2004 10 Week Session
Expository writing based on analysis of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature. Satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT N1B English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2011 Second 6 Week Session, Summer 2010 Second 6 Week Session, Summer 2009 Second 6 Week Session
Expository writing based on analysis of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature. Satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT R1A English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 10 Week Session, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Expository writing based on analysis of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature. R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement, and R1B satisfies the second half.

English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT R1B English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 First 6 Week Session, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Expository writing based on analysis of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature. R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement, and R1B satisfies the second half.

English Composition in Connection with the Reading of World Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT R2A English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and French Literature 5 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2001, Fall 2000, Fall 1999
Expository writing done in connection with the reading of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature and the study of selected French texts read in the original. Course will prepare students for more advanced work in French. R2A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement, and R2B satisfies the second half.

English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and French Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT R2B English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and French Literature 5 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2008, Spring 2007, Spring 2006
Expository writing done in connection with the reading of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature and the study of selected French texts read in the original. Course will prepare students for more advanced work in French. R2A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement, and R2B satisfies the second half.

English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and French Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT R3A English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and Hispanic Literature 5 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
Expository writing done in connection with the reading of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature and the study of selected Spanish texts read in the original. Course will help prepare students for more advanced work in Spanish. Satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement.

English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and Hispanic Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT R3B English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and Hispanic Literature 5 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2013, Spring 2012, Spring 2011
Expository writing done in connection with the reading of selected masterpieces of ancient and modern literature and the study of selected Spanish texts read in the original. Course will help prepare students for more advanced work in Spanish. Satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement.

English Composition in Connection with Reading of World and Hispanic Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 20 Episodes in Literary Cultures 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2015
An introductory level exploration of a specific author, work, theme or literary movement in an international context. Emphasis on the ways in which literature has played (and continues to play) a crucial role in the relationship between different cultures, traditions, and languages. Readings and topics to vary from semester to semester.

Episodes in Literary Cultures: Read More [+]

COM LIT 24 Freshman Seminar 1 Unit

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
The Freshman Seminar Program has been designed to provide new students with the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member in a small seminar setting. Freshman seminars are offered in all campus departments and topics vary from department to department and semester to semester. Enrollment limited to fifteen freshmen.

Freshman Seminar: Read More [+]

COM LIT 39H Freshman/Sophomore Seminar 2 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2012, Spring 2011
Freshman and sophomore seminars offer lower division students the opportunity to explore an intellectual topic with a faculty member and a group of peers in a small-seminar setting. These seminars are offered in all campus departments; topics vary from department to department and from semester to semester. Enrollment limits are set by the faculty, but the suggested limit is 25.

Freshman/Sophomore Seminar: Read More [+]

COM LIT N40 Women and Literature 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2002 10 Week Session, Summer 2001 10 Week Session, Summer 1999 10 Week Session
A study of women as portrayed in literature, and of women writers. Selected readings on a topic which varies from summer to summer, detailed consideration of both literary techniques and the problems of women.

Women and Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 41A Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Epic 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2010, Spring 2008, Fall 2007
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Epic: Read More [+]

COM LIT 41C Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Novel 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2012, Spring 2011, Summer 2010 Second 6 Week Session
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Novel: Read More [+]

COM LIT 41D Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Drama 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2011, Fall 2010, Fall 2009
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Drama: Read More [+]

COM LIT 41E Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Cinema 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Fall 2010, Summer 2010 Second 6 Week Session
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: Forms of the Cinema: Read More [+]

COM LIT N41 Introduction to Literary Forms 0.0 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: Read More [+]

COM LIT N41A Introduction to Literary Forms: The Epic 3 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: The Epic: Read More [+]

COM LIT N41B Introduction to Literary Forms: The Lyric 3 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: The Lyric: Read More [+]

COM LIT N41C Introduction to Literary Forms: The Novel 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2003 10 Week Session, Summer 1998 10 Week Session
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: The Novel: Read More [+]

COM LIT N41D Introduction to Literary Forms: The Drama 3 Units

Terms offered: Prior to 2007
Comparative study of masterpieces of world literature.

Introduction to Literary Forms: The Drama: Read More [+]

COM LIT 50 Creative Writing in Comparative Literature 3 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2008, Spring 2008
A creative writing workshop for students who wish to study the theory and practice of writing as they work in a variety of forms and media.

Creative Writing in Comparative Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 60AC Topics in the Literature of American Cultures 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2015
Study of the ethnic diversity of American literature. Topics will vary from semester to semester, but may include such themes as Cultures of the City, Gender, Race, Ethnicity in U.S. Literature, Race and Identity. Students should consult the department's course bulletin well before the beginning of the semester for details.

