Course Offerings: General Catalog

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2017 Fall Courses

Note: full course descriptions coming soon!

French 314 Introduction to French Cultural Studies

TR                   12:30-1:50

French 315 Provocative Texts: French and Francophone Literature in Context

MW                3:30-4:50 

French 361 Culture 1: Arts and Ideas
TR                   9:30-10:50 


French 321  The Spectacular Culture of Early Modern France  
TR                   11:00-12:20 p.m.

Instructor: Giulia Pacini

To what extent could one say that early modern French culture was fundamentally spectacular? What role did performance and spectacle play in the social and political scenes of this period? What debates were played out on the stage and in the contemporary discourse about acting and theater-going? Why did people believe that plays could corrupt the soul? This course will study the impact of theater and theatrical performances at court, in the city, in fairgrounds and in the streets of Paris. In addition to reading critically or popularly acclaimed literary masterpieces, we will examine essays that describe or theorize the effects of theater on the evolution of moral, social and political conventions. Specific sub-topics for the course are therefore: the history of the Comédie Française, the Théâtre Italien, the Opéra and the foires; the evolution of the physical stage; the classical rules of dramaturgy; early modern ideas about the pedagogical function of the theater; the history of pantomime and innovative eighteenth-century uses of gestural languages; the censorship of plays and debates about censorship; the life and particular status of actors and actresses; early modern arguments about the value or dangers of theater-going; different forms of spectator behavior; the political importance of the pit or parterre; the role of revolutionary festivals; the theatricalization of politics. In class we will watch filmed performances to discuss questions of casting, staging and acting styles.


French 393  Topics in French/Francophone cinema
MW                2:00-3:20 

Instructor: TBA


French 394 (COLL 200)  Resistance: Modes, Meanings, and Methods (in English)
TR                   11:00-12:20 p.m.

Instructor: Nathan Rabalais

This course challenges participants to explore and question multiple modes, meanings, and methods of resistance. As a COLL 200 course, students explore a wide variety of literary texts and films (ALV) and analyze them through methods and critical lenses borrowed by the fields of sociology, cultural anthropology, economic theory, and trauma theory (CSI). Topics include: resistance among minorities (linguistic, racial, ethnic); resistance in the workplace and workers’ rights, personal “resistance”; resistance as performance (carnival, demonstrations and protests); and resistance and social justice (hacking and digital sabotage)

2017 Spring Courses
FREN 303
French 303

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 315

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.

FREN 332
French 332

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.

French 392

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.


French 450

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.