Comparative Literature Program | College of Liberal Arts
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Mission Statement

The Program in Comparative Literature has as its goal the cultivation of multilingual and multicultural critical understanding and literacy. Each of our students acquires appropriate proficiency in a minimum of three foreign languages and cultures. Our primary mission is to help our students become better readers, writers, and thinkers in a global and international context, and the study of literature and culture in a comparative context provides the richest environment for this development. Our students learn to interpret and evaluate literary and cultural products from multiple origins and in languages other than their own most immediate experience. Additionally they are trained to present persuasive arguments, to master and use different theoretical and methodological tools, and to engage in dialog with scholarly voices other than their both within the field of Comparative Literature and in other modern and classical language fields. They undertake substantial writing and original research projects in multiple languages in preparation for careers both within the academy and beyond.

In addition to the textual and theoretical content, Comparative Literature is a distinct academic discipline which stresses both the centrality of literary and cultural traditions and the value of comparative analyses across traditional national and area-studies divides. The program offers a wide range of comparative, interlinguistic and interdisciplinary courses which, together with coursework in individual language departments and area studies centers, form the core of our students' preparation. The courses offered in Comparative Literature at both the graduate and the undergraduate level focus on a wide range of historical periods, vary in thematic and genre content and draw upon literary traditions from across the globe. Additionally we offer courses in methodology, literary theory and translation studies.

Professionally, we are dedicated to the shaping of our discipline and the preparation of our students for future careers related to modern languages and literatures. In this regard, we are the home of the North American learned society in our field, the American Comparative Literature Association and host an annual national graduate student conference on a topic of interest to comparatists. Our faculty are drawn from across the UT campus and we publish regularly in the leading journals and imprints in our respective fields. We hold leadership positions in professional organizations; and we conduct research in more than twenty languages and within many disciplines, including Comparative Literature itself. We also aim to serve the interests of the University and the larger local, state, national and international communities through collaboration and joint undertakings.