Comparative and World Literature

College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

Department of Comparative and World Literature
HUM 377
415-338-2068
E-mail: wclit@sfsu.edu
Chair: David D. Leitao

Undergraduate Advisers: D. Johnson, S. Khanmohamadi, E. Peel, C. Weinberger
Graduate Coordinator: Shirin Khanmohamadi

Faculty

Professor—Johnson, Peel

Assistant Professor—Khanmohamadi, Weinberger

Programs

B.A. in Comparative Literature
Minor in Comparative Literature
M.A. in Comparative Literature


Program Scope

Comparative literature is a way of studying world literature. It is a literary discipline designed to go beyond the chronological, geographic, and linguistic boundaries of individual national literatures.

Undergraduate Program. The B.A. in Comparative Literature is an interdisciplinary program which provides students with a global perspective through the reading and analysis of national literatures. Students develop university-level understanding of what different cultures have in common as well as what makes each culture unique. The study of comparative literature also seeks to establish relationships between literature and other fields, from the arts and sciences to folklore and religion. In addition to courses in various national literatures in translation, as well as in English literature, students also learn the methods and techniques of literary analysis and comparison.

Graduate Program. The M.A. in Comparative Literature combines the objectives of graduate study in foreign languages and literature with an emphasis on the intercultural and international aspects of literature. The goal of the program is to provide graduate training in subjects common to more than one national literature. Research work in the program is directed toward the problems of literary theory and analysis, genre studies, and literary history.

Career Outlook

The undergraduate degree in comparative literature is designed for students who wish to gain an interdisciplinary and broad liberal arts education. The undergraduate degree also provides a sound foundation for students who wish to continue work in comparative literature at the graduate level. Students find that the program provides a rich background for teaching in the humanities, liberal arts, and foreign languages and literature, as well as for other varied careers.

The M.A. in Comparative Literature is of particular value for students who intend to pursue a doctoral degree in comparative literature or in a foreign language and literature, or who plan to teach literature at the K-12 or community college levels.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

Advising. To ensure adequate planning of a student's program, all majors must consult an advisor regularly throughout their undergraduate years. Students who are interested in pursuing a teaching credential in English with a comparative literature emphasis in addition to the B.A. in Comparative Literature should consult the credential requirements section in this Bulletin and meet with an adviser in the Department of Comparative and World Literature.

Student Portfolio. Following departmental guidelines, all students will complete a portfolio prior to graduation.

All comparative literature majors must have reading competence for literature written in at least one language in addition to English. Most students will fulfill this requirement by successfully completing an adviser-approved course on literature written in another language. The requirement may also be met by examination when there are no appropriate courses available.

Students are advised to take CWL 400 as early as possible in the major. On-line course descriptions are available.

Core Courses Units
CWL 400 Approaches to Comparative Literature 3
Units selected from CWL courses on advisement. Each course must involve comparison of literary texts from more than one national/linguistic tradition; e.g., CWL 420, Studies in Comparative Literature; CWL 430, Heroic Tales of the Mediterranean. One course may be a lower-division CWL course. 9
Program Electives
These courses must be chosen in consultation with an adviser. They may be from a program other than CWL and must fulfill minimum distribution requirements (courses may satisfy more than one distribution requirement): 27
    Two courses in a non-English literary tradition  
    Two courses in a second national/linguistic literary tradition
    Two courses focusing on literature written before 1800 (must differ in period or literary tradition)
    One course in a literature "less commonly experienced" in the student's academic preparation (e.g., African, African American, Asian American, Chinese, Israeli, Japanese, Raza, Lesbian/Gay, Latin American), not part of the focus
    Four courses in a student-defined area of focus or an organizing principle
Minimum total 39

NOTE: Up to 9 units in lower-division CWL courses only may be used toward the total units; all other courses must be upper-division courses.

MINOR IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

All comparative literature minors are urged to acquire reading competence in at least one language in addition to English.

Program Units
CWL 400 Approaches to Comparative Literature 3
Units selected from CWL courses on advisement. Each course must involve comparison of literary texts from more than one national/linguistic tradition; e.g., CWL 420, Studies in Comparative Literature; CWL 430, Heroic Tales of the Mediterranean. One course may be an appropriate lower-division CWL course. 6
Program Electives 15
Units selected on advisement from upper-division literature courses that combine a sense of the historic, linguistic, and critical breadth of literary studies with a student-defined area of focus that fits within the general discipline of comparative literature. Courses may be from a program other than CWL.  
Total 24

NOTE: Up to 6 units of lower-division CWL courses only may be used toward the minor; all other courses must be upper division.

MASTER OF ARTS IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

Admission to Program

Students interested in this program must:

Students with grade or subject matter deficiency may be admitted conditionally and achieve classified status as follows: after appropriate consultation with a graduate adviser, the student will be directed toward courses, totaling 6-12 units, some of which may apply to the M.A., and in which the student must achieve a grade of B (3.0) or better. All conditions must be satisfied before students submit the Advancement to Candidacy (ATC).

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: satisfactory performance on first substantial research paper in student's first departmental graduate seminar, as determined by the instructor in consultation with the Comparative Literature Graduate Committee. If any deficiency is found, the student may be required to take remedial course work and to resubmit the research paper to the instructor and the committee. Level Two: satisfactory completion of the master's thesis or substantial research paper in the final departmental graduate seminar, if the student chooses the oral examination as the culminating experience.

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all general requirements for advancement to candidacy, applicants must complete successfully, with a grade of B or higher, the course CWL 800, Introduction to Graduate Study, in which ability to do critical writing will be demonstrated.

Student Portfolio. Following departmental guidelines, all students will complete a portfolio prior to graduation.

On-line course descriptions are available. Upper division courses offered by the department may be used upon approval of a faculty adviser.

Core Requirements Units
CWL 800 Introduction to Graduate Study in Comparative Literature 3
CWL 815 Topics in Critical Theory 3
CWL 820 Topics in Comparative Literature 3
CWL 825 Advanced Study in Comparative Literature 3
Total for core 12
Foreign Literature Requirement
Graduate seminars in a single foreign literature 9
Note: "Foreign Literature" means a literature and language other than the student's native language; e.g., a native speaker of Japanese must complete seminars in a literature other than Japanese.
Program Electives
Upper-division/graduate courses in at least one literature other than that of the Foreign Literature Requirement. Electives can include courses in English literature, comparative literature, or a second foreign literature read in the original language or in translation. 6
Culminating Experience
CWL 896
 
or
CWL 898
Directed Reading in Comparative Literature
and  Comprehensive Oral Examination
 
Master's Thesis and Prospectus
3
Minimum total 30

Comprehensive Oral Examination. Upon completion of course work, the student not writing a thesis must pass a comprehensive oral examination administered by a committee of a minimum of two faculty members and based on the departmental reading list and additional authors selected by the student, in consultation with the examination committee.

Master's Thesis and Prospectus. A written and oral presentation of the thesis prospectus is required before the writing of the thesis. The student's committee of a minimum of two faculty members must approve the prospectus.



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Last modified July 06, 2012 by bulletin@sfsu.edu