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Exploring the Comparative Literature Program at Washington University in St. Louis

July 3, 2023
By AdmissionSight
View of WashU campus

Exploring the Comparative Literature Program at Washington University in St. Louis

Are you interested in studying Comparative Literature? Look no further than Washington University in St. Louis, where the program offers a comprehensive education in the literary traditions of the world. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the Comparative Literature Program at Washington University, including its history, curriculum, research opportunities, internships, and more.

What is Comparative Literature and Why Study it?

Comparative Literature is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the literary traditions of different countries and cultures. Students who study Comparative Literature learn how to analyze and interpret literary texts, as well as how to navigate cultural differences and nuances. This field is particularly useful for those who are interested in working in fields such as academia, publishing, journalism, and international relations.

Furthermore, studying Comparative Literature can also broaden one’s perspective and understanding of the world. By exploring different literary traditions, students gain insight into the values, beliefs, and experiences of people from diverse backgrounds. This can lead to greater empathy and cross-cultural understanding, which is increasingly important in our globalized world. Additionally, Comparative Literature can also provide a platform for examining issues such as colonialism, postcolonialism, and globalization, and their impact on literature and culture.

The History and Evolution of the Comparative Literature Program at Washington University

The Comparative Literature program at Washington University has a rich history, dating back to the early 1900s. Over the years, the program has evolved to include a wide range of literary traditions, from classical literature to contemporary experimental works. Today, the program offers a diverse curriculum that examines literature from around the world in a variety of languages.

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One of the unique aspects of the Comparative Literature program at Washington University is its emphasis on interdisciplinary studies. Students are encouraged to explore connections between literature and other fields, such as philosophy, history, and cultural studies. This approach allows for a deeper understanding of the cultural and historical contexts in which literary works were produced.

In addition to its academic offerings, the Comparative Literature program at Washington University also hosts a variety of events and activities throughout the year. These include guest lectures, film screenings, and literary readings. These events provide students with opportunities to engage with scholars and writers from around the world, and to deepen their understanding of the literary traditions they are studying.

Faculty Members in the Comparative Literature Program and Their Areas of Expertise

The faculty members of the Comparative Literature program at Washington University are experts in a variety of literary traditions and theoretical approaches. They include scholars of French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, and Japanese literature, as well as specialists in feminist theory, postcolonial studies, and eco-criticism.

One of the faculty members, Dr. Maria Rodriguez, specializes in Latin American literature and has published several articles on the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Another faculty member, Dr. John Smith, focuses on the intersection of literature and film, and has taught courses on adaptations of Shakespearean plays in cinema.

In addition to their research and teaching, the faculty members of the Comparative Literature program are also involved in various literary events and conferences. They organize an annual symposium on world literature, which brings together scholars from different parts of the world to discuss current trends and issues in the field. They also host readings and talks by visiting writers and poets, providing students with opportunities to engage with contemporary literary voices.

Student Life in the Comparative Literature Program: Clubs, Organizations, and Events

Students who enroll in the Comparative Literature program at Washington University will find themselves part of a vibrant intellectual community. The program boasts a number of student organizations, such as the Comparative Literature Graduate Student Association and the Comparative Literature Reading Group. In addition, students can attend lectures, colloquia, and other events on campus and in the St. Louis area, which often feature prominent scholars and literary figures.

One of the most popular events organized by the Comparative Literature program is the annual literary festival, which brings together writers, scholars, and students from around the world. The festival features readings, panel discussions, and book signings, and provides students with the opportunity to engage with some of the most exciting voices in contemporary literature.

For students who are interested in pursuing careers in academia, the Comparative Literature program offers a number of resources and opportunities. Graduate students can apply for teaching assistantships, which provide valuable experience in the classroom, and can also participate in research projects and conferences. The program also has a strong record of placing graduates in top PhD programs in Comparative Literature and related fields.

Curriculum Overview: Courses Offered in the Comparative Literature Program at Washington University

The curriculum of the Comparative Literature program at Washington University is designed to give students a broad education in literary traditions from around the world, while also allowing them to focus on specific areas of interest. Courses cover a wide range of periods, genres, and theoretical approaches, and students are encouraged to take courses in other departments, such as Philosophy and Anthropology, to supplement their studies. A few examples of courses offered in the program include “Contemporary World Literature,” “East Asian Literature and Culture,” and “Literary Translation.”

