Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

David S. Ferris

Second Advisor

Anthony Abiragi

Third Advisor

Lauren Stone


This thesis uses the act of translation in order to better illustrate our modern conception of humanity in linguistic form at the same time it challenges the problematics of defining the discipline of Comparative Literature in relation to this humanity. It touches on three valences of the act of translation (historical, political, and literary) so as to provide a literary framing of what the discipline of Comparative Literature – the human discipline in illimitable form – may look like. The historical section of this work introduces the displacement of origin as humanity’s notion of coming into being as a community of multiple individuals in coexistence; the political side of the act demonstrates a transformative and expansive surface area wherein this polividual coexistence that is humanity resides, coming to terms with its own multiplicity as a unity; the final chapter, on literature, expresses humanity’s desire to challenge its conception as irreducible absolute in relation to the possibility of an alterior being it creates in language. The theory of translation will be employed in order to unfold a mirroring act throughout the sections that allows for the discipline of Comparative Literature to be transformed into a multi-valent discipline of human understanding.