About the Department

The Department of Literature at UC Santa Cruz differs from comparable units at most American universities in both its organization and its approach to the study of literature. Rather than dividing the field of literary studies along national and cultural traditions (and into separate departments of English, French, Classics, etc.), the department offers a single forum for research and teaching across linguistic, disciplinary, and geopolitical lines.

Students and faculty adopt comparative and transnational perspectives and work in more than one linguistic tradition. At UCSC, “literature” is understood to encompass a wide range of cultural modes and products: film and electronic media, popular and material culture, as well as more traditional forms of oral and printed textual production.

The department has particularly strong Anglophone, Classical, Europeanist, Hispanic, Francophone, Literature of the Americas, and Asia-Pacific faculty clusters. It offers undergraduate concentrations in a variety of areas defined by language and culture, including English and Anglophone literature, as well as several interdisciplinary and transnational concentrations: World Literature and Cultural Studies, Pre- and Early Modern Studies, and Modern Literary Studies.

Areas of interdisciplinary distinction and innovation include postcolonial and ethnic literatures, feminist and queer theory, cultural studies, nineteenth-century studies, modernist and avant-garde studies, literature and film, and Jewish studies. In addition, the department offers a distinctive undergraduate concentration in Creative Writing that attracts many students to the campus.