Courses available in French

Courses

Mon ultime prière: Ô mon corps, fais de moi toujours un homme qui interroge!

— Fanon

2017 Fall

Graduate | Pedagogical

Undergraduate

1: Elementary French, first semester

S. Chavdarian in charge

Introduction to Francophone cultures through speaking, listening, reading, and writing in French, with French as the exclusive means of communication. Emphasis is placed on developing student ability to create and to communicate with basic French structures and vocabulary. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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R1A, section 1: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- Emotional Unavailability

M. Arrigo

This course will seek to understand emotional unavailability both on the level of its depiction in literature as well as its deployment as a literary device. It will also explore how the very act of writing mediates our attempts to seek out, understand, and fill the void between us and these desired persons.. French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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R1A, section 2: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- What are you laughing at? Humor and tricky topics

C. Stofle

In this course, we will explore various theories of humor — from the baudelairian construct of laughter as evil to the freudian theory of relief — that will help us decipher and discuss ludic processes in literary texts, films, memes, and stand-up acts. We will focus particularly on humoristic expression that occurs in contexts considered too serious for lightheartedness, such as death, race, and disenfranchisement. Together, we will wonder whether everything can be a laughing matter, if irony is even funny, and what it means anyway. French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH. For additional details, please click on course title.

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R1A, section 3: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- Mad Love

S. Rogghe

"I dreamt so much of you that you lose your reality..." In this course, we will explore literary works that deal with love not merely in the conventional sense, i.e. as a love story between two people, but we will focus on texts that display what the surrealist André Breton called "Mad Love" and "Convulsive Beauty." From Narcissus falling in love with his own reflection, to Tristan and Isolde being fatefully joined by a magic potion, or Gérard de Nerval mistaking "an ordinary woman of this century" for a poetic muse, all of these works display a tragic archetypal constellation that mixes love with a touch of (divine) madness. French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH. For additional details, please click on course title.

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R1B, section 1: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- Love, Actually: French Edition

S. Postoli

This course will explore a sample of works from the tradition of French/Francophone literature and film in which love becomes a primary or prominent subject. Our discussions of these works will focus on different conceptions and permutations of love across genres and periods — and, of course, the many complications that inevitably accompany it: marriage, family, gender and sexuality, power relations, status, jealousy, betrayal, manipulation, transgression, sex, violence, etc. French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH. For additional details,, please click on course title.

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R1B, section 2: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- Demand the Impossible! France in the 1960's

M. Koerner

In this course we will study some of the tumultuous events that occurred in France during the 1960's beginning with the Algerian War, and later the massive student occupation of universities and the largest labor strike in French history in May ‘68. Situating these events in relation to their broader, post-war, global context – decolonization, the emergence of the “society of the spectacle,” and mass demonstrations against the wars in Algeria and Vietnam – this course offers students an overview of one of the most transformative decades of the twentieth century. French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH. For additional details please click on course title.

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R1B, section 3: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- Stuff and Things: Objects and Identity in Literature

M. Phillips

Hoarding, shoe fetishes, consumerism, commodities, souvenirs, collections, household goods, art -- material objects have great significance in our lives and in our stories. They can hold memories, represent desires, and help us define ourselves. In this course we will explore the meaning of stuff and things in literature, and how objects create and contribute to identity. French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH. For additional course details, please click on course title.

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2: Elementary French, second semester

S. Chavdarian in charge

Continuing development of students' awareness of Francophone cultures, knowledge of fundamental structures of French, and their appropriate socio-linguistic application in both spoken and written communication. Class conducted entirely in French. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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3: Intermediate French

V. Rodic in charge

This is an intermediate language and culture class that aims to consolidate and expand the skills of listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing in French while introducing students to texts from the French and Francophone cultures. The course aims to promote cross-cultural understanding through the use of authentic materials such as literary works and journalistic texts, multimedia, film, pop songs, and television/radio broadcasts, and other cultural artifacts. Conducted in French. For a more detailed course description, please click on course title.

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4: Advanced Intermediate French

V. Rodic in charge

French 4 is an advanced intermediate language and culture class that aims to refine the skills acquired in French 3 or equivalent courses and to enhance students' familiarity with French and Francophone literature. Emphasis is placed on the strengthening of oral and written expression in order to promote linguistic and cultural competences through an extensive grammar review and exploration of texts, visual and audio sources, multi-media, and other cultural artifacts. Course conducted in French. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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13: Intermediate Conversation

R. Kern in charge

This course develops students’ ability to speak and understand French in both conversational and formal contexts, enlarges vocabulary, and enhances familiarity with contemporary French culture. Activities include oral presentations, debates, collaborative projects, language journals. Class conducted entirely in French.