Topics in the Literature of American Cultures: Read More [+]

COM LIT N60AC Topics in the Literature of American Cultures 3 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 First 6 Week Session, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Summer 2016 Second 6 Week Session
Study of the ethnic diversity of American literature. Topics will vary from summer to summer but may include such themes as gender, race, ethnicity, marriage, sexuality, identity, and the supernatural. Students should check the department's bulletin boards for summer course listings and further details.

Topics in the Literature of American Cultures: Read More [+]

COM LIT 98 Directed Group Study for Freshmen and Sophomores 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Group study in a field that may not coincide with that of any regular course and must be specific enough to enable students to write essays based upon their studies.

Directed Group Study for Freshmen and Sophomores: Read More [+]

COM LIT 100 Introduction to Comparative Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
An introduction to problems of the comparative study of literature and culture. Emphasis on principles of comparative methods and analysis with focus on selected literary, critical, and theoretical texts from antiquity to the present. Readings in English.

Introduction to Comparative Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 112A Modern Greek Language and Modern Greek Composition 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Fall 2015, Fall 2014
Modern Greek pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and syntax studied. The forms of writing (prose, poetry, drama) and the reading of literary texts as auxiliary to the acquisition of compositional skills.

Modern Greek Language and Modern Greek Composition: Read More [+]

COM LIT 112B Modern Greek Language and Modern Greek Composition 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
Modern Greek pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and syntax studied. The forms of writing (prose, poetry, drama) and the reading of literary texts as auxiliary to the acquisition of compositional skills.

Modern Greek Language and Modern Greek Composition: Read More [+]

COM LIT 120 The Biblical Tradition in Western Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2013, Spring 2011, Fall 2009
Examination of selected aspects of the Biblical tradition and their relevance to the study of later literature.

The Biblical Tradition in Western Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 151 The Ancient Mediterranean World 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2013, Spring 2012
The literature of Greece, Rome, the Biblical lands, and other ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean basin.

The Ancient Mediterranean World: Read More [+]

COM LIT 152 The Middle Ages 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2016, Spring 2015
The literature of the Middle Ages.

The Middle Ages: Read More [+]

COM LIT 153 The Renaissance 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2015, Spring 2013, Fall 2012
European literature of the Renaissance.

The Renaissance: Read More [+]

COM LIT 154 Eighteenth- and 19th-Century Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2014, Spring 2013, Fall 2008
Literature of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Eighteenth- and 19th-Century Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 155 The Modern Period 4 Units

Terms offered: Fall 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2015
Literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Modern Period: Read More [+]

COM LIT 156 Fiction and Culture of the Americas 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2015, Spring 2012, Fall 2011
Comparative study of American, Native-American, Spanish-American, Caribbean, and Brazilian literature and culture. Readings chosen to illustrate diverse attitudes of Americans toward their culture, politics, and environment.

Fiction and Culture of the Americas: Read More [+]

COM LIT 165 Myth and Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Spring 2015, Fall 2012
Study of the earliest myth texts and of the progressive growth of literature out of myth to the present day. Myth and oral composition. Emphasis on the meanings of myth as reflected in varying idioms.

Myth and Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 170 Special Topics in Comparative Literature 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2015, Fall 2014
An independent studies course designed to fulfill a need intrinsic to the undergraduate major's program which cannot otherwise be satisfied because it involves either a literature not covered in regularly scheduled course offerings or a special methodological framework or bias of selection.

Special Topics in Comparative Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 171 Topics in Modern Greek Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
This course frames methodologically selected topics in Modern Greek Literature and places them in their historical, social or cultural context.

Topics in Modern Greek Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT 190 Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Seminar-style treatment of a major topic in Comparative Literature. Substantial paper required.

Senior Seminar in Comparative Literature: Read More [+]

COM LIT H195 Honors Course 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 8 Week Session, Spring 2017, Fall 2016
Preparation and writing of an honors thesis under the supervision of a member of the faculty.

Honors Course: Read More [+]

COM LIT 198 Directed Group Study 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Group study in a field that may not coincide with that of any regular course and must be specific enough to enable students to write essays based upon their studies.

Directed Group Study: Read More [+]

COM LIT 199 Supervised Independent Study and Research 1 - 4 Units

Terms offered: Summer 2017 First 6 Week Session, Summer 2017 Second 6 Week Session, Spring 2017
Enrollment restrictions apply.

