Fall 2020 Class Schedule
FRENCH 105-6: Freshman Seminar: The Fiction of Climate ChangeRising seas, extreme temperature variations, and life-threatening storms: these are among the building blocks of Climate Fiction (Cli-Fi)--a new literary genre that takes up the challenge of climate change in the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch in which human beings significantly impact the geological and ecological systems of the planet--, to imagine the future to which climate change might give rise and the human beings who will confront it. Climate change novels ask: how might climate change transform the world in which we live? What will the world be like in the future, and what will it mean to the human beings who live in it? The alternative visions of the future elaborated in the works of Cli-Fi often combine characteristics of science fiction with elements of other genres, including the romance, the thriller, and the adventure tale. In addition to inquiring into the issue of how and with what literary means these novels manage to imagine the future, we will also seek to understand: if and how literature imagines a process as widely taken to be “unimaginable” as is climate change, whether fiction might further human knowledge or awareness or if it might modify human actions in the world. We will engage in close and detailed reading of some of the most compelling contemporary Cli-Fi novels and learn to write critically about them.
Introductory and Intermediate French Language Courses
FRENCH 111-1: Elementary French
French 111-1 is the first course of a three-quarter sequence (Fall, Winter and Spring) for beginners. This course covers grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, conversation and culture. The aim of the course is to learn and develop skills in speaking, understanding, reading, writing and cultural competence. Class meets four times a week and will be conducted in French.
FRENCH 115-1: Intensive Elementary French
French 115-1 is the first course of a two-quarter sequence (Fall and Winter) that covers the same material as the three-quarter sequence of French 111, but which assumes some prior knowledge of the language. The aim of the course is to review and develop skills in speaking, understanding, reading, writing and cultural competence.
FRENCH 121-1: Intermediate French
French 121-1 is the first quarter of a three-quarter course for students who have completed French 111-3 or have been placed in that course by the French department. The aim of the course is to develop students' communication skills and cultural knowledge. Class meets four times a week. No P/N allowed.
FRENCH 125-2: Intensive Intermediate French
French language and culture. Conversation, composition, reading of cultural and literary texts, and grammar review. Three class meetings a week. Successful completion of French 125-3 fulfills the WCAS language requirement. Prerequisite: 125-1 or department placement. Students placed in French 125 in Fall will begin with 125-2 (taught in Fall only).
FRENCH 201-0: Culture and Society
French 201-0 is a one-quarter introductory third-year course, offered only in the fall. This course is designed to develop the students' mastery of French by giving them the opportunity to practice the language in a variety of cultural contexts while deepening and expanding their insights into contemporary French culture. French 201-0 will introduce students to a sampling of social and cultural topics central to an understanding of France and French-speaking peoples. Classes meet three times a week and are conducted in French. Students are expected to attend class regularly and prepare outside of class. Prerequisite: 121-3 or department placement.A grade of C- or above in French 201-0 fulfills the WCAS foreign language requirement.
FRENCH 202-0: Writing Workshop
This course is designed to develop and improve writing skills through a variety of classroom activities: discussion, writing, editing. Students will learn how to write a college-level analytical paper. Selected grammar points will be discussed in class, and course content will be provided by a novel and two films. Homework will include short writing exercises and compositions as well as the preparation of grammar exercises related to the writing objectives. Prerequisite: 125-3, 201, 203, or placement by department. This course serves as prerequisite for most other 200 and 300-level French classes.
FRENCH 203-0: Oral Workshop: Individual and Society in France Today
This course is designed to build fluency in speaking and understanding French. Classes will concentrate on increasing listening comprehension through viewing of videos and films, building vocabulary and idiom use, and enhancing oral communication skills. One group project based on a play. Prerequisite: 125-3, 201, or placement by department.
FRENCH 211-0-20: Reading Cultures in French: “Changing France:”
Contemporary French Identities
An introduction to French culture through study and analysis of major themes, issues, and debates that characterize or preoccupy contemporary French thought and society, this course helps students understand French society and culture in today’s world. We explore the challenges posed to the traditional republican notion of French national identity by colonial history, decolonization, immigration, and globalization by studying a wide range of documents, texts, and films that portray individual and collective experiences. Drawing on the notion of “la France en mutation / changing France,” we study how historical events and French institutions (especially the state and the school) shape identities. Students gain an understanding of questions relating to social inequalities and diversities from a “French Global” perspective, while focusing on French definitions and experiences of (in)equality and diversity, and how these play out in terms of race and ethnicity, gender, class, and sexual orientation. Conducted entirely in French, this course is designed to increase students’ ability to speak, read, and write in French, and improve their aural comprehension. Students also learn techniques of close reading and detailed critical analysis through class discussion and presentations, the creative/reflective assignment, the analytical essay, and the practice of annotation. Prerequisite: French 202-0, AP score of 5, or consent of instructor.
