Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature: Introduction

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Faculty Affiliation

Arts and Science

Degree Programs

Comparative Literature

MA and PhD

Collaborative Specializations

The following collaborative specializations are available to students in participating degree programs as listed below:

Overview

The Centre for Comparative Literature offers Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degree programs to students qualified to pursue literary studies involving multiple languages. Students pursue research across languages and national literatures, engaging with theoretical issues that cross traditional disciplines. The centre’s faculty and students work across linguistic boundaries, employing rigorous critical and theoretical lenses to bring into dialogue literature and other cultural forms that are often kept apart by artificially constructed institutional, geographical or ideological boundaries.

At the heart of the research by faculty and students is the close engagement with cultural products in their original languages. Knowledge of languages is a key component in our practice of Comparative Literature. Comparative Literature examines both the contexts of literature and the interaction among literatures. The practice of Comparative Literature at Toronto extends to visual expression as well, with film, photography or graphic novels figuring prominently in the projects of many faculty and students. Graduate programs at the Centre for Comparative Literature foster rigorous reading practices and theoretical reflection.

Interested applicants should consult the centre's website. It provides updated information about course scheduling and academic profiles of graduate faculty.

Contact and Address

Web: complit.utoronto.ca
Email: banguyen@chass.utoronto.ca
Telephone: (416) 813-4041
Fax: (416) 813-4040

Centre for Comparative Literature
University of Toronto
Isabel Bader Theatre
3rd Floor, 93 Charles Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1K9
Canada

Comparative Literature: Graduate Faculty

Full Members

Bai, Ruoyun - BA, MA, PhD
Cazdyn, Eric - BA, MA, PhD
Comay, Rebecca - BA, MA, PhD
Dowling, Sarah - AB, AM, PhD
Esonwanne, Uzoma - BA, MA, PhD
Havercroft, Barbara - BA, MA, PhD
Jagoe, Eva-Lynn - BA, MA, PhD
Kleber, Pia - BA, MA, MA, PhD
Komaromi, Ann - MA, DPhil
Kortenaar, Neil ten - BA, MA, PhD
Lahusen, Thomas - MA, PhD
Le Huenen, Roland - DesL, DLitt
LeBlanc, Julie - BA, PhD
Li, Victor - BA, MA, PhD
Nyquist, Mary - BA, MA, PhD
Ricco, John - BA, MA, PhD (Associate Director)
Ross, Jill - BA, MA, PhD (Director)
Rupp, Stephen - BA, MA, MPH, MA, PhD
Sakaki, Atsuko - BA, MA, PhD
Zilcosky, John - BA, MA, MA, PhD

Members Emeriti

Davis, Natalie - BA, MA, PhD
Kushner, Eva - BA, MPH, PhD
Nesselroth, Peter - BA, MA, PhD
Perron, Paul - PhD
Stock, Brian - AB, PhD

Associate Members

Akbari, Suzanne - BA, MA, MPH, PhD
Bahoora, Haytham - BA, MA, PhD
Bender, Daniel Eric - BA, PhD
Budde, Antje - PhD
Capozzi, Rocco - BA, MA, PhD
Clark, Caryl - BMus, MA, PhD
Cozea, Angela - BA, MA, PhD
Esterhammer, Angela - BA, PhD
Fernandez, David Andres - BA, MLS
Goetschel, Willi - PhD
Gunderson, Erik - BA, MA, PhD
Hewitt, Marsha - BA, MA, PhD
Holland, Kate - MA, PhD
Kandiyoti, Dalia - PhD
Keith, Alison - BA, MA, PhD, FRSC
Legge, Elizabeth M.M. - BA, BA, MA, PhD
Leonard, Garry - BA, MA, PhD
Matus, Jill - BA, MA, PhD
Meng, Yue - BA, MA, MA, PhD
Motsch, Andreas - PhD
Noyes, John - BA, MA, PhD
Paterson, Janet - BA, MA, PhD
Pietropaolo, Domenico - BSc, MA, PhD
Pugliese, Olga - BA, MA, PhD
Quayson, Ato - BA, PhD
Revermann, Martin - PhD
Robins, William - BA, MPH, PhD
Sarabia, Rosa - BA, PhD
Somigli, Luca - PhD
Stern, Simon - BA, PhD, JD
Trojanowska, Tamara - MA, PhD
Weisman, Karen - BA, PhD
Wohl, Victoria - BA, MA, PhD
Xie, Ming - BA, PhD

Comparative Literature: Comparative Literature MA

Master of Arts​

Program Description

The Comparative Literature MA program is a course-based program that accommodates a diverse range of students’ interests. The interdisciplinary and transnational character of the program is reflected in the fact that students may take up to half their courses in other departments of their choice. Students work in languages other than English, and their study may include work in a non-literary discipline. The COL 1000H Faculty Seminar provides a basis for study in the program. All incoming students take this seminar course where they consider core theoretical problems of comparison.

