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Our Mission

Department of Comparative Studies


The Department of Comparative Studies is a community of students, educators, and scholars who study how human societies are organized through the generation of knowledge and material practices. Comparative Studies encourages critical reflection about culture across boundaries of discipline, nation, and language.  We attend to the dynamics of knowledge, power, and authority in a range of discourses and practices: social, religious, literary, aesthetic, technological, scientific, political, and institutional. Our work is informed by a commitment to social justice, and energized by critical questions about how justice is to be defined and how it can be realized. Our students develop habits of questioning and exploration that are focused through training in comparative and interdisciplinary approaches. These habits enable our students to become effective global citizens who are skilled at recognizing and negotiating cultural differences, guided by a respect for diversity, and motivated by the values and pleasures of critical intellectual work. Our students graduate with the analytical skills and the critical awareness necessary for meaningful and productive engagement with our increasingly complex world.

The department includes in its mission the achievement of international distinction in the kinds of interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research outlined above, and is also committed to sharing this knowledge through superlative teaching and service to the people of Ohio and the nation, and to fostering cooperation in research and teaching among arts and sciences faculty at The Ohio State University. The department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Studies, provides students across the university with innovative courses that fulfill general education requirements for both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degree, and administers undergraduate minors; it also houses a Bachelor of Arts in World Literatures.  On the graduate level, the department offers a Master of Arts degree in Comparative Studies, a Ph.D. Minor in Comparative Cultural Studies, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Studies.  Many of the department’s interdisciplinary seminars attract graduate students from other departments in the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences as well as the university’s professional schools.  The department’s faculty regularly advise and sit on degree committees of graduate students in Comparative Studies as well as a wide variety of departments and programs across the university.  On regional campuses, the department is committed to excellence in implementing the instructional undergraduate program of the humanities, and supports the specific mission mandated for those campuses by the Board of Regents of the State of Ohio.

The department acknowledges the importance of achieving excellence in research, teaching, and service, and hence values and encourages scholarly and pedagogical innovation as well as professional and community service that promote its mission as stated above.  More broadly, the department is committed to contributing to an intellectual foundation for public discourse on the complexities of a culturally diverse nation and world.