Courses available in French

Courses

Le voyage n’est nécessaire qu’aux imaginations courtes.

— Colette

2017 Spring

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--Love, Friendship and the Political

T. Sanders

French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH

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R1B, section 1 or 2: English Composition through French Literature in Translation--French Perspectives on the United States, Encounters in Literature, Philosophy and Film

M. Koerner

French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH

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R1B, section 3: English Composition through French Literature in Translation--Movin' On Up/Falling (Back) Into Place: Social Mobility and the Figure on the ParvenuE- Glass Ceiling Edition

Z. Burris

French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH

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R1B, section 4: English Composition through French Literature in Translation: Museums and Elsewhere

M. Evans

French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH

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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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35: Practical Phonetics and Listening Comprehension

A. Gabel

This multimedia web-assisted course concentrates on pronunciation and listening comprehension skills. Because it concentrates on the first task confronted upon arrival in a French-speaking country (to understand and be understood), it has traditionally been considered very helpful before going to France for study, work, or travel. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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102: Writing in French, 3 sections

N. Timmons; D. Blocker; R. Shuh

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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103B: Language and Culture -- Discourses of Love in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period

D. Hult

Since the beginnings of French literature, authors and poets have been fascinated by the human and spiritual dimensions of love, sometimes conflicting relations between emotional attachment and carnality, between human love and love of God, between private desires and the constraints of society, between fidelity in marriage and the temptations of adultery.  Through reading and discussion of a broad variety of works extending from the twelfth to the eighteenth century, we will attempt to sort out some of the major aspects of this seemingly inexhaustible theme while at the same time seeing how different eras and authors diverged in their treatment of it.  Knowledge of Old French not required. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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117A: Seventeenth-Century Literature -- Molière

N. Paige

The career of Molière, the inventor of modern character-based comedy, is as fascinating from a cultural point of view as it is from a literary one. Born into a prosperous bourgeois family, Molière left the well-trodden path to respectability for the uncertain prospects of the stage—only to become one of the very top playwrights of his day, cannily marketing both his image and that of Louis XIV. This class will provide an introduction to some of his masterpieces, both from a generic point of view (how does Molière manipulate and transform the conventions of comedy?) and in the context of his professional life (how do his comedies cultivate the audiences responsible for Molière’s livelihood?). A number of films connected with Molière’s life and work will supplement the reading of plays and secondary material. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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119A: Nineteenth-Century Literature -- Ecrire “l’histoire du présent” : Balzac

S. Guerlac

Balzac se donne la tâche de faire l’histoire de son époque à travers la fiction, dans l’oeuvre monumentale qu’il appelle, faisant allusion à Dante, La Comédie Humaine. Selon lui, ce qui importe pour faire l’histoire de manière authentique c’est “l’étude des moeurs” et l’analyse des “types” sociaux. Dans ce cours nous allons lire Balzac en examinant le rapport dialectique entre l’histoire et la fiction à`cette période critique de l’histoire qui voit la montée de la classe bourgeoise. For a more detaieled course description, please click on course title.

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120B: Twentieth-Century Literature - Wars, Revolts, Literatures. "Minuit" in the 20th Century

E. Colon

This course will explore the relationships between aesthetic innovations and political writing from the 1940s onwards. We will read literary works (novels, narratives, theater plays) by some of the most important French writers of the 20th and 21st century, watch a few film excerpts, and bring these novels and films into dialogue with the main artistic movements and political conflicts that have shaped the second part of the century, in particular WW2 and its aftermaths, the Algerian War and May ‘68. We will mainly focus on writers published by "Les Éditions de Minuit", between the 1940s and 2012, using this famous publishing house as a guide through the history of the 20th century. We will start when “Minuit” was clandestinely founded, in 1941, in the midst of the Resistance and end with the most recent generation of “Minuit authors” and writers and consider what becomes of formal innovation, anti-imperialist struggles and political writing when wars, revolutions and vanguard movements have seemingly disappeared altogether from the French contemporary landscape. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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126: Senior Seminar -- Flaubert’s Modernity Then and Now

D. Sanyal

In this seminar, we will read the works of classic 19th-century French author Gustave Flaubert. We will attempt to grasp what was considered ‘modern’ about Flaubert’s novels. Was it his innovative style, his experiments with form and perspective, his ambition to write un livre sur rien? Was it his ability to convey the unfulfillable desires of life in the modern city under capitalism (Madame Bovary was put on trial for obscenity)? To capture the disillusionment of a generation that lived through the 1848 revolution? To conjure the Orient as an escape from the banality of bourgeois existence? As we read deeply into this canonical oeuvre and situate it within its cultural setting, we will at the same time speculate on the ways in which Flaubert remains our contemporary in the 21st -century. With the help of theoretical writings on and around this monumental oeuvre, we will tease out the ways in which it illuminates the workings of subjectivity, ideology and violence in our own historical horizon. For a more detailed description, please click on title.

