Changes to literature major will preserve interdisciplinary nature

To the Editor:

Jessica Marsden’s excellent article on the revisions to the literature major summarized the changes well (“Literature major to be overhauled,” 2/3). However, some students may have received the mistaken impression that the major is backing away from interdisciplinary work. (One student e-mailed me, concerned that “the most exciting track of the major” was being eliminated).

Marsden rightly summarized my position: “Although there is no formal interdisciplinary track in the new planned requirements … students will be able to use their electives to take courses from other departments for an interdisciplinary experience.”

Our intensive review of the major and discussions with current students led us to believe the current system of three tracks creates undue complexity in course selection. Although we are merging the three distinct tracks into a single set of major requirements, we will continue to encourage all literature majors to pursue interdisciplinary research and will permit relevant courses from other disciplines to count towards the major.

Thus, Paul Selker ’08, who expressed in the article the desire to complete an interdisciplinary track with political science, need not worry. He and other students will still be able to apply relevant courses from political science or other disciplines to their study of literature. The major will also continue its traditional emphasis on literary theory and foreign-language literatures as well as its more recent emphasis on literature and film.

Pericles Lewis

Feb. 17, 2006

The writer is the director of undergraduate studies for the literature major.

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