Letter from the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Samuel Hodgkin's picture

Letter from the Director of Undergraduate Studies

The Comparative Literature Major

April 2023

Dear Comparative Literature Majors,

I hope the final weeks of academic year 2022-23 are going smoothly for you, and you’re enjoying the gorgeous weather. If you are a senior, congratulations!! You have either already sent in your senior essay or are about to do so. In either case, you should be feeling very proud. Your faculty readers may be considering nominating your work for one of our departmental prizes. If you have been doing literary translation, whether it’s a senior essay or not, you can submit it for the Maxwell Prize yourself by sending it to me and //katie.hultgren@yale.edu/">Katie Hultgren with a note to that effect.

As I write, it’s the beginning of pre-registration week. The start of pre-registration is staggered based on your class: ’24 begin registering at 8 AM on Apr. 17, ’25 on Apr. 18, and ’26 on Apr. 19. Pre-registration closes on Apr. 28, but you will have the opportunity to revisit your schedule during the add-drop period from Aug. 29-Sept. 5. In this letter you’ll find some information about the classes being offered this spring, as well as a few reminders about requirements for the Major.

If you have any questions about your courses, I encourage you to sign up for a meeting with me at my office in HQ 331 (please only sign up for a 15-minute appointment to begin with, to make room for others). Send me any specific questions by email in advance, and if possible, bring your up-to-date requirements worksheet (here are the worksheets: literature and comparative cultures; intensive language; translation; and film).

As questions come up, you can also email me at samuel.hodgkin@yale.edu, or, to discuss any practical questions, our department registrar, Katie Hultgren, at katie.hultgren@yale.edu. If you need to contact any member of the Comparative Literature department, you can find their email address or check their virtual office hours here. The default method of contact is to email faculty directly.

If you will be a senior next year, you should be trying to get a commitment from a senior essay advisor, hopefully by the end of this spring, but certainly before the start of the fall semester. If you plan to write a full-year senior essay and have not already informed me and the current senior essay coordinator, Lital Abazon (lital.abazon@yale.edu), please contact us now, because we will need a prospectus from you ASAP. If you are writing a one-semester fall essay, your prospectus will be due in early September. Please review carefully the section of our website that discusses the senior essay, and keep in mind all relevant deadlines. Responding promptly to any questions from Lital and me will help us to keep you on track for graduation.

This coming fall, Profs. Rudiger Campe and Hannan Hever will teach the one course required of students in all of our tracks, LITR 130, How To Read. Our other central departmental courses, each of which can complement LITR 130, will be taught in the spring: I will teach LITR 140, How To Compare; and Prof. Robyn Creswell will teach the other required course in the Translation track, LITR 348, The Practice of Literary Translation. LITR 143, World Cinema, is taught in alternate years and will be available again in AY 2024-25.

All majors are required to take one class during their course of study that devotes significant time to theoretical or methodological matters, whether in our department or in another humanities department. Courses being taught this coming fall that will satisfy this requirement include: LITR 482, The Mortality of the Soul: From Aristotle to Heidegger; LITR 393, The Short Spring of German Theory; LITR 379, Radical Cinemas in the Global Sixties; EALL 200, The Chinese Tradition; ENGL 376, Theories and Histories of the Western Novel; SPAN 230, Reading Environments: Nature, Culture, and Agency; HUMS 244, Love, Marriage, Family: A Psychological Study through the Arts; and HUMS 394, Imagining Global Lyric. (None of these lists are exhaustive: there are many courses that fulfill any requirement.)

For those looking for courses to fulfill period requirements in our department or in a languages-and-literatures department:

Antiquity courses include: EALL 608, Sages of the Ancient World; RLST 183, The Gita: Humanities at World’s End; NELC 128, From Gilgamesh to Persepolis; HUMS 145, Ancient Greek and Roman Novels in Context; and LITR 154, The Bible as a Literature.

Medieval courses include: RLST 165, The Quran; NELC 617, Medieval Arabic Travel Narratives; ENGL 154, The Multicultural Middle Ages; ENGL 205, Medieval Songlines; JDST 270, Medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims In Conversation; and HUMS 180, Dante in Translation.

Renaissance and 17th-18th-century courses include: EMST 546, Rise of the European Novel; EMST 740, Ritual and Performance in Colonial Latin America; ENGL 251, Experiments in the Novel: The Eighteenth Century; LITR 347, Dangerous Women: Sirens, Singers, and Poets from Sappho to Elena Ferrante; FREN 321, Corneille and Racine: Passions and Politics on the French Classical Stage; and HUMS 432, Rousseau’s Emile.

And modern courses are too numerous to need listing.

I’m happy to discuss any questions you may have about whether a given course might satisfy requirements, including a course you may have taken in the past (it’s always helpful to bring along a syllabus from the course).

Let me also remind you that that any literature class, in any department (including English), is potentially eligible for general credit in the Comparative Literature Major, whether or not it carries an LITR number. To discuss whether a particular class qualifies, please contact me.

I look forward to meeting with many of you soon. If you need assistance during the pre-registration period please sign up for a meeting or email me at samuel.hodgkin@yale.edu.

With best wishes for the new term,

Samuel Hodgkin

Director of Undergraduate Studies

The Comparative Literature Major