IMPORTANT NOTE

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2023-2024 catalog year. Students are required by college policy to follow the major (and minor) requirements found in the catalog in effect at the time they declared their first major. To find your catalog year, please visit your Grades and Academic Records found in myOxy and access the catalog that matches your catalog year.

Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture

Overview

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).

Students majoring in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture currently have the option of choosing an emphasis in German, Greek, Latin, Russian, Chinese or Japanese. Other languages offered at Occidental can also be used to fulfill the requirements of the major, but require the approval of CSLC and the other language department. Though it is by no means required, students are also invited to incorporate courses from the Studies Abroad program into the overall design of their major.

Requirements

Major

A major requires a minimum of nine classes including the senior seminar. Students may pursue one focus from the following to complete the major: German, Ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, or Comparative.

All students are required to take courses that reflect the interrelated aspects of the major:

Methodology Requirement

 

All CSLC majors must complete either:

CSLC 200Literature, Culture, Self: Being in the Wor(l)d

4 units

CSLC 201Forms of Feeling, and a Feeling for Form: Literature and Its Lifeworlds

4 units

Primary Area of Study

Students must complete three courses as indicate below.

German Focus: GERM 202 and two 300-level GERM courses (or three 300-level GERM courses)

Ancient Greek Focus: GRK 201 and two 300-level GRK courses (or three 300-level GRK courses)

Latin Focus: LATN 201 and two 300-level LATN courses (or three 300-level LATN courses)

Russian Focus: RUSN 202 and two 300-level RUSN courses (or three 300-level RUSN courses)

Chinese Focus: three 300-level CHIN courses

Japanese Focus: three 300-level JAPN courses

Comparative Focus: Students must complete three courses selected from a primary area of study that must include both foreign language study, to the degree specified below, as well as courses taught in translation. Primary areas of study must be disciplines housed in CSLC. The options for foreign language study are therefore, at this time, German, Greek, Latin, Russian.

  • German: GERM 202 (or one 300-level GERM course) and any two courses from CSLC 100-122
  • Ancient Greek: GRK 201, (or one 300-level GRK course) and any two courses from CSLC 180-194 and CSLC 280-294
  • Latin: LATN 201, (or one 300-level LATN course) and any two courses from CSLC 140-159 and CSLC 240-250
  • Russian: RUSN 201 (or one 300-level RUSN course) and any two courses from CSLC 130-139 and CSLC 230-239

Literary and Cultural Studies

Students pursuing a German, Ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, Chinese, Japanese focus must complete two courses in CSLC at the 100- or 200-level.

Students pursuing the comparative focus must complete two CSLC courses in a secondary area of language and literature as indicated below. These courses must be from a different category than what was chosen for the primary area of study.

  • German: any course from the series CSLC 100-122; GERM 101, GERM 102,  any 200- or 300-level GERM course; HIST 230, HIST 233, HIST 328, HIST 345, MUSC 261, MUSC 262, MUSC 263, MUSC 264, or MUSC 268
  • Ancient Greek: any course from the series CSLC 180-194 and CSLC 280-294; any GRK course, ARTH 272 , HIST 220, RELS 190, RELS 214, RELS 265, or RELS 290 
  • Latin: any course from the series CSLC 140-159 and CSLC 240-250; any LATN course, ARTH 272, HIST 220, RELS 190, RELS 214, or RELS  265 
  • Russian: any course from the series CSLC 130-139 and CSLC 230-239; RUSN 101, RUSN 102, or any 200- or 300-level RUSN course
  • Chinese: CSLC 150, CSLC, 252, CSLC 253; CHN 101, CHIN 102,  any 200-,  300- , or 400-level CHIN course, HIST 141, HIST 242, HIST 243, HIST 344, HIST 348; ARTH 160, ARTH 215, ARTH 258, ARTH 360, ARTH 365, or RELS 160 
  • Japanese: JAPN 101, JAPN 102, and any 200-, 300- or 400-level JAPN course, HIST 141, HIST 248, ARTH 160, ARTH 266, ARTH 268, ARTH 360, ARTH 365, RELS 160, RELS 167,  or RELS 215
  • Spanish: SPAN 101, SPAN 102, SPAN 201, SPAN 202, any 300-level SPAN course, HIST 150, HIST 151, HIST 252, HIST 254, HIST 256, HIST 258, HIST 355, or HIST 358; ARTH 273, RELS 243, PHIL 223, CTSJ 361, THEA 303
  • French: FREN 101, FREN 102, FREN 201, FREN 202, any 300-level FREN course; HIST 230, HIST 328, HIST 330, MUSC 261, MUSC 262, MUSC 263, MUSC 266
  • Arabic: ARAB 101, ARAB 102, ARAB 201, ARAB 202, and any 300-level ARAB course; CTSJ 205, CTSJ 115, RELS 150, RELS 155, RELS 225, RELS 254, RELS 270, RELS 278, MUSC 104 

These courses are preferably chosen from outside the student's major language concentration. However, courses outside the department may be allowed by department chair approval and must be filed with the Registrar's Office by submitting a Transfer Credit & Course Substitution Form.

