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Graduate Study in Comparative Literature

The Department of Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo is a relatively small, yet independent program. It combines a tradition of scholarly rigor with openness to fresh currents in literary studies. While rooted in an intense ongoing inquiry into the nature of literature, its conceptual and philosophical underpinnings, and its critical methods, the department sustains a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches and projects. In the past, students have incorporated into their work concerns and methods deriving from philosophy, psychoanalysis, legal studies, political theory, and anthropology.

In adapting to changes in the current academic climate, the department has also been successfully fostering new interests in nationalism and colonialism, cultural studies, visual arts (film theory, art history and architecture), and gender studies. Members of the department, who draw on a wide variety of fields of interest, offer both historical and systematic exposure to ideas that are developing throughout the humanities. This is richly complemented by a full program of distinguished visiting lecturers.

Because of its small size, the department offers students a very close working relationship with faculty. There are approximately as many faculty members as degree-seeking students. In all cases, students take considerable personal initiative in shaping their program of study. As a general guideline, however, and in order to provide intellectual orientation to incoming students, the department offers two flexible options of study: Comparative Studies and Critical Theory.