FRENCH 211-0-21: Reading Cultures in French: Walking and the City
This class focuses on the French art of “flânerie,” or the act of strolling aimlessly through the city, in modern and contemporary French culture, from the late eighteenth century to present. Exploring the intersection between the city walker and the urban environments that he or she navigates on foot, this class will provide a unique perspective on the role and place of public space in the construction of urban modernity in France. This class adopts an explicitly class-, race-, and gender-critical approach to the study of “flânerie”—an able-bodied practice that has traditionally been associated with a certain “Baudelairean” archetype of bourgeois masculinity—asking: Who has the right to linger and be seen in public space? How does the act of strolling aimlessly through the city intersect with other forms of societal privilege, and when and where can wandering become a means of protest, resistance, or subversion? By tracing the itineraries and embodied geographies that are traversed by flâneurs and flâneuses alike, this course aims to create a map of social mobility and urban modernity in the ever-evolving French city.
FRENCH 271-0: Introducing the Novel
This introduction to the French novel from the 18th to the 20th century aims to familiarize students with key periods in the history of the French novel as well as help them develop skills in literary reading, analysis and interpretation. While introducing students to various genres and periods (the philosophical and epistolary novel, Romanticism, Realism, the Fantastic, the roman beur and migrant Québécois literature), we will focus on the question of identity and the roles of the “other” (race, gender, class, colonial, im/migrant) in the narrative in order to reflect on the relationships between the novel, culture, politics and history. In this course, we will further develop the techniques of close reading and detailed critical analysis through class discussion and presentations, the creative/reflective assignment, the analytical essay, the use of pedagogical editions, and the practice of annotation (using the digital tool LacunaStories). P/N Allowed. Prerequisites: French 210, French 211, AP score of 5 in literature, or consent of the instructor.
Courses with Prerequisites in French
FRENCH 302-0: Advanced Writing: Finding Your Voice in French
This course focuses on the systematic development of written expression in French, organized according to language functions (describing, summarizing, persuading, hypothesizing, etc.) and communicative needs. Emphasis is placed on developing vocabulary, ease of expression, and especially an awareness of appropriate styles of writing. Writing practice will be carried on: portrait, summary, review of film or performance, explication de texte, correspondence, interview, editorial, documentary research and creative writing. Grammar will be reviewed as needed. Prerequisite: French 202-0 or consent of instructor.
FRENCH 391-0: Theory and Practice of Translation
In French 391, we will develop and apply a translation methodology to French and English texts.
We will begin with prose and poetry, then expand our scope to graphic novels, the performing arts (theater and opera), cinema, and advertising. Translating such a wide variety of texts will familiarize us with abstract, idiomatic, highly technical, and colloquial French, and it will enhance our cultural and linguistic competence by teaching us to capture intended implications, judgments, subtleties and nuances. To complement our examination of the issues pertaining to each genre or medium, we will read translation theory and criticism, and we will evaluate published translation works. Prerequisite: Students must have taken and passed French 301, 302, must have participated in a study abroad program, or must obtain the consent of instructor.
FRENCH 333-0: Topics in Renaissance Literature: Montaigne and Modernity
Michel de Montaigne was one of the most important writers and philosophers of the early modern period; his Essais continues to be a book to live by. This seminar explores Montaigne’s writings in depth, along with those of his most important interlocutors, in the context of the emergence of modern subjectivity in the period we call “Renaissance”. Placing the distant past into conversation with the present, we will consider a set of problems relative to the constitution of the self, of the body, of cultural and gender identity, educational ideals, and political freedom. We will explore the rise of cultural norms surrounding death, love, friendship, faith, and violence. Montaigne’s writings are a gateway into a turbulent and transformative period of history, one which has much to say to our own. Prerequisites: 271, 272, 273 or consent of instructor.
FRENCH 365-0: The Maghreb and the Middle East: Authority & Narration in 1001 Nights and Beyond
This course focuses on the relationship between authority, in its diverse forms, and storytelling. We will begin with one of the classics of world literature, A Thousand and One Nights, whose multi-pronged history and authorship allow us to consider the relationship between works of literature and the institution of authorship and authority. We will be able to examine this question not only through the work’s form and its history but also through the play of authority, power, and storytelling as its content.
In the second segment of the course, we will explore the legacies of 1001 Nights in contemporary literature, in particular war literature. We will begin with a short story by the Algerian writer, Assia Djebar, that expands the framework of Nights into the context of the Algerian civil war of 1990s, mobilizing it as a resource and insight into problems of authority, power, violence, identity etc. We will then turn to three novels, each reflecting on the relation between authority and narration: the Franco-Afghan writer and filmmaker, Atiq Rahimi, explores storytelling in the time of the Taliban; the Lebanese-American writer, painter and essayist, Etel Adnan, reflects on the long Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990; and the French writer and poet, François David imagines a scene of story-telling in a concentration camp. To help us better understand the relationship between narration, authority, war and history, we will read two theoretical essays by Michel Foucault and Walter Benjamin.
