Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature Courses

Our graduate program is flexible. Students are encouraged to define their own interests and, in consultation with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and their academic advisor, design programs suited to their particular needs. A core seminar series in the first year of residence, plus a course in pedagogy, constitute the only required courses.

Courses appropriate to one's areas of interest are chosen from within the comparative literature or comparative studies in discourse and society programs or from other departments or programs in the Graduate School.

The curriculum emphasizes small seminars and directed research. The first-year core seminars in both comparative literature and comparative studies in discourse and society are practicums aimed at the development of critical and analytical skills, in which current theoretical perspectives are introduced in conjunction with the study of specific and varied historic problems. 

Through study of specific artifacts in historic contexts, the seminar focuses on such issues as:

  • The role of coercion and persuasion in the maintenance and manipulation of social boundaries and hierarchies
  • The interrelations of center and periphery in the production, dissemination and reception of expressive forms
  • Differences and relations among high, popular, and mass culture
  • The place of education in the work of cultural replication
  • The encoding of ideological constructs within specific cultural artifacts
  • The strategies of cultural resistance

The rest of both the CSDS and CL curriculums consist of highly topical seminars built around specific areas of current research and faculty expertise; the themes necessarily change regularly. More information on seminars and all other graduate courses can be found on ClassInfo.