Comparative Literature

Our Majors

Why are you a Comp Lit major?

"Hi! I'm io (they/them). I'm a comp lit major with an allied field in film. I'm interested in looking at ways in which film created tactile sensations and visual experiences in spectators through cinematography and use of space. I thought I wanted to be a double English-Linguistics major, but then I found out I could just do this instead. I am illiterate and unable to sit through an entire movie." –io
"I like philosophy, but comparative literature (with an allied field of computer science) is my hobby. I am studying "the digital." I am interested in videogames and software as an object of study—like Alexander Galloway, Ian Bogost, or Janet Murray—I guess this is my focus." –Gatlin
"I am studying comparative literature with a concentration in history and anthropology. I want to look at something along the lines of memory in contemporary east asian cinema." –Teline
"Hello my name is Aditi, I study postcolonial + poststructuralist theory (power & the constitutive movements of subjectivity, (inter) textuality), I love parentheticals & making up my own words." –Aditi
"i'm not studying comp lit to make friends; i'm studying comp lit to become america's next top model." –jeri
"I decided to be a Comp Lit major because I wanted to study both fiction and political science/theory, and Comp Lit gave me the option to do both.  I focus primarily on speculative fiction (science fiction/fantasy, basically), and the intersection of politics with identity and representation.  I’ve also studied depictions of totalitarianism in dystopian fiction. I’m really interested in the cultural coding of different species in Star Trek, and how it’s influenced and changed by contemporary politics.  For my thesis, I’m hoping to analyze the portrayal of Bajorans in The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager in relation to their role as a kind of postcolonial critique of Federation utopianism." –Kyra
"I’m a Comp Lit major because otherwise I would have had to write my thesis in German instead of English. More seriously, because when I came to college (and still now), I was interested in everything and found that in Comparative Literature, I had the freedom to pursue it. I’m now studying philosophy of language and focusing on “modernist” (mid-19th to early 20th century) French and German poetry and writings." –Martha
"I'm a Comp Lit major because I find that it simultaneously allows for more structure and more wiggle room! I'm studying Great Britain and France in single era and comparing and contrasting how their two cultures handled class and gender dynamics in either the Renaissance or Middle Ages!" –Rikky
"Hey, my name is Nathan and I’m a Comp Lit major. I find it rather difficult to describe exactly what I study, which is precisely what I like about the Comp Lit major. The flexible and interdisciplinary approach to the study of literature matches well with my fluctuating interests, and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to study literature from multiple perspectives through Reed’s study abroad programmes. In a general sense, I focus on western European (i.e., German-, English-, and French-language) fiction and film in the first half of the 20th Century, but I’m also interested in contemporary German-language literature from migrant perspectives, and have spent some time with philosophy and literary theory from the Middle Ages onward. I’m particularly interested in questions of language and identity, for instance, the way multilingualism can be used in minority literatures to deal with tensions in identity. I’m tentatively planning on writing my thesis on how German is used side by side with other languages (e.g., Yiddish, English, or even French) in German- and Austrian-Jewish fiction after the Holocaust as way of specifically exploring those intersectional identities." –Nathan
"Theory is alive in comparative literature. I am studying the concept of wonder." –Coleman
"I am interested in writings about refuse and the environment." –David
"I'm Kate, from the wild state of Montana. I am interested in studying the dialogue between music and text in post-Impressionist and Modernist literature (English and French, poetic and operatic) and what this could reveal about the status of the ineffable (potentially including issues of translation, semiotics, and/or the literary construction and experience of time.)" –Kate
"I'm studying Comparative Literature with an allied field in Film Studies. Comp Lit is great because you have the opportunity to study a broad range of topics from cultures around the world. I'm looking at the aesthetics of violence and how violence can be used in different mediums (film and novel) to illicit a subversive reaction from audiences, specifically in the dark humor genre. I'm using theories from the likes of Benjamin, Heidegger, and Sobchack as well as fiction works from authors like Thomas Pynchon, Kurt Vonnegut, Julio Cortázar, and directors such as Stanly Kubrick and Damián Szifron." –Rugby
"Hey. I’m Jess, a junior Comp Lit major from New York City. I am studying literature and art history and am focusing on Russian academic art as it intersected with French Salon painting of the mid-19th Century. Additionally, I am interested in observing Russian reception of Western art as it modernized, especially in the cases of Impressionism in France and the preceding Wanderers and subsequent World of Art movements in Russia." –Jess
"嗨!I'm Malin, a Comp Lit junior from Chicago with an allied field in women/gender studies. I will hopefully be writing a thesis comparing contemporary Chinese and American/English literature, poetry and film created by female-identified people! I'm interested in feminisms, gender theories, and ideologies/critiques of nationalism expressed by the two national canons through various mediums. I may choose to incorporate some aspects of more traditional ancient/medieval Chinese lit to demonstrate how certain aspects of Chinese history influenced today's forms of expression." –Malin
"I'm a junior Comp Lit major. I'm focusing on Latin American literature and the topic of translation (both as a philosophy and a practice). I'm reading the works of my favorite authors both in their original form of Spanish or Portuguese, and in their English translations, in order to discuss the nuances of language, the untranslatable, and other things." –Zoë
"I am studying Comparative Literature to engage with a variety of art forms (writing, imagery etc.) in themselves as well as in relation to one another. To give an example, I am interested in writing, photography and film, and how they are related." –Tigris

Our Graduates

Thesis title: “Physiologies : on the senses of a young fate”
Thesis title: “Lyric and revolution : history and sociality in the poetry of Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova”
Thesis title: “Seeing between the wander lines: elaborating the communal cinema of Fernand Deligny”