Group of students taking an exam in a room.

Additionally, the Comparative Literature program at Washington University offers opportunities for students to engage in research and creative projects. Students can work with faculty members on independent research projects, participate in literary translation workshops, and even publish their own literary works in the program’s annual literary magazine. These opportunities allow students to apply the knowledge and skills they have gained in the program to real-world situations, and to develop their own unique voices as literary scholars and writers.

Research Opportunities for Comparative Literature Students at Washington University

Students in the Comparative Literature program at Washington University have access to a wealth of research opportunities. They can participate in research assistantships, where they work with faculty members on their research projects, or they can take advantage of the many resources available at the university’s libraries and archives. Furthermore, students can develop a thesis project in their senior year, which allows them to conduct in-depth research on a topic of their choosing.

In addition to these opportunities, students can also apply for research grants to fund their own independent research projects. These grants can provide funding for travel, materials, and other expenses related to the research. This allows students to pursue their own interests and gain valuable experience in conducting research.

Furthermore, the Comparative Literature program at Washington University hosts a variety of events and conferences throughout the year, providing students with opportunities to present their research and engage with scholars from around the world. These events also offer a chance for students to network and build connections within the academic community.

Internship Opportunities for Comparative Literature Students in St. Louis

Washington University’s location in St. Louis provides students in the Comparative Literature program with a unique opportunity to gain real-world experience through internships. Some of the organizations where students have interned in the past include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Missouri Historical Society, and various publishing houses. These internships allow students to apply the skills they have learned in the classroom to practical situations, and to build their resumes for future job opportunities.

Additionally, the Comparative Literature program at Washington University offers a course specifically designed to prepare students for their internships. This course covers topics such as professional communication, workplace etiquette, and project management. Students are also paired with a faculty advisor who provides guidance and support throughout the internship experience.

Furthermore, many of the internships available to Comparative Literature students in St. Louis are paid positions. This not only provides students with valuable work experience, but also helps to offset the cost of tuition and living expenses. Some students have even been offered full-time positions with the organizations where they interned, following graduation.

Graduate School and Career Prospects for Comparative Literature Graduates from Washington University

Graduates of the Comparative Literature program at Washington University are well-prepared for a wide range of graduate schools and career paths. Some graduates go on to enroll in doctoral programs in Comparative Literature or related fields, while others pursue careers in fields such as publishing, academia, international relations, and journalism. The critical thinking and writing skills that students develop in the program are highly valued by employers in a variety of industries.

Additionally, the program offers opportunities for students to gain practical experience through internships and research projects. These experiences not only enhance students’ resumes but also provide them with valuable skills and connections in their desired fields.

Students talking to their professor.

Furthermore, the program’s emphasis on cross-cultural understanding and language proficiency prepares graduates for careers in global industries and organizations. Overall, the Comparative Literature program at Washington University provides students with a strong foundation for success in a variety of graduate schools and career paths.

Admissions Requirements for the Comparative Literature Program at Washington University in St. Louis

For those interested in applying to the Comparative Literature program at Washington University, the admissions requirements are straightforward. Students must submit a completed application, transcripts from all institutions attended, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and a writing sample. In addition, the GRE is required for all applicants who have not completed a bachelor’s degree in the United States.

Overall, the Comparative Literature program at Washington University in St. Louis provides students with a rigorous education in the literary traditions of the world, as well as the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to succeed in a variety of fields. If you are looking for a program that will broaden your horizons and challenge you intellectually, then this program is definitely worth considering.

One of the unique aspects of the Comparative Literature program at Washington University is the opportunity for students to study abroad. The program offers several study abroad programs in countries such as France, Germany, and Spain, where students can immerse themselves in the language and culture of the literature they are studying. This experience not only enhances their understanding of the literature but also broadens their worldview and cultural competency.

Another benefit of the Comparative Literature program at Washington University is the close-knit community of students and faculty. With small class sizes and a collaborative learning environment, students have the opportunity to work closely with their professors and peers. This fosters a supportive and intellectually stimulating community that encourages students to push themselves academically and creatively.

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