Last updated: July 19, 2018 @ 09:36AM

Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts

Master of Arts in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts

Carol U. Merriam
Faculty of Humanities

Associate Dean
Michael Carter
Faculty of Humanities

Core Faculty

Gregory Betts, English Language and Litertuare
Tim Conley, English Language and Literature
Christine Daigle, Philosophy

Mathew Martin, English Language and Literature

Brian E. Power, Music

Associate Professors
David Fancy, Dramatic Arts
Tamara El-Hoss, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Derek Knight, Visual Arts
Bohdan Nebesio, Communication, Popular Culture and Film
Catherine Parayre, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Cristina Santos, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Maria del Carmen Suescun Pozas, History
Elizabeth Vlossak, History

Assistant Professors
Natalee Caple, English Language and Literature
Alex Christie, Centre for Digital Humanities
Ronald Cummings, English Language and Literature
Amy Friend, Visual Arts
Peter Lester, Communications, Popular Culture, and Film
Nigel Lezama, Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Graduate Program Director
Christina Santos (As of May 1, 2018)

Administrative Assistant

Violetta Clitheroe (Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures)
(905) 688-5550, extension 3312
Mackenzie Chown A240

Program Description
The MA in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts is an interdisciplinary and interfaculty program that not only focuses on the study of literature from different nations, but also examines the ways in which literature enters into dialogue with the fine and performing arts. Throughout the program, students examine contemporary approaches to texts of various types, as well as the possibilities and problems that arise in comparative studies, including issues related to the translation and adaptation of works. Through coursework, students are encouraged to develop a cross-disciplinary understanding of how works of art or cultural production evolve, are received, and are interpreted.

Some graduates from our program have continued on to further studies at the PhD level in comparative literature, English and the humanities; or other graduate programs in disciplines such as art and visual culture, popular culture; as well as education. Other graduates have gone on to careers such as: museum educator; freelance photographer; and freelance translator; others have pursued teaching performing arts at the university level; and writing, directing and acting in theatre.

Admission Requirements

Successful completion of four year Bachelor's degree, or equivalent, in a relevant discipline or interdisciplinary program (for example, Modern Languages and Literatures, Comparative Literature, English Language and Literature, Classics, Dramatic Arts, Visual Arts, Music, Film Studies, Communication Studies, Cultural Studies, Canadian Studies, or Women's Studies, with an average of not less than 75%. Applicants with an honours degree in a discipline not listed above should have completed some courses related to literary, performing, or visual arts as part of their undergraduate program. Students entering the program are expected to have a reading knowledge of at least one language other than English.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission to a limited number of suitable candidates.

Part-time study is available.

Degree Requirements
While the program offers both a thesis and a major research paper option, students are strongly encouraged to pursue the major research paper option, as the additional coursework required by this choice provides more opportunity for comparative analysis across the arts. The thesis option is by application and recommendation of the Graduate Program Committee.

Major Research Paper Option

Students pursuing the major research paper option are required to take six half-courses: the three core courses (SCLA 5P01, SCLA 5P02, and SCLA 5P03) and three elective course selected from SCLA 5P60-5V99. In addition to the courses, each student must complete a major research paper (SCLA 5F91) of 40-50 pages. Full-time students normally complete the program in three terms.

Thesis Option

Students approved for the thesis option will take five half-courses: the three core courses (SCLA 5P01, SCLA 5P02 and SCLA 5P03) and two elective courses (selected from SCLA 5P60-5V99). In addition to the courses, each student must complete and defend at a public oral examination a thesis (SCLA 5F90) of 75-100 pages. Full-time students normally complete the program in four terms.

Course Descriptions

Note that not all courses are offered in every session. Refer to the applicable timetable for details.

Students must check to ensure that prerequisites are met. Students may be deregistered, at the request of the instructor, from any course for which prerequisites and/or restrictions have not been met.
MA Thesis
An extended research project which meets the conditions specified in the description for SCLA 5F91. The thesis involves a more substantial level of research and a fuller treatment of the selected subject. It will be examined by an external reader and will require a public defense.

Major Research Paper
A research project on a subject determined in consultation with the Graduate Program Director and faculty supervisor. The paper should give evidence of original thought as well as a command of primary and secondary sources. It is expected that the project will be comparative in scope, and therefore engage with both literary texts and works from at least one of the other arts.

Comparative Critical Theory in Literature and the Arts
Contemporary approaches to texts of various types, discursive and aesthetic traditions, possibilities and problems arising from comparative studies. Theories of translation and adaptation.

Comparative Methodologies
Applications of critical theory to the interdisciplinary study of theatre, visual arts and music.

Critical Theory and the Arts
An examination of the modes of production, reception and analysis of art from its inception to its cultural, institutional or ideological transformation. Workshop format.
Note: field trips may be required.

