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Courses

Spring  2019 – Course Descriptions
 
French 70700:  Le cinéma moderne: fragments d’une histoire
Professor Sam Di Iorio
Tuesday 6:30pm – 10:00pm
2 or 4 Credits
**Course will be taught in French


The word ‘modern’ designates slippery terrain in postwar French cinema. Some define it in reference to historical events, making cinematic modernity indivisible from the cataclysm of the Second World War, the global unrest of the 1950s and 60s, or the advent of post-industrial society. Others foreground the word’s aesthetic dimensions, using the phrase cinéma moderne to evoke formal innovations that were variously associated with Neorealism, the New Wave, or Michelangelo Antonioni's L’avventura. Our course is situated at the juncture of these diverging paths. In order to examine how competing notions of the modern emerge in French film and French film criticism between 1945 and 1968, we will look to history as well as aesthetics, and trace this contested term’s connection to postwar debates about a cinematic avant-garde, to the reinvention of montage in French documentary, to the rehabilitation of aesthetic classicism in the 1950s, and to the international turn towards the New Cinemas of the 1960s 
 
 Our weekly 6:30-10:00PM sessions will include a film screening as well as discussion. Please note that this course is offered in French: all readings will be in French and some films will not be subtitled. Films will include shorts and features by Roberto Rossellini, Nicole Vedrès, Alain Resnais, Charles Chaplin, Jean Rouch, Raoul Walsh, François Truffaut, Carole Roussopoulos, Jean-Luc Godard, Philippe Garrel, and Shirley Clarke. Readings will include essays by André Bazin, Claude Edmonde-Magny, Serge Daney, Sylvie Lindeperg, Antoine de Baecque, Nicole Brenez, Éric Rohmer, Hélène Fleckinger, and Roland Barthes. 

 
French 71110: Problems in French Literary History- The Novel
Professor Andrew Jones
Tuesdays 4:15pm – 6:15pm
2 or 4 Credits
**Course will be taught in French
Required for first-year students of French, who must write their papers in French, 4 crs
Open to students outside of French, who may write in English, (2-4 crs.). 
Readings in French. 
Check with the professor for details on the editions we will use.
 
After introductory readings on theories of the narrative, we will study the novels listed below, along with critical readings specific to each of them.  This will provide us with an overview of the evolution of the form from the early modern period to the contemporary moment.  Our goals will be to articulate a historical and theoretical overview of the French and Francophone novel as a literary genre; to investigate questions of social class, gender, sexuality, colonialism, history, memory, politics and aesthetics in relation to the novel; and to improve our thinking and critical writing about theoretical and literary texts.
 
Novels:
Madame de Lafayette.  La Princesse de Clèves.
Choderlos de Laclos.  Les Liaisons dangereuses.
Honoré de Balzac.  Le Père Goriot.
Gustave Flaubert. Madame Bovary.
Marcel Proust.  “Combray” (Du Côté de chez Swann)
Marguerite Duras.  Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein
Maryse Condé.  Traversée de la Mangrove.

 
French 73000: Orientalisms In Early-Modern France
Distinguished Professor Domna Stanton (Office: 4205.05)
Tuesdays 2-4 p.m
2 or 4 Credits
This course will focus on Orientalisms in France's relations with the Ottoman empire. Beginning with 16th-century orientalists such as Postel (long before Said's Orientalism begins to track these figures), we will examine theories of Orientalisms as well as a number of discourses, including cartographic representations, travel narratives and letters; commercial relations (and the European desire for oriental luxury items); pilgrimages; conversion narratives from Christian to Muslim to Christian; and phantasms of oriental harems and baths, and the gendering of the Orient itself as feminine and effeminate, despite the coincident stereotype of Turks as militaristic, violent, and cruel. We will consider closely theatrical works produced in France (Paris and the port city of Rouen) in the period 1600-1680 (e.g. Manfray,  La rhodienne (1621), Scudéry,  L'amant libéral (1638), Desfontaines, Perside (1644), when openness and "tolerance" of alterity seem to decline during the reign of Louis XIV (e.g. Molière, Le bourgeois gentilhomme; Racine, Bajazet), just when the Ottoman threat to Europe is temporarily ended by the European victory at Vienna in (1683).  We will analyze the nature of the perceived threat of and desire for Oriental despotism during the long reign of Louis XIV.

