Since its founding, the Department of Comparative Literature at IU has had one of the most comprehensive and integrated programs of graduate study, offering students opportunity for developing an individualized field of specialization along with a core of basic skills. From the outset, the Department of Comparative Literature has built upon a firm foundation of study in foreign languages and literatures, as well as critical theory. At the same time, our department is recognized throughout the world for its innovations in integrating interdisciplinary study into the field of comparative literature. Our department enjoys the exceptional advantage of close ties with IU's well-established interdisciplinary and interdepartmental programs related to the comparative study of literature: these include classical studies, culture studies, film studies, folklore, gender studies, Jewish studies, medieval studies, religious studies, renaissance studies, and theater studies, as well as area studies programs such as African studies, Caribbean and Latin American studies, and East Asian languages and cultures.
At present, our graduate program includes students from seventeen countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and the Americas, making our program one of the most culturally diverse in the world. Our international faculty is made up of core members, who teach most of the department’s courses, and additional faculty from other departments who have adjunct or joint appointments with Comparative Literature. This diversity in interests and skills among our faculty and students helps to maintain the openness to innovative thinking that is central to the department’s identity and is one of the important ways that CMLT contributes to the educational mission of the university.