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Spring 2011 Courses

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Tuesday


FRENCH 73000

The Monarchy, the Nation and Its Others in the Reign of Louis XIV
Professor Stanton

Course taught in English; readings in French.

GC 4:15-6:15
Room: TBA
2/4 credits

FRENCH 87400

Francophone Auto-Biographies/Auto-Fictions
Professor Spear

GC 6:30-8:30
Room: TBA
2/4 credits

Wednesday


FRENCH 78100

French Cinema: Theory and Practice
Professor Brown

GC 1:00-5:00
Room: TBA
2/4 credits

Thursday


FRENCH 78200

Literary Translation: Theory of Literary Translation
Professor Consenstein

Course taught in English.

GC 4:15-6:15
Room: TBA
2/4 credits

FRENCH 77020

Techniques of Literary Research
Professor Nematollahy

Open only to first year Ph.D. students in the French Program.

GC 6:30-8:30
Room: TBA
4 credits


French 73000 The Monarchy, The Nation and Its Others in 17th Century France
Professor Stanton, Tuesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Course taught in English; Readings in French
This course will begin by questioning the view of Benedict Anderson and others that the nation is born after l789. We will take a set of criteria for nationhood and examine the efforts of Louis XIV and his ministers to unify the country into a nation with a single monarch, law and faith, with centralized political structures, linguistic homogeneity, mapmaking, and cultural propaganda, among other factors. We will, however, principally focus on the idea that a nation forges an inside by creating an outside, that is, by excluding a set of groups or people, though that enterprise is doomed to fail since, to put it reductively, the outside never remains outside but invariably mixes – hybridizes -- with the inside. Further, in late l7th-century France even insiders, such as members of the noblesse d'épée, felt like outsiders in an absolutistic monarchy, and invented/invoked the idea of the nation over and against the abuses of Louis XIV.
The course will be mostly devoted to considering the specificity of four kinds of others: the religious other (both Protestants and Jews); the gendered other (women) in a monarchic state founded on salic law; the sexual other-- the sodomite in a nation purportedly made up of virile Franks; and the racial other: oriental, African and most especially, American indigenous people. The number and complexity of these racial others make this area particularly fertile ground for research projects.
Readings will include work on the nation by Anderson and Foucault, specifically on the early-modern nation, by Hampton, Bell and Sahlins among others; historical documents, such as Le Code Noir; primary readings by Bayle, Bouhours, Molière, the Princess Palatine, Perrault, Racine, Saint Simon, Tallemant des Réaux, as well as a selection of Jesuit relations.
The course will be taught in English; the readings of primary sources will be in French. A previous knowledge of French 17th-century texts is desirable but not required.
Over and beyond the readings, work for the course will include a 25-page research paper on some aspect of nation-building and on othering in the early-modern period in France, to be determined in consultation with the instructor. Each student will also be asked to present one of the readings to the rest of the class. There will be a final exam. Any questions, please contact Domna Stanton (dstanton112@yahoo.com).

French 87400 Autobiography & Autofiction
Prof. Spear, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 2/4 Credits
L'objectif de ce cours sera d'examiner certaines pratiques et des contextes du « je » de l'autobiographie et de l'autofiction. On privilégiera la lecture de textes qui troublent la ligne de démarcation entre fiction et autobiographie ; il s'agira de « confessions » ambiguës qui reflètent et déforment les fictions de la vie réelle et les je(ux) de l'identité. La « pipolisation » des personnalités fera partie de la discussion sur des auteurs qui interviennent de façon publique et paratextuelle au sujet de leurs créations : sur le petit écran, à la radio, dans la presse écrite et sur l'internet. Nous ne négligerons pas les formes d'autobiographie pratiquées sur les sites web et les blogues d'auteur, les espaces multimédia publicitaires et narcissiques qui complètent les portraits des écrivains.
Un bref parcours à travers des textes fondateurs (Saint-Augustin, Montaigne, Rousseau) établira les paramètres de l'autobiographie classique. Un deuxième parcours de lectures et de discussion comprendra un choix de textes constitué de : 1.) un classique français plus contemporain (par exemple, Céline, Perec, Sarraute, Sartre), 2.) une fiction (Bugul, Djebar, Mokeddem, Serhane), 3.) un « récit » de vie (Jan J. Dominique, Abdellah Taïa) ou 4.) une autobiographie plus traditionnelle (tirée, par exemple, de la série « Haute Enfance »).
Les définitions du pacte autobiographique de Philippe Lejeune et de l'autofiction de Serge Doubrovsky donneront une base théorique pour qualifier l'intention des créateurs. Les formes étudiées s'ouvriront à l'image (l'autoportrait, et l'autofiction au cinéma) et à la narration traditionnelle, mais la réflexion critique sur la forme autobiographique sera surtout celle des pratiquants du genre, tels que Roland Barthes, Sophie Calle, Chloé Delaume, Hervé Guibert et Régine Robin.
Quatre ou cinq textes seront sélectionnés pour l'étude de détail ; l'interrogation portera sur la structure des voix narratives, l'accompagnement (para)textuel de l'identité, les liens affectifs de l'individu envers une identité collective, et les formes prises par une (re)construction de l'identité et de la mémoire. Il pourrait s'agir de :