Crossover Literature
Contemporary fiction read by a dual audience of children and adults. Impact on literary systems, canons, concepts of readership, and the publishing industry. Role of other media, influence of the marketplace. Novels, short fiction, poetry, picture books, comic books from international sources.

The Birth of the Sentimental Self
(also offered as POLI 5P62)
Exploration of modern notions of selfhood and subjectivity, their impact on moral and political understanding. Topics include reverie, confession, hypocrisy, genius, romanticism.

Crossing Cultural Boundaries in the Novels of Umberto Eco
Eco's narrative fiction. Issues include novels as pastiche and palimpsest, open and closed works, intertextuality, high and pop culture, role of the reader, interpretation and overinterpretation, literary genres, translation, visual arts in textual settings.

Space and the Social Ecology of Art
How we construct and adapt to our human or natural environment, how we determine the cultural value or social production of space, and how art, environment and aesthetics interrelate. Topics include urban, suburban and exurban spaces; natural, "naturalized" and simulated environments; site specific, public and installation art.

Violence and Discourses of Otherness in Early Modern Europe
Early modern European literary engagements with discourses of colonial, ethnic, religious and sexual otherness, their cultural functions, and their violent imposition. Selected 16th and early 17th-century English, French and Spanish poetry, prose and drama. Contemporary theoretical examinations of otherness and violence.

Word Painting and Text Setting in Music from the 12th to the Early 17th Centuries
Methods used to highlight, exalt, and illustrate words in music from Biblical texts set in plainchant to secular poetry set by the 16th-century Italian madrigalists.
Note: Ability to read music a strong asset, but not absolutely essential.

Disability in Literature and the Arts: Sites of Resistance
Disability as a site of resistance and creativity in literature and the visual arts. Readings in disability studies. Texts and films from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Merleau-Ponty: The Art of Perception
(also offered as PHIL 5P71)
Merleau-Ponty's treatments and analyses of the visual (painting and film) and literary arts, seen as products, explorations and distortions of human perception and embodied subjectivity, which shed light on our cultural and pre-cultural experiences of the world.

Witches, Vampires, and Virgins: The Monstrous Depiction of Women
The socio-historical depiction of women as monstrous in Latin-American, British and American art, literature and film. Marginalized, denied, silenced feminine sexuality versus the construction of an authentic feminine identity.

Performance and Performativity
Notions of performance and performativity from various sources in the fields of anthropology, theatre studies, cultural studies and philosophy. Modes of artistic and cultural expression in a world that is increasingly performative in nature.

Advanced Studies in Aesthetics
An in-depth examination of a specific aesthetic question explored by artists and thinkers of a specific time period. Questions may include: the function of art, art as representation, the role of theory in the production of art, the role of art in the development of theory.

Literary Translation: Theory and Experimentation
Definitions and purposes of translation from the past century. Readings by Benjamin, Jakobson, Nabokov, Ortega y Gasset, and Spivak.
Note: Students need not have a background in translation.

The Depiction of the Caribbean and African Exotic
Examination of exoticism in French/Francophone literature and the arts. What makes a literary text or a work of art "exotic"? Critical readings in Alterity and Orientalism. Novels, short stories, poetry, paintings, and/or films from French/Francophone sources.

Transgression, Interdiction, and the Limits of Expression
Death, eroticism, and other limit-experiences in 20th century literature and the arts. Works that attempt to speak, write, and depict that which resists or forbids expression.

Graduate Seminar in Political Theory
(also offered as POLI 5P83)
A comparison of important and opposing contemporary approaches to the interpretation of major texts or issues in political theory.

Directed Reading
Research course with directed study and regular meetings with a faculty member, covering topics not offered in a designated course, and with permission of the Graduate Program Director.
Prerequisite(s): Approval of SCLA director.

SCLA 5V90-5V99
Special Topics in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts
Special topics and/or themes in Studies in Comparative Literatures and Arts.

2018-19 Through the Looking Glass: The Past and Future of Virtual Worlds
Reality TV, virtual reality, real talk, @realDonaldTrump; how do we make sense of the relationship between technology and reality? A comparative examination of aesthetic shifts in the early twentieth and twenty-first centuries that emerge from, and respond to, changing modes of political representation. Course materials may include novels, theory, television shows, and videogames.

2018-19 Literatures and the arts in digital expressions
Interdisciplinary study of digital art. Examination of literary texts and artworks adapted for digital expression. Study of literary devices applied to digital art. Curating perspectives in digital art.

Fashion and Luxury: Repressive Desublimation or Sublimated Revolt?
This course will examine fashion and luxury from the 19th century to the contemporary moment via literature, film, music, advertising, contemporary fashion practices and a number of critical theories related to fashion, luxury, production and consumption.