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2017 Spring Courses
Islands and Identities in Francophone Literatures
Instructor: Magali Compan
The island has figured into western fantasies and fears of both paradise and isolation. The island is also a space that fosters the identity and writing of its native inhabitants. In this course we will consider the role the island plays as myth, trope, ideal, problem, literary inspiration, and geographic reality in the creation of francophone literature and culture. We will examine novels, plays, poems, short stories, songs, and movies that reflect upon the role of the island in the formation of Caribbean and Indian Ocean Identities. Thematic questions we will consider include: How do island natives write the space of the island and write themselves within that space? How does the island get transfigured from a colonial space to a space of resistance through the medium of francophone literature? (Class taught in French)
French Literature in its Cultural Contexts
Instructor: Giulia Pacini
This course examines the material, social, legal, economic, and ideological forces that have shaped and often destabilized France’s literary culture. It also raises questions about the ways in which particular texts and specific reading, writing, and publication practices may have affected individuals and society as a whole. Readings by Perrault, Molière, Voltaire, Riccoboni, Hugo, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Breton, Ionesco, Chamoiseau, and Kuoh-Moukoury.
Le Roi-Soleil à Versailles
Instructor: Giulia Pacini
This seminar will examine the staging of power at Versailles under Louis XIV. We will trace a political, economic, social, and cultural history of the Sun King’s reign, and analyze the mythical dimensions of his “Grand Siècle.” Topics of discussion will include: reason of state, divine-right kingship, and justifications of absolutism, as well as theories of power, performance, and representation, as expressed in the construction of the palace and gardens at Versailles, and through the fêtes and diplomatic tours that took place in these spaces.
Circus Freaks and Bad Mothers
Instructor: Julie Hugonny
A fascination for monsters, both moral and physical, resonates through the nineteenth century: reviled or pitied, shunned or emulated, locked up or publicly displayed for people’s pleasure or edification, they left no one indifferent and inspired Hugo’s hunchback, Maupassant’s murderous mothers, Barbey d’Aurevilly’s hystériques and Baudelaire’s monstrous beauty. From sea creatures to the first female android, we will discover in this course just how much monsters and monstrosity lie in the eyes of the beholder.
Senior Seminar on French and Creole Louisiana
Instructor: Nathan Rabalais
Participants will explore a variety of texts, films and cultural elements from 19th century New Orleans to contemporary Cajun and Creole writers and filmmakers. Students will examine a wide range of topics and issues such as carnival, race, language, and identity in one of the most diverse and complex regions of the United States.