The course will be conducted in English. A reading knowledge of early-modern French is important. In addition to close readings of primary as well as historical and theoretical texts, work for the course will include an in-class presentation of one primary reading and a final exam. After consultation with the instructor, those taking the course for four credits will submit a 25-page research paper; those taking it for three credits, will produce a 10-13-page research paper. Those who wish to take the course for two credits will write up their class presentation (5-7-pages) and take the final exam.
The research papers can deal with sites other than France, including states bordering the Mediterranean, England or Northern Europe.
The syllabus for the course will be posted on line by January 15, 2019. Readings for the course will appear on Blackboard before the first class.

Please address any questions to Domna Stanton at dstanton112@yahoo.com


French 81000: Sex and Single Mothers in Medieval France
Professor Sara McDougall
Monday 2pm – 4pm
2 or 4 Credits
It is hard to imagine anything other than terrible consequences for a woman pregnant from illicit sex living in medieval France. That said, both literary sources and documents of legal practice suggest many possible outcomes, including a less than tragic fate for the child and also for the mother. Christian doctrine condemned illicit sex, and operated with a double standard that often excused men while punishing women, but there was also an insistence on mercy and charity, and on the value of the life of an infant. Honor mattered enough to justify murder for some, but in other cases the preservation of honor by discretion and secrecy might also have led to different responces.  
This course will examine ideas about and portrayals of women contending with out-of-wedlock pregnancy in a wide range of different kinds of French sources, from mystery plays and miracle stories to romance, from law codes and royal pardons to sermons and chronicles, fabliaux and farce, and prescriptive texts including hospital foundations, conduct literature, and gynecological treatises.
This course will be taught in English, with texts available in French and in translation.
 
French 85000: Novel Markets: The Rise of Popular Literature, 1800 – 1900
Professor Bettina Lerner
Thursday 4:15pm – 6:15pm
2 or 4 Credits
This course examines the narrative structures and mediatic forms that gained dominance in nineteenth-century France, England and America and which continue to inform contemporary cultural production. Taking romance, the dime novel and the roman feuilleton as our primary foci, we will situate these texts alongside other cultural forms that developed in tandem with them and on which they often drew, including the mass press, staged spectacles and, eventually, photography and cinema as well. As we make our way through texts by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Charles Dickens, Paul de Kock, Alexandre Dumas fils, George Lippard, Pierre Souvestre, and Eugène Sue, among others, we will trace the rise of specific reading publics and counter-publics while examining the tensions between sentimentality and sensationalism, leisure and social protest, containment and resistance that these narratives exploit. We will also attend to how critics contemporary to these novelists helped to transform the popular into an equivocal category of cultural analysis while also examining how these hierarchies have been questioned and reimagined in recent literary and cultural theory. Requirements will include a short presentation and a final paper. Taught in English. Reading knowledge of French recommended.


French 87400: Existence in Black
Professor Nathalie Etoke
Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm
2 or 4 Credits
Course description:

This course examines problems of existence and freedom posed by black life. We will explore how the racialization of people of African descent through the means of violence and oppression translates into an existential predicament addressing the human confrontation with hope and hopelessness, freedom and human degradation, being and non-being. We will discuss the existentialist implications, challenges and possibilities of blackness in Africana literature, film and music. How do cultural expressions of black people simultaneously engage being acted upon by the external forces of enslavement and racism, while acting against those forces? Through critical analyses of music, film, fiction, and contemporary events, this class will generate theoretical interventions embedded in the poetics and politics of (self) representation, freedom, and social constructions of black existence.
 
Films
Camille Deslauriers, The Middle Passage.
Haile Gerima, Sankofa.
This Far by Faith African American Spiritual Journeys (PBS)
Stanley Nelson, Looking for me in the Whirlwind, documentary.
Orlando Bagwell, Make it Plain, PBS documentary.
Göran Olsson,The Black Power Mix Tape.
 
Books
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time.
Ta Nahesi Coates, Between the World and Me.
Brogdon Lewis, Hope on the Brink.
Lewis Gordon, Existence in Black: An Anthology of Black Existential Thought.
 
French 87500: Independent Study - Surrealism II
Distinguished Professor Mary Ann Caws
Wed 4:15pm – 6:15pm
1 Credit
Starting with André Breton’s return to France after his stay in the US, including Tzara’s denunciation, Surrealism and Painting, and the reach of surrealism beyond France: Belgium, the UK, and Latin America.