Courses & Requirements

IMPORTANT NOTE

The requirements below apply to those students with a 2022-2023 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 are required to take courses that reflect the interrelated aspects of the major:

Methodology Requirement

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

Foreign language

Students must select three 300-level courses in German, Greek, Latin, Russian, Chinese or Japanese. GRK 201, LATN 201, GERM 202, and RUSN 202 may also be used to fulfill this requirement.

Literary and Cultural Studies

Students must select two CSLC courses from the 100- or 200-level.

*This course is preferably chosen from outside the student’s major language concentration (courses outside the department allowed by approval)

Interdisciplinary Requirement

Students 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.

Senior Seminar

Students must pass a language proficiency exam prior to the beginning of their senior year and enrollment in the 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 (20 units). Three of the five courses must be completed as Occidental courses. One of the five courses can be competed in the form of a German related course in a different department.

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 Proficiency

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.

Advising Information

Students interested in the CSLC major are encouraged to take any 100- or 200-level CSLC course in their first or second year, and to make an appointment with any one of our faculty members. In addition, students are encouraged to begin taking courses in Ancient Greek, Chinese, German, Greek, Japanese, Latin, or Russian as early as possible.

Placement Information

Students interested in the CSLC major who have previous experience with one of the languages listed above should take the appropriate placement exam or submit a qualifying standardized test score. Students who are studying a language for the first time can enroll in the 101-level course without taking a placement exam. 

Sample 4-Year Plan


Fall

Spring

Year 1

  • Fall FYS course

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Language 101 or General Elective (4 units)

  • Spring FYS course

  • 100- or 200-level CSLC Elective

  • Core Requirement (4 units)

  • Language 102 (4 or 5 units)

Year 2

  • CSLC 200 (CPGC) or CSLC 201

  • Language 201
  • Core Requirement

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • CSLC 200 (CPGC) or CSLC 201

  • Language 202 or 300-level Language

  • Core Requirement

  • Core Requirement

Year 3

  • 100- or 200-level CSLC Elective

  • 300-level Language

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • Interdisciplinary Elective

  • 300-level Language

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Year 4

  • CSLC 490 (Senior Seminar, 2 units)

  • 300-level Language or General Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • CSLC 490 (Senior Seminar, 2 units)

  • Interdisciplinary Elective

  • General Elective (4 units)

  • General Elective (4 units)

Curricular Notes

  • All Interdisciplinary Electives must be filed with the Registrar’s Office by submitting a Transfer Credit & Course Substitution Form

  • Students can begin their language sequence as late as their sophomore year, in Fall or Spring, depending on the language.  Students beginning the language sequence in their second year are encouraged to consult with the chair on how to complete the major.

Transfer Credit Policies

The Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture Department policy on transfer credit conforms to College policy. AP, IB or A-level examinations in areas related to CSLC other than languages will not substitute for an Occidental course, place students into advanced courses, or allow a wider opportunity for choice of electives in the Department. For languages within CSLC in which we offer 201 or 202, students who earn a score of 4 on an AP Language examination will earn four units of credit and be placed into 201 in that language while those who earn a score of 5 will earn four units of credit and be placed in to 202 in that language. The department does not place students based on IB or A-level examinations. Students should reference the Transfer Credit section for more details.

Courses

Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture Courses