Title, Author & Summary



June 15, 2015

Comparing Structures of Knowledge

Michael Swacha

If the titles of the two most recent State of the Discipline reports (Comparative Literature in the Age of Multiculturalism, 1994; Comparative Literature in the Age of Globalization, 2006) function as a signature of anything, it is certainly that the field of Comparative Literature has now come to encompass an exponentially wider breadth than was institutionally legible only a few decades ago. This radical expansion has opened up the possibilities of comparison dramatically, and yet, the push Comparative Literature has made to expand method at a scope resembling anything close to its expansion in content has been, at best, minimal. Comparative work is still largely practiced as a traditional mode of setting one text or author in relation to another, where variation is found along the lines of critical perspective, and such perspective is itself usually varied according to the contextual emphasis of the texts at hand. Yet Comparative Literature should be part of the larger project of the humanities: to study and wrestle with the experience of being human across the multiple contexts and scales of existence.

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