University of California, Riverside

Comparative Literature and Languages


Apply to our Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature

The application period for our Ph.D Program in Comparative Literature is open. Priority will be given to students whose completed applications are received by December 8, 2017; the official deadline for admission for Fall 2018 is January 5, 2018.

To apply please click here.

Tenured Position in Japanese Literature in Comparative Context

The Department of Comparative Literature and Languages invites applications for a tenured position in Japanese Literature in Comparative Context at the level of Associate Professor. Scholars working in any area in Japanese literature studies are welcome to apply.

For more information please click here.

A Note from the Chair

Dear students and colleagues,

What is it that we do when we do Comparative Literature? 

As students and teachers we read, study, write, and speak, with and to each other, and as we do so we invent ways of being and living, ways of knowing and relating. But if the sense of these words is not given in advance, how might we think, newly and differently, about the kinds of reading and writing, the ways of speaking and relating, we do in the humanities? If literature is about relations—if it opens, like language, a scene where something happens, and where a sense of relation is given, between and among beings—how might we think about the study of literature without pre-determining its ends—both the ends of literature and the ends of our study of it? 

The poet Paul Celan wrote that poetry is a kind of “conversation,” “a turning of our breath,” which “leads to encounters.” In our own time—a time of the expansion and deepening of the racialist, carceral-security state and the kinds of knowledge and form of critique it values and permits—what does literature, thought in the broadest and most particular senses, give to us? If literature refuses the sense of security we have been taught, in educational institutions, to love—What could be better, after all, than to know the right answer?—then literature remains, today, a practice that disorders and displaces this new, and if still however old, state form.

Literature does not enhance this or that certitude; it teaches us to learn how to learn differently—an “encounter” that does not lead “us” to ourselves, or to others, as much as it disperses “us” out onto a future that remains only, and without end, to come.

Our faculty work closely with students at all levels as they pursue their interests—studying and reading in areas to which they are drawn. We view our task as a pedagogical and personal one: your interest in what you study will be mirrored in our interest in you.

Please write me if you’d like to talk.

With warmest regards,

Jeff Sacks
Associate Professor and Chair


 Dinner 2017

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