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

News and Events

Comparative Literature R&C Essay Prize

Congratulations to the winner and honorable mention of the 2016 Comparative Literature R&C Essay Prize!

Congratulations to Mukund Raguram for his paper “Hypocrisy and Sexual Guilt in The Trial.” All three judges agreed that this essay best models the reading and writing that we expect of successful R&C work: the paper is well written and well executed, paying close attention to textual detail and carefully building its argument about Kafka’s novel through well sequenced and well structured body paragraphs.

Congratulations to our honorable mention, Toni Bronar for her paper “Italo Calvino’s Gender Politics in If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler,” which particularly impressed the judges with its intellectual ambition. » Read on »

Comparative Literature R1B Summer Courses!

We have two amazing R1B summer courses with room!   You can enroll through the summer sessions site.


Peter Szendy, 04/28

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Michael Allan and Secular Storytelling, 04/29

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In the Shadow of World Literature: 

Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt 

Lecture Abstract: We are accustomed to think of literary cultures as distinctively national phenomena, and literary history tends to recount stories according to the particularities of national traditions. But what if literature, as a discipline and a way of relating to language, has more of a unique culture among its participants than they have to any particular national culture? This talk considers the provincialism of the modern literary world by pairing two scenes: the first, a contemporary Lebanese writer reflecting on religion, translation and the modern Arabic novel, and the second, an imagined exchange between two writers returning to their home village in Taha Hussein’s 1935 novella Adib. What is revealed in these encounters is less the bond between a writer and a national public than a shared state of literary exile—a world in which writers recede into the provincialism of world literature, alienated from rather than connected to those for whom they claim to write.

Michael Allan is assistant professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is the author of In the Shadow of World Literature: Sites of Reading in Colonial Egypt (Princeton 2016), and is currently writing a book on the travels of operators for the Lumière Brothers film company across North Africa and the Middle East.

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.

Graduate Student Conference 04/22-23

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Chronicle of Higher Education article

Irina Popescu (Comparative Literature graduate student) wrote this article titled “The Educational Power of Discomfort”, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education

Cal Day (April 16) Comparative Literature events

Cal Day is this Saturday!

We will be at table #13 in the “Information Marketplace” with info and treats!

Also, we will have two hour-long Q&A panels entitled “Comparative Literature:  Bridge to the World”, held at 11 am and 1 pm in 88 Dwinelle.

This panel will feature faculty Francine Masiello and Rob Kaufman, grad students (and former CL undergrads) Philip Gerard and Mary Vitali, and current undergrad Jessica Lin.


Gabriella Lukacs: 4 PM 04/11

Gabriella Lukacs on Digital Culture and Labor: Blogging and the Good Life, Monday 4/11 4PM

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Katrin Pahl/Weissinger Lecture

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April 2nd Research Symposium Schedule

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Robert Alter and Chana Kronfeld

Reading Yehuda Amichai:
Robert Alter and Chana Kronfeld in Conversation
Date:   Thursday April 7, 2016
Time:  5pm Conversation, 6:30 Reception
Location: The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life
2121 Allston Way, Berkeley
Robert Alter is Professor of the Graduate School and Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.  He is the author of twenty-six books and has received numerous awards, including the Robert Kirsch Award of the Los Angeles Times for lifetime contribution to American literature, the Charles Homer Haskins Prize for career achievement from the American Council of Learned Societies, and honorary degrees from Yale, the Hebrew University, the University of Haifa, and the Jewish Theological Seminary.


The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai, which he edited, contributing the translation of 115 poems, has been praised in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review, which described it as an “expansive, magnificent new book.”
Chana Kronfeld is Professor of Hebrew, Yiddish and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of On the Margins of Modernism: Decentering Literary Dynamics (winner of the MLA Scaglione Prize for Best Book in Comparative Literary Studies) and the co-translator (with Chana Bloch) of Yehuda Amichai’s Open Closed Open: Poems (winner of the PEN Translation Prize). Kronfeld is the recipient of the Akavyahu Lifetime Achievement Award for her studies of Hebrew and Yiddish poetry.


Review of The Full Severity of Compassion: The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai 
“I am not exaggerating when I say that this is a book a whole generation—on two continents—has been waiting for. It is the only study of its kind in English, and it resolves and transcends decades of controversy and misguided readings of Amichai’s poetry in Israel and elsewhere.”—Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.