Courses available in French

Courses

Il ne faut jamais avoir peur d'aller trop loin car la vérité est au-delà.

—Proust

2019 Fall

Graduate | Pedagogical

Undergraduate

1: Elementary French, first semester

D. Hoffmann 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 -- Fiber Optics: Textile Practice in French Literature and Art

V. Bergstrom

In this course, we will be investigating the place of textile practice in French literature and art. In the first half of the course, we will read texts in which practices of weaving, stitching, knitting and knotting feature prominently. In the visual arts, we will focus on how textile work gets situated within and in exclusion from fine art contexts. Taking full account of the gendered and often racially-charged intersection of “arts and crafts” and fine art (domestic sphere vs. worldly sphere, indigenous practices as aesthetic objects), we will trace the relevance of the fiber arts to representations of female simplicity/complexity and to the material horizons for expression and recognition for women and racialized Others. French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH. For more details, please click on course title.

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R1A, section 3: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- Homeless in the City of Lights

P. Lyons

In this course we will be engaging with poetry, novels, and films that explore different forms of homelessness in Paris ranging historically from the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day. 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 -- Revolutionary Women

T. Sanders

In this course, we will read female writers whose works forcefully articulate the concerns of women during a time of revolution. The iconic Storming of the Bastille took place on July 14, 1789, yet suffrage would not extend to French women until 1944. . In fact, although women played a decisive role in the fall of the Ancien RĂ©gime, the following years saw startling setbacks for women, culminating in the establishment of the Napoleonic Code in 1804, which affirmed and strengthened the legal right of men to control the lives of women. As these events unfolded, a number of remarkable women took to the pen and wrote eloquently to their moment, pleading not only for their own rights, but also for the abolition of slavery. Moreover, they challenged social and literary conventions and intervened thoughtfully in the key political, philosophical, and aesthetic debates that would shape modern Europe. We will explore the literary genres, modes, and movements in which they operated, including the conte philosophique, the sentimental tradition, epistolarity, travel literature, Gothic aesthetics, and Romanticism; and we will reflect critically on their relation to history and politics. 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 -- Social/Form: Representing the Social

T. Blakeney

This course will explore the ways in which various aesthetic forms since the 19th century (novels, documentaries, reality TV) have become spaces for understanding the social world. we will ask how the specificity of the form of these texts abd media makes certain aspects of the social world visible and renders others invisible, and what information about the social world aesthetic forms are able to convey that other modes of understanding the social (statistics, for example) miss. 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 -- “This is the end, beautiful friend:” War as an internal and external battlefield

S. Rogghe

“Spiritual combat is as fierce as the battles of men,” wrote the nineteen-year-old Arthur Rimbaud, having witnessed the Franco-Prussian war up close in 1871. This phrase suggests a correlation between the external side of war and an inner, psychological struggle on the level of both the individual and the collective. Through a variety of literary and theoretical texts, this course will examine the phenomenon of war in its “spiritual” or psychological dimension, reflecting on whether war is an intrinsic part of human civilization, or whether it mirrors a darker aspect within ourselves. French R1B satisfies the second 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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2: Elementary French, second semester

D. Hoffmann 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. For additional details, please click on course title.

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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. For additional details, please click on course title.

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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, written in the years right before the French Revolution. 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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80: The Cultural History of Paris

N. Paige

This class will offer students an in-depth exploration of the urban artifact that is Paris. That is, rather than attending to a selection of events having transpired in Paris over its history, we will be proceeding “forensically,” peeling back what is visible to today’s observer in order to uncover the competing ambitions, economic pressures, and ideologies that have produced one of the most visited cities in the world. Course taught in English; knowledge of French not required. For more details, please click on course title.

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102: Writing in French, 3 sections

R. Shuh; D. Sanyal; É. Colon

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 -- French Colonialism; The Creation of the French Empire

S. Tlatli

L’objectif de ce cours est l’analyse d’un corpus textuel qui expose l’évolution de la question coloniale en France, depuis la création de l’empire, pendant le dix-neuvième siècle, jusqu’aux débats récents du vingt-et-unième siècle sur le post-colonialisme. Sur le plan historique, nous décrirons la naissance de l’empire français ainsi que ses conséquences dans la société et la politique française contemporaine. For additional details, please click on course title.

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117B: Seventeenth-Century Literature -- Molière and his time

D. Blocker

Molière was France’s most prominent comical actor, playwright and stage director during the Classical Age and his plays remain central to the French imaginary to this day. This class provides an introduction to Molière’s works and times. We study a selection of his plays, ranging from his Italianate farces and the comédies-ballets (or musicals) he produced for the Court, to the high-flying social critiques he wrote and staged for his Parisian audiences.  We also explore Molière’s role in the social and political institution of the theater at a time when playwriting and acting were first codified and legitimized. We give particular attention, in this respect, to Molière’s relationship to the Sun King, Louis XIV, and to the ways in which the King’s patronage impacted Molière’s theater. We also enquire into the history of early modern performance, studying both how Molière’s texts were pronounced and acted out, and how they might have been staged, in his time. For additional details, please click on course title.

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121B: Literary Themes, Genres, Structures -- French Theater: From its Founding through the Theater of the Absurd

S. Maslan

Theater differs from all other forms of literature. It emerges from words scