Admissions to the Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies B.A. have been suspended as of summer 2018. If you have any questions, please contact the department.
The Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies offers a major in comparative literature and a certificate in folklore.
Comparative literature is the study of literatures in their original languages from a transnational, cross-cultural perspective.
Comparative literature students and majors study texts from a range of historical periods, geographical and cultural areas, and literary and artistic movements. They learn to critically pose and respond to fundamental questions about the place of literature in society and in cultural and historical traditions.
Majors are introduced to specific modes of literary analysis as well as to general concepts of "literariness." They explore the interaction of literature with other arts and disciplines as well as with the political, social, and intellectual contexts of literature. In this way, students acquire important intellectual skills in critical comparative reading, thinking, and writing.
The small size of most comparative literature classes allows ample opportunity for the discussion and exchange that are essential to the development of such skills. Comparative literature classes also offer challenging research and writing projects that can be carried out individually and in small groups.
A major in comparative literature is valuable preparation for a career in a wide range of fields that demand careful analysis, clear writing, the presentation of logical arguments, and the critical assessment of the written and oral opinions of others—law, business, communications, politics and diplomacy, journalism, technical writing, or publishing. It is ideal for students interested in teaching at the secondary level or in pursuing graduate degrees.
The program welcomes students with a diverse range of backgrounds and interests, and with literary reading competence in a language in addition to English. Literary fluency in a language other than English is the basis for work in the comparative literature major.
To declare the major in comparative literature, students must have sophomore standing, have taken at least one 200-level course in the department, have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and have established the foundations of literary fluency in a language other than English.
Prospective majors should meet with the undergraduate advisor to discuss the requirements in advance of declaring the major. Declared majors are strongly encouraged to meet with the undergraduate advisor in planning their courses each semester. Juniors should arrange a meeting early in the spring semester to assess whether they will have met all requirements for graduation.
Folklore is a multidisciplinary field of study concerned with the documentation and analysis of verbal, customary, musical, material, and performance traditions, primarily as they are practiced within cultures, but also as they are revived, modified, even invented by artists, educators, entrepreneurs, activists, communities, and states. The program offers courses on folklore forms, practitioners, performances, theory, methods, and public presentation, with an emphasis on cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches. Students interested in folklore as an area of concentration typically major in an arts, humanities, or social science discipline. No formal undergraduate major is offered in folklore, but by planning a course of study with the undergraduate advisor, a student may design an individual major with a folklore concentration. Undergraduate students may also earn a certificate in folklore.
Additional Program Information
Courses in Comparative Literature (COMP LIT) fall into four general classes:
Introductory courses (201–299) are based entirely on English-language texts or English translations of foreign language texts. These courses are open to first-year students and restricted to undergraduates.
General courses (300–400) are open to undergraduates. The course texts are in English, but majors and other students who are able to do so are expected to work with one foreign literature in the original language.
More specialized courses (400–699) are open to both undergraduate and (with the exception of the proseminar, COMP LIT 690 ) graduate students. Texts used in these courses typically require the knowledge of at least one foreign language.
Graduate courses (700–999) involve increasing use of foreign literatures both in the classroom and in individual work.
Admissions to the Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies major have been suspended as of Summer 2018. Questions may be directed to the department.
University General Education Requirements
All undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison are required to fulfill a minimum set of common university general education requirements to ensure that every graduate acquires the essential core of an undergraduate education. This core establishes a foundation for living a productive life, being a citizen of the world, appreciating aesthetic values, and engaging in lifelong learning in a continually changing world. Various schools and colleges will have requirements in addition to the requirements listed below. Consult your advisor for assistance, as needed. For additional information, see the university Undergraduate General Education Requirements section of the Guide.
|General Education|| |
* The mortarboard symbol appears before the title of any course that fulfills one of the Communication Part A or Part B, Ethnic Studies, or Quantitative Reasoning Part A or Part B requirements.
College of Letters & Science Breadth and Degree Requirements: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Students pursuing a bachelor of arts degree in the College of Letters & Science must complete all of the requirements below. The College of Letters & Science allows this major to be paired with either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science curriculum. View a comparison of the degree requirements here.
Bachelor of Arts degree requirements
|Mathematics||Fulfilled with completion of University General Education requirements Quantitative Reasoning a (QR A) and Quantitative Reasoning b (QR B) coursework. Please note that some majors may require students to complete additional math coursework beyond the B.A. mathematics requirement.|
|Foreign Language|| |
Note: A unit is one year of high school work or one semester/term of college work.
|L&S Breadth|| |
|Liberal Arts and Science Coursework||108 credits|
|Depth of Intermediate/Advanced work||60 intermediate or advanced credits|
|Major||Declare and complete at least one (1) major|
|Total Credits||120 credits|
|UW-Madison Experience||30 credits in residence, overall |
30 credits in residence after the 90th credit
|Minimum GPAs||2.000 in all coursework at UW–Madison |
2.000 in intermediate/advanced coursework at UW–Madison
Non–L&S students pursuing an L&S major
Non–L&S students who have permission from their school/college to pursue an additional major within L&S only need to fulfill the major requirements and do not need to complete the L&S breadth and degree requirements above. Please note that the following special degree programs are not considered majors so are not available to non–L&S degree-seeking candidates:
- Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics (Bachelor of Science–Applied Mathematics, Engineering and Physics)
- Journalism (Bachelor of Arts–Journalism; Bachelor of Science–Journalism)
- Music (Bachelor of Music)
- Social Work (Bachelor of Social Work)
Requirements for the Major
The major requires a total of 30 credits in Comparative Literature (COMP LIT), plus 9 credits in literature in a single foreign language for a total of 39 credits.
|Comparative Literature Courses|
|Complete two courses from the following:||6|
|Introduction to Pre-Modern Literatures/Impact on the Modern World|
|Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Literature|
|Introduction to Cross-Cultural Literary Forms|
|Intro to Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity, In & Beyond the U.S.|
|Literary Criticism and Theory (complete two):||6|
|Introduction to Literary Criticism|
|Poetics and Literary Theory|
|Literature or culture courses, in a single foreign language, with a final grade of B or better in each course. Independent study or Literature in Translation (LITTRANS) courses will not count toword this requirement. 1|
|Complete additional credits at the Intermediate or Advanced levels (300 level and above) to reach 39 credit minimum for the major:|
|Problems in Comparative Literatures and Cultures|
|Problems in Transnational Genre and Mode|
|Literature and Ideas|
|Comparative Problems in Periods and Movements|
|Literature , Media, the Arts|
|The Comparative In and Beyond Comparative Literature|
|Senior Honors Thesis|
|Senior Honors Thesis|
Foreign language courses with Literature breadth:1
|GREEK 306||Intermediate Greek||3|
|AFRICAN 445||Advanced Readings in Arabic Texts||3|
|ASIAN 355||Modern Japanese Literature||3|
|ASIALANG 311||First Semester Classical Chinese||3|
|ASIALANG 312||Second Semester Classical Chinese||3|
|ASIALANG 313||Classical Japanese||3|
|ASIAN 351||Survey of Classical Chinese Literature||3|
|ASIAN 352||Survey of Modern Chinese Literature||3|
|ASIAN 353||Lovers, Warriors and Monks: Survey of Japanese Literature||3|
|ASIALANG 401||Seventh Semester Chinese||3|
|ASIALANG 402||Eighth Semester Chinese||3|
|ASIAN 563||Readings in Modern Japanese Literature||3|
|ASIAN 573||Readings in Classical Japanese Literature||3|
|FRENCH 271||Introduction to Literary Analysis||3-4|
|FRENCH 321||Introduction to Medieval, Renaissance, and Early Modern Literature||3|
|FRENCH 322||Introduction to Literature of Modernity||3|
|FRENCH 430||Readings in Medieval and Renaissance Literature||3|
|FRENCH 431||Readings in Early Modern Literature||3|
|FRENCH 433||Readings in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature||3|
|FRENCH 461||French/Francophone Literary Studies Across the Centuries||3|
|FRENCH 462||French/Francophone Cultural Studies Across the Centuries||3|
|FRENCH 472||French/Francophone Literature and Women||3|
|FRENCH 595||Theory and Practice of French/Francophone Drama||4|
|GERMAN 258||Intermediate German-Reading||3|
|GERMAN 303||Literatur des 19. Jahrhunderts||3-4|
|GERMAN 305||Literatur des 20. und 21. Jahrhunderts||3-4|
|GERMAN 325||Topics in Dutch Literature||3|
|GERMAN 367||Study Abroad in German Literature||2-5|
|GERMAN 377||Study Abroad in Dutch Literature||2-5|
|GERMAN 625||Letterkunde der Lage Landen||3-4|
|GERMAN 632||A Theme in German Literature||3|
|GREEK 401||Greek Drama||3|
|GREEK 402||Greek Drama and Lyric Poetry||3|
|GREEK 512||Greek Lyric Poets||3|
|GREEK 520||Greek Comedy||3|
|GREEK 521||Greek Tragedy||3|
|GREEK 551||Attic Orators||3|
|GREEK 560||Hellenistic Greek||3|
|JEWISH/HEBR-MOD 301||Introduction to Hebrew Literature||3|
|HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 301||Introduction to Hebrew Literature||3|
|HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 401||Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture I||3|
|HEBR-MOD/JEWISH 402||Topics in Modern Hebrew / Israeli Literature and Culture II||3|
|HEBR-BIB/JEWISH 513||Biblical Texts, Poetry||3|
|HEBR-BIB/JEWISH 514||Biblical Texts, Poetry||3|
|ITALIAN 321||Studies in Italian Literature and Culture I||3|
|ITALIAN 322||Studies in Italian Literature and Culture II||3|
|ITALIAN/MEDIEVAL 659||Dante's Divina Commedia||3|
|ITALIAN/MEDIEVAL 660||Dante's Divina Commedia||3|
|ITALIAN/MEDIEVAL 671||Il Duecento||3|
|LATIN 301||Latin Literature of the Roman Republic||3|
|LATIN 302||Latin Literature of the Roman Empire||3|
|LATIN 519||Latin Poetry||3|
|LATIN 520||Roman Drama||3|
|LATIN 521||Roman Elegy||3|
|LATIN 522||Roman Lyric Poetry||3|
|LATIN 523||Roman Satire||3|
|LATIN 524||Roman Novel||3|
|LATIN 539||Latin Historical Writers||3|
|LATIN 549||Latin Philosophical Writers||3|
|LATIN 559||Latin Oratory||3|
|LATIN/MEDIEVAL 563||Mediaeval Latin||3|
|PORTUG 221||Introduction to Luso-Brazilian Literatures||4|
|SCAND ST 251||Readings in Norwegian Literature||3-4|
|SCAND ST 261||Readings in Swedish Literature||3-4|
|SCAND ST 271||Readings in Danish Literature||3-4|
|SCAND ST 373||Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature: From the Middle Ages to 1900||3-4|
|SCAND ST 374||Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature: the Twentieth Century||3-4|
|SCAND ST 375||The Writings of Hans Christian Andersen||3-4|
|SCAND ST 419||Scandinavian Children's Literature||4|
|SCAND ST 420||The Woman in Scandinavian Literature||4|
|SCAND ST 422||The Drama of Henrik Ibsen||4|
|SCAND ST 423||The Drama of August Strindberg||4|
|SCAND ST 424||Nineteenth-Century Scandinavian Fiction||3-4|
|SCAND ST 426||Kierkegaard and Scandinavian Literature||4|
|SCAND ST 427||Contemporary Scandinavian Literature||4|
|SCAND ST 433||The Scandinavian Tale and Ballad||4|
|SCAND ST 434||The Art of Isak Dinesen/Karen Blixen||4|
|SCAND ST 435||The Icelandic Sagas||4|
|SLAVIC 302||Zarys historii literatury polskiej||3|
|SLAVIC 321||Fourth Year Russian I||4|
|SLAVIC 322||Fourth Year Russian II||4|
|SLAVIC 440||Soviet Literature||3-4|
|SLAVIC 472||Historia literatury polskiej po roku 1863||3|
|SPANISH 224||Introduction to Hispanic Literatures||3|
|SPANISH 417||Literatura del Siglo de Oro||3-4|
|SPANISH 453||Literature of the Twentieth Century||3|
|SPANISH 460||Literatura Hispanoamericana||3|
|SPANISH 461||The Spanish American Short Story||3|
|SPANISH 462||Spanish American Theater and Drama||3|
|SPANISH 463||The Spanish American Novel||3|
|SPANISH 464||Spanish American Poetry and Essay||3|
|SPANISH 466||Topics in Spanish American Literature||1|
|SPANISH/CHICLA 467||US Latino Literature||3|
Though not required, COMP LIT 310 is strongly recommended as a bridge between the 200-level courses and the 300- and 400-level courses.
residence and quality of work
- 2.000 GPA in all COMP LIT courses and all major courses
- 2.000 GPA on 15 upper-level major credits, taken in residence1
- 15 credits, in COMP LIT, taken on campus
Courses COMP LIT 300–COMP LIT 699 which carry the Intermediate or Advanced level designation are considered upper-level in the major.