Interdisciplinary Requirement

Students pursuing a German, Ancient Greek, Latin, Russian, Chinese, Japanese focus must complete two additional courses which reflect a thematic or comparative language-based concentration. The two interdisciplinary courses should be chosen in consultation with the student’s adviser. All students must file these courses with the Registrar's Office by submitting a Transfer Credit & Course Substitution Form.

Students pursuing the comparative focus must take two courses in a tertiary area of study as noted below. These courses must be in a different category than what was selected from the primary and secondary area of study.

  • German: any course from the series CSLC 100-122; GERM 101, GERM 102,  any 200- or 300-level GERM course; HIST 230, HIST 233, HIST 328, HIST 345, MUSC 261, MUSC 262, MUSC 263, MUSC 264, or MUSC 268
  • Ancient Greek: any course from the series CSLC 180-194 and CSLC 280-294; any GRK course, ARTH 272 , HIST 220, RELS 190, RELS 214, RELS 265, or RELS 290 
  • Latin: any course from the series CSLC 140-159 and CSLC 240-250; any LATN course, ARTH 272, HIST 220, RELS 190, RELS 214, or RELS  265 
  • Russian: any course from the series CSLC 130-139 and CSLC 230-239; RUSN 101, RUSN 102, or any 200- or 300-level RUSN course
  • Chinese: CSLC 150, CSLC, 252, CSLC 253; CHN 101, CHIN 102,  any 200-,  300- , or 400-level CHIN course, HIST 141, HIST 242, HIST 243, HIST 344, HIST 348; ARTH 160, ARTH 215, ARTH 258, ARTH 360, ARTH 365, or RELS 160 
  • Japanese: JAPN 101, JAPN 102, and any 200-, 300- or 400-level JAPN course, HIST 141, HIST 248, ARTH 160, ARTH 266, ARTH 268, ARTH 360, ARTH 365, RELS 160, RELS 167,  or RELS 215
  • Spanish: SPAN 101, SPAN 102, SPAN 201, SPAN 202, any 300-level SPAN course, HIST 150, HIST 151, HIST 252, HIST 254, HIST 256, HIST 258, HIST 355, or HIST 358; ARTH 273, RELS 243, PHIL 223, CTSJ 361, THEA 303
  • French: FREN 101, FREN 102, FREN 201, FREN 202, any 300-level FREN course; HIST 230, HIST 328, HIST 330, MUSC 261, MUSC 262, MUSC 263, MUSC 266
  • Arabic: ARAB 101, ARAB 102, ARAB 201, ARAB 202, and any 300-level ARAB course; CTSJ 205, CTSJ 115, RELS 150, RELS 155, RELS 225, RELS 254, RELS 270, RELS 278, MUSC 104 

Senior Seminar

Please consult the departmental website for current information about courses which satisfy requirements.

Honors in the Major

Honors is awarded to students who have demonstrated excellence in their departmental work. In the Spring semester, CSLC faculty review each Seniors’ record of work in the department and make their determinations based on achievement in coursework, sophistication of the comprehensive project, and contribution to the intellectual community of the department.

Minor in Classical Studies

Classical Studies offers Occidental students the opportunity to study the languages, literature, art, philosophy, history, and cultures of Greece and Rome in a multicultural context. Taken together, the courses address the impact of ancient cultures on later civilizations and draw parallels with non-Western cultures.

Occidental offers a minor in classical studies consisting of five courses taken in at least three different departments, at least one of which must be an original language course in Greek or Latin (GRK 101, GRK 102, GRK 201, LATN 101, LATN 102, or LATN 201). Courses with classical emphasis suitable to the minor are listed below.

To share the resources of faculty and students interested in classical studies, the committee sponsors interdisciplinary colloquia. Students who are interested in creating an Independent Pattern of Study in a topic related to the ancient world should consult with the chair of the committee for advice in constructing a program tailored to their needs.

ARTH 170Introduction to the Arts of the Early Mediterranean World

4 units

ARTH 272Greek and Roman Art

4 units

CSLC 120Metamorphic Bodies: Fluid Forms from Ovid to Kafka

4 units

CSLC 181Violent Femmes: Drama in the Polis

4 units

CSLC 202The Wake of the Ancient

4 units

CSLC 204Between Desire and Despair: Roman Literature Survey

4 units

CSLC 205Comedy Philosophy Romance: Hellenistic Literature

4 units

CSLC 222Myth: the Greco-Roman gods

4 units

CSLC 241Spectacle and the Stage in Ancient Rome

4 units

CSLC 280Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger: Tragic Philosophy

4 units

CSLC 283Style and "Substance": Philosophy and the Arts

4 units

CSLC 286Ulysses: The No­Place That's Home

4 units

CSLC 292Love's Song - A History

4 units

HIST 121Antiquity to 1700: Europe and the Middle East

4 units

HIST 220Ancient Athens and Renaissance Florence

4 units

RELS 351"Good" Sex: History of Sexual Ethics

4 units

Minor in CSLC

A minor in CSLC consists of five courses: one course course in theory and methodology (either CSLC 200 or CSLC 201), and four additional CSLC courses (student who take both CSLC 200 and CSLC 201 need only complete three additional CSLC course). This minor exposes students to world literature and culture in translation.

