This track offers training in a number of the literatures of the Middle East, both “canonical” and popular, with an emphasis on the modern period, and in theoretical approaches to cultural production. The track builds on the strengths of its “Area Studies” home department and expands them by offering theoretical training that enables both the study of a single given literature and comparatist projects. The Middle Eastern Studies base of the track makes for sound linguistic competence that supports South-South comparatist projects either between the literatures of the Middle East, for example Arabic and Turkish, or between Middle Eastern literatures and those of other parts of the Global South. The track is also open to comparative work between Middle Eastern literatures and diasporic or Metropolitan literary production. Projects that address Translation Studies or the theoretical and intellectual production of the South are particularly welcome. The department’s strengths include several tracks, such as the “Iranian & Persianate Studies” and “Culture and Representation.” Thus, ample resources are in place for interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature drawn, for example, from Cultural Studies, film and historiography.
Students in the Literature Track will, in consultation with their advisor(s), craft a program of coursework and supervised training in a range of areas, as well as departments, depending on their project. Students are particularly encouraged to take courses in the Department of Comparative Literature, specifically “Comparative Approaches to the Literatures of Africa, the Middle East, and the Global South” when offered, in order to enhance their training in literary theory.