Letter from the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Samuel Hodgkin's picture

November 2022

Dear Comparative Literature Majors,

With the semester well past the halfway mark, I hope you are enjoying your classes, and not too overwhelmed. As I write, we’re gearing up for pre-registration week. The start of pre-registration is staggered based on your class: ’23 begin registering on Nov. 14, ’24 on Nov. 15, ’25 on Nov. 16, and ’26 on Nov. 17. Pre-registration closes on Dec. 2, but you will have the opportunity to revisit your schedule during the add-drop period from Jan. 9-23. 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.

I ask that you check in with me, even if only very briefly, at some point before or during pre-registration, at my office in HQ 331. In addition to my usual office hours sign-up on Calendly (please only sign up for a 15-minute appointment to begin with, to make room for others), I will have extra drop-in office hours on Mon. Nov. 14 and Mon. Nov. 28 from 12:30-4pm. 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 are a senior, writing a full-year or spring senior essay, you have already heard from both me and the senior essay coordinator, Lital Abazon (lital.abazon@yale.edu). 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 spring, Profs. Rudiger Campe and Hannan Hever will teach the one course required of students in all of our tracks, LITR 130, How To Read; Prof. Marta Figlerowicz will teach the other required course in the Film track, LITR 143, World Cinema; and Prof. Robyn Creswell will teach the other required course in the Translation track, LITR 348, The Practice of Literary Translation.

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 spring that will satisfy this requirement include: LITR 250, Postcolonial Theory and Literature; LITR 330, Heidegger’s Being and Time; LITR 446, Experimental Literature, Theory, and Manifestoes; LITR 447, I and Thou: Dialogue and Miscommunication in Theory and Literature; and LITR 331, Medieval World Literature: Genres and Geographies. (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: LITR 154, The Bible as a Literature; JDST 245, Humor and Play in Rabbinic Literature; GREK 141, Homer: An Introduction; and EALL 212, Ancient Chinese Thought.

Medieval courses include: LITR 331, Medieval World Literature, Genres and Geographies; LITR 196, Hebrew Poetry in Muslim Spain; LITR 180, Women in the Middle Ages; EAST 335, Zen Buddhism; and LITR 195, Medieval Songlines.

Renaissance and 17th-18th-century courses include: LITR 328, Folktales and Fairy Tales; LITR 401, The End of the World; LITR 434, Cervantes and Don Quijote; EAST 557, The Dutch in Japan (1600-1868); and LATN 420, Latin from Colonial Mexico.

And modern courses include: LITR 308, Literature at the Limit in Palestine and Israel; LITR 222, Gender & the Avant-Garde; LITR 484, Decolonizing Memory: Africa & the Politics of Testimony; LITR 330, Heidegger’s Being and Time; LITR 245, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky; EALL 804, Transpacific Performance in the Cold War; and so many more.

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). As an incoming DUS, I have a list of agreements made by previous DUSes about which courses fulfill which requirements, but if an agreement does not appear as an exception in your Degree Audit, please check it with me. Over the course of the spring, this process will be automated to take place through Degree Audit as much as possible.

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.

Finally, here is a reminder of our dates:

  • Pre-registration for first-years and returning students: Nov. 14 to Dec. 2 (start dates staggered by class—see above)
  • Jan. 9: Online course add-drop begins.
  • Jan. 17: Yale classes begin.
  • Jan. 23: Online course add/drop ends; by this point, I should have approved your course schedule.

I look forward to meeting with all 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