Comparative Literature, LLC



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Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst is actively engaged in defining new paradigms and problems within the discipline. The relationship between translation and transnationalism, theory and media, the future of national literatures in the era of globalization, gender and cultural formation across time, literary history and psychoanalysis, "East"-"West" cultural encounters, human rights and global censorship, postcolonial and diaspora studies, the aesthetics of late modernity, studies in the moving image--these are among the conceptual fields strongly emphasized within the graduate curriculum.

Graduate courses in Comparative Literature at UMASS cover a wide range of primary texts and critical theories. What distinguishes our discipline from other fields in the humanities is the emphasis on reading and working in original languages; theoretical perspectives that question the premises of national canons or what constitutes communities of readers and texts, and which recognize the age-old dialectic between word and image or moving image; constructs that allow for the comparative study of literary movements, genres and aesthetic formalisms that transcend national or chronological boundaries; investigations of the relation between literary and cinematic studies and other disciplines, from geography, psychology and medicine to art history, music and philosophy; and deep concern with a logic of the humanities that questions universalist foundationalism while attending to particulars of language, meaning and local knowledge, and which investigates the terms of comparability itself.


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