Supervised Independent Study and Research: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Frank Bezner, Associate Professor. Medieval Latin literature; Medieval literary culture; Neo-Latin; Intellectual history.
Research Profile

+ Karl A. Britto, Associate Professor. Africa, cultural studies, the Caribbean, literature, francophone literature, colonial and postcolonial literature, Vietnam, gender and identity.
Research Profile

Judith Butler, Professor. Critical theory, gender and sexuality studies, comparative literature, 19th and 20th century continental philosophy, social and political thought, philosophy and literature.
Research Profile

Anthony J. Cascardi, Professor. English, comparative literature, literature, Spanish, Portuguese, philosophy, aesthetics, early modern literature, French, Spanish Baroque.
Research Profile

Anne-Lise Francois, Associate Professor. Popular culture, English, comparative literature, the modern period, comparative romanticisms; lyric poetry; the psychological novel, novel of manners; gender, critical theory; literature, philosophy; fashion.
Research Profile

+ Timothy Hampton, Professor. Culture, politics, English, comparative literature, French, renaissance and early modern European culture, the romance languages, the ideology of literary genre, the literary construction of nationhood, the rhetoric of historiography.
Research Profile

Victoria Kahn, Professor. Rhetoric, comparative literature, Renaissance literature, poetics, early modern political theory, the Frankfurt School.
Research Profile

Robert G. Kaufman, Associate Professor. Modern/contemporary poetry and poetics; aesthetics, literary theory, & history of criticism; Frankfurt School Critical Theory and the arts.
Research Profile

Chana Kronfeld, Professor. Comparative literature, modernism, Hebrew, Yiddish, modern poetry, minor literatures, politics of literary history, feminist stylistics, intertextuality, translation studies.
Research Profile

+ Leslie V. Kurke, Professor. Classics, Greek literature and culture, archaic Greek poetry, Herodotus.
Research Profile

Niklaus Largier, Professor. Religion, literature, German, history of medieval and early modern German literature, theology, mysticism, secularism, senses, sensuality, history of emotions, passions, asceticism, flagellation, sexuality.
Research Profile

Michael Lucey, Professor. Pragmatics, the novel, sexuality studies, comparative literature, French, French literature, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, British literature and culture, social and literary theory, cultural studies of music, studies of language in use, theories of practice, twentieth-century American literature.
Research Profile

+ Francine R. Masiello, Professor. Gender theory, culture, globalization, comparative literature, Spanish, Latin American literature of the 19th and 20th centuries, comparative North and South literatures.
Research Profile

Eric Naiman, Professor. Sexuality, history, comparative literature, Slavic language, ideological poetics, history of medicine, Soviet culture, the gothic novel.
Research Profile

Ellen Oliensis, Professor. Latin Literature, Ovid.
Research Profile

Harsha Ram, Associate Professor. Russian and European romanticism and modernism, Russian and European avant-gardes, Russian, European, Near Eastern and South Asian poetic traditions, Indian literature, Italian literature, Georgian history and literature, theories of world literature, literary theory, comparative poetics, genre theory, literary history, comparative modernisms and modernities, vernacular and high culture, cultural and political history of Russia-Eurasia and the Caucasus, postcolonial studies, theories of nationalism, imperialism and cosmopolitanism, the city and literature.
Research Profile

Miryam Sas, Professor. Comparative literature, 20th century avant-gardes, Japanese literature, film, theater and dance, contemporary art, critical theory, gender theory.
Research Profile

Barbara Spackman, Professor. Feminist theory, psychoanalysis, culture, fascism, gender studies, comparative literature, Italian studies, narrative, European decadence, travel writing.
Research Profile

Sophie Volpp, Associate Professor. East asian languages and cultures, history of performance, gender theory, the history of sexuality, material culture, material objects in late-imperial literature.
Research Profile

Dora Zhang, Assistant Professor. Critical theory, linguistics, narrative & the novel, 20th and 21st century Britain.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Maria Kotzamanidou, Lecturer.

Annalee Rejhon, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Robert B. Alter, Professor Emeritus. Comparative literature, Near Eastern studies, 19th-century European and American novel, modernism, literary aspects of the bible, modern and biblical Hebrew literature.
Research Profile

+ Bertrand Augst, Professor Emeritus. Literary criticism, semiology.
Research Profile

Phillip W. Damon, Professor Emeritus.

Eric O. Johannesson, Professor Emeritus.

James T. Monroe, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of Comparative Literature

4125 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-2712

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

Miryam Sas, PhD (Department of Film and Media)

4116 Dwinelle Hall

mbsas@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Faculty Adviser

Sophie Volpp, PhD

4313 Dwinelle Hall

volpp@berkeley.edu

Undergraduate Adviser

Anatole (Tony) Soyka

4118 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1202

complituga@berkeley.edu

Back to Top