Senior Thesis


Honors candidates in Comparative Literature are required to have maintained a GPA of 3.5 in the major to qualify for submitting a thesis proposal. In addition, candidates must demonstrate a strong interest in a specific topic for which an appropriate faculty advisor will be available in the senior year.


Students wishing to pursue a thesis in Comparative Literature are strongly urged to secure an advisor by the end of the week after Spring Break in their junior year. By May 15th of their junior year, candidates must submit to the Program Advisory Committee a one- to two-page proposal and a preliminary bibliography. The Advisory Committee will inform candidates by June 1 whether they may proceed with the thesis and advise them about any changes that should be made in the focus or scope of the project. The summer before the senior year will be spent compiling a more detailed bibliography and preparing for the process of writing the thesis.

In their senior year, candidates will devote two semesters and the winter study period to their theses (493-31-494). By the end of the Fall semester, students will normally have undertaken substantial research and produced the draft of at least the first half of the project. At this point students should also have a clear sense of the work remaining for completion of the thesis. In the course of the Fall semester, students will also have chosen and met with a second reader for the project, who will provide additional guidance and read the final thesis. By the end of Winter Study, students should have completed a draft of the entire project. At that time, the Comparative Literature Advisory Committee, together with the advisor, will determine whether the project may continue as an Honors Thesis, or whether its first portions (COMP 493-COMP 31) will be graded as Independent Studies.

The second semester of independent thesis work will be spent revising as necessary. The completed thesis in its final form will be due one week before the last day of classes. The student will also give a public presentation of the thesis as part of the Senior Portfolio Symposium in the spring.

Characteristics of the Thesis, Evaluation, and Major Credit

The topic of the thesis must be comparative and/or theoretical. It is also possible to write a thesis that consists of an original translation of a significant text or texts; in this case, a theoretical apparatus must accompany the translation. The complete thesis must be at least 50 and at most 75 pages in length, excluding the bibliography. A typical analytical thesis might consist of three chapters plus an introduction and a conclusion (though other options are possible too). The advisor will assign the grades for the thesis courses (COMP 493-31-494); the Advisory Committee will determine whether a candidate will receive Honors, Highest Honors, or no honors.

For students who pursue an honors thesis, the total number of courses required for the major—including the thesis courses COMP 493-31-494—is 10, plus one winter study, i.e., one of the thesis courses may substitute for one course and the Senior Portfolio.

Past Comparative Literature Theses:

Form, Immediacy, and Affect Signification of Cinematic Fixation, Reimagined
Ge, Cindy Yanyan

This Phenomenal Life: Explorations of Reality in Virginia Woolf’s Critical Writings and Early Fiction
Burris-Wells, Mae

Transgressing Against the Totalitarian: The Politics of Bodily Violence in Franz Kafka, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Marina Abramović’s Representations of the State of Exception
Pyle, Phillip

“All the sense of real”: Girls at Play in Natural Spaces and Imagined Places
Chen, Emily (諶玥)

Abortos inducidos, espontáneos, y fantásticos: Depictions of Pregnancy Loss in Works by Amparo Dávila and Samanta Schweblin
Torres, Sophia

Ban Yu’s “Gun Grave”: A New Approach to the Translation of Contemporary Chinese Fiction
Rule, Andrew

From Poesaka to Pastiche: Max Havelaar in Retelling and Translation
van Wingerden, Anne-Sophie

Questions of Comparison in Literature and Comparative Literature: Bolaño, Genet and the Discipline
Moore, Joseph

Voices of the Labyrinth: The Parameters of Body and World in Kurahashi Yumiko’s short stories and Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Maskati, Panalee

Shooting for the Heavens: Examining the Accessibility of the Spiritual Renewal in Journey to the West
Wheeler, Jenny

Three Case Studies on the Death of the Author: How a Ghost, a Vampire, and a SNOOT Manipulate Author-Reader Intimacy from Beyond the Grave
Collins, Meghan

From Practicing Place to Practicing Space: The Development of Spatial Narrative in the Map and Novel
Benson, Hannah

Abstract Cultures and Edible Bodies: The Power of French and American Paratexts Over the Works of Tahar Ben Jelloun and Calixthe Beyala
Richardson, Margaret B.

Exiles of memory : a comparison of writing by Jorge Semprún and W.G. Sebald
Stewart, Haley A.

Wondrous Monsters and Monstrous Wonders: Technology in Ancient Greek Literature
O’Donnell, Sam

Transition as treatment : the making of narrative in transgender medicine
Dietz, Elizabeth A.

We are not Superheroes, Others are not Villains : Identity and Body Politics in Japanese and Korean war Films
Lee, Min-joo

Victorian Reflection and Diffraction of Ovid’s Narcissus
Wang, Hannah

Problem Children : Searching for Female Agency in Erotic Japanese Comics
Sanders, Kimberlee

Out of Body: Tahar Benjelloun’s L’enfant de Sable and the Politics of Queer Postcoloniality
Mukhopadhyay, Sayantan

Finding-and Leaving-Neverland: Reading J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan with the Psychoanalytic Theories of D.W. Winnicott and Jacques Lacan
Mangham, Hannah

Trames, or; Threads Translating the Gap in a Contemporary Caribbean Play
Crane, Holly

Illegible desires? : “reading” non-heteronormative pregnancies and desires in Rumi’s Mathnawi
Arslan, Ceyhun C.

David’s companions: Jonathan and Joab
Blackshear, Chloe

Reflections on migratory subjectivity : Caribbean women writers and a plural conception of identity
Warner, Anisha N.

Exposing “fictive ethnicities”: engagement of Dominican identities in the works of Blas Jiménez, Junot Díaz, and Julia Álarez
Simpson, Morgan Anne

On Eloísa Cartonera and Cesar Aira: much more than just a translation of El cerebro musical
Reist, Stephanie

Métis/métisse cou-coupé : history, violence and métissage in the works of Aimé Césaire and Maryse Condé
Quarcoopome, Annette N.

From the banlieues of literature to a decentered canon : writing the urban periphery in the Beur novel
Wagner, Laura D.

“Devuélveme mi cuerpo”: race, repetition and redress in Peruvian narrative
Bota, Melissa J.

On Mitkiness: satire and performance in a transitioning Russia
Drosehn, Casey

Ambiguity, marginalization, and silence : examining the metaphors of sickness and healing in La Celestina
Schlechter, Anna K.

Veracious tongues : a study of Nuyorican poetics and performance
Perez, Lisha

Fulfilling forbidden desire : liberating spaces, diseased bodies, and Greek loves in Andre Gide’s L’Immoraliste and Thomas Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig
Hutchinson, Joseph Arthur

Smoke and ashes : Lacan and the 9/11 Real
Hack, Sarah R.

Stream of revolutionary consciousness : Marxism and the postmodern in Jesús Díaz’ Las iniciales de la tierra
Roome Brock, Ashley

Telling stories : discontinuous narratives of women and history in Assia Djebar’s L’amour, la fantasia and Kateb Yacine’s Nedjma
Goodman, David

Literary representations of good and evil : man’s evil impulse and self-gratifying redemption in Voltaire’s Zadig, Goethe’s Faust, and Bulgakov’s The master and Margerita
Gilman, Anastasia