All incoming students meet with the Graduate Coordinator to discuss their program and to decide on their course of study before beginning classes.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies, provided that applicants also satisfy the Centre for Comparative Literature's requirements stated below. In all cases, programs of study must be approved by the centre.

  • An appropriate bachelor's degree from a recognized university that includes courses in literature and languages with an average grade equivalent to at least a University of Toronto B+ in the applicant's overall program.

  • Demonstrated experience in the study of two literatures (or in comparative literature and one national literature) at the undergraduate level and an ability to work at the graduate level in at least one language other than English.

  • All applicants must register as full-time students.

Program Requirements

  • Students admitted to the MA must complete at least 4.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs) including:

    • COL 1000H Faculty Seminar (0.5 FCE)

    • at least 1.5 FCEs in COL courses.

  • Students may pursue independent research for credit equivalent to 0.5 FCE at the MA level, under the direction of an advisor approved by the Centre for Comparative Literature.

  • A plan of study is defined by each MA student through consultation with the Associate Director in light of the student's particular areas of interest and background. This plan of study is subject to the approval of the Centre for Comparative Literature. In addition to the numerous courses in literary theory, methodology, and interdisciplinary topics offered by the centre, courses may also be selected from departments of language and literature, as well as from other units in the humanities.

  • Average of at least B+ in coursework.

  • MA students who intend to pursue doctoral studies are strongly advised to make appropriate plans for the acquisition of graduate level competence in a second language and literature other than English. An adequate reading knowledge of this second language must be demonstrated before the MA is received.

Program Length

3 sessions ​full-time (typical registration sequence: F/W/S)

Time Limit

3 years full-time

Comparative Literature: Comparative Literature PhD

​Doctor of Philosophy​

Program Description

The Comparative Literature PhD program accommodates a diverse range of students’ interests united by a shared concern for comparative issues. The interdisciplinary and transnational character of the program is reflected in the fact that students may take up to approximately half their courses in other departments of their choice. Students work in at least two languages other than English, and their study may include work in a non-literary discipline.

All incoming students meet with the Associate Director to discuss their program and to decide on their course of study before beginning classes.

The Centre for Comparative Literature only provides supervision in areas which fall within the competency, interests, or availability of its graduate faculty. The Centre supports research which engages creative practice with humanities-based theory and scholarship. Prospective students with an existing creative practice who are interested in using research creation methods are encouraged to contact the Associate Director to discuss the varieties of projects that can be supported. Fields of research creation may include, but are not limited to: architecture, design, creative writing, visual arts, performance, film, video, interdisciplinary arts, media and electronic arts, and new artistic practices (including experiments with the hard and social sciences). The Centre does not provide studio space or production facilities.

 

PhD Program

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies, provided that applicants also satisfy the Centre for Comparative Literature's requirements stated below. In all cases, programs of study must be approved by the Centre.

  • An appropriate master's degree with an average grade of at least A–. Normally, the master's degree will be in comparative literature; however, students with a master's degree in a humanities discipline involving literary studies, especially specific language and literature programs, will also be considered. Demonstrated ability to do advanced research in two languages and literatures other than English.

  • Applicants, including those from the University of Toronto, must arrange for recommendations from two referees; must submit a statement of purpose of approximately 500 words; and must submit a sample of written work, preferably a short essay on a literary topic.

  • The Centre welcomes applications from people with an established creative practice who would like to incorporate creative research methodologies into their dissertation work. Applicants who are interested in doing so must have the required expertise and resources to carry out the proposed creative work. Their letter of intent must 1) describe the type of creative research practice they intend to pursue so the Centre can determine whether it can provide appropriate supervisory and committee support. The applicant must 2) direct at least one reference letter writer to testify to the applicant’s competency in the relevant creative practice, and the applicant must 3) articulate how the creative practice may be employed as a method for elucidating critical questions animating the dissertation project.

Program Requirements

  • A student with an MA in Comparative Literature or its equivalent must take at least 4.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs), of which a minimum of 2.0 FCEs must be COL courses. A student who has an MA in a humanities discipline involving literary studies, especially specific language and literature programs, may be required to take more courses. The actual number of courses required for the PhD will be established at the time of admission through consultation with the Director/Associate Director.

  • Students may pursue independent research for credit equivalent to 0.5 FCE at the PhD level, under the direction of an advisor approved by the Centre.

  • Students define the scope and approach of their plan of study in consultation with the Associate Director and other faculty. During the first two years of the program, students complete coursework, language requirements, and prepare for the field examination. Coursework must be completed within the first two years of the PhD program. Students constitute a field examination/ supervisory committee and submit a dissertation proposal no later than the end of Year 2 of PhD study. The field examination is taken ideally no later than the end of the first session of Year 3.

