What Should Comparative Literature Majors Know?
By the time of their graduation all majors in Comparative Literature should understand how literary scholars conduct research and how they then communicate the results of their work to colleagues. One way of describing this process is “information literacy” – i.e., the ability to conceptualize what literary information is needed combined with the skills necessary to locate, evaluate, and effectively and ethically use this information (please refer to the final section of this page).
Every Comparative Literature student should be familiar not only with this page, but also with the information given in the information literacy sites for all the languages she studies: Classics, East Asian Language Japanese, English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
Students who have taken writing intensive classes should already have learned the following skills:
These skills may be regarded by all students as a base for further study. Help is available through the Neilson Library Reference Department's Ask a Librarian options.
Beginning comparative literature majors should build upon this base by applying and expanding their information skills:
Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
Manuale di retorica
Dictionnaire des termes littéraires
Five College Library Catalog
Use the Catalog tab on the Libraries' homepage to search for books at all Five Colleges.
MLA Bibliography 1920+
JSTOR - mostly back issues with some current content
Dictionary of Literary Biography
Cambridge Companions to Literature & Classics
Oxford Companion to English Literature
Advanced Comparative Literature majors at the 300 level courses and seminar level should be able:
In What Ways Will Student Skills be Assessed?
Students completing work on a paper at the 200 level should submit a bibliography in which primary and secondary sources listed reflect the use of the online catalog, at least some scholarly journals through the use of MLA International Bibliography. Students should be prepared to defend the credentials of authors cited if asked.
In 300 level seminars, students should routinely cite both supportive and oppositional arguments from primary and secondary sources in papers including book reviews or other articles found through the use of footnotes or citation indexes. The seminar paper might include an annotated bibliography in which students are asked to indicate the source of their citation and its relative value to the argument within the paper.
An 'ethical use of information' means to make a clear distinction between received knowledge and the production of new knowledge. The incorporation of the work of others into the student’s his or her own must comply with such distinction. Therefore, every written and/or oral work in the discipline must clearly state its source, if it has any doubt, except in the case of “received knowledge,” such as dates and facts found in many encyclopedias and dictionaries. If in doubt, students should take the online quiz.
Updated May 16, 2013