The department’s objective is the close critical study of literature in English in an international and interdisciplinary context. Students in English and Comparative Literary Studies (ECLS) courses read works from British, American, and world literary traditions, including those of classical Greece and Rome. We ask our students to become knowledgeable both about well-known writers and about voices traditionally excluded from literary canons. In addition to providing an experience of intense reading and discussion of individual literary works, departmental courses strive to present those works in a rich historical context of human social, political, and psychological behavior. Students are strongly encouraged to become familiar with the various theories of literature and representation that have informed literary analysis since Aristotle.

All ECLS courses involve extensive work in close reading, critical thinking, and analytical writing. Most courses in the department are conducted as lecture/discussions or as seminars, with a strong emphasis on interaction and the collaborative construction of knowledge. In the required survey courses (ECLS 286-289) students learn the breadth and diversity of literary history; in required majors’ seminars in the sophomore, junior, and senior years they develop increasingly sophisticated skills in literary analysis, discussion, writing, research, and presentation. -- Occidental College Course Catalog

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ECLS Student Scholarship

English and Comparative Literary Studies (ECLS) URC Student Scholarship