The Department of Comparative Literature was founded in 1996 by Murat Belge, who, although an English Literature scholar by formation, believed in the idea of world literature in a transnational context.
Our staff consists of academics trained in English and Comparative Literature with the exception of Ferda Keskin who has a Ph.D. in Philosophy. And yet, each member of our staff has published work that employed a comparative perspective in English, Turkish, and French literatures as well as in the adjacent fields of theory, sociology, history, and psychology. Murat Belge, for instance, has published work that ranges from literary theory, to history, cultural studies, political sociology, travel, culinary culture, and İstanbul history. Bülent Somay has added psychoanalysis and cultural studies to his formation in English Literature as Nazan Aksoy and Jale Parla have concentrated on the Turkish novel. Zeynep Altok, who holds a B.A. in English Literature from Boğaziçi University, is now pursuing her studies toward a Ph.D. in History. However, we also have members who have stayed loyal to English Literature, such as Rana Tekcan who is a Jane Austen scholar and who has published extensively on Austen—she is also the member of the major Jane Austen societies in the world. Another area that our staff has taken up is editing. Süha Oğuzertem, Rana Tekcan, and Sevengül Sönmez have led important editorial projects. Our research assistant Nilay Kaya is the only member of our staff whose undergraduate education is in Comparative Literature, and that is because she graduated from our department.