Save Comparative Literature at University of Toronto sign now

The University of Toronto has recommended that the Centre for Comparative Literature be disestablished as of 2011. The Centre, founded in 1969 by Northrop Frye, is the premier site for the study of comparative literature in Canada, and the home of three past presidents of the Modern Language Association of America (Northrop Frye, Mario Valdйs, and Linda Hutcheon). The Centre will no longer be able to admit students to the PhD or MA degrees and it will be reduced to a collaborative, non-degree-granting program in a School for Languages and Literatures. Such a move has grave implications for the role of literature and the humanities in the academy.

In todays globalized, multicultural world, the discipline of comparative literature is more important than ever. In its crossing of cultural, disciplinary and linguistic borders, in its self-reflexive and critical modes of thinking about literature and culture, the research nurtured by the Centres faculty and students is crucial for a full engagement with the complexities of a multipolar, multinational world, and has important implications for the practice of other disciplines. Such research cannot be done in national language and literature departments.

We, the undersigned, urge David Naylor, the President of the University of Toronto, to reverse the recommendation to close the Centre and to maintain the long international tradition of excellence and innovation of the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.

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Felix WhiteBy:
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President Naylor, University of Toronto

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