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Information about the Minor

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*Not a baccalaureate degree program

Comparative literature offers a unique opportunity to study culture and literature in interdisciplinary and international perspectives. By focusing on interpretation, our program prepares students to think independently and work productively in an increasingly diverse and global world. Our courses offer students necessary tools to encounter diverse cultures, navigate different philosophical perspectives, and interpret urgent political issues. We teach enduring works of literature (e.g. Greek tragedy, Dostoyevsky, Woolf, Borges, and Kafka) along with major thinkers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Freud, Nietzsche, Kristeva, Arendt, Foucault, and Derrida, among others. Comparative Literature undergraduate courses are unique because they provide a meeting ground between various disciplines such as literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, feminism, political theory, ethics, and religion.

The Department of Comparative Literature offers the possibility of a small college’s intimate intellectual community amidst a huge and diverse university setting. Our classes are small and intensive seminars, focusing on discussion and individualized instruction. Students sit around a conference table and discuss the texts and ideas in detail. Recently, an increasing number of UB undergraduates have opted either for the Minor in Comparative Literature or the Special Major offered under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences. Students taking the comparative literature minor find that it provides an indispensable background to almost any major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Because of its rigorous training in analytical and interpretative skills, comparative literature also provides invaluable preparation for graduate school and for careers in law, medicine, psychology, the media, history, sociology, anthropology, and arts management.

Comparative Literature Faculty

Special Academic Opportunities

The Special Major in Comparative Literature is an individualized program of study that students design in conjunction with comparative literature faculty advisors. It is known for its flexibility, mentoring, and individual attention to the needs of students.

The department offers a regular summer study abroad program in Africa, and, in its emphasis on foreign languages and multicultural study, encourages undergraduates to take advantage of any and all appropriate study-abroad opportunities.

Extracurricular Activities

Undergraduate students in the Department of Comparative Literature are encouraged to participate in its extraordinarily vibrant intellectual life. Our ongoing “Just Theory” lecture series has included such world-renowned scholars and intellectuals as the late Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, J. Hillis Miller, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, Jean-Luc Nancy, Julia Kristeva, Lucette Finas, Samuel Weber, and Dalia Judovitz. Undergraduates as well as graduate students are also encouraged to participate in annual conferences and the Philosophical Reading Group.