  • Students must demonstrate an ability to work at the graduate level in two languages and literatures other than English. An adequate reading knowledge of a third language other than English must be demonstrated before taking the field examination. For this last requirement, it is possible to substitute competency in a non-literary discipline. The Centre reserves the right to determine whether a student has met this requirement. Typically, it will be two graduate half courses. Certification of graduate-level competence and reading knowledge in languages is given to all students who qualify.

  • All PhD students are required to take their field examination by the end of the Spring session of Year 3 of the program. The examination consists of both a field paper and an oral component.

    • The field paper is a 30-page critical essay based on the candidate’s reading list that assesses the current state of research and delineates issues and questions pertinent to the thesis. The field paper must be submitted two to three weeks prior to the oral field exam.

    • The oral part of the examination begins with a textual explication by the student, no more than 30 minutes in length, of a specific passage or poem from a work in the primary reading list, assigned for preparation at least three days in advance. For the presentation, only notes or a general outline may be used. The rest of the examination usually consists of questions concerning the student's commentary on the text, the written field paper, the reading list of the original field proposal, and/or other aspects of the field. The oral exam lasts for two hours.

  • In the event of failure, the student will be given one more chance to take the exam within one year. Failure after two attempts will lead to the termination of the student's registration.

  • When the field examination has been completed successfully, the candidate will prepare and defend a dissertation which must be an original and significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge. This dissertation may include a creative research component.

  • Students' progress will be assessed at least once a year by the Centre's Graduate Academic Committee and/or their respective supervisory committees. Although the program has been designed for completion in four years, some students may require a longer period to complete all of the requirements.

  • The student must be geographically available, visit the campus regularly, and must register as a full-time student. In addition, a full-time student is not permitted to be absent from the University for an extended period or to participate in a program offered by another university without the explicit written permission of the Centre for Comparative Literature.

Program Length

4 years

Time Limit

6 years

 

PhD Program (Direct-Entry)

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies, provided that applicants also satisfy the Centre for Comparative Literature's requirements stated below. In all cases, programs of study must be approved by the Centre.

  • Students coming directly out of an appropriate undergraduate program (direct-entry) who have a demonstrated, exceptional ability to undertake advanced research in two languages and literatures other than English may be considered for direct admission into the PhD program.

  • Applicants, including those from the University of Toronto, must arrange for recommendations from two referees; must submit a letter of intent not exceeding 500 words; and must submit a sample of written work, preferably a short essay on a literary topic.

  • The Centre welcomes applications from people with an established creative practice who would like to incorporate creative research methodologies into their dissertation work. Applicants who are interested in doing so must have the required expertise and resources to carry out the proposed creative work. Their letter of intent must 1) describe the type of creative research practice they intend to pursue so the Centre can determine whether it can provide appropriate supervisory and committee support. The applicant must 2) direct at least one reference letter writer to testify to the applicant’s competency in the relevant creative practice, and the applicant must 3) articulate how the creative practice may be employed as a method for elucidating critical questions animating the dissertation project.

Program Requirements

  • A student with a bachelor's degree who is admitted directly to the PhD program must take at least 6.0 full-course equivalents (FCEs), of which 3.0 must be COL courses. The actual number of courses required for the PhD will be established at the time of admission through consultation with the Director/Associate Director.

  • Students may pursue independent research for credit equivalent to 0.5 FCE at the PhD level, under the direction of an advisor approved by the Centre.

  • Students define the scope and approach of their plan of study in consultation with the Associate Director and other faculty. During the first two years of the program, students complete coursework, language requirements, and prepare for the field examination. Coursework must be completed within the first two years of the PhD program. Students constitute a field examination/ supervisory committee and submit a dissertation proposal no later than the end of Year 2 of PhD study. The field examination is taken ideally no later than the end of the first session of Year 3.

  • Students must demonstrate an ability to work at the graduate level in two languages and literatures other than English. An adequate reading knowledge of a third language other than English must be demonstrated before taking the field examination. For this last requirement, it is possible to substitute competency in a non-literary discipline. The Centre reserves the right to determine whether a student has met this requirement. Typically, it will be two graduate half courses. Certification of graduate-level competence and reading knowledge in languages is given to all students who qualify.

  • All PhD students are required to take their field examination by the end of the Spring session of Year 3 of the program. The examination consists of both a field paper and an oral component.

    • The field paper is a 30-page critical essay based on the candidate’s reading list that assesses the current state of research and delineates issues and questions pertinent to the thesis. The field paper must be submitted two to three weeks prior to the oral field exam.

