Comparative Literature at UChicago

Comparative Literature is the study of cultural expressions across languages, periods, genres, and disciplines. Experts in the field acquire familiarity with several languages, frame theories to enable connections among disparate domains, and propose new ways of understanding that arise from considering similarity, difference, and connection encompassing these diverse objects.

In this spirit, the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago promotes the multidisciplinary, historically self-reflective and cross-cultural study of cultural expressions. The Department’s global and historical reach is reflected in the diversity of our research interests. Faculty and students work on Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Tamil, Malayalam, Old Javanese, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Zulu, Portuguese, Ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, Azeri, Czech, German, Yiddish, Romansh, French, Welsh, Catalan, Spanish, Lakota, K’iche’ Maya, and Nahuatl. For more detailed information, please visit the personal pages of our faculty and graduate students.

We offer students the opportunity to grapple in a rigorous way with the most pressing issues in the humanities today: the questioning of national and cultural boundaries and identities; the struggle over literature’s epistemological, ethical, or social authority; the debate about what counts as literature, and why; and the interaction between literature and other cultural or intellectual practices.