Comparative Literature at Louisiana State University is an interdisciplinary program that encourages students to approach literary studies from multiple perspectives. The Ph.D. program is built around a core curriculum grounded in the history of literary criticism and theory. With the guidance of faculty, students develop their own degree plans and research agendas, meant to combine the study of literature, literary theory, language, philosophy, art, history, and other cultural phenomena in exciting, fruitful, and innovative ways.
As an interdepartmental program. Comparative Literature draws upon the strengths of its affiliated departments:
The Department of English boasts a celebrated literary history extending back to the 1930s and the founding of the Southern Review by Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks. Today the department is home to a distinguished faculty that includes many nationally-recognized critics, scholars, and creative writers.
The Department of French Studies has long been acknowledged as one of the premier programs in the country. The most recent National Research Council assessment (1995, 2010) ranked the LSU French program among the best in the nation in terms of instructional excellence and faculty strength. The program’s work reflects the historical importance of Francophone languages and cultures for Louisiana, as well as the leadership provided by French studies in the European intellectual tradition.
The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, with graduate faculty in German, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese, represents a broad spectrum of research interests, from classical antiquity to contemporary Latin American literature. It has also established a Resource Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures through the acquisition of videos, films, and printed materials.
Additional core faculty in Comparative Literature teach in such departments as: Music, Curriculum and Instruction, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and History. Several Comparative Literature faculty participate in the Program in Women’s and Gender Studies. Students may pursue a graduate minor in any of these fields and are encouraged to do so.
In 1999 the English and French Studies departments were selected as two of the twelve strongest LSU departments; these departments have been earmarked for special enhancement. Major institutional resources are now being shifted to these departments to build academic excellence at levels that will be even more nationally and internationally competitive. More recently, the Department of History has been added to that group. The Program in Comparative Literature is proud that several of its affiliated departments were selected for enhancement from among so many strong programs at LSU.