UC Berkeley Comparative Literature



so I didn't know comparative literature existed until I applied to Berkeley but I was always interested in exploring literature's from different cultures because I love foreign cinema so much so I knew that just combining my love of literature with my level of foreign cinema that comparative literature would be a good fit for me I actually found out about comparative literature when I was looking at the College Board book of majors when I was a senior in high school trying to figure out what I wanted to study and up until that point I had wanted to just do English but then I saw the description of this major it's that if you're in spend traveling in foreign languages and different literature's then you should study this once I was accepted to Berkeley I looked into the apartment more and realized that this was an opportunity to basically study everything that I was passionate about within one major the thing that caught me was different literature's I've always kept my Spanish at home English for academics and so what comp would let me do is use my Spanish in an intellectual academic way and that's that's really what attracted me to it for me discovering complet was a bit of a happy accident I went into my last year of Community College knowing that I wanted to study literature and also kind of vaguely knowing that I wanted not just to stick to English but also to expand my knowledge of Russian French and I remember going into the Transfer Center and picking up a list of majors and like kind of reading through and getting to complet it's like alarm bells going off in my head and just sounds like everything that I wanted and Berkeley has the best program in the country for it so that's how I ended up here the fun part about comparative literature is that you're you get to learn complete new languages I learned French at my time at Cal like I got the Cal I'd never taken French before and I said three years and you became really proficient in it I think we KITT I can read it I can write it and it's all because I'm majoring in comparative literature you get to develop a new understanding you get to talk to people who you might not have been able to engage with before you get experience places and experience cultures and be able to communicate in their language because you've learned it I would say is this one it's maybe yeah one of the things that I really value about Compline is that it's interdisciplinary so it would allow me to pursue a wide variety of my interests rather than having to zero in very quickly on what I wanted to study in the future so I've taken classes in Slovak and French and classics and in sociology and in a host of other departments and all of that has really allowed me to widen my horizons and figure out exactly what it is that I want to do we want to focus on literature literature is important to us but then there's always a plus literature and literature and politics literature and music literature in the visual arts and it this becomes for all of us a stretching experience because we learn from each other and we're very happy about that I would say comparative literature is like the interdisciplinary studies of literature it allows people to blend in a mix and a variety of literature pieces of cultures it captures different stories narratives whether it's coming from marginal experiences with dominant narratives it allows people to go in depth into different cultures of societies times spaciality it's a breadth that you cannot necessarily get with other majors it is a very interdisciplinary major and there I'm finding connections between my classes constantly I don't think that you get that in every department I don't think you have that those connections that are being made so much when you're when you're not delving into many different subjects and different um frameworks or different ways of looking at history or read literature for me it's just understanding that literature is know one thing and that it's been many different things in different times and places and comparative literature is about that how many different things that are sure can be what it's used for and and why we read it I would say that comparative literature is basically two things an interest in literary theory and its relationship to living practice but also the desire to burst the bubble and become interested in languages other than the ones that you know or grow up with the thing that really makes this an amazing place for me is the community and I feel that I've had some wonderful classes I'm taking a class with Judith Butler right now Casca and law which is so appropriate at the moment and and so relevant and also with Judith Butler there's a stereotype of myths at research universities that professors are there to do research first and teach second that hasn't been my experience at all all of my professors are like amazing academics but they're also really engaging instructors and they're all really approachable and generous with their time it's only at like moments where you step back and go oh you've been cited in every article that I've read about this topic you're like a world your leading expert in the field it's really an amazing community to be a part of I love complete because every student here is so unique and every faculty and professor are really open and friendly to share their personal experiences with you I feel like it's the most precious experience you can ever get in such a huge public school now I think I think comparative literature is very relevant today it's all about this interconnected between literature's or languages or between people and I think comparative literature is a great basis for anything right because you got your analytical side you have your your knowledge base of literature authors philosophies and so I think it's a great base for anything that you want to do post graduating I think of all of us is a scholar activists whether we're working in classical antiquity or medieval literature Renaissance literature we are able to put together whatever our specialties might be with issues of our times literature speaks to what newspapers cannot say literature opens a space for a contemplation it said time and again that what we do in the humanities is to teach critical thinking but critical thinking right now is really what we need our department is very much an activist department in that respect because we study difference we see how difference is constructed we see how other this is constructed we see how race is constructed we see how nationalities are constructed and the discourse on nationalism is constructed and we're not going to let that slide away we've been doing it it's not that we just discovered this this week but this is this is part and parcel of the compare mission one of the extraordinary things about comparative literature is that it actually invites you to do the kind of careful work of actually studying and mastering of our language Hebrew Arabic Spanish French and really getting into the depths of an other author of an of an alien tradition so diversity not in sound bites or in quick easy consumable portions but the kind of commitment that you need to really explore what it means to come from another place or another time one of the reasons why I like is you could have smaller so I kind of have that confidence that I won't get lost in the crowd because we are a smaller department most of my classes have been under 20 people I'm currently in a five-person class I've been within consulate I've had ten person classes and because of that you really do get to know the professor's on a personal level and have really individual and personalized discussions with them which you don't get in the massive lectures that I think a lot of my other friends have had to deal with unlike other departments a large class in comparative literature there are a few that have you know 40 50 60 students but most of the classes will be in the 20s or a few or so and there will be seminars that you can take where you get to work really intensively with the professor and a really small group of students so it's a great experience in terms of the intimacy that you can get incomplete we know the names of our students right hey this is not a minor thing I'm teaching this Freshman Seminar right now and my computer science students tell me that they're in courses in 1600 kids and they learn through the television no we have-we are the flesh we are the flesh of the teaching staff on this campus and we're very happy about it so yeah take a class in Conflict join us

3 thoughts on “UC Berkeley Comparative Literature

  1. Studying comparative literature was the best decision I've made in my entire life. From Jadavpur University, with love. <3

  2. O my God bring me the number of that beauty…plz someone..

  3. Wow I love this video ❣️ considering in majoring in comp lit

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