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14: Advanced Conversation

R. Kern in charge

Listening, reading and discussion of French sociocultural realities including economics, politics, popular culture, and family life at the beginning of the 21st century. Oral presentations, debates, collaborative projects, regular journal entries and assignments. Class conducted entirely in French.

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24: Freshman Seminar -- Slow Reading Dangerous Liaisons

N. Paige

Innocence, pleasure, pride, entrapment, consent, revenge, desire, repression, hypocrisy, deceit, aggression, force, persuasion, faith, virtue, nobility, corruption, manipulation, sex, love: all this and much, much more in one of world literature’s most diabolically intelligent novels, Laclos’s Dangerous Liaisons. In addition to reading the novel (in English), we’ll also be viewing some of the work’s numerous film adaptations. For additional details, please click on course title. Course conducted in English.

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43B: Aspects of French Culture -- Citizenship and Identity in France

S. Maslan

What does it mean to be a citizen? Questions about citizenship and immigration are not only questions about rights, they are also, inevitably, questions about national identity. Who “we” are is shaped by our beliefs about and actions toward those whose status is precarious, liminal, or, seemingly, non-existent. In this course we will study French ideas about citizenship and belonging, about participation and protection, from the early modern period through the present. Course conducted in English. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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102, sections 1 & 2: Writing in French

R. Shuh, N. Timmons

This course introduces students to different modes of proposing and furthering a point of view or argument (whether in a critical essay, through dramatic metaphor, or in plays or short stories). Great attention is paid, both through the readings and through extensive written work, to questions of interpretation as well as to the logical and coherent development of reading and writing skills leading to correct and effective expression in French. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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103A: Language and Culture -- The Refugee "Crisis": Itineraries and Narratives

D. Sanyal

This course will examine the itineraries and narratives of refugees who are seeking asylum in France today. Contemporary fiction and film will help us reconstruct the stages of their flight and journey. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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117B: Seventeenth-Century Literature -- Theater and Power in 17th century France

D. Blocker

In France, theater as we know it only began to take shape at the beginning of the 17th century. This class investigates the emergence of French classical theater under Louis XIII and Louis XIV by studying how this new genre interacted with monarchical power. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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120A: Twentieth-Century Literature -- qu’est-ce qu’un poète moderne? – le cas de Paul Valéry .

S. Guerlac

Dans ce cours nous allons interroger le mythe de Paul Valéry, étudiant plusieurs de ses textes de genres variés (poemes, poemes en prose, récits, essais critiques et fragments philosophiques) et nous référons aussi `å une étude sur lui par Daniel Oster, Monsieur Valéry. Nous allons situer l’oeuvre et la pensée de Valéry par rapport à d’autres positions qui contestent la sienne, For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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121B: Literary Themes, Genres, Structures -- Staging Tyranny in France from Pierre Corneille to Aimé Césaire (1600-2000)

D. Blocker

Is a play centered on tyranny always, in some way, a play about freedom? This class will observe the theatricality of tyrants from a literary perspective, asking why and how it is that, in the French theatrical tradition — from the 17th century until today — so many major plays are centered on figures of authoritarian rulers, be they men or women. Films and recordings will be used to support students’ reading of the plays assigned, and a class outing will be organized to see Albert Camus’ État de Siège, as staged at Cal Performances by the Parisian troupe of the Théâtre de la Ville (Oct. 21-22 2017). For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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142AC: The Cultures of Franco-America

K. Britto

In this course, we will consider a broad range of literary and cultural texts that emerge out of the long history of the French in North America and of Americans in France. Discussions will focus on the politics of representation— we will work to understand the processes through which categories of “race” are shaped over time through the interplay between Anglo- and Franco-American cultures and ideologies, even as these categories are challenged from the perspectives of minority populations. Course taught in English; no knowledge of French required. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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146A: Introduction to French Linguistics

M. McLaughlin

This course provides an introduction to the linguistic analysis of Modern French. You will develop the basic skills of linguistic analysis in order to understand how the French language works. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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162A: Perspectives on History -- Immigration and the Question of Islam in France

S. Tlatli

This course is designed as an introduction to the history of North African immigration in France in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. We will also pay close attention to the various political and ideological discourses that consider immigration through the particular viewpoint of Islam and the threat it poses to national identity. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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176: Literature and Philosophy -- French and Francophone Literature and Philosophy

S. Maslan

Philosophy has been intertwined with literature at least since Plato and Aristotle explored the merits of poetry and poets. During the Enlightenment, however, French authors such as Rousseau, Voltaire, and Diderot forged what contemporary philosopher Alan Badiou termed a “singular alliance” between literature and philosophy as they sought to create and popularize new scientific knowledge, critique and reform the political and social orders, and bring into being new forms of subjectivity and personhood, all while establishing themselves as among the foremost stylists in the French language. French 176 will study fundamental problems that arise from this "alliance" as it engages deeply with the works of the French “philosophes.” We will also consider the material and structural conditions for the creation and dissemination of knowledge: censorship, the book trade, exile, and more. For more details, please click on course title.

