Our Comparative Literature Program affords flexibility for students wishing to pursue a course of literary study across national, linguistic, and disciplinary boundaries. Our program's study of world literatures with a comparative breadth intersects with fields such as philosophy, psychoanalysis, and memory studie; linguistics and translation studies; feminist, gender, queer, and transgender studies; religious studies; film and media studies; ethnic studies; visual culture; drama and performance studies as well as as well as science and technology. Our faculty strength in literary, critical, and cultural theories further enables students to develop their skills as critical thinkers and analysts of literary texts and other discourses.
Comparative Literature is home to the Graduate Emphasis in Translation Studies. Graduate students from humanistic disciplines who add a doctoral emphasis in Translation Studies (including theory and practice) examine the role of translation in the development of national cultures, world literature, and comparative studies, deal with the tensions between textual and cultural translations, and develop their own practice as translators, readers and writers of literary texts. Please visit our Translation Studies website.
Furthermore, Comparative Literature is affiliated with the Graduate Center for Literary Research, which aims to enrich and enhance the experience of graduate students and faculty involved in literary studies, by promoting interdisciplinary dialogue and encounters at various levels. Please visit the GCLR website to learn more about its ongoing activities and its new affiliation with Harvard Institute of World Literature.
Our doctoral program is affiliated with the Harvard Institute for World Literature (IWL), an international research program created "to explore the study of literature in a globalizing world. As we enter the twenty-first century, our understanding of 'world literature' has expanded beyond the classic canon of European masterpieces and entered a far-reaching inquiry into the variety of the world’s literary cultures and their distinctive reflections and refractions of the political, economic, and religious forces sweeping the globe."