Students will be invited to reflect throughout the quarter on the ways in which storytelling is linked to the questions of life, death and survival both through the form of the works we read and their content. In order to expand our understanding of these complex interconnected questions, students will be asked to consult additional scholarly articles related to their presentations and final paper projects.
Prerequisitie: 271, 272, 273, or consent of instructor.
FRENCH 384-0: Women Writing in French: On Revolution
This introduction to women's writing extends from Beauvoir's groundbreaking 1949 essay, Le Deuxième Sexe to the first decade of the 21st century and Chlöe Delaume's riveting engagement with a childhood trauma. Central to our concerns are three overlapping forms of feminist thought and writing that emerged in postwar France--existentialist, psychoanalytic and marxist, and their shared view, articulated by Beauvoir, that one is not born a woman, but becomes one. Our questions include: how does a given author conceptualize 'woman' and 'becoming woman'? what are the implications of that process for women's lived existence? how does that understanding of the social construction of gender shape an author's conception of the political potential of writing? In addition to the literary works with which we begin, we will read numerous critical writings related to these concerns by authors including Cixous and Wittig.
Prerequisite: 271, 272, 273, or consent of instructor.
French Graduate Courses
FRENCH 401-0/COMP_LIT 487-0-20: Print Culture: Authors: Abdelkebir Khatibi
This course is dedicated to the influential work of the Moroccan writer and thinker Abdelkebir Khatibi, with particular emphasis on the question of language. A novelist, poet, philosopher and essayist, Khatibi’s nuanced and often quite challenging thought and writing have enriched the work of scholars in literary studies, philosophy, postcolonial/decolonial theory, poststructuralist theory and political thought well beyond the Maghreb. Yet, very few have attended to the diversity of his corpus. While his exemplary novel, Amour bilingue is perhaps his best-known work, he is the author of a large body of novels, drama and poetry. A trained sociologist, his writing in this field engages with diverse visual, textual and artistic cultural spheres from North Africa, Europe and Asia, offering us a critical vocabulary and much needed methodology in our approach to studying these areas of cultural production. The author of two biographies where the question of biography as a necessity and as a genre is theorized, Khatibi invites us to dwell on this practice both broadly and contextually. Furthermore, he is one of the most imaginative and provocative interpreters of the Islamic artistic, philosophical and theological traditions.
Khatibi was consistently in dialogue with broad philosophical and literary traditions across the world. His dialogues with Jacques Derrida have been registered in a number of texts by both thinkers, but these by no means limit his wide-ranging intellectual contacts and conversations. While the course is built around Khatibi’s novels and theoretical writings, students will be invited to explore in their research projects for the class the broader corpus of his work and its intellectual connections in ways that will be most promising and relevant for their own thinking and research interests.
FRENCH 492-0/COMP_LIT 488-0-3: Topics in Culture and Society: Early Modern Society and Its Discontents
This seminar considers the intersections of literature and social commentary in Renaissance France and Europe. The 16th century saw the heights of humanism and the progression to what we now call early modernity. Focusing on the works of Rabelais and Montaigne who exemplify these two moments, we will consider the interactions between literature and society, politics and intellectual and religious culture. What literary techniques make up the central engines of social commentary? How do texts construct a self and others as vehicles for critique? How do laughter, skepticism and vituperation enable and/or challenge critical interpretation? Examining the tools with which literature probes the world, we will also read works by Thomas More, Desiderius Erasmus, Etienne de la Boétie, Pico della Mirandola, Niccolò Machiavelli and others. In addition to our early modern texts, this class will also include discussion of issues and best practices in academic research and the profession. * Class discussion will be predominantly in French*
Courses Taught in Italian
ITALIAN 101-1: Elementary Italian
A beginning course in Italian language and culture, Elementary Italian is devoted to developing all four language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) within the three modes of communication (interpersonal, interpretive, presentational). While studying the language, students will be introduced to Italy and its people and they will gain both language and cultural competence. At the end of full-year Italian 101 sequence, students will be able to handle successfully a few uncomplicated communicative tasks, participate in simple conversations on topics related to personal information, personal preferences, daily activities, and immediate needs.
This course is the first in a three-part sequence for beginning students of Italian. Classes are conducted entirely in Italian and are very lively, with lots of give-and-take among participants. Students with some experience in Italian may take the online placement test to place out of any or all of the first-year sequence.
