Established in 1920, the program in English and Comparative Literature introduces students to the way literature shapes individuals, societies and cultures. It trains students on how to read critically and prompts them to engage with the central problems of human experience. The program fosters a love of the written and spoken word, and an appreciation of the power of language in the local community and in the world. ECLT welcomes students to undertake a BA (major or minor) in English and Comparative Literature, an MA in English and Comparative Literature, or a Graduate Diploma in Comparative Literary Studies.
ECLT is the only department of comparative literature in the Arab world and Africa. It also offers the only graduate degree in comparative literature within the liberal arts tradition in the Arab world. ECLT is regionally distinctive in its coverage of ancient and modern Anglophone, European and Latin American literary traditions; and it is distinctive worldwide for emphasizing Arabic literature as one of the many cultural competences of the comparatist. ECLT is home to Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, the Edward Said Memorial Lecture, the Distinguished Creative Writer series, the Madalyn Lamont Award for Creative Writing, the Tewfik Pasha Doss Award, and the annual Graduate Student Conference. The department’s vibrant body of students is active around campus and in the community through the student-led Literature Club.
Our world-class faculty boast strong research profiles in diverse areas. Our strengths include Greek and Roman classics, Arabic and European medieval studies, Renaissance literature and the Islamicate world, literary theory, modernist studies in Europe and the Arab world, American literature, gender studies, and world literature. Language competencies range from ancient Greek and Latin to modern German, French, Spanish, and Arabic. ECLT graduates pursue careers in all the possible professional niches of the literary ecosystem. Our strong-spirited alumni like to tell their stories in their own words.