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Spring 2012 Courses

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Tuesday


FRENCH 87100

Human Rights & Critical Theory
Professor Stanton

Course conducted in English.

GC 4:15-6:15
Room: 4202.11
2/4 credits

Wednesday


FRENCH 85000

Romantisme et décadence
Professor Przybos

GC 4:15-6:15
Room: 4202.11
2/4 credits

FRENCH 79110

Textes québecois
Professor Blanchard

GC 6:30-8:30
Room: 4202.11
2/4 credits

Thursday


FRENCH 84000

Le roman epistolaire
Professor Bocquillon

Open only to first year French students.

GC 4:15-6:15
Room: 4202.11
2/4 credits

FRENCH 77020

Techniques of Literary Research
Professor Consenstein

Open only to first year French students.

GC 6:30-8:30
Room: 4202.11
4 credits

 

FREN. 87100 - Human Rights & Critical Theory (in English)
GC:   T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Stanton, [17515] Cross- listed with PSC 86002 & WSCP 81000

This course aims to grapple with the problematics of human rights praxis (discourse and activism) from the perspective of post-enlightenment critical and literary theory. It both recognizes the crucial importance of the human rights movement and it examines its blindspots to expose the need – and the possibility-- of its re-formation. Starting with a close, critical reading of the major human rights documents, the course will be organized into two parts.
A first part will focus on enlightenment notions of human rights (including Kant, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Declaration of the Rights of Women) and their critique in Arendt, Lyotard, Rorty and Derrida; it will involve a rapid historical overview to 1950 (including, imperial humanitarianism) and close with discussions of the current impasse in human rights in political terms (Feher) and in global economic terms (Cheah). We will then tackle a series of problems with the help of particular theorists: the question of the human in human rights (eg. Scarry); the universal vs the local divide (eg Butler); and the movement to think of women’s  rights as human rights (eg Bunch).

In the second half of the course, we will look more closely at ways of reading/analyzing human rights discourse and stories (Nussbaum, Appiah), including works on (traumatic) testimonials (Felman), life-writing (Smith) and the bildung (Slaughter); in news reports and popular culture in the United States (Solomon, Volpp); and in globally circulated visual images (eg of and by the children of Darfur).

Work for the semester includes: reading and class participation; an oral presentation on a current human rights issue; a final paper on an individually selected  topic in consultation with the instructor (this includes turning in a thesis statement, an outline, and a final draft; a first draft is optional), and a final take-home exam.

Classes will be conducted in English, which will also be the language of the written work. Readings will mostly  be in English, but texts first written in French will appear in that language in the course pack; they are all also available in English  for those who are not students in the French Department.

The course pack will be uploaded through the Graduate Center Library before the beginning of the winter term.

Please address all questions to dstanton112@yahoo.com

FREN. 85000 - Romantisme et décadence (in French)
GC:   W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Przybos, [17514]

The bulk of the work in this course will involve close textual readings of representative romantic and decadent texts. Our main approaches will be thematic, stylistic and narrative. We will examine romantic and decadent texts that typically feature the same figures (e.g. the artist, Don Juan, femme fatale), develop similar themes (e.g. travel, exoticism, rebellion, crime), and address such general questions as nature, religion, and the past). We will also study literary genres born in the 19th century (e.g. the fantastic, historical fiction) and analyze their romantic and decadent variations. Juxtaposition of romantic texts with decadent ones will allow students to gain a better understanding of what makes a story, novel or play decadent rather than romantic.

Students are expected to present in class their work in progress (10 minutes) and write a research term paper on a literary work not discussed in the course (12 or 25 pages). Five   weeks before the deadline students are expected to hand in their paper’s detailed plan and bibliography for comments. There will be a final examination.

All approaches and interests are encouraged. Individual research projects might focus on theoretical problems of narration and representation in Romanticism and Decadence, Zeitgeist, studies in pastiche, plagiarism, gender studies, dandyism, eroticism, Satanism. 

Before the beginning of the course students are strongly recommended to familiarize themselves with 19th century French history. Students are also encouraged to view films that might help them appreciate romantic and decadent sensibilities (e. g. Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis, Jean Delannoy’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Truffaut’s L’Histoire d’Adèle H., Ken Russell’s Gothic and Salome’s Last Dance).

This course is aimed to improve students’ skills as close readers of French literature. It is also designed to familiarize students with a range of important 19th century authors. Through a careful of juxtaposition of similar or contrasting texts students will gain an understanding of how romantic and decadent texts work as literature.

