The Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley

News and Events

Assembly for Solidarity Noon 11/18

Dear Friends, Colleagues, and Students,

The Department of French and the French Studies Program at UC Berkeley invite you to join us for a brief assembly to express our solidarity and sympathy for the victims of the recent terrorist violence in Paris, Beirut, and elsewhere. At noon on Wednesday, November 18 we will meet in the French Department Library (4229 Dwinelle Hall) to share some brief readings, thoughts, and friendship.  By free assembly and conversation in a place of learning and intellectual exchange we stand against the dogmatism and violence displayed so terribly in recent days.  Coffee will be served.

Mairi McLaughlin
Director, French Studies Program
UC Berkeley

Katrina Dodson 11/05/15


Culture and Politics in Latin American Symposium, 11/13-14/15


Beatriz Sarlo lecture, 11/12/15


11/04/15 Colloquium: The Transpacific Imagination

Colloquium: Center for Japanese Studies | November 4 | 4-6 p.m. | Stephens Hall, Townsend Center, Geballe Room

TATSUMI Takayuki, Keio University; SHIMOKOBE Michiko, Seikei University; Joseph Lavery, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley

Miryam Sas, Professor, UC Berkeley

Center for Japanese Studies (CJS), Department of English, Department of Comparative Literature

As area studies and the framework of “national literatures” comes under fire, we ask: what are the possibilities and limitations of literary and artistic reading when mobilized beyond the temporal-spatial boundaries of the nation-state?

This panel opens alternative approaches to literary and artistic works produced in East Asia, Polynesia and the Americas in order to account for the coterminous life of regional, inter-regional and transnational voices in the formation of the transpacific as a literary/artistic topography. What aesthetic and political aspirations underwrote the production of these texts in their various localized settings? What scales of experience can be perceived by reading them through a transpacific lens?

The larger conversation of which this panel is a part brings together scholars of English, American, Japanese, Japanese-American literature and theory working in Japan alongside scholars of English, European and Japanese literatures and cultures working in the U.S. The November 4th panel will feature papers by cultural critic Tatsumi Takayuki (Keio University), feminist and literary theorist Shimokobe Michiko (Seikei University), and UC Berkeley English professor Joseph Lavery, with response by Miryam Sas, Professor and Chair of Comparative Literature., 510-642-3415

Announcing new Comparative Literature Minor!

The new minor requires five courses, while the major requires ten.   Please refer to the PDF file for more specifics.  If interested, contact the Comp Lit major adviser, Tony Soyka:



Steve Tollefson Memorial, 10/20, 5-6:30

Please join the College Writing Program in the Morrison Library to celebrate the work of the late Steve Tollefson with a reading from his writings.

BWW Steve poster

Katrina Dodson @ Townsend Center 10/07 12-1pm

unnamedKatrina Dodson’s recent translation of Clarice Lispector’s Complete Stories (New Directions, 2015) collects for the first time all 85 short stories by one of Brazil’s most important writers.

A renowned literary figure in Brazil, Clarice Lispector has long been recognized as a prominent figure of Latin American literature and gender studies, best known in the latter through the writings of French feminist Hélène Cixous. The August 2015 publication of The Complete Stories has drawn an unprecedented level of attention and praise for Lispector’s work in the popular literary media.

After an introduction by Candace Slater (Spanish and Portuguese), Dodson will speak briefly about translating The Complete Stories and then open the floor for discussion.



2016 Commencement Date!

Monday, May 16 at 2pm in Zellerbach Auditorium, details to follow.

Congratulations Katrina!

Doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature Katrina Dodson’s recent translation from the Portuguese of The Complete Stories of Clarice Lispector has just been published and is getting great reviews, like this cover story in the New York Times Sunday Book Review from July 27, 2015.

A blurb from the review:

A late story collection, “The Via Crucis of the Body,” which appeared in 1974, three years before her death, was written almost automatically, in about the time it takes for a flu to run its course: She sweated out 13 stories in three days. The stories are messy, hot and immediate — as befits their subject, which is sex. Untidiness never troubled her much. She once wrote: “I have an affectionate fondness for the unfinished, the poorly made, whatever awkwardly attempts a little flight and falls clumsily to the ground.” A few of the 80-plus stories in this volume do in fact plummet earthward not long after takeoff, but an amazing number manage to stay aloft for a while, graceful and free until they get too close to the sun.


Congratulations, Caitlin!

Please join us in congratulating Caitlin Scholl who has recently been offered a Fulbright grant to Morocco in Comparative Literature. Recipients of grants awarded by the Fulbright U.S. Student Program are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

2015 Commencement

This year’s Dwinelle Languages and Literatures Commencement will be held:

Thursday, May 21st
2:00 pm, Zellerbach Hall

The ceremony includes the departments of Celtic Studies, Comparative Literature, Dutch, French, German, Italian Studies, Scandinavian, Slavic Languages & Literatures, and Spanish & Portuguese. In order to participate in the ceremony, please register online by Friday, May 1st. Click here for more information.