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Unit Contributions to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion 6545

Academic Years: 
Comparative Literature Department
1. Faculty: 

In 2015 the Department of Comparative Literature conducted a search for a tenure-track assistant professor with a focus on Translation Studies. We hired Tze-Yin Teo, a graduate of Emory and a native of Singapore (and speaker of Chinese). She is the first non-white faculty with a regular appointment in Comparative Literature.

Sangita Gopal, Associate Professor of English, is a member of our program faculty (i. e., with standing) and brings a global perspective to our deliberations on curriculum, faculty appointments, search criteria, and she offers regular seminars on global cinema in our department. She is a recent recipient of the Martin Luther King Award, which she received in recognition of her work in support of faculty women of color.

Roy Chan, Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures, has recently joined our department’s program faculty. A specialist in both modern Chinese and Russian literature, he promises to bring a broad trans-national perspective to our curricular work.

2. Staff: 

We hire student workers through the Career Center portal, ensuring access for all students. We have attracted and hired a diverse set of students.

3. Graduate Programs: 

Comparative Literature has approximately 26 doctoral students at any given time. Our current collective includes one Namibian, one Ethiopian, one South Asian, one Iranian, one Thai, two Turks, one Ecuadorian, one Finn, one Russian, two Chinese, and two Japanese Americans. Some of these students have received the Graduate School’s Promising Scholar Awards, intended for graduate students whose presence enhances ethnic and national diversity at the UO. The research and teaching interests of our graduate students revolve not untypically around concerns with globalism, race, class and gender. The courses in which they teach, either as teaching assistants of instructors of record, all satisfy either the IC or IP multicultural requirements.

Comparative Literature’s Director of Pedagogy, Associate Professor Leah Middlebrook, puts a great deal of effort into preparing our Graduate Employees to be sensitive and effective in a diverse classroom setting.

4. Undergraduate Programs: 

First of all, please refer to our website feature where a selection of our former majors are profiled:

This page attests to the relatively diverse background as well as to the international orientation of our undergraduates. Former COLT majors have found jobs in Morocco, Egypt, Japan, India, Ecuador, etc.

As state above, all gen-ed satisfying courses in COLT satisfy either the IC or IP Multicultural requirements. Additionally, third-year proficiency is required of all of our majors in COLT.

I would add that a great many of our undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college, and many more of our undergraduates work jobs while studying.

5. Outreach and Partnerships: 

Outreach is inherent in the structure of our Department, which, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, relies heavily on curricular offerings in other departments and programs. In addition to offerings under the COLT prefix, our majors and doctoral students take courses in the various literature departments (ENG, GERSCAN, EALL, RL, CLAS) as well as in philosophy, anthropology, CINE, Ethnic Studies and WGS. Moreover, our courses and seminars in COLT frequently have participants from those departments and programs.

COLT not only hosts speakers of its own (e. g. Lan Samantha Chang, Saba Mahmoud and Anjouli Arandakar are recent guests) but also co-sponsors and helps host visitors invited by other units (e. g. Amitav Ghosh [co-sponsored with History], Wendy Belcher [co-sponsored with African Studies], Rochona Majumdar [sponsored by CINE]. We are currently co-sponsoring a speaker series in African Studies.

Comparative Literature doctoral candidate Susana Gómez has received $1,500 from the Fund for Community Engaged Teaching. This amount—the largest award possible through the fund—comes in support of her course Latina Literature and Community, which she is teaching for Comparative Literature this fall. The course includes a service-learning component meant to enhance our undergraduates’ understanding of the Latina/o experience in Lane County. This is of particular importance as it represents an independent initiative (and not the first) on the part of one of our graduate students to combine learning with active community engagement. A full description of the course can be found here:

The Department of Comparative Literature also provides financial and moral support to a group organized by one of our doctoral students. The group is composed of women of color, who meet on a weekly basis to discuss their experiences and air their concerns in the face of the current social and political climate.

The Department of Comparative Literature provided a SAIL workshop in Summer 2018, engaging the high school students in linguistic, literary, and cultural activities.

1. University Service: 

The Office Manager attended a half-day workshop sponsored by the Div of Equity & Inclusion regarding effective department activities to promote understanding among diverse constituents.

Office Manager coordinated international hire, including sponsorship for H1B, Labor Certification, and Permanent Residency.

2. Departmental Contributions: 

Our Office manager, Cynthia Stockwell, is particularly proactive where the support of our international students, of which there are many, and faculty is concerned, addressing their needs and helping them anticipated the challenges they are likely to face on their arrival in the U. S. and at the UO. She arranged for the UO Dreamers Working Group to provide a presentation to our graduate employees, many of whom are international students.

3. Community Service and Outreach: 

Our Office Manager serves on the quality assurance committee of Looking Glass Youth and Family Services’ Center Point School. Diversity issues are included in the charge of the committee.

4. Professional Development and Training: 
The Office Manager completed Dreamer Training and Implicit Bias Training for Officers of Administration. The Office Manager is seeking further opportunities in this regard.