See the University Catalogue for course descriptions.

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Winter 2016

French 220: "Contemporary French Literature: Class, Gender, Race"
Dominic Thomas
Mondays, 2:00pm-4:50pm

Contemporary French literature since the nouveau roman has, in the United States at least, been understudied. This can be partially explained by the much-needed "decolonization" of French Studies thanks to the incorporation of francophone and postcolonial studies to the curriculum, a process that has also improved contextualization and interdisciplinarity. Categories such as "French" and "Francophone" remain pertinent, but are also becoming increasingly blurred as individual writers engage with analogous cultural, political, and social realities. France itself has struggled to define its place and role according to the demands and exigencies of the21st century globalized landscape. Indicators include a concerting "repli identitaire" and "nostalgia for former grandeur," evident in recent debates on national identity, gender studies and sexual identity, laïcité, immigration policy, the European Union, same-sex marriage and Far Right politics, and in tensions between provincial and urban populations and majority / minority ethnic and religious groups. The works selected for this seminar, by such controversial, innovative, and irreverent writers as Marie Darrieussecq, Édouard Louis, Didier Éribon, Maylisde Kerangal, Grégoire Delacourt, Olivier Adam, Faïza Guène, Michel Houellebecq, Boualem Sansal and Anna Gavalda, explore through diverse backgrounds andexperiences, notions of childhood, family, work, and memory. What emerges is a portrait of France today.

French 207: "Les grandes thématiques de la littérature négro-africaine contemporaine"
Alain Mabanckou
Wednesdays, 2:00pm-4:50pm

 

La littérature coloniale française a donné indirectement ou directement naissance à la la littérature africaine d'expression française. D'abord littérature de révolte contre la colonisation, la littérature africaine a emprunté de nouvelles voies liées aux mutations des sociétés du continent noir et des conflits civils, militaires ou politiques : les dictatures, les guerres civiles, les enfants-soldats, le génocide du Rwanda etc.

Ce cours survolera cette littérature à travers les textes d'André Gide (Voyage au Congo), d'Albert Londres (Terre d'Ebène), de Yambo Ouologuem (Le Devoir de violence), de Ahmadou Kourouma (Les Soleils des Indépendances), de Sony Labou Tansi (L'Etat honteux), de Tierno Monenembo (L'Ainé des Orphelins), d'Emmanuel Dongala (Johnny Chien Méchant) et de textes théoriques de Catherine Coquio, Achille Mbembe et Dominic Thomas.

Spring 2016

French 218: "The Enlightenment And Its Shadows. Casanova's Memoirs In Context."
Malina Stefanovska
Scheduling TBD


Giacomo Casanova was a "shady figure" and a major author, representative and exceptional in the European Enlightenment, who wrote a monumental autobiography (only recently known in its unexpurgated version) and started a myth which still lives on in literature and the arts. Reading from Histoire de ma Vie, written in French, and placing him in the context of relevant authors and ideas, we will explore key topics of the European Enlightenment such as: cosmopolitanism and travel literature ; men of letters and critical ideas; libertines and seduction; sexuality and gender; autobiography and the early modern self; religion, magic and circulation of money ; the Casanova myth in film and literature. The course will include readings from Rousseau, Voltaire, Laclos, Diderot and Fellini's film Casanova.

Casanova's "Histoire de ma Vie" will be read in French, (excerpts from the original will be available in English, on line). The papers may be written in English for students for other departments.

The grade will be based on the following elements : 1. Oral participation, including one prepared close reading, to be turned in afterwards. 2. One book report : 3-4 pages, of a critical work from the list ; 3. A final research paper, 10-12 pages, which is to be turned in in advance for comments and can be reworked.

Tentative syllabus:

1. Introduction :

a. lights and shadows of the Enlightenment : Arts and sciences, circulation of ideas, travels and networks, men of letters, adventurers and Free-masons. Les philosophes, les libertins. Literary genres of the 18th century.
b. autobiographical acts (écritures de soi) : early modern autobiography, memoirs, and the novel.

2. Casanova's formative years : the early self, memory and repression, sexuality and gender ; myths of origin. "How does one become Casanova?"
Reading : Casanova, Histoire de ma vie, tome I, pp. 1-100.

3. Cosmopolitanism and travel : Casanova in Constantinople, Paris and London; language and observing the other; experience, use of travel models; encounters and ideas ; philosophical dialogue, ethnographic narrative.
Reading : Casanova, HV, I, 275-306 ; 555-601.
Voltaire : Lettres philosophiques (#10, 11) ; Dictionnaire philosophique : Catéchisme chinois.

 

French 219: "Fonction auctoriale au 19ème siècle, entre esthétique et poïétique."
Ileana Chirila
Scheduling TBD

Je n'ai pas dit que l'auteur n'existait pas,
je ne l'ai pas dit et je suis étonné que mon
discours ait pu prêter à un pareil contresens.

- Michel Foucault

 

"Qu'est-ce qu'un auteur?" se demandait Foucault, en réaction au décret barthésien de la "mort de l'auteur" au 20ème siècle. La question de l'identité de l'auteur au 19ème siècle est d'autant plus importante qu'elle coïncide à l'autonomisation forte de la sphère littéraire (que Bourdieu appelle "champs littéraire") par rapport à la sphère sociale et politique. Si, en sacralisant l'écrivain, le romantisme avait commencé à l'extraire du monde social commun, c'est à l'âge Flaubert/Baudelaire que se fait la conquête totale de l'autonomie. Ce cours se propose d'explorer les multiples réponses à cette question, en prenant en compte plusieurs scénographies auctoriales, et en faisant appel aussi bien à des textes littéraires (poétiques et narratifs) qu'à des énoncés paratextuels (correspondances, préfaces). On explorera surtout les écrits de Gautier, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Stendhal, Flaubert, Valéry, et Proust, tandis que les scénographies auctoriales explorées dans ce cours correspondront aux multiples voies d'instauration du faire littéraire : relation auteur-texte (poïétique), texte en tant que tel (poétique), relation texte-public (esthétique).

Sampling of graduate courses:

French 200 Contemporary French Theories
French 201 Literary Analysis
French 202 Cultural Studies
French 203 Contemporary Francophone Studies
French 204 Studies in Autobiography
French 205 Studies in Cinema and Literature
French 207 Studies in History of Ideas
French 208 Studies in Literary Criticism
French 209 Studies in Literary Genres
French 214 Problematics of Medieval language and Literature
French 215 Studies in the Middle Ages
French 216 Studies in the Renaissance and the Baroque
French 217 Studies in the 17th Century
French 218 Studies in the 18th Century
French 219 Studies in the 19th Century
French 220 Studies in the 20th Century
French M270 Seminar Literary Theory