Dear Alumni and Friends,
As you know, comparative literature allows for adventurous learning in the humanities through intermedial, interdisciplinary, cross-national and cross-linguistic studies. It is challenging and rewarding, because of the intellectual rigor, multi-lingual competencies, breadth of cultural knowledge, curiosity, and spirit of adventure it presupposes. This is our strength. But it comes at a cost, these days especially: Unlike many of the literature departments at IU which can rely on support from consulates and embassies and lovers of homelands or particular languages, Comparative Literature is a small department with no national or linguistic allegiances or constituencies.
All of the comparative literature faculty at IU will tell you that our undergraduate majors are second to none. We are working to enhance intellectual community for these students—through encounters with faculty authors and the creation of a new undergraduate student association. We are also striving to broadcast the joys of comparative literary studies to a larger range of IU undergrads for whom comparative literature is a mysterious, if not intimidating, discipline.
Our graduate students, many of whom hail from countries around the world, are also outstanding. We are able to lure them to IU primarily because we have exceptional faculty in particular fields. We offer several small first-year fellowships to recruit these students, and the College has recently awarded us an annual Dissertation Year Fellowship which allows an advanced graduate student in comparative literature to write without teaching obligations. Gifts from or on behalf of former faculty—The Annie Geduld Memorial Prize for an outstanding student in comparative arts, the Ilinca Zarifopol-Johnston Memorial Award for a student with great breadth of achievement and originality, the Newton P. Stallknecht Memorial Award for the best paper in a Comparative Literature graduate course, the C. Clifford Flanigan Colloquium Award for the best paper presented at the annual C. Clifford Flanigan colloquium, the Gilbert V. Tutungi Award for the best M.A. project—help us recognize our students’ achievements.
We are also fortunate to be the recipient, along with Germanic Studies and West European Studies, of the Henry H. Remak Professorship, made possible by a gift from a former student of Professor Remak, to acknowledge an outstanding teacher of undergraduates.
But adequate funding for graduate students—recruitment packages, AI salaries, dissertation fellowships--remains our most critical need, especially as state funding for higher education declines and competition, from private institutions, in particular, increases.
Your gift will help us to offer competitive multi-year packages so as to recruit more effectively, to top off AI salaries which are shockingly low in our department, and to support students as they strive to finish up.
You can help us maintain our longstanding prominence and role of leadership in the field of comparative literature.
Your gift at any level will be much appreciated.
Professor & Chair