Spring 2017 Courses

French 490: Black France: History and Representations

Prof. Lydie Moudileno
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This class will focus on the rich history of the African, African-American and Caribbean presence in France. The seminar will enable students to gain a better understanding of the multifarious connections that have historically not only shaped national identities, but also served to establish the Black Atlantic as a site of cultural exchange and subject formation, particularly as pertains to the period extending from the end of the nineteenth-century to the present time. In particular, we will look at individual and collective migrations including World War soldiers, African-American expatriate writers and performers, Pan-African intellectuals, and workers from the former Empire. This will allow us to both document the historical significance of the various and complex contributions made by these select groups and people, and examine the modalities of their representation within the evolving French society. Ultimately, the course is designed to investigate the idea of "blackness" from a European perspective, while relating it to wider debates about race and multiculturalism in a global context.


French 582: Studies in Fantastic Literature

Prof. Philippe Met
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This course will explore fantasy and the fantastic in short tales of 19th- and 20th-century French literature. A variety of approaches -- thematic, psychoanalytic, cultural, narratological -- will be used in an attempt to test their viability and define the subversive force of a literary mode that contributes to shedding light on the dark side of the human psyche by interrogating the "real," making visible the unseen and articulating the unsaid. Such broad categories as distortions of space and time, reason and madness, order and disorder, sexual transgressions, self and other will be considered. Readings will include "recits fantastiques" by Merimee, Gautier, Nerval, Maupassant, Breton, Pieyre de Mandiargues, Jean Ray and others.


French 601: Foreign Language Learning and Teaching

Prof. Kathryn 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 609: French Modernism's Global Reach

Prof. Michele Richman
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The purpose of this course is to examine the various modalities of interaction between anthropology and literature in modern French culture. Our guiding thesis is that the turn toward other cultures has functioned as a revitalizing element in the production of cultural artifacts while providing an alternative vantage point from which to examine the development of French culture and society in the contemporary period. The extraordinary innovations of "ethnosurrealism" in the twenties and thirties by such key figures of the avant-garde as Breton, Artaud, Bataille, Caillois, and Leiris, have become acknowledged models for the postwar critical thought of Barthes, Derrida, and Foucault, as well as inspiring a renewal of "anthropology as cultural critique in the United States." Besides the authors just indicated, key texts by Durkheim, Mauss and Levi-Strauss will be considered both on their own terms and in relation to their obvious influence. The institutional fate of these intellectual crossovers and their correlative disciplinary conflicts will provide the overarching historical frame for the course, from the turn of the century to the most recent debates.


French 620: Paris and Philadelphia: Landscape and Literature of the 19th Century

Prof. Andrea Goulet and Prof. Aaron Wunsch
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This course explores the literal and literary landscapes of 19th-century Paris and Philadelphia, paying particular attention to the ways in which the built environment is shaped by and shapes shifting ideologies in the modern age.  Although today the luxury and excesses of the “City of Light” may seem worlds apart from the Quaker simplicity of the “City of Brotherly Love”, Paris and Philadelphia saw themselves as partners and mutual referents during the 1800s in many areas, from urban planning to politics, prisons to paleontology.  This interdisciplinary seminar will include readings from the realms of literature, historical geography, architectural history, and cultural studies as well as site visits to Philadelphia landmarks, with a view to uncovering overlaps and resonances among different ways of reading the City.  We will facilitate in-depth research by students on topics relating to both French and American architectural history, literature, and cultural thought.