Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture (CSLC) offers students the opportunity to study the literatures of many different national traditions from a variety of historical periods, and to do so in a uniquely interdisciplinary manner.
Both its individual courses and major program of study exemplify the ideals of a liberal arts education, as well as Occidental College’s particular mission to prepare its students to engage as fully and as fruitfully as possible in a complex, interdependent, and pluralistic world.
The CSLC major is rooted in the students' understanding of the linguistic structures of at least one foreign language, as this offers an essential point of entry not only into the study of the literatures within that language, but helps provide an important perspective from which to appreciate the cultural and linguistic differences that comprise any literary tradition.
As with any formal literary study, our students, both major and non-majors alike, can expect to become proficient in the appreciation and interpretation of a whole array of literary texts and genres, as well as the many emerging methods and theories that can be brought to bear upon them. Yet as no one literature exists in a vacuum, but is rather shaped by, and helps shape, the institutions, intellectual perspectives and lived experience of the culture in which it is located, we encourage our students to work with faculty mentors to develop a personalized program of study that would allow each student to engage with his or her chosen literature (or literatures) from a specific disciplinary point of view (for example: literature and music, literature and philosophy, literature and gender, literature and science, ancient and modern literature, the literature of different national traditions).