Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies

College of Letters & Science


What is the viability of books in the future?

For more information on 101 Years of Comparative Literature at University of Wisconsin Madison here 

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.


Sarah Ann Wells receives the award of the Best Book in the Humanities published in 2017

Sarah Ann Wells, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Folklore Studies, received in May 2018 by the Southern Cone Section of the Latin American Studies Association the award of the Best Book in the Humanities published in 2017 for her book Media Laboratories. More information about the award. 

Recent Faculty Publications

Sarah Ann Wells

Media Laboratories. Late Modernist Authorship in South America

Media Laboratories explores a pivotal time for South American literature of the 1930s and ’40s. Cinema, radio, and the typewriter, once seen as promising catalysts for new kinds of writing, began to be challenged by authors, workers, and the public.