Oct 01, 2023  
Course Catalog 2022-2023 
Course Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Comparative Literature

Stiliana Milkova, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Director
Anna Levett, Visiting Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature
Sheera Talpaz, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies

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Comparative literature (CMPL) is the study of literature, theory, and criticism across the boundaries of language, nation, culture, artistic medium, genre, and historical period. Faculty in Oberlin’s program are drawn from across the humanities, arts, and social sciences, and the curriculum emphasizes these important areas of the discipline:

  • Literary Theory
  • Literature and the Other Arts
  • World Literature
  • Asian and European Languages and Literatures
  • Translation

Comparative literature enables students to integrate their studies in more than one discipline. Because the major requires a combination of depth, breadth, and creativity, students consult with advisors to create individualized curricular pathways. Majors must demonstrate advanced proficiency in at least one language other than English and write a capstone or honors project.

Program alumni have attended top graduate programs, received numerous Fulbright and other fellowships, and gone on to successful careers in academia, journalism, film, theater, translation, non-profits, publishing, libraries, the arts, and teaching at all levels.

Curriculum Overview 

Comparative literature offers coursework for the major and minor. Because many departments contribute courses to comparative literature, students with an interest in the discipline should consult with their advisor and the program director to define an individual area of emphasis. For example, several courses presented for the major might focus on a specific period or movement (e.g. the Renaissance, modernism), a genre (e.g. tragedy, lyric poetry), a problem (e.g. literature and the other arts, translation), or an approach (e.g. feminism, post-structuralism).

Students must take at least one 400-level course in a foreign language taught in a language other than English. For the following four languages, the required level is 300: Greek, Latin, Chinese, or Japanese. Outside of the classroom, majors and others may attend our annual Translation Symposium that brings prominent comparatists to campus. We encourage students to study abroad for a semester or a year in one of the many Oberlin-affiliated programs.

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Majors and Minors