Comparative Literature

With its exceptional range of modern and ancient languages and cultures, UCL provides a comprehensive environment for comparative literary study.

Language and literature departments from across UCL contribute to our programme, including the School of European Languages, Culture & Society (SELCS), the Departments of Greek & Latin, Hebrew & Jewish Studies, and the School of Slavonic & East European Studies (SSEES). A co-operation agreement with the nearby School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) ensures global coverage.

On graduation you will have gained a breadth of knowledge, cultural awareness, writing skills, and a familiarity with advanced textual analysis. You will have a detailed and effective understanding of at least one language other than English and will be able to work flexibly and creatively across cultures and in a range of fields.

Research Partners & Networks

London Intercollegiate Network for Comparative Studies (LINKS)

Founded in 2009 by Rosa Mucignat (Kings) and Florian Mussgnug (UCL), this network grew out of collaboration between Comparative Literature departments at King’ and UCL. It aims to promote dialogue and to encourage cooperation between London institutions involved in the Comparative Literary Studies.

Since 2010, the network has expanded to include the Comparative Literature departments of Goldsmiths University of London, Queen Mary University of London, and SOAS. It focuses on facilitating knowledge exchange at MA level. 

A first conference, held at King’s in June 2010, provided opportunities for MA students to develop their networking, presentation and discussion skills, valuable tools for future studies at PhD level. PhD students took an active part as members of the organizing committee, and as chairs during the conference itself. The second conference - Comparative Literature: Beyond the Crisis – took place at UCL in May 2011, with the support of FIGS. 

LINKS hosts annual conferences, aimed specifically at MA students, as well as research training workshops, and London-wide research seminars.

Further information:

British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA)

The British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA), founded in 1975, aims to promote the scholarly study of literature without confinement to national and linguistic boundaries, and in relation to other disciplines. The BCLA's primary interests are in literature, the contexts of literature and the interaction between literatures.

UCL has strong links with the BCLA, and has recently hosted three major BCLA events: the biennial Malcolm Bowie Memorial Lecture in January 2010 (speaker: Dame A.S. Byatt); the annual BCLA graduate student conference in Nov 2010 (“Comparative Spaces Beyond the West”); the Jan 2012 graduate student conference, jointly hosted by UCL and SOAS (“Comparing Centres, Comparing Peripheries”).

Further information:

UCL / Yale Collaborative: Comparative Literature

The UCL/ Yale Collaborative is a multi-disciplinary, transatlantic research, education and clinical collaboration between Yale University, Yale-New Haven Hospital, University College London (UCL) and UCL Partners.

This faculty-led initiative originated in cardiovascular medicine and has subsequently expanded to other biomedical fields and other disciplines, including engineering, history, philosophy, and law.

The mission collaborative is to educate people to enable them to make a positive contribution to society, interpret complex issues for wider society and solve important issues through collaborative research and its implementation.

We invite expressions of interest from current and prospective research students in Comparative Literature.

Further information:

Book Series: New Comparative Criticism

'New Comparative Criticism' is dedicated to innovative research in literary and cultural studies. It invites contributions with a comparative, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary focus, including comparative studies of themes, genres, and periods, and research in the following fields: literary and cultural theory; material and visual cultures; reception studies; cultural history; comparative gender studies and performance studies; diasporas and migration studies; transmediality.

The series is especially interested in research that articulates and examines new developments in comparative literature, in the English-speaking world and beyond. It seeks to advance methodological reflection on comparative literature, and aims to encourage critical dialogue between scholars of comparative literature at an international level.

New Comparative Criticism publishes the proceedings of Synapsis: European School for Comparative Studies.

Proposals are welcome for either single-author monographs or edited collections. Please provide a detailed outline, a sample chapter, and a CV.

Further information (contact the series editor):

Synapsis: European School for Comparative Studies

Founded in 2000, Synapsis is an annual international summer school for comparative studies, which takes place in a beautiful Sixteenth Century Convent in the Tuscan countryside, just outside Siena, Italy.

All students and lecturers are hosted in this conference centre. Students attend plenary lectures in English in the mornings and attend small-group seminars in the afternoons. Seminars are taught in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German, and bring together scholars, specialists and creative artists.

The school also runs a theatre workshop, which provides participants with the opportunity to prepare a staged reading of literary works. The atmosphere is intimate, friendly and vibrant. In the aftermath of the summer school, students are invited to submit an essay for publication in the school's proceedings, which are published by Peter Lang, Oxford.

Further information:

The Hermes Consortium for Literary & Cultural Studies

The Hermes Consortium is a collaboration of doctoral schools in Belgium, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain with associated partners in Italy and USA that seeks to further an understanding of the European presence in the fields of literature, art and culture in an era of globalization, to promote interdisciplinary thoughts in the fields of literary and cultural studies, to explore changes in European self-understanding and self-criticism across the cultures and disciplines in and beyond Europe, and to develop co-operation between European as well as between non-European research environments.

Further information:

International Network for Comparative Humanities (INCH)

Established in 2012 with the financial support of the Princeton Global Collaborative Research Fund, INCH provides opportunities not just for established scholars but also for graduate students to pursue their research in an international context.

UCL graduate students, especially those specializing in comparative literature are able to collaborate with their counterparts in overseas centers of learning that represent somewhat different scholarly traditions, research agendas and cultural history.

Further information:


We organise various events, including our 'Annual UCL Tagore Lecture Series in Comparative Literature'

    • Please view our Events page and filter by 'Comparative Literature' subject