Comparative Literature

Comparative Literature: Introduction

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

Arts and Science

Degree Programs

Comparative Literature

​​M​A
PhD

Collaborative Specializations

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

  1. Book History and Print Culture
    • Comparative Literature, MA, PhD
  2. Diaspora and Transnational Studies
    • Comparative Literature, MA, PhD
  3. Jewish Studies
    • Comparative Literature, MA, PhD
  4. Sexual Diversity Studies
    • Comparative Literature, MA, PhD
  5. South Asian Studies
    • Comparative Literature, MA, PhD
  6. Women and Gender Studies
    • Comparative Literature, MA, PhD

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 graduate programs, course offerings, and academic profiles of graduate faculty.

Contact and Address

Web: http://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

Ambros, Veronika - MA, PhD
Bai, Ruoyun - BA, MA, PhD
Cazdyn, Eric - BA, MA, PhD
Comay, Rebecca - BA, MA, 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 (Coordinator, Graduate Studies)
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
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

Chamberlin, J Edward - BA, PhD
Davis, Natalie - BA, MA, PhD
Dolezel, Lubomir - BA, PhD, FRSC
Hutcheon, Linda - BA, MA, PhD
Kushner, Eva - BA, MPH, PhD
Nesselroth, Peter - BA, MA, PhD
Sternberg, Ricardo - BA, MA, PhD
Stock, Brian - AB, PhD
Valdes, Mario - BA, MA, PhD

Associate Members

Akbari, Suzanne - BA, MA, MPH, PhD
Bender, Daniel Eric - BA, PhD
Budde, Antje - PhD
Capozzi, Rocco - BA, MA, PhD
Clark, Caryl - BMus, MA, PhD
Esterhammer, Angela - BA, PhD
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
Knight, Mark - BA, PhD
Legge, Elizabeth MM - 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
Patrick, Julian - BA, MA, PhD
Perron, Paul - 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
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 COL1000H 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 Graduate Coordinator 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 Graduate Coordinator 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.

 

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.

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/Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

  • 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 Graduate Coordinator 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.

  • 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 statement of purpose not exceeding 500 words; and must submit a sample of written work, preferably a short essay on a literary topic. 

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/Coordinator of Graduate Studies.

  • 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 Graduate Coordinator 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.

  • 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 Handbook as well as the handbooks of other departments ​for courses that may be taken for credit. Information about course availability is also contained in the handbooks.

Core Program

​COL 1000H
​Faculty Se​minar
​COL 5018H
​Gender and Agency
​COL 5029H
​Reading Cervantes
​COL 5037H
Magic Prague—Questions of Literacy Cityscapes​
​COL 5044H
​A Journey from Petersburg to Los Angeles
​COL 5094H
​Forms of Critical Writing
​COL 5095H
Giorgio Agamben: Exception and Potentiality​
​COL 5101H
​Diasporic Cities: Itinerant Narratives of Metropoles by Travellers and Expatriates
​​​COL 5117H
Freud and Psychoanalysis
​COL 5122H
​Text and Digital Media
​COL 5124H
​Public Reading: Literature and the Formation of Critical Publics
​COL 5127H
​Queer Ethics and Aesthetics of Existence
COL 5128H​
​Tragedy: Instantiations of a Dramatic Form in Theatre, Philosophy, Opera, and Popul​ar Cine​ma
​​JFC 1813H
​Literature of Contact and Anthropological Thought 16th—18th Century
​JFC 5129H
Performative Autobiographical Acts: Painted and Photographic Representations of Self in Personal and Political Testimonials​​​​
​JGC 1855H​
​Critical Theory—The French-German Connection