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Collection Development Policy

Comparative Literatures and Cultural Studies

Comparative Literatures & Cultural Studies
Sarah G. Wenzel

 

Brief overview of the collection

History

Materials covering literatures have been collected since the founding of the University.  As cultural studies developed as a field, materials to support research in those areas were acquired. The collection was housed in the Harper Library until the building of the Regenstein Library.

Broad subject areas emphasized & de-emphasized

The collection encompasses comparative literatures and cultural studies writ large.  The geographic focus of the collection is on Western Europe, Australia & New Zealand, and the Americas.  Strengths of the collection reflect both the past and current curricular and research emphases of faculty. Recent interests include medicine or psychology in relation to literature, studies of popular culture, avant-garde movements, and translation studies.

Description of academic program

The Department of Comparative Literature offers a BA & PhD in English literature.  In addition, the collection supports students obtaining a PhD in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies; an MA in the Humanities (MAPH); an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies; an MA in Middle Eastern Studies; or a BA, MA or PhD in any field of literary studies.

Audience/purpose

The collection supports instruction and student research through the PhD level, as well as faculty research. Students and faculty members in the Comparative Literature department are the primary users of the collection.  However, users from other departments (e.g., Linguistics, Music, and English) and from other programs (e.g., the MA in the Humanities, the MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies), as well as many of the interdisciplinary centers (e.g., Center for Gender Studies, Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, Nicholson Center for British Studies) rely on the collections.

 

Collecting Guidelines

Levels of selection

Comprehensive, research, instructional support, basic information; for a description of these levels, see the general policy statement.

 

Literature (General) (PN 1-1559)

Collected at the research level in materials published in Western languages.

 

Literature – Performing Arts. Show Business (PN1560-1590)

Focuses on performance and the performing arts as a profession, excludes drama. Collected at the instructional support level.

 

Literature – Drama (PN 16001693, 1707-1988.2)

Covers all aspects of theater, drama and the stage. Collected at the research level in materials published in Western languages.

 

Literature – Drama – Study and Teaching (PN1701-1701.5)

Covers the teaching of drama. Collected at the basic information level.

 Literature – Broadcasting (PN 1900-1992.92)

Collected at the research level in materials published in Western languages, particularly English, when material is not language or culture-specific.  The library’s collection is supplemented by the very strong holdings at Northwestern University.

 

Literature – Online Dramas, Nonbroadcast Video Recordings (PR 927-981.2)

Collected at the basic information level, when material is comparative or general (i.e. not language or culture-specific).

 

Literature – Dramatic Representation. The Theater – General Works, Philosophy, Æesthetics, Satire & Humor, History, Biography (PN2000-2052, 2095, 2100-2219)

Collected at the research level in materials published in Western languages, particularly English, when material is comparative or general (i.e. not language or culture-specific).

 

Literature – Dramatic Representation. The Theater – Management, Public Relations, Theater as a Profession, Study and Teaching, Biographies of Stage Designers (PN2053-2093, 2906-2099)

Collected at the basic information level.

 

Literature – Dramatic Representation. The Theater – Amateur Theater (PN 3151-3307)

Collected at the basic information level.

Literature – Prose (PN 3311-3353, 3401-3503.2)

Collected at the research level in materials published in Western languages, particularly English, when material is comparative or general (i.e. not language or culture-specific).

 

Literature – Prose – Technique, Study and Teaching (PN 3355-3385.2)

Collected at the basic information level.

 

Literature –  Oratory (PN 4001-4500.2)

Collected at the basic information level.

 

Journalism  (PN 4699-5650)

Collected at the instructional support level. The library’s collection is supplemented by the very strong holdings at Northwestern University.

 

Literature – Collections (PN 6010-6525)

Anthologies and other collections of literature are collected at the instructional support level.

 

 Literature – Comic Books & Graphic Novels ((PN 6700-6720)

Collected at the instructional support level in materials published in Western languages, particularly English, when material is comparative or general (i.e. not language or culture-specific).

 

Type of materials included and excluded

Literary works, critical literature, dictionaries, encyclopediæ and grammars are all actively acquired.  These include journals, monographs, and series, either in print or online.  Graphic novels, a growing field of scholarship and research, are also acquired selectively.

Spoken word recordings and performances are acquired on a very selective basis. 

Artist’s books are acquired on an extremely selective basis, in consultation with the Art Bibliographer and Special Collections.  The library purchases facsimiles very selectively, as funds allow, and based on faculty recommendation or to build on established special collections.

Unrevised dissertations available online through the Library’s subscription to Proquest Digital Theses and Dissertations are excluded

 

Physical formats included and excluded

An increasing percentage of the journal collection is available online rather than in print.  The print monograph is still preferred over the electronic.  However, reference works online are preferred over print.

Microform is acquired selectively. Microforms of individual items are usually obtained upon faculty or student request.  Large sets of microforms are purchased as funds allow.

CD-ROMs are acquired extremely selectively.  CDs and DVDs are collected; however, LPs and videocassettes are not acquired.

 

Publication dates collected

Emphasis is given to the acquisition of current titles, but appropriate earlier imprints are acquired, when possible, to fill gaps in the collection. Titles published before 1800 are selected in collaboration with the Head of Rare Books.

 

Languages

Titles are chosen for their importance regardless of language; however, English is preferred. Critical literature in German, French, Italian, and Spanish is also collected, although more selectively. English translations of important works are purchased selectively; French, Spanish, German or Italian translations of works originally published in languages likely to be less familiar to patrons are also considered selectively. The Romance Literatures Bibliographer relies on several Area Studies selectors for non-English and non-French language materials published in Africa, China and Japan, and for most titles published in South Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

 

Geographical range

The emphasis is on titles published in Western Europe, North America and Latin America, with a more limited acquisition of bilingual and English-language works from  China and Japan. Materials from Africa are acquired on a selective basis, in coordination with the selector for African Studies.

 

Chronological span

Titles from the medieval period to the present are collected.  Selection of materials published prior to that period is the responsibility of the Classics Bibliographer. 

 

Related University of Chicago collections

Increasingly, aspects of other subjects, e.g., psychology, law, medicine, film, are important to literary scholarship.  Students in comparative literatures use many of the other subject collections depending on their areas of interest.

 

Cooperative arrangements and related collections

Other libraries in Chicago complement the University of Chicago's collections in language and literature. These include Northwestern University (Broadcasts, Journalism) and the Newberry Library (illuminated manuscripts, dialectology).  We rely on the Center for Research Libraries for newspapers, foreign dissertations, and some large microform sets.

Librarian

Sarah G. Wenzel's picture
Sarah G. Wenzel
Contact:
sgwenzel@uchicago.edu

Bibliographer
Literatures of Europe & the Americas

Regenstein Library
Room 363
773.702.8448