Spring 2016 Courses

French 500: Proseminar

Prof. Goulet
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M.A. Exam preparation Workshop for first-year PhD students in French.


French 550: Masterpieces.1

Prof. DeJean
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Today, we take the concept of a “masterpiece” for granted. This course will be designed to revisit this notion – to consider what the term has meant at different periods and what it might mean today. We’ll also read some of the works of 17th-century French literature that, since the formation of the first canon of French literature, have been presented as essential to image of “the age of Louis XIV.”


French 590: War, Fiction and the Postcolonial

Prof. Moudileno
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This seminar will introduce key authors and issues in Francophone studies through texts that specifically focus on various experiences of war in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Significantly, the first book-length piece of fiction by an African author may well be Bakary Diallo's Force Bonté, (1926), the autobiographical story of  a WWI Senegalese “tirailleur,” (colonial infantryman) physically deformed by his war experience and trying to process it through his writing. Narratives on or about the experience of war circulate throughout Francophone fiction. Indeed, writers from  all over the former French Empire have repeatedly offered fictional accounts of colonial subjects' involvement in European wars,  and especially WWII, with various degrees of ambivalence. As new conflicts and various genocides have sprung up since, the experience of war has fueled a new wave of Francophone accounts in the last twenty-five years.

The course will focus on texts and films from Senegal, Congo, Rwanda, Guinea, Algeria, Martinique, Mauritius, and (Metropolitan) France from the 1920s to 2014. Using this material as the basis for our exploration we will address several questions:  What are some of the important tropes deployed in these narratives and how do they relate to broader issues concerning colonial and postcolonial violence?

How do the war of others (e.g. WWI, WWII and colonial wars) complicate issues of conflict and questions of engagement and solidarity? How do such experiences lay the groundwork for other wars, such as wars of liberation? Finally how does war impact the articulation of memory, survival and writing in colonial contexts, in the postcolony, and in the European Metropole?

Primary  texts in French. Class discussion in French or English.


French 601: Foreign Language Learning and Teaching

Prof. McMahon
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This course is required of all Teaching Assistants in French, Italian, and Spanish in the second semester of their first year of teaching. It is designed to provide instructors with the necessary practical support to carry out their teaching responsibilities effectively, and builds on the practicum meetings held during the first semester. The course will also introduce students to various approaches to foreign language teaching as well as to current issues in second language acquisition. Students who have already had a similar course at another institution may be exempted upon consultation with the instructor.


French 611: Topics in Cinema: French Cinema

Prof. Met
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This course has a dual purpose. Firstly, it offers an in-depth look at the history and scope of French cinema all the way to the present time through the analysis of key works of the French film canon. Particular attention will be paid to successive period styles (“le réalisme poétique”, “la qualité française,” “la nouvelle vague,” “le cinéma du look,” etc.) and genres (drama, comedy, war, crime, banlieue film, etc.). Secondly, it aims at providing students with the proper analytical and technical tools for studying and teaching film. A variety of critical lenses will be considered (psychoanalysis, socio-historical and cultural context, politics, aesthetics, gender…) from a primarily practical, rather than strictly theoretical, perspective.


French 638: Medieval Genres: From Manuscript to Print

Prof. Pairet
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What is a chanson, a lai, or a romans in the Middle Ages? How are literary modes, genres, and forms constructed and how do they unfold historically? What social, cultural, and material parameters shape the creation of narrative and textual conventions? We will examine the evolution of major narrative genres from the 12th to the 15th centuries, underscoring the dynamic character of medieval texts in their manuscript and printed transmission. Conceived as an introduction to literary production in langue d'oïl, the seminar does not require prior knowledge of Old French or Middle French. Readings include Chanson de Roland, Le Chevalier de la Charrette by Chrétien de Troyes, Lais de Marie de France, Roman de la Rose by Guillaume de Lorris, Christine de Pizan's Livre de la Cité des Dames and selections from René d'Anjou's Livre du Cœur d'amour épris.