Comparative literature is dedicated to the study of literature in an international and interdisciplinary context.  Majors read widely across periods, genres, and national traditions. They study literature and culture from various parts of the world to develop knowledge and critical understanding of how cultures differ from as well as connect and interact with one another through the medium of artistic expression. They study theoretical approaches - traditional and contemporary, ancient and modern - to literature and other media and examine the relationship of literature to other fields and disciplines in the arts and sciences.  The program offers majors the opportunity to design individual programs of study across languages, cultures, and media in keeping with their particular linguistic capabilities and intellectual goals.

Courses in translation and the minor in Translation Studies allow students to develop the ability to work with and across languages and to reflect critically on the theory and history of translation and the role of translation in bridging literary traditions and connecting cultural worlds.

Comparative Literature & Translation Studies
320 Milbank Hall 
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
Department Assistant: Sondra Phifer
"What is Comp Lit?" 
Barnard College, 2018


Interactive “Beyond Boundaries” Exhibit Explored the World through Language!

When former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt passed through Barnard Hall’s iconic columns on March 6, 1951, she was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and on her way to talk to 1,000 students about, “What Can We Do for Peace?” Sixty-eight years later, Barnard Hall played host to a new kind of visitor asking the same essential question. From March 25 to April 12, 2019, an interactive digital exhibit, “Beyond Boundaries: Exploring the World Through Language Learning,” was on display in Barnard Hall’s lobby and sought to bridge the gap between translation and cultural input, engage students and faculty to share how their own language journeys have shaped the way they see the world, broaden the viewer’s worldview to include other perspectives through multiple lenses, and measure users’ ability to communicate and interact within communities at home and around the globe. Continue reading...