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The ADPCL has taken a special interest in the undergraduate curriculum. Numerically, the majority of students who study and instructors who teach Comparative Literature are doing so at the undergraduate level, which thus provides one of our best opportunities to contribute to the intellectual and personal growth of future generations as well as our own.
Nevertheless, data on undergraduate Comparative Literature degrees have rarely been collected and aggregated for discussion and for sharing across institutions. Therefore, in recent years the ADPCL has twice undertaken a study — both times spearheaded by Corinne Scheiner at Colorado College — of the undergraduate Comparative Literature curriculum throughout the U.S.
The first such study, which provided extensive data based on a national survey taken during 2004-2005, was published in the MLA’s journal Profession in 2006 (Corinne Scheiner, et al., “2005 Report on the Undergraduate Comparative Literature Curriculum,” Profession : 177-197). This was the first attempt in over 30 years to systematically provide descriptive information about U.S. undergraduate Comparative Literature curricula, especially for the major. For example, at that time there were found to be 170 institutions with departments or programs of Comparative Literature, and 100 formal undergraduate programs that granted a B.A. in Comparative Literature. Language requirements and other degree expectations were reported. Much more information, along with analyses and discussion, is available in the 2006 Profession article.
A decade later, in 2014, Corinne Scheiner and her colleagues conducted a follow-up national survey and analytical report, whose preliminary findings can be found on the ACLA’s “State of the Discipline Report” website. In addition to updating the 2005 data — for example, the number of undergraduate programs now granting a B.A. in Comparative Literature has risen to 117, and a large majority of programs still require proficiency in a language other than English — the 2014 report also identifies three predominant issues that will affect our future: (1) institutional positioning; for example, is Comparative Literature a separate major, or a track within another major? (2) implications for Comparative Literature of the rise of Global Studies / International Studies programs; and (3) the effects of Visual Studies, Film Studies, and New Media Studies on Comparative Literature. The 2014 study was presented at the January 2015 MLA meeting in Seattle.
For further information, or if you are interested in leading or participating in curriculum projects, contact the ADPCL as shown on our homepage.
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