Students in this course will be introduced to some major terms, themes, and questions surrounding the field of literary studies while applying them to a survey of significant texts of works of literature (most in translation) around the world. We will thus explore the ways in which cultural norms, traditions, and social values vary from region to region and across time. In the first half of our course, we will use an anthology to do a wide range of comparative readings, including excerpts from an ancient Babylonian creation epic, 1001 Nights, and The Ramayana as well as Murasaki Shikibu’s Tale of Genji and Moliere’s French masterpiece Tartuffe, culminating with short modern works by Kafka, Borges, Margaret Atwood, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Moving towards our contemporary moment via studies in the novel, we will examine themes of modernity and cultures in contact within texts by international writers like Colm Toibin (an Irish novelist) and Ayad Akhtar (a contemporary Pakistani American author whose play Disgraced was the most widely produced drama in 2015-2016. We will also investigate how social, cultural, and economic developments shape the content and form of literature.