For over 50 years, the department has engaged the close relation between comparative literature and intellectual history.

Students who seek a PhD in Humanistic Studies have the opportunity to work closely with faculty whose research draws on both these fields in a transnational and multidisciplinary context. Coursework in the department is conducted in small, collaborative seminars, in which students acquire a broad foundation in the methodology and history of comparative approaches, with more specific seminars focused on movements, genres, authors, and questions that engage both modern literature and thought.

Recent additions to the department are a focus on literature and thought outside Europe and the Americas, as well as the relation of literature and law. A robust program of visiting scholars, philosophers, writers and artists from around the world complements the department’s offerings, as do our extensive interactions with colleagues and departments throughout the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

Upon graduating, students will have received qualification to teach in at least two national literatures of the modern period, or in a subfield of the study of modern literature and thought that spans two or more disciplines.