Honors in the Major
Students may declare Honors in the Major in consultation with the undergraduate advisor in the department.
Honors in the Major Requirements
To earn Honors in the Major, students must satisfy both the requirements for the major (above) and the following additional requirements:
- Earn a 3.300 University GPA
- Earn a 3.500 GPA for all COMP LIT courses, and all courses accepted in the major
- Complete 39 total credits in COMP LIT, to include:
University Degree Requirements
|Total Degree||To receive a bachelor's degree from UW–Madison, students must earn a minimum of 120 degree credits. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 degree credits. Students should consult with their college or department advisor for information on specific credit requirements.|
|Residency||Degree candidates are required to earn a minimum of 30 credits in residence at UW–Madison. "In residence" means on the UW–Madison campus with an undergraduate degree classification. “In residence” credit also includes UW–Madison courses offered in distance or online formats and credits earned in UW–Madison Study Abroad/Study Away programs.|
|Quality of Work||Undergraduate students must maintain the minimum grade point average specified by the school, college, or academic program to remain in good academic standing. Students whose academic performance drops below these minimum thresholds will be placed on academic probation.|
- Literary fluency in a language other than English.
- Comparative understanding of a selected range of literary and cultural texts.
- Critical intellectual familiarity with concepts and theories of the literary and of the comparative.
- Ability to engage in the comparative analysis of literary and cultural texts.
- Critical reading, thinking, writing, and speaking skills to express and communicate the above.
The Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies major is unable to be declared (suspended as of summer 2018). Current students should refer to their DARS and work with their advisor for a plan to complete in four years.
Students are encouraged to begin working on their career exploration and preparation soon after arriving on campus. We partner with the SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science. L&S graduates are in high demand by employers and graduate programs. It is important to us that our students are career ready at the time of graduation, and we are committed to their success.
L&S career resources
SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students leverage the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and liberal arts degree; explore and try out different career paths; participate in internships; prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications; and network with professionals in the field (alumni and employers). In short, SuccessWorks helps students in the College of Letters & Science discover themselves, find opportunities, and develop the skills they need for success after graduation.
SuccessWorks can also assist students in career advising, résumé and cover letter writing, networking opportunities, and interview skills, as well as course offerings for undergraduates to begin their career exploration early in their undergraduate career.
Students should set up their profiles in Handshake to take care of everything they need to explore career events, manage their campus interviews, and apply to jobs and internships from 200,000+ employers around the country.
- Set up a career advising appointment
- INTER-LS 210 L&S Career Development: Taking Initiative (1 credit, targeted to first- and second-year students)—for more information, see Inter-LS 210: Career Development, Taking Initiative
- INTER-LS 215 Communicating About Careers (3 credits, fulfills Com B General Education Requirement)
- Learn how we’re transforming career preparation: L&S Career Initiative
Professors Dharwadker, Gilmore (also Landscape Architecture), Layoun, Livorni (also French and Italian)
Associate Professors Livanos, Neyrat, Statkiewicz, Wells
Assistant Professors Fielder, Grunewald (also Legal Studies)
Academic Staff Beatriz Botero
Professors Adler (German, Nordic, and Slavic), Casid (Art History), Garlough (Gender and Women's Studies), Goodkin (French and Italian), Guyer (English), Longinovic (German, Nordic, and Slavic), Kapust (Political Science), Santos (University of Coimbra, Portugal)
Academic Staff: Scott Mellor (German, Nordic, and Slavic), Ruth Olson (Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures)
Professors Brenner (Center for Jewish Studies), Bühnemann (Asian Languages and Cultures), Gross (German, Nordic, and Slavic), Klug (Law)