    • The oral part of the examination begins with a textual explication by the student, no more than 30 minutes in length, of a specific passage or poem from a work in the primary reading list, assigned for preparation at least three days in advance. For the presentation, only notes or a general outline may be used. The rest of the examination usually consists of questions concerning the student's commentary on the text, the written field paper, the reading list of the original field proposal, and/or other aspects of the field. The oral exam lasts for two hours.

  • In the event of failure, the student will be given one more chance to take the exam within one year. Failure after two attempts will lead to the termination of the student's registration.

  • When the field examination has been completed successfully, the candidate will prepare and defend a dissertation which must be an original and significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge. This dissertation may include a creative research component.

  • Students' progress will be assessed at least once a year by the Centre's Graduate Academic Committee and/or their respective supervisory committees.

  • The student must be geographically available, visit the campus regularly, and must register as a full-time student. In addition, a full-time student is not permitted to be absent from the University for an extended period or to participate in a program offered by another university without the explicit written permission of the Centre for Comparative Literature.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

7 years

Comparative Literature: Comparative Literature MA, PhD Courses

Students should consult the Comparative Literature website for courses that may be taken for credit.

COL 1000H
Faculty Se​minar
COL 1900H Reading and Research for the MA
COL 2100H
Special Topics Course
COL 4000Y Practicum on Research and Bibliography in Comparative Literature
COL 5012H How Aesthetics was Made a Science: Readings in Czech and Russian
COL 5016H Dramatic Text and Theoretical Communication: Bertolt Brecht, Robert Lepage, and Robert Wilson
COL 5018H Gender and Agency
COL 5027H Memory, Trauma, and History
COL 5029H Reading Cervantes
COL 5032H Feminist Approaches to Medieval Literature
COL 5033H Visual Portraitures in Contemporary Autobiographical Narratives
COL 5037H Magic Prague: Questions of Literary Cityspaces
COL 5047H
The Two Avant-Gardes
COL 5052H Marxism and Form
COL 5062H Prague School Semiotics of Drama, Theater, and Cinema in Contemporary Context
COL 5072H Affinities: Readings of Realism and Radicalism
COL 5079H Lacan and Psychoanalytical Thought
COL 5081H Benjamin’s Arcades Project
COL 5090H Introduction to Visual Culture
COL 5094H Forms of Critical Writing
COL 5095H Giorgio Agamben: Exception and Potentiality
COL 5096H
The Problem of Translation: Historical, Theoretical, and Pragmatic Perspectives
COL 5101H Diasporic Cities: Itinerant Narratives of Metropoles by Travellers and Expatriates
COL 5109H Jean-Luc Nancy: Retreating the Aesthetic
COL 5110H
Post-Capitalist Fantasy: Culture, Politics, Subjectivity
COL 5114H Destruction of Images
COL 5115H Said: Beginning with Beginnings
COL 5117H Freud and Psychoanalysis
COL 5118H Sovereignty: Hobbes and his 21st-Century Successors
COL 5119H Girls and Sex in the 21st Century
COL 5122H Text and Digital Media
COL 5123H Converting to Digital Humanities
COL 5124H Public Reading: Literature and the Formation of Critical Publics
COL 5125H Literature, Trauma, Modernity
COL 5126H
Sports Narrated: Literary and Interdisciplinary Explorations
COL 5127H Queer Ethics and Aesthetics of Existence
COL 5128H Tragedy: Instantiations of a Dramatic Form in Theatre, Philosophy, Opera, and Popular Cinema
COL 5129H New Addictions for the Anthropocene
COL 5130H
Comparison and "the Human"
COL 5131H Non Disclosure Acts
COL 5132H One Philosopher and One Artist: Towards a New Practice of Comparison
COL 5133H Comparative Modernisms
COL 5135H
Climate Genres
COL 5136H
Aesthetics of Space, Place, and Power
COL 5137H Paraliterary Practices and Dialogic Creativity
COL 5138H
Dramaturgy of the Dialectic
COL 5139H
Critical Race Theory
COL 5140H Beckett and Philosophy
COL 5141H Beyond the Anthropocene: New Directions in Environmental Humanities
COL 5142H Women and Sex and Talk
JFC 5025H
Feminism and Postmodernism: Theory and Practice
JFC 5105H
Collections of Knowledge: Encyclopedism and Travel Literature in Early Modern Europe (1500–1800)
JFC 5129H
Performative Autobiographical Acts: Painted and Photographic Representations of Self in Personal and ​Political Testimonials
JGC 1855H
Critical Theory in Context: The French-German Connection
JHL 1282H
Comparative Totalitarian Culture
JHL 1680H
Revolutionary Women’s Cultures in East Asia, Early to Mid 20th Century
JLE 5225H
The Passage from History to Fiction
JLV 5134H
Theories of the Novel
JOS 5019H
Cervantes and Renaissance Humanism