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

News and Events

Raúl Zurita and Anna Deeny, 04/21

Raul Zurita

Considered Chile’s major poet, Raúl Zurita returns to the Berkeley campus to give readings on April 21st, accompanied by his translator, Anna Deeny.   He will present in the Geballe Room in Stephens Hall from 12-2 pm.

David Caron, Apichatpong and Transnational Queer Cinema, Mon 8 Feb, 5pm

David Caron, Professor of French and Women’s Studies, The University of Michigan

8 February, 2016 | 5:30 pm-7:30 pm | 602 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley

Professor David Caron is a scholar of 20th– and 21st-century French literature and culture, with specific interests in queer and HIV studies, as well as Holocaust studies. Some of his previous research (in AIDS in French Culture: Social Ills, Literary Cures and My Father and I: The Marais and the Queerness of Community) has focused on the questions community and republican universalism, dealing with issues such as the engagement of urban spaces by minoritized groups, the cultural and political uses of “the Republic,” representations of collective disasters (AIDS, the Holocaust), masculinity, the concepts of neighborhood and family, etc. His most recent book The Nearness of Others: Searching for Tact and Contact in the Age of HIV explores how the fear of contact is a defining characteristic of modern Western culture and asserts that this fear is codified through tact, a policing practice designed to deal with social discomfort and with the unsettling awareness of the boundaries separating norms and bodies. However, tact may be reclaimed to envision new forms of sociality. With particular emphasis on HIV disclosure, the book examines the ways in which we may use tact to accept, rather than avoid, risky contact and to reappraise the cultural meanings of HIV/AIDS. His new book project, Think Strange: Queer Cinema in a Transnational World, asks what it means to respond to calls one doesn’t understand and locates that question at the heart of a new kind of queer cinema. It turns for answers to queer films from Europe, Asia, and the Americas. These works of art, the book argues, let us examine how the dual experience of wonderment and sensuality can make thought more receptive to its own strangeness, and people hospitable to actual strangers.

 This event is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture and co-sponsored by the French Department.

​UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016

Jiaqian Zhu revised
​The UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Research Symposium 2016 committee is currently accepting proposals for its 5th annual conference.

The conference will take place on April 2nd, 2016 on the UC Berkeley campus and will serve as a forum for undergraduate students of comparative literature and related fields to present and discuss their own research among peers, graduate students, professors, and the Berkeley community. Attending and presenting at the conference is an excellent way to learn about current trends in literary research and to meet current undergraduates, graduate students, and professors in Comparative Literature, especially if you are considering pursuing further research and study in Comparative Literature at Berkeley.

In order to be considered, applicants must submit an abstract (200-400 words) detailing their research by March 4, 2016 at midnight Pacific Time.  Please click here to submit your abstract.

Please find attached to this email information regarding this year’s theme and guidelines for presentations.


Please e-mail Rachel Park and Lydia Tuan at with any queries, concerns, or comments.


The UC Berkeley Comparative Literature Undergraduate Research Symposium Committee

Judith Butler – one of the 30 Most Innovative Women Professors


Comparative Literature professor Judith Butler has been identified as one of the 30 Most Innovative Women Professors Alive Today in a recent ranking.


Comp Lit major Lydia Tuan featured in Decal article


Video for Comp Lit Undergraduate Program

Congratulations Lital!

UC Berkeley Comparative Literature alumna Lital Levy (PhD 2007) has won the Modern Language Association Prize for her book Poetic Trespass:  Writing Between Hebrew and Arabic in Israel/Palestine, published by Princeton University Press.

Full press release here.

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