The research profile of Comparative Literature is wide-ranging both in terms of its theoretical scope and in geographical and temporal terms. The research topics range from the 17th century to the present. There is on-going research on British, German, French, Russian and Estonian literature as well as on North American, Caribbean and Latin American literature. The theoretical scope includes questions of literary theory, aesthetics, the relation of literature and philosophy, the problematics of subjectivity, identity and temporality, research on ‘race’, gender and ethnicity, multicultural and postcolonial studies, questions of modernity and postmodernity as well as research on literary genres, particularly on the novel and narrative.
What all of these approaches have in common is the view that literature functions as a part of society and culture, as an expression of the historically conditioned human existence but also as capable of critically engaging with it and problematizing it. Instead of perspectives purely intrinsic to literature, Comparative Literature stresses contextualizing approaches. This does not entail, however, lack of rigorous analysis of literary forms of representation; instead, it entails seeing them in their social, historical and literary-historical contexts.
In Finland, Comparative Literature exists as an independent, full-length major only at the universities of Turku and Helsinki. Comparative Literature encompasses the entire world literature, but in practice the research is focused on European or on Western literatures in the widest sense of the term. Comparative Literature stresses the connections between literatures written in different languages. Often the research topics involve comparing and contrasting literatures of different countries and cultures, or the objects of analysis are themselves multicultural "hybrids"; usually at least the theoretical perspectives cross the borders of different national and linguistic traditions. Moreover, comparatists frequently draw attention to the relationship of literature to other arts or, for example, to history and philosophy.
The Experience of History and the Ethics of Storytelling in Contemporary Arts (2013-2015, funded by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation)
Literature and Time. Time, Modernity, and Human Agency in Literature (2010-2013, funded by the Academy of Finland)