The Program in Comparative & World Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Founded in 1967, the Program in Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, offers exciting and innovative ways to approach comparative literary and cultural studies. In 1985, our program was one of the first to offer and require non-Western and cross-cultural studies, and world literature is an area where we continue to excel today.

At the undergraduate level, we offer two majors: the major in Comparative Literature centers on placing two or more literary and cultural traditions, studied in the original languages, into dialogue, while the major in World Literature is for students who want to place literature and culture in a comparative context, but without a specific language requirement (you may wish to consult the Comparative and World Literature Undergraduate Advising Wiki). At the graduate level, we offer a program of study that provides rigorous competence in multiple languages and literatures, comparative cultural methods, and critical theory. For more information, check a list of sample courses that have been offered recently, take a look at brief profiles of our graduate students, or more detailed profiles of some of our graduate students who are ABD.

Our faculty cover a broad range of approaches and areas of study—over a dozen faculty members participate directly in the program, and many more are affiliated members. Their combined interests cover not only a wide range of literatures and cultures (from Europe and the Americas to Africa and Asia), but fields such as postcolonialism, translation, gender studies, cinema studies, critical theory, psychoanalysis, trauma studies, the history of humanism, Jewish studies, comparative civilizational analysis, and much more.

For some of the many events on campus of interest to those in Comparative Literature, check the following sites: the School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics calendar, the IPRH calendar, and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. (For more calendars of interest, see the campus humanities calendar.)

Check out Eric Calderwood’s piece on the Córdoba mosque in Foreign Policy.


3072 Foreign Languages Building, MC-160

707 S. Mathews Ave, Urbana, IL 61801

telephone: 217-333-4987

fax: 217-244-4019


This site was last updated September 11, 2015. Probably not all of it was updated.