What is Comparative Literature?

The "comparative" in "comparative literature" has traditionally denoted an approach that emphasizes relations between different national literatures or the literatures of different ethnic groups. This approach has always placed a strong emphasis on theoretical inquiry and historical understanding (partly because comparative literary study inevitably leads to questions about the nature of literature itself), and has proven particularly receptive to the theoretical inquiry that has swept through the humanities in recent years. Thus, "comparative" has also come to designate an openness to disciplinary crossings as much as an attention to movements across cultural and linguistic borders.

Comparative Literature at Binghamton University

The Department of Comparative Literature at Binghamton has a long-standing reputation for its progressive approach to literary studies and is especially known for its strengths in modern literature, literary theory, relations between literature and other arts (particularly film), and relations between literature and philosophy. It is also known both nationally and internationally for its leadership in the area of translation studies.


The Department of Comparative Literature at Binghamton University offers a distinctive undergraduate major and three avenues of graduate study with M.A. and Ph.D. options. It features, in addition to its primary M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Comparative Literature, an M.A. in Translation Studies, a unique interdisciplinary doctoral program in Philosophy, Literature, and the Theory of Criticism, as well as a Ph.D. in Translation Studies through the internationally recognized Translation Research and Instruction Program. For a sample of graduate courses that have recently been offered by our distinguished faculty, please click here. Or click here to see the full array of courses (graduate and undergraduate) the department offers this very semester


Congratulations to Kristine Jennings on being hired fall 2014 as a Visiting Assistant Professor of World Literature at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

Congratulations to Matthew Applegate on being hired fall 2014 as Assistant Professor in English and Director of the Writing Concentration at Molloy College

Congratulations to Natalia Andrievskikh for winning the Graduate Student Award for Excellence and Kristine Jennings for winning the Graduate Student Award for Research in 2013.

We are happy to announce that Diviani Chaudhuri received a dissertation fellowship, against difficult competition, at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Binghamton for 2012-2013.

Congratulations to Shelly Jansen on receiving a one year Visiting Assistant Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology in their English Department.

Last Updated: 8/25/14