History of Comparative Literature

Since its conception in 20th century France, Comp Lit has gone global. Following WWII, it developed quickly as a discipline in, in particular, the US and Germany, as well as across Europe. While Comp Lit may have initially focused on the relationship between different 'national' literatures, historical developments such as EU expansion, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and increasing global mobility have added a new significance to the discipline and demanded a more contemporary theoretical focus on post-Colonialism and the study of migration, multilingualism, and transculturality.

The History of Our Department (1980–)

The Institute was founded in 1980, although at this stage we only offered study at PhD level. In 1983 an initial Diploma Study was offered which, due to its success, was converted into a standard Diploma Study programme in 1993. An updated Diploma syllabus was introduced in 2002, which was then replaced by BA and MA degree pathways on 1st October 2008.

Up until the Summer Semester of 1998, we could be found at Berggasse 11/5. At the beginning of the Winter Semester 1998/99, due to a need for more space, we moved to the first floor of the Institute for Finnish and Hungarian Studies on the university campus. In Autumn 2004, we were then incorporated into the newly founded Institute for European and Comparative Language and Literature (EVSL). Finally, in September 2010 we moved to our current home in the newly-built Sensengasse 3a, and housed our library collection as part of the Library for Education, Linguistics, and Comparative Literature in this building.

The history of our department in pictures: Berggasse – Sensengasse