Preliminary reading list:
Chateaubriand, René
Victor Hugo, Hernani
Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris
Joris-Karl Huysmans, A rebours
Joris-Karl Huysmans, Là-bas
George Sand, Indiana
Rachilde, La Jongleuse

In addition to longer works a number of shorter pieces will be chosen from the writings of Barbey d’Aurevilly, Charles Baudelaire, Théophile Gautier, Arthur de Gobineau, Jules Laforgue, Prosper Mérimée, Charles Nodier, Gérard de Nerval, Hugues Rebell, Jean Richepin, Paul Verlaine, Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Renée Vivien, and Oscar Wilde.

FREN. 79110 - Textes québecois
GC:   W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Blanchard, [17512]

Deux fois post-référendaire, livré à la mondialisation et au néolibéralisme, en proie à la médiocrité et à la bêtise, le Québec agonise. En voie rapide d’acculturation et d’assimilation, le Québec disparaît après des siècles de patiente survivance et de combats acharnés. Quel intérêt désormais pour ce Québec-là? Ce cours veut réfléchir à ce Québec néanmoins exemplaire par son aliénation: en effet, petite would be nation sans pertinence et sans portée, sans souveraineté, le Québec est le miroir du monde, sa prémonition. Car les débats tout à fait provinciaux, souvent pitoyables, qui font rage au Québec ne sont que des versions locales de discussions autrement plus générales sur le sort des cultures, sur la mémoire et l’identité, sur le pouvoir et le politique.

Textes à lire:

La chasse-galerie d’Honoré Beaugrand et Poèmes d’Émile Nelligan
Kamouraska d’Anne Hébert
Maria Chapdelaine de Louis Hémon
Poussière sur la ville d’André Langevin
Refus global de Paul-Émile Borduas et Les oranges sont vertes de Claude Gauvreau
Pleure pas, Germaine de Claude Jasmin
L’Homme rapaillé de Gaston Miron et Poèmes de Gérald Godin
Défense et illustration de la langue française de Michèle Lalonde
Le temps des bouffons et Octobre de Pierre Falardeau
Françoise Durocher, waitress d’André Brassard et Michel Tremblay et Bonjour, là, bonjour de Michel Tremblay
Maryse de Francine Noël
de Robert Lepage
Le Ciel de Bay City de Catherine Mavrikakis

Des textes théoriques de Fernand Dumont, Hubert Aquin, Jacques Ferron, Nicole Brossard, etc. seront aussi distribués.

FREN. 84000 - Le roman épistolaire
GC:   R, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Bocquillon, [17513]

Le  « roman par lettres » est un genre qui a certes connu son apogée au XVIIIe siècle : il suffit d’évoquer  deux best-sellers de l’époque : La nouvelle Héloïse (1761) de Rousseau et Les liaisons dangereuses (1782) de Laclos. Si le roman épistolaire s’est quelque peu essoufflé au 19e siècle après la parution des Mémoires de deux jeunes mariées (1842) de Balzac, il n’a pourtant pas complètement disparu comme on l’a parfois suggéré. Les auteurs des  20 et 21e siècles ont produit des romans, non seulement dans la tradition épistolaire (imitation des modèles classiques : Les liaisons dangereuses ayant invariablement inspiré maints auteurs) mais ont aussi apporté originalité et spécificité au sein du genre.

Notre approche sera à la fois diachronique (un corpus allant du 17e au 21e siècle) et formelle (il s’agira d’envisager toutes les ressources de la forme épistolaire).

Quant au contenu, le roman épistolaire décortique, selon les lois du genre, les rapports entre les sexes (qu’il s’agisse du roman sentimental ou libertin) mais aussi se livre, selon les romans,  à une réflexion approfondie sur  la société, l’exil, l’exclusion, la guerre, l’immortalité, ….

Oeuvres:

Ed. Bray  Lettres portugaises, Lettres d’une péruvienne et autres romans d’amour par lettres.  ISBN 2-08-070379-X
Chen Ying, Lettres chinoises, ISBN 978-2-7427-1955-6
Daniel de Bruycker, Lettres de Treste, ISBN 2-7427-4793-1
Choderlos de Laclos, Les liaisons dangereuses, ISBN 978-2-266-18491-5
Isabelle de Charrière, Lettres trouvées dans des portefeuilles d’émigrés.
Honoré de Balzac, Mémoires de deux jeunes mariées, ISBN 978-2-07-037268-3
Billetdoux Raphaëlle, Lettre d’excuse, ISBN  978-2020063449
Jacqueline Harpman, Le passage des éphémères, ISBN 978-2-253-11720-9
Didier Daeninck, Camarades de classe, ISBN 978-2-07-012007-9
Amélie Nothomb, Une forme de vie. ISBN 978-2226215178