Minor in German

A minor in German language consists of five courses at the 201 level or above. At least three of these courses must be taken at Occidental. One of the five courses can be completed in the form of a German-related course taken in English in CLSC, a different department, or while studying abroad.

Electives

CSLC 107Marx, Nietzsche, Freud

4 units

CSLC 108Art, Nature, Self: German Romanticism

4 units

CSLC 109From Kafka to Twitter: Small Forms of the Literary

4 units

CSLC 112The Sickness unto Death: Selfhood and Despair in Literature and Philosophy

4 units

CSLC 114Goethe and the Art of Living

4 units

CSLC 115Kleist, Kafka, and the Poetics of Madness

4 units

CSLC 116Heidegger and the Ecstasy of Being

4 units

CSLC 118What Was the Enlightenment?

4 units

CSLC 120Metamorphic Bodies: Fluid Forms from Ovid to Kafka

4 units

CSLC 122Rage, Rave, and Revolution: German Literature and Philosophy Post-45

4 units

CSLC 187Prometheus: Agonies of the Absolute

4 units

CSLC 280Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger: Tragic Philosophy

4 units

ARTH 288Paris and Berlin: Capitals and Crossroads of the 20th Century

4 units

ARTH 289Modern Art in the US and Europe, 1900-1950

4 units

DWA 101International Relations: The Changing Rules of the Game

4 units

DWA 102International Organizations

4 units

DWA 103Introduction to Global Political Economy

4 units

DWA 239European Politics

4 units

HIST 230European Intellectual History

4 units

HIST 233Fascism, Nazism, and the Crisis of Democracy

4 units

HIST 345The Holocaust: History, Testimony, and Memory

4 units

LING 301Introduction to Linguistics

4 units

LING 350/PSYC 351Psycholinguistics

4 units

LING 351Phonetics

4 units

MUSC 261Western Music and Culture: 1580-1829

4 units

MUSC 263Western Music and Culture: 1830 to the Present

4 units

MUSC 264The Total Artwork

4 units

PHIL 210Modern Philosophy

4 units

PHIL 212Existentialist Philosophy

4 units

PHIL 311Wittgenstein

4 units

PHIL 312Kierkegaard

4 units

POLS 130Introduction to International Relations

4 units

SOC 200Classical Sociological Theory: Marx, Weber, Durkheim

4 units

Minor in Russian

A minor in Russian language consists of five courses (20 units) numbered RUSN 202 and above. Three of the five courses must be completed as Occidental courses.

Second-Stage Writing

Students will satisfy the Second-Stage Writing Requirement by taking a 300-level language and literature course with a writing component, in which students will be required to submit a substantial (12-15 page) writing assignment that incorporates a translation of, and commentary on, primary texts in the literature of the target foreign language. Students will satisfy the Second Stage Writing Requirement by obtaining a grade of "C" or higher on this paper. Under normal circumstances, students should try to satisfy this requirement by the end of their Junior Year. In exceptional cases, students may obtain permission to fulfill the requirement in the Fall of Senior Year. Students who fail to obtain a grade of "C" on the paper submitted for the satisfaction of the Second Stage Writing Requirement will need to submit a satisfactory re-write to the instructor of the course and the department chair.)

Comprehensive Requirement

All students majoring in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture will be required in their senior year to complete a comprehensive project consisting of a senior thesis of a minimum of 25 pages and to present a 15-minute presentation based on the thesis to CSLC faculty and students.

In the fall of their senior year, each CSLC major will enroll in a 4-unit senior seminar and will be expected to produce a full-length draft of the comprehensive essay by the end of term. The student will have the winter break and the first month of spring term in his or her senior year to revise the long essay, and to compose a 15-minute presentation. Students graduating in the fall of senior year must complete a final draft of the paper and give a short presentation before fall comps grades are due.

The comprehensive essay must include extensive analysis of a foreign language text or texts. The thesis should demonstrate an awareness of its own methodologies, and a substantial knowledge of the critical traditions and contemporary understandings of the texts under consideration. CSLC students will additionally be expected to incorporate into their senior thesis the interdisciplinary perspectives gained in the two thematic-focus courses they have selected for their major. Additional requirements for comps may be required in each language emphasis, particularly if a student uses a language outside of the CSLC major in their comprehensive project.

Contact Comparative Studies in Literature & Culture
Johnson Hall 407