2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
    Mar 29, 2023  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Comparative Literature Major

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Comparative Literature Overview

Comparative Literature is a wide-ranging, multicultural program of studies in poetry, prose, drama, film and related arts. House in the Department of Language, Literature and Culture, Comparative Literature is by nature interdisciplinary and has strong ties to several other departments in the University.

For more information, please visit the Comparative Literature Department website.

Major Requirements

The MAJOR in Comparative Literature consists of:

Two courses in a foreign language at the intermediate level or above, or its equivalent as determined by the major’s adviser (Chinese 103/104, German 103/104, Hebrew 103/104, Japanese 103/104, Latin 103/104, French 105/106, Span 105/106). Students whose native language is not English but also not taught at Clark may fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year sequence in another language.

Demonstration of a reading knowledge of a foreign language, as determined either by completion of a literature course in a foreign language above the intermediate level or approval the major adviser.

Eight courses in literature, film or related arts selected in consultation with a department adviser from the offerings in several departments and programs including Foreign Languages, English, Art History, Screen Studies, and Theater Arts. These eight courses should include at least four courses that have a Comparative Literature attribute, as well as the National Imagination (CMLT 130) and a capstone course.

Students can fulfill the capstone course in the following ways:

  • taking any Comparative Literature course numbered above 200. (In this case, inform the instructor in advance that this course will serve as a capstone course.)
  • if they have focused on French or Spanish literature, they may take the French or Spanish capstone courses, if granted permission from the instructors of those courses. If they have focused on an Asian language, they may take the Asian Studies capstone course, again with permission of the instructor of that course.
  • other 200-level literature courses in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese may be allowed, with permission of comparative literature adviser and instructor of the course.
  • directed study, only if offered by an instructor approved by the adviser.
  • on rare occasions, research done while abroad or as part of a summer project might qualify as a capstone. Generally, though, the student would do better to continue that research as a directed study, which would then be the actual capstone course.

The capstone course is generally taking the semester before the final semester of a student’s career at Clark - i.e., in the fall of the senior year if a student is planning on graduating in the spring.


In order to be considered for honors in comparative literature, the student must take their capstone course in the fall of their senior year and submit a proposal for their thesis project by December 1. They will then complete a senior honors thesis in the spring of their senior year.


Literature courses presented to demonstrate reading knowledge of a foreign language may be counted in this group of eight courses. No more than one foreign language course above the intermediate level taken to fulfill requirement 1 may be double-counted for fulfillment of requirement 3.


This honors program is for language, literature and culture majors only. By November 1 of the capstone semester, faculty will identify qualified senior majors (with a minimum GPA of 3.5) and invite them to submit a proposal for a semester-long honors thesis during the spring of their senior year. Other students who wish to take honors should identify an area of interest during the capstone semester, consult with the capstone professor and/or an appropriate honors adviser, and submit a proposal (by December 1) to the professor they would like to direct the project.*

  • Proposals will be approved at the discretion of the individual professor.
  • The Department Chair must also approve the project.
  • The honors candidate and adviser will decide on a work schedule, but a preliminary draft must be completed by the first week of April.
  • The final version is due one week before the last day of classes.
  • A second faculty reader will participate in the final evaluation of the honors project.
  • An honors project counts as one unit of credit.

*Students graduating early and wishing to do an honors project should see their adviser during the fall of their junior year and get approval for the project from the thesis director and the department chair.

Comparative Literature Faculty

Maria Acosta Cruz, Ph.D. (Spanish)
Belén Atienza, Ph.D (Spanish)
Odile Ferly, Ph.D. (French)
Everett Fox, Ph.D. (Jewish Studies)
Beth Gale, Ph.D. (French)
Benjamin Korstvedt, Ph.D. (Music)
Stephen Levin, Ph.D. (English)
Juan Pablo Rivera, Ph.D. (Spanish)
Robert Tobin, Ph.D. (German)
Alice Valentine, M.A. (Japanese)

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