Introduction to Comparative Literature

Course Information


Semester: Spring 2010-2011

Course Number: 193/53     

Course Title: Introduction to Comparative Literature

Time: MW 8:00-9:15

Place: Kaifan 208

Final Exam: 5 June, 3:30-5:30


Teacher: Hanan Muzaffar

Office Hours: MW 12:30-1:30


Contact Information:


    Mobile: 9989-3734


Course Description:

This course introduces students to the field of comparative literature through a study of its historical appearance as a field within university departments, its evolution and merging into interdisciplinary studies, travel studies, translation studies, postcolonial studies, and other fields within humanities and literature. Depending on theoretical and practical texts, students will be able to detect the different trends within this field and how they manifest themselves both in the study of literature and the changes within the literary canon. This is accompanied by an application of comparative studies to selective works of literature through which the students can practice the different methods of comparative studies that they are learning.



Bassnett, Susan. Comparative Literature: A Critical Introduction. UK: Blackwell, 1998.

Course packet. Click to download or pick up from copy center in Keifan.


Course Requirements/Grades:

10% In-Class Participation

You are expected to attend regularly and be an active member in class, participating every day to enrich our classroom discussions. You will not be judged for your opinions but will be expected to come to class everyday prepared with your reactions, questions and comments on the assigned readings.

10% Presentation

The class will be divided to 7 groups according to class size. Present the texts to be covered on that day in around 10 minutes. Your presentation should introduce the classmates to the writers we are discussing on the day, brief information on the texts themselves, and a comparative study in which you try to find similarities and/or differences between the texts. Prepare a one page handout in the form of bullet points including the main points you presented to be handed to your colleagues in class. Allow around 5 minutes after your presentation for discussion or interaction. Email me your outline as an attachment.

Click here for sample presentation outline on Marques & Satrapi

20% Responses

You must submit at least 6 personal responses of two pages (600-800 words) each throughout the course: 3 before the midterm, 3 before the final. Remember to submit your response before you arrive to class on the day the response is due. These will be papers that analyze and/or compare the text(s)s assigned for that day from the course packet. No responses are required for the chapters in Bassnett's book. Try an analysis from a comparative perspective, even if focussing on only one text. No response is allowed on the day you present.

Follow paper writing guidelines in website. Save your work as word document and send as email attachment to before we discuss the texts in class.

10% Final Paper (due 1 Jun)

4 pages (1200-1600 words) comparative study of works of literature approved by me. You may choose your comparative criteria based on any of the directions presented in Bassnett (interdisciplinary, gender, cultural, historical, etc.). Refer to the Writer's Guide found in your course's main webpage for further instructions on writing these papers. At least 2 secondary sources required. Save your work as word document and send as email attachment to

20% Midterm Exam (11 April)

The exam will be made of two parts.

Part one: Choose 5 out of 10 questions to answer in 1-3 sentences each.

Part two: Choose one out of 3 questions to answer in the form of an essay of 2 pages, double-spaced.

30% Final Exam (5 June, 3:30-5:30)

This follows the same pattern of the midterm exam with 2 essay questions instead of one.


Forum Participation:

I keep a forum ( for out of class discussions and questions. You will be sent a username and password as soon as you send me your contact information. Once you are registered in the forum, you can either start your own topic, related to class content, or follow other topics started by your colleagues. This is meant to allow you an online space through which you can share ideas and discuss issues relevant to our class. Participation in the forum is optional, but you are to keep your participation only to issues related to class, and in proper academic English.


Writing Skills:

Avoid Plagiarism: You plagiarize when you present any information in your paper that is not yours without properly referencing it. Whether that information is quoted directly, paraphrased, or summarized, you have to follow it with parenthetical references immediately, not just list the source at the end of the paper. Your first attempt at plagiarizing will earn you a zero for that assignment. If you plagiarize again, you will earn an F for the course.

All written material (summaries, responses, research paper and draft) should be typed using font size 12 Times New Roman, double-spaced, on A4 size papers with 1" margins on all sides.

Your name, teacher's name, course title and number, and date should appear on the left-hand side of the paper. The title should be centered under that, using the same size font.

Save the file as a word document and send to my email ( by the due date.

Click here to download a paper template with the correct format. Delete the Works Cited page if not needed.



The teacher reserves the right to make changes in the division of grades and syllabus. You will be notified of such changes in due time. 

And finally, I hope we all have fun and enjoy what we’re reading. My aim is for you to leave class wanting to read more, and being able to do so with more of a critical eye. But most of all enjoy reading.