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140D: French Literature in English Translation -- An Introduction to the Films of the French New Wave

N. Paige

Though by many accounts a mere four-year phenomenon, the French New Wave is arguably the most emblematic movement in the history of modern cinema, one that continues to inspire filmmakers from Los Angeles to Teheran to Hong Kong. This class provides a comprehensive overview of the movement and its major films, with attention to the cultural and theoretical factors that help explain this extraordinary flowering of filmmaking talent in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Movies screened will be subtitled and will include works by Truffaut, Godard, Varda, Demy, Rohmer, Eustache, and others. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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151B: Francophone Literature -- Portraying Women During Colonial Times

S. Tlatli

Dans ce cours, nous nous interrogerons sur le rôle essentiel des femmes pendant la colonisation française selon une double perspective: littéraire et cinématographique. Nous insisterons en particulier sur la manière dont la femme devient un enjeu important de la colonisation et de la décolonisation à partir du texte de Fanon “L’Algérie se dévoile”. Nous analyserons ensuite l’imaginaire de la femme coloniale à travers les essais et les récits de Fatima Mernissi, Assia djebar et Leila Sebbar. Nous nous attacherons également à la manière dont la participation des femmes a éte perçue dans le cinéma et les arts visuels à partir d’une discussion du texte de Malek Alloula: “Le harem colonial”, ainsi que des films suivants: “La Bataille d’Alger” de Pontecorvo, “Chronique des années de braise” de Lakhdar Hamina, “La Nouba des femmes du Mont Chenoua” d’Assia djebar et les “Silences du Palais” de Moufida Tlatli.

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161B: A Year in French History — Revolution and Terror (1793-1794)

S. Maslan

For many of us, the grisly image of the guillotine stands for the French Revolution itself. But the guillotine cannot begin to answer the question “what was so revolutionary about the French Revolution?” Why do so many historians consider the French Revolution to be the decisive rupture with the past and the origin of our political present? We will study the Revolution’s effects on the family, religion, art, and even on language. We will try to understand what the Terror was through our study of primary texts, images, and secondary readings. For a more detailed course description, please click on title.

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171B: A Concept in French Cultural History -- Slavery and Colonialism in the French Eighteenth Century

S. Maslan

The eighteenth century, the era that produced the French and the American Revolutions, was an age of global commerce and exchange. Much of that commerce centered on the slave trade and the new world colonies. This course will study fictional and non-fictional texts that represented and examined the practices and meanings of slavery and colonialism. For a more detailed course description, please click on title.

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178B: Studies in French Film -- Women Directors

D. Young

The history of cinema is usually narrated as a history of Great Men — from the Lumière brothers to Jean-Luc Godard to Quentin Tarantino. But some of the most original and enduring works of French-language cinema have been authored by women. In this course, we will study films from various times and locations by Germaine Dulac, Agnès Varda, Claire Denis, Chantal Akerman, Marguerite Duras, Catherine Breillat, Céline Sciamma, Faiza Ambah, and others, examining their distinctive contributions to the aesthetics and politics of cinema. Taught in French, though non-French majors may be able to submit written work in English (consult with instructor). For a more detailed course description, please click on title.

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180D: French Civilization -- The Modernity of The "Everyday"

S. Guerlac

After centuries of concern with the heroic, the tragic, the exceptional, and of expecting art to transcend life, the modern period opens with a concern for evoking the richness of the Everyday and an attempt to make art and life converge. The poet Apollinaire gives us the sights and sounds of the big city. André Breton makes art of found objects. The poet Francis Ponge tries to put ordinary objects into words. This turns out to be more challenging than one might expect. The notion of the Everyday becomes a philosophical problem for some thinkers and a political issue for others. We will examine the problem of the Everyday (le quotidien) in the work of philosophers (Henri Lefèbvre, Roland Barthes, Maurice Blanchot) historians (Michel de Certeau) and the pleasures of the ordinary and the everyday in the work of poets, writers, photographers (Atget in particular) and artists (Sophie Calle). For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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Graduate

210A: Studies in Medieval Literature -- Late Medieval Fictions of Love

This seminar will focus on the tradition(s) of love narrative in the later French Middle Ages beginning with two important thirteenth-century works that set the tone for centuries to come by inscribing the lyric tradition within romance narrative: Guillaume de Lorris’s enormously influential, fragmentary Roman de la Rose; and Richard de Fournival’s intriguing Bestiary of Love, which inscribes the love quest within the hitherto didactic genre of animal lore, the bestiary. The balance of the semester will be devoted to noted authors of the fourteenth and fifteenth cenuries, including Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, Christine de Pizan, Alain Chartier, Charles d’Orléans, and René d’Anjou. Although previous knowledge of Old French is not required, inasmuch as most texts will be read in original language editions with facing-page modern French translation, class discussions will frequently focus on the original text. Topics of discussion will include the question of the first-person narrative voice, the relations between lyric and romance, song and book, evolving notions of authorship, and the rhetoric of courtly love. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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245B: Early Modern Studies -- Spirituality, Literature and Politics in Early Modern France (1550-1750)

