Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies

College of Letters & Science


What is the viability of books in the future?

 Welcome to the Department of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies (CLFS)! We live in a time of increasing global interaction -- a world that benefits from cross-cultural understanding. Courses in CLFS will prepare you to be an engaged participant in global discourse, a discerning reader, a nuanced writer, and effective communicator. In our classes, you will approach literature and culture from an international and comparative perspective. You can explore novels, folk culture, oral storytelling, visual and material culture, film, poetry, social media, religion, law, environmental humanities, psychology and philosophy that connect cultural contexts and time periods. Students learn to think within and across boundaries of language, nation, geography, ethnicity, race, gender, religion, and social class.


Our strength draws from an internationally recognized, globally connected, culturally plural faculty who conduct research in US contexts (in African American, Native American, South Asian American communities, to name but a few), as well as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Palestine, Pakistan, Scandinavia, South Asia, Spain, United Kingdom, and Uruguay, among others.


Our department offers an undergraduate major, minor and certificate, as well as a Ph.D degree, with tracks in Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies. degree. As our graduates attest, these degrees are an asset when pursuing a wide range of careers from business to community work, media to global health, art to law. To further ensure the success of our students, we provide job placement and graduate school admission counseling right from the beginning.

Student Profile

Sarah Rose Smiley

Sarah Rose Smiley will be graduating in May 2016 with majors in Comparative Literature and Gender & Women's Studies, and certificates in French and Folklore Studies. Sarah credits CLFS for helping her discover her passion for narrative, and GWS for teaching her how to channel that passion into working for real change in women's rights.

Recent Faculty Publication

Sarah Wells

Simultaneous Worlds: Global Science Fiction Cinema

My co-edited volume (with Jennifer Feeley), Simultaneous Worlds: Global Science Fiction Cinema was published by University of Minnesota Press in 2015.