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Fall 2021-Course Description

FREN 77010
Techniques of Literary research 
Prof. Francesca Sautman
Wednesday, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Taught in French
Mode of instruction: hybrid
Course required for all first-year students

FREN 70500
Writing the Self: From Augustine to Covidity
Professor Domna Stanton
Tuesday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Taught in English
Mode of instruction: in-person
How is the self written, constructed? What forms and shapes does this writing take over time, in different genres? what purposes does it serve, what work does it accomplish for the several selves inscribed in the text and for others (including the self) who will read it? This course will begin by tracing self-writing from the Middle Ages to today, in theoretical texts (Derrida, Butler, Lacan, Lejeune), and primary works, beginning with confession (St Augustine, Rousseau); then early-modern discursive forms of interiority (Gentileschi, Sévigné) that steadily enlarge both the scope of self writing and the figures of the self. We will consider the centuries that women's autogynography and the self-writing of persons of color and other others took to be recognized -- from Kempe, Heloise and Pisan to slave narratives (Equiano, Jacobs, Douglass), and letters, diaries and journals (Woolf, Nin, de Beauvoir). Our readings will culminate with the proliferation of forms in the 20th- and 21st century: from autofiction (Colette, Stein, Eggers) and pictorial modes (Leonard, Bourgeois, Abramovic); Holocaust memorials, trauma narratives (Frank, Levi, Agamben) and testimonials (Manchu); to AIDS memoirs (Arenas, Guibert), the matter of black lives (Cullors, Kendi and Blain), and the global pandemic that engender terror and dying along with possible transformation and rebirth. Finally, given the untraceable lines between the ‘real’ and ‘the fictive,’ we will end by debating whether all writing is self-writing.

DHUM 78000
Special Topics: Technology and Literature,
Prof Erec R. Koch
Wednesday 6:30pm - 8:30pm 
Hybrid, with option for purely online

In this course, we will explore the question of how digital technology has (re-)shaped and continues to (re-)shape literary and cultural studies.  Specifically, what difference does digitaltechnology make for literary and cultural studies by providing platforms for research, formal and informal means of communication, and scholarly tools? What questions pertinent to literary and cultural studies does digital technology help us to address, and what questions does it necessarily elide?  The course will be organized around a series of problematics beginning with a critical assessment of another technological revolution, the passage from “oral culture” to print culture.  Subsequent topics will include the exploration of what information and data are and how they are pertinent to literary studies—how does information map onto literary and cultural studies?--, the question of formats (print/digital), the effects of technological centralization/decentralization on literary and cultural research, the tension between consumer and reader on the internet, the articulation of collaborative and individual research, and finally whether digital technology compels us to rethink what the fields of literature and culture include.  We will also explore some of the new directions that literary and cultural studies have taken, and particularly the elaboration of new (macro) literary and cultural histories.  We will attend to specific methodologies and tools employed by those researchers and focus on the question of the articulation of information and of literary and cultural interpretation, on the passage from one to the other, and on how such macro-histories can inform the work of traditional scholarly research. 
Readings for this course will include works by Walter J. Ong, Dennis Tenen, Luciano Floridi, David Golumbia, James Smithies, Sherry Turkle and Wendy HK Chun, among others, in the first part of the course.  The second will include writings by Katherine Bode, Matthew Jockers, Alan Liu, and Cristophe Schuwey.
Students are not expected to have taken previous DH course work, and students in DH as well as in literary and cultural studies are encouraged to enroll.  Students are asked to participate actively in class discussions and to post weekly directed responses to readings. Students will have the option of writing a final term paper or of designing a DH literary-cultural project.

FREN 79130
Contemporary issues in Post-colonial Literatures and Films
Prof. Nathalie Etoké
Thursday, 4:15-6:15pm
Taught in French
Mode of instruction: on-line
2010 marked the 50 years of ‘African independences’. This course will explore various dimensions of the francophone post-colonial experience in Sub-Saharan Africa.  We will reflect on the legacy of colonialism and current challenges facing former French colonies. The focus will be on the failure of the postcolonial state, violence, memory, gender, sexuality and immigration. We will also address current debates in Francophone Sub-Saharan African literary criticism.
FREN 87400
Slavery, Gender, and Resistance on Hispaniola
Prof. Sophie Maríñez
Monday, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Taught in English
Mode of instruction: hybrid
This course examines the institution of slavery on Ayiti/Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It also explores the various modes of resistance that led to its abolition and how various authors have addressed it in their literary works. We begin with theoretical texts on what constitutes slavery, its history, legacy and contemporary forms so as to situate our focus on Hispaniola within a transhistorical, global, human rights context. We then examine the work of historians and critics addressing resistance strategies that took place on both sides of the island and which culminated with the Haitian Revolution, an event of enormous impact on the modern world and on the rise of human rights. Lastly, we analyze neo-slave narratives, that is, recent representations of the experience of the enslaved. Special attention is given to the role of gender and women’s resistance to enslavement through a close reading of novels by Haitian Marie Vieux-Chauvet and Evelyne Trouillot and the poetry of Dominican-American author Ana-Maurine Lara, among others. Readings, papers, and discussions will be in English but students are welcome to read primary texts in either French or Spanish.

FREN 78400
Introduction to Literary Translation Studies
Prof. Esther Allen
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, 
Taught in English
Mode of instruction: In-person
Literature is unimaginable without translation. Yet translation is a disturbing, even paranormal practice, mysteriously conferring xenoglossy upon unwitting or suspicious readers. The literary cultures of English, in particular, have often been resistant to, even contemptuous of translation, or have used it as a tool of colonialism. The problem may lie with prevailing concepts of the original, but translation has often taken the blame. Among the aesthetic, ethical, and political questions it raises — questions increasingly crucial to practitioners of literature worldwide— are: Who translates? Who is translated? What is translated? And—yes—how? And also: what does it mean to think of literature prismatically rather than nationally? What constitutes an anti-colonial translation? 
In this seminar, we’ll discuss theoretical and literary readings and engage with the contemporary translation sphere, both in the digital realm and in New York City. We’ll also welcome the perspectives of some notable guest speakers. Students will work towards and workshop a final project, either: 1) a discussion of a specific translation theory or set of theories; 2) an analysis of a specific translation, or comparison of multiple translations, or 3) an original translation into English (of a previously untranslated work) accompanied by a critical introduction and annotation. The class is taught in English, but students should have working knowledge of at least one other language. 
FREN 84000 
Revolution as Civil War, Revolution as War of Independence: Generations and Memory [in France] since 1789
Professor David G. Troyansky
Wednesday 4:15pm-6:15pm
Taught in English
Mode of instruction: Hybrid
Historians have long characterized the French Revolution as a civil war (revolution/counterrevolution), and historians of the Atlantic world have also employed that term; meanwhile, a famous article by Pierre Serna has made the point that “all revolutions are wars of independence.”  That idea can be applied to the French themselves but also evokes a more global context, including that of decolonization in the Caribbean.  This course will begin with those overarching ways of describing the French Revolution and examine their usefulness in regional, national, and international contexts.  It will also highlight themes of generation and memory in the transition to the post-Revolutionary era and beyond.  The first part of the course will focus on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and develop those themes as conceptual tools to be applied, in the middle part, to a succession of moments of fracture and revolution in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries (possibly including 1848, 1871, Vichy, Algeria, 1968, or recent debates over race and multiculturalism in France).  The final part will provide an opportunity for students to apply the conceptual tools developed in the course to their own areas of research.  Written work will include historiographical papers and a research paper.