Comparative Literature at Brown

Comparative literature is the study of literature and other cultural expressions across linguistic and cultural boundaries. At Brown, the Department of Comparative Literature is distinct in its conviction that literary research and instruction must be international in character, and its undergraduate and graduate programs are considered among the finest in the country. Undergraduate students study a generous range of literary works – from Western cultures, both ancient and modern, to Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic – to develop a focused critical understanding of how cultures differ from one another.

Current and Prospective COLT Concentrators:
Professor Ourida Mostefai, Director of Undergraduate Studies, will be happy to answer any question about the declaration process and to discuss any aspect of the program. To schedule a Zoom appointment with Prof. Mostefai, please use this link

To what careers can a concentration in Comparative Literature lead? Check out our Career Forum.

Current and Prospective Graduate Students:
The graduate program
is a vigorous and comprehensive study of literature and culture, utilizing a range of materials from several literatures to foster an understanding of individual authors, influences, literary movements, forms, and genres in a comparative critical context. The program is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of individual emphases in literature and culture, periods, genres, history, criticism, and theory. For information about applying to our doctoral program, please see hereBrown University has instituted a pause in graduate admissions in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the academic year beginning in Fall 2021.



Professor Marc Redfield podcast interview
January 28, 2021
The topic is his recent book Shibboleth: Judge, Derrrida, Celan (Fordham, 2021).

PhD Student Graham Bishop published in MLN
December 2, 2020
"(Con)Temporary Animals: The Transgressions of Human Narration in Alain Mabanckou's and Tristan Garcia's Mémoires." MLN, vol. 135, no. 4, 

PhD Student Mariajosé Rodríguez-Pliego in the CLS Weekly
November 15, 2020
"The course, housed in the CLS, was initially sponsored by Brown's Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative faculty grant and includes funding for a proctorship for Mariajosé Rodríguez-Pliego, an advanced Nahuatl student and graduate student in Comparative Literature."

Graduate Admissions paused
September 21, 2020
Brown University has instituted a pause in graduate admissions in the Humanities and Social Sciences for the academic year beginning in Fall 2021.

PhD Student Baoli Yang in the CLS Weekly
September 21, 2020
"Every Monday night, the CLS hosts Open Hours, a time for all language learners at Brown to come together and enjoy casual conversation and community in the languages they are learning. Facilitating these conversations are volunteers who are experienced in the various languages and who give their time to support and engage with learners of all levels. We would like to introduce you to one of these volunteers, Baoli Yang ----"

Professor Alani Hicks-Bartlett joins Comp Lit
August 24, 2020
Department of Comparative Literature is excited to announce the arrival of our newest faculty member
: Alani Hicks-Bartlett, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and French Studies. She studies the Romance literatures of medieval and early modern Europe, and her current work focuses on questions of race, gender, and disability. In the Spring semester, she will be teaching, Race and Gender in Early Modern Theater

Statement of solidarity authored and signed by the chairs
of the Departments of Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies,
French Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, Italian Studies,
Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, and Slavic Studies.

June 16, 2020

Department of Comparative Literature Virtual Graduation Celebration 
Sunday, May 24, 4:00PM EDT. 
We invite all faculty and students to join in this celebration of our Comparative Literature community. 

Message to Prospective COLT Concentrators,
We invite all students interested in declaring a concentration in Comparative Literature to contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies with any question about the declaration process. Individual telephone/zoom appointments are available.  Please email Prof. Ourida Mostefai, Director of Undergraduate Studies: [email protected]

$500 Albert Spaulding Cook Prize open to grad students
March 9, 2020
The $500 Cook Prize is awarded annually to a graduate student in any department at Brown University for an unpublished article-length essay on a topic that falls under the category of comparative literature defined broadly, and which is ready for submission to a scholarly journal. Please send an electronic copy by Friday, May 1, 2020, to Professor Marc Redfield, Chair, Department of Comparative Literature at [email protected]. This prize is awarded in memory of Professor Albert Spaulding Cook, Ford Foundation Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Classics and English (1925-1998).

SPRING 2020 Courses

FALL 2019 Courses

Peter Szendy curates, The Supermarket of Images, at the Jeu de Paume, Paris
February 17, 2020
“In the book, The Supermarket of the Visible, from which this exhibition is derived, the economic aspect of the life of images is called iconomy. The works and artists chosen for the exhibition cast a keen and watchful eye over these issues.” The exhibit is on view from February 11 to June 7, 2020.

Center of ExcellenceTheatre Without Borders
September 27, 2019
The French Embassy announced its 2019 award to the Center of Excellence Théâtre sans frontières, a project led by Karen Newman (Comparative Literature and English).

Michelle Clayton wins John Rowe Workman Award for Excellence in Teaching in the Humanities -- September 2019 

Elias Muhanna wins the 2018 Morris D. Forkosch Prize
August 15, 2019
The Journal of the History of Ideas has selected The World in a Book: Al-Nuwayri and the Islamic Encyclopedic Tradition (Princeton University Press) as "the best book in intellectual history" for 2018.

Felix Green and Tavid Mulder join the faculty as Visiting Assistant Professors of Comparative Literature
August 15, 2019
Felix Green and Tavid Mulder completed the requirements for the Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Brown and will offer courses in AY19-20 as visiting faculty members.

Qussay Al-Attabi appointed Affiliated Scholar in Middle East Studies (2019-20)
August 15, 2019
Professor Al-Attabi received his PhD from Comparative Literature at Brown and we welcome him back this year while he is on leave from his position at Kenyon College.

Marc Redfield's book translated into Hungarian
June 11, 2019
Marc Redfield's book, The Rhetoric of Terror: Reflections on 9/11 and the War on Terror (Fordham 2009), has been translated into Hungarian. He was invited to Szeged and Budapest this summer to particpate in related academic events.  

We're moving!
We bid a fond farewell to Marston Hall. After June 1, 2019, you can find the Department of Comparative Literature in Prospect House, 36 Prospect Street.