Journal du voleur, Jean Genet
L'Amant, Marguerite Duras
L'immense fatigue des pierres et Cybermigrances, Régine Robin
L'énigme du retour, Dany Laferrière

French Cinema: Theory and Practice
Professor Brown, Wednesday, 1pm-5pm, 2/4 credits
Dans ce cours nous examinerons un certain nombre de films tournés en France, et, rarement, ailleurs, pour illustrer divers concepts théoriques ayant rapport non seulement à l'art du cinéma proprement dit mais aussi à certains autres sujets tels que le mythe, la psychanalyse (en particulier certains aspects de la philosophie psycholinguistique de Jacques Lacan), la littérature, etc. Ces concepts théoriques serviront de leur tour à établir une méthodologie de base pour analyser en profondeur les films que l'on projettera en classe. Les lectures consisteront pour la plupart en des articles ou en des extraits de livres ou de revues qui seront ou bien mis au « Blackboard » ou bien photocopiés pour lire dans le bureau du Département. Le travail écrit consistera en a) un examen « take home » de mi-semestre ; b) un essai où l'étudiant examinera le roman de David Goodis The Moon in the Gutter (La Lune dans le caniveau) sous l'optique du film adapté de ce roman par Jean-Jacques Beineix ; c) une étude théorique approfondie d'un film que l'on n'aura pas discuté en classe, à remettre le dernier jour de classes. Puisqu'il n'y aura pas d'examen final, on profitera de la séance du 25 mai pour projeter et pour discuter un dernier film.

 

French 78200 - Literary Translation: Theory of Literary Translation
Prof. Consenstein, Thursday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, course taught in English
Translation is about exchange. The various theories of translation, those that emphasize linguistics, philosophy and religion, for example, bring readers face to face with the pleasures and perils of the exchange of parables. When George Steiner predicates that translation "is understanding," he underscores the relationship between translation theory and the philosophy of language. Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin question what actually is translatable, as they explore ontology and translation. Some of those who discuss translation theory recognize that what gets translated and why are related to cultural issues of power, dominance, recognition as well as willful blindness of the 'other.' Epistemologically, translation plays a role in the perception of how knowledge of another culture is built and transferred. A prime example of the role of translation as transferal is the first testament and the Bible. This history demonstrates the importance of translation in the communication and modification of religious beliefs and practices.

The course will begin by looking at some theories of language and overviews of translation theory, starting with George Steiner. Further, the issues vexing the relationship between cultures and translation, feminism and translation as well as the particular difficulties of translating poetry, will make up this course's content. Students will write two (2) five-page papers that develop questions raised in class. The final twenty-five page paper will focus on and then critique the history and theoretical underpinnings of the translation of a major literary work, such as the translation of Shakespeare.

See also:

Comp. Lit. 74000: Cinemas of Memory: Alain Resnais and Wong Kar-Wai
GC: W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Jerry Carlson
"The past is hard to predict." So joked (very quietly) historians in Stalinist Russia. Today the adage speaks a truth that moves beyond the dissolved Soviet state to haunt the narrative discourses of the past century. How do we recover the past when various forces undermine the reliability of individuals, groups, and institutions to retrieve, arrange, and interpret evidence about times gone by? Under these conditions, how can the authority to tell the story of the past be established? Cinemas of Memory explores the works of two highly regarded filmmakers for whom these two questions are central. Alain Resnais' films address the issues of historical memory in post World War II Europe. Wong Kar-wai's works find their inspiration in the tremendous velocity of contemporary societal change in Hong Kong and more broadly the Chinese diaspora. The course will offer close readings of five films by each filmmaker and glimpses of other directors (such as Michel Gondry and Ye Lou) working in the same traditions. Additional attention will be paid to theories of memory (for example, Henri Bergson & Pierre Nora) and related literary explorations of memory and history (for example, Marcel Proust & William Faulkner).



Comp. Lit. 85000: Marcel Proust: In Search of Lost Time
GC: T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 4 cr., Prof. Aciman
Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time tells of an elaborate, internal journey, at the end of which the narrator joyfully discovers the unifying pattern of his life both as writer and human being. Famed for its style and its distinctive view of love, art, and memory, Proust's epic remains a dominant and innovative voice in the literature of intimacy and introspection. This seminar, designed for students who wish to understand the complex relationship between memory and the modern novel, will examine how Proust's epic has challenged and redefined not just the art of writing, but the art of reading as well. The course will be taught in translation, but students able to read French are encouraged to read Proust in the original.