D. Blocker

In 1598, the Edict of Nantes puts an end to France’s wars of religion. In its wake, Catholicism is revivified, via the founding of a number of Counter-Reformation orders and movements, all competing to rekindle the Catholic faith. These attempts to re-evangelize France hinged on preaching, but were also increasingly dependent on printed works. They were aimed at a lay and even mundane readership, which was increasingly avid of literary works, such as plays, short stories and novels. This seminar examines how Counter-Reformation evangelism shaped France’s emerging literary market, studying how spirituality and literature were thereby configured as separate yet tightly connected practices. The class is taught in English and welcomes students from REMS and the Center on the History of Religion, as well as early modernists from all others departments in the humanities. Final papers can be turned in French or English. Texts will be discussed in class in their French originals, but most primary readings and many secondary readings can be done in English. If you would like to take this class but would need most readings to be in English please contact me by email at dblocker@berkeley.edu by January 3, 2017, so the necessary arrangements can be made. For a more detailed course description, please click on course title.

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251: Francophone Literature -- Le Colonialisme -- Objet philisophique et littéraire

S. Tlatli

Dans ce séminaire, nos analyserons la manière dont le colonialisme a été pensé depuis Tocqueville jusqu’à Derrida. Nous analyserons la manière selon laquelle la nécessité de la colonisation, puis de la décolonisation, a été conceptualisée par des penseurs tels que Tocqueville, Sartre, Fanon, Lyotard et Derrida. Nous interrogerons en particulier ceci: en quoi, la question cruciale de la colonisation a-t-elle eu une influence conceptuelle sur la pensée politique de philosophes tels que Sartre, Lyotard et Derrida? Dans un deuxième temps, nous confronterons des écrits d’auteurs francophones, face aux questions posées par ces textes théoriques, en nous concentrant sur les textes de Kateb Yacine, Assia Djebar et Nabile Farès en particulier.

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265B: Modern Studies -- Precarity and the (Post-)Modern City

E. Colon

In this “Modern Studies” seminar, we will trace the genealogy of a seemingly contemporary question—that of urban precarity—from the vantage point of its literary and cinematic figurations. To elaborate such genealogy of our precarious present, we will study films and read literary texts written between the 1850s and the 2000s that allow us to comprehend the major landmarks in a spatial history of precarity. To articulate the relations these works create between their aesthetic logics and the social instabilities to which they give form, /we will place them in critical dialogue with analyses coming from a variety of other disciplines: urban theory and town planning (Le Corbusier, Lefebvre, Harvey, Wright), colonial and post-colonial studies (Fanon, Mbembe), sociology (Wacquant, Bourdieu), critical theory (Balibar, Rancière, Butler, Agamben) and theories of labor (Moullier-Boutang, Castel). Central to our materials and discussions will be the social and figurative tensions between Paris and “its” banlieues, from the 19th century to the present moment. This seminar will be taught in English. Readings will be in French. For a more detailed course description, please click on course title.

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275A: Problems of Literary Theory--Proust, Speech Act Theory, and Language-in-Use

M. Lucey

We will read simultaneously, in somewhat experimental fashion, from three different currents of writing. First, we will read long sections from Proust’s A la recherché du temps perdu (dipping into all seven volumes at one point or another). We will be focusing on sections of the novel that have to do with the exchange of language. Second, we will read widely in and around what is called “Speech Act Theory,” a current within philosophy that has also been taken up in literary and cultural studies. (Readings from some of the following: Austin, Grice, Searle, Quine, Putnam, Hornsby, Langton, Brandom, Butler, Sedgwick.) Finally, we will pursue a set of readings related to the concept of language-in-use as developed in present-day linguistic anthropology. This will include some precursor texts in literary criticism, philosophy, and sociology. (Readings from some of the following: Bakhtin, Bourdieu, Peirce, Goffman, Jakobson, Silverstein, Ochs, Agha.) There is, we will find, a productive friction between the way language and language use are viewed in speech act theory and in linguistic anthropology, and we will be exploring how that friction can help us to see ways in which a novel like Proust’s explores what language is, and what it does when we use it. For a more detailed course description, please click on course title.

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Pedagogical

302: Teaching French in College – Advanced First Year

S. Chavdarian

Provides an understanding of the teaching methods used in French 2, to help instructors effectively implement techniques specifically designed for the French language classroom at Berkeley. This course provides a forum for discussing issues in language pedagogy, and experience in creating and adapting instructional materials and designing tests for use in the UC Berkeley French language program. GSIs are also required to attend a pilot class, taught by Seda Chavdarian, on select dates and as indicated on the lesson plans. For additional course information, please select course title.

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303: Teaching in French, Advanced Level

V. Rodic

Provides an understanding of the teaching methods used in French 3 and 4, to help instructors effectively implement techniques specifically designed for the French language classroom at Berkeley. French 303 provides a forum for discussing issues in language pedagogy, and experience in creating and adapting instructional materials and designing tests for use in the UC Berkeley French language program. For additional course information, please select course title.

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