ITALIAN 102-1: Intermediate Italian
Intermediate Italian continues and completes the two-year sequence in Italian language and culture. At the end of the full 102 sequence (102-1,2,3), students are expected to create with the language when talking and writing about familiar topics, to understand the main ideas and some supporting details from a variety of texts (newspaper articles, short stories, …), to describe and narrate, with some consistency, in all major time frames while organizing their discourse into paragraphs. Students will significantly increase their knowledge of Italy's history and culture and they will be guided to become independent learners. After the completion of the entire sequence of Italian 102, students will be eligible to study in Italy and will be ready to embark on the minor or major in Italian. The second-year Italian course sequence completes the two-year WCAS language requirement. The classroom is very lively, with lots of conversation, partnering, and small group exercises.
ITALIAN 133-1/ITALIAN 134-1: Intensive Italian
Intensive Italian is a double course that fulfills the WCAS two-year language requirement in one academic year. At the end of the entire 133/134 sequence, students will be able to create with the language when talking and writing about familiar topics; to understand the main ideas and some supporting details from a variety of texts (newspaper articles, short stories, …); to describe and narrate, with some consistency, in all major time frames while organizing their discourse into paragraphs. While studying the language, students will be constantly exposed to the Italian culture. By the end of the intensive sequence, students are expected to achieve language, cultural, and intercultural competence enabling them to study in Italy and to embark on the minor or major in Italian. Intensive Italian classes are small and highly interactive.
Italian Courses with Readings and Discussion in English
ITALIAN 250-0: Topics in Italian Culture and Literature: Storytelling for Healing
Students in this course will explore one of the most significant masterpieces of medieval narrative: the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio. Written soon after the black death that killed millions of people in Europe in 1347-51, this work collects hundreds of short-stories on the driving forces of life: sex, love, money, success, power, and curiosity. Responding to the drama of loss and chaos, the writer offers memorable portraits of men and women fighting to survive, with skills or might, the ups and downs of life and chance. Boccaccio’s humanity is not blameless, but its vitality appears as the best answer to the trauma of collective death caused by the plague. Such vitality will mark the work and life of Renaissance artists and writers who believing in the motto that transformed and transported the Middle Ages into modernity: ‘Humanity is the maker of its own fortune.’
ITALIAN 304-0: Politics and Mass Culture
This course will explore the role that mass media have played in shaping Italian political culture from the end of World War II to the present. In particular, we will focus on the 1948 general elections, which were heavily influenced by Cold War dynamics; the global upheaval of 1968; the turmoil of the 1970s (the so-called Years of Lead); and the rise to power of Silvio Berlusconi, the media tycoon and populist politician who has prompted more than one comparison with Donald Trump. While drawing from the fields of cultural and media studies, we will analyze how film, television, and social media have contributed to forming our sense of belonging to—or being excluded from—a political community.
ITALIAN 350-0/COMP_LIT 383-0: Advanced topics in Italian Culture and Literature: Gramsci for the Present: Toward a Genealogy of Cultural Studies
This course explores the continued centrality of Antonio Gramsci’s thought to contemporary discussions of politics and culture. Arguably the most influential post-Marxist political thinker not only in Europe, but also in India and Latin America, Gramsci’s ideas have been crucial when it comes to establishing the fields of Cultural Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Subaltern Studies. In his eyes, a cultural strategy was a necessary element of the political struggle of the left (an intuition disconcertingly coopted by the right in more recent times). We may well ask, however, is culture in itself sufficient to articulate a political struggle? How did Gramsci define culture in his times and how do we? We will analyze in particular eight “traveling concepts” from the Prison Notebooks: Subaltern, Hegemony, Passive Revolution, Organic Intellectual, Education, National-Popular, The Southern Question, and Americanism/Fordism. We will examine these notions in their original historical context while also exploring the current horizon in which they have proven to be productive in very different geopolitical arenas. Taught in English, seminar-style (no knowledge of Italian is necessary).
ITALIAN 360-0/HUM 370-6/COMP_LIT 305-0: From the Avant-garde to the Postmodern: Rhythm in Art and Philosophy
Whether you are breathing, dancing, or thinking, your activity is marked by a certain rhythm. Rhythm stands at the cusp between body and mind, movement and memory, experience of the self and interaction with others. This course will attend to diverse and at times contradictory notions of rhythm as they have emerged in modern and contemporary Western art and philosophy. After a brief and yet crucial return to ancient Geek philosophy (Plato and the Pre-Socratics), we will focus on Soviet avant-garde cinema (Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov), Italian Neorealism (Vittorio De Sica and Roberto Rossellini), Jean-Luc Godard’s recent films, and Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s philosophy. We will devote particular attention to the role that rhythm has played in shaping our understanding of the relation between aesthetic experience and political life: what is the relation between rhythm and power? how do different ideas of rhythm in artistic practice relate to different ideas of society and order? In addition to the aforementioned bodies of work, we will consider contributions from the fields of psychoanalysis, critical race theory, and feminist/queer theory.Back to top