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180C: French Civilization -- The Experience of Modernity in 19th-Century Paris

D. Sanyal

This course explores the experience and representation of urban modernity in 19th century Paris. For a more detailed course description, please click on course title.

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Graduate

200: Proseminar

N. Paige

This course gives new graduate students a broad view of the French Department faculty, the courses they teach, and their fields of research. In addition, it will introduce students to some practical aspects of their graduate career, issues that pertain to specific fields of research, and questions currently being debated across the profession. All French Department graduate students are welcome to those meetings devoted to more general practical and intellectual topics. Course enrollment limited to new graduate students in French.

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201: History of the French Language

M. McLaughlin

This course covers the history of the French language from its Latin roots through to contemporary usage. Both internal and external history will be considered so that students acquire a firm grounding in the linguistic evolution of the language, coupled with an understanding of its development in relation to a range of social and cultural phenomena. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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230A: Studies in 17th-Century Literature -- Romances and Novels

N. Paige

Romance vs. novel. It's one of the most basic distinctions in literary history, and it goes back a good 350 years: the old, obsolete form is replaced by the modern. But is the narrative sound? We'll be reading a selection of classic and recent criticism on the topic and five celebrated works that may or may not document the transition from romance to novel: d'Urfé's L'Astrée, Sorel’s Francion, Scarron's Le Roman comique, and two works by Lafayette, Zayde and La Princesse de Clèves. All primary and most secondary works will be available in English for those who need them. For additional details, please click on course title.

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251: Francophone Literature -- Le Surrealisme et la Francophonie

S. Tlatli

Dans ce cours, nous analyserons dans un premier temps la poétique surréaliste de l’image à travers un certain nombre d’extraits littéraires et théoriques du groupe surréaliste. Dans un deuxième moment, nous interrogerons la question de l’influence surréaliste, aussi bien à propos de la politique coloniale de la France, qu’à propos de l’écriture poétique elle-même en prenant comme exemple principal le corpus d’Aimé Césaire et l’oeuvre de Kateb Yacine.

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260B: Studies in 20th-Century Literature -- Poetic thinking – Valéry before and after Jacques Derrida

S. Guerlac

The first part of our seminar will be devoted principally to reading a range of Valéry’s works – poems, prose pieces, critical essays and some fragments from the Notebooks, along with a few critical essays on Valéry (Adorno). One of the questions we will pose is: what does it mean to think from the vantage point of a poet? This question will lead us to consider a few essays by Derrida on Valéry, and a few other texts by Derrida that allude only indirectly to Valery. Does reading Derrida enrich our understanding of what is at stake in the poetics and thinking of Valéry? Along the way we will consider how the “brand” Valéry enters into debates about literature, first in Sartre’s What is Literature?) and then in the context of the group Tel quel which challenges Sartre from the perspective of Valéry in 1960, before going on to publish the major thinkers of “French Theory” including Jacques Derrida. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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265A: Modern Studies -- I Confess: Self-Narration and Self-Representation From the Novel to New Media

D. Young

Is the “self” of Rousseau’s Confessions the same as the self of the 21st century digital selfie? To what extent is subjectivity bound up in the means of its technical mediation? This course stages an encounter between histories of autobiography, theories of the subject/subjectivation, and recent developments in media theory. We will ask how the “private self” of an earlier colonial modernity was given form in the novel and the autobiography, then explore how the invention of photography and film refashioned the subject as “ideally visible,” before considering how digital media cultures generate forms of subjectivity for which the defining imperative would no longer be confession but rather circulation. Meets the Graduate Certificate in Global Urban Humanities elective requirement For additional details, please click on course title.

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Pedagogical

301: Teaching French in College: First Year

S. Chavdarian

This course (1) provides participants with an understanding of basic principles of first- and second-language acquisition and the theoretical underpinnings of commonly used language teaching methods, and (2) offers inservice training in teaching, in creating and adapting instructional materials, and in designing tests for use in the Lower Division Program in French. For additional details, please click on course title.

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