Research in the subject of Comparative Literature has a particular focus on literature from the long 19th century. It brings together researchers who are interested in the aesthetics of the 18th century, the relationship between humans and animals, Romanticism, Gothic transformations, the history of the stage, as well as literary didactics and the modern break-though.
Interest in Nordic literature, as well as gender and queer perspectives run throughout the subject’s research, but the researchers’ interests are multifaceted and there are various types of specialisation, everything from a project about refugee stories “The (dis)connected refugee”, to the RJ-funded research project Reassessing the Rise of Aesthetics: Aesthetic Heteronomy from Shaftesbury to Schelling which involves several of the subject’s researchers, and on to an animal study project, Bear traces: a study of the bear in national romantic literature around the Baltic Sea. Literary animal studies involve several of the subject’s researchers, some of whom have published monographs in this field. They have also founded the Ratatǫskr Research Group for Literary Animal Studies, named after the squirrel in Norse mythology that runs up and down the tree of the nine worlds, Yggdrasil. The study of the relationship between animals and humans is an interdisciplinary field that is currently thriving. It covers questions such as: How is the animal–human relationship depicted in literature? How can various literary forms (such as zoopoetics) and different types of reading contribute to problematising anthropocentric paradigms in comparative literature? What is the relationship between the hierarchically organised animal/human dichotomy and ideas about categories such as sex, sexuality, ‘race’ and disability?
The subject has ongoing higher seminars in which teaching staff and doctoral students, as well as invited guests, present their research. It also organises conferences and symposiums.
Comparative Literature, along with Aesthetics, Philosophy, Art History, Media and Communication Studies, and the Centre for Practical Knowledge, is part of the research area called Critical and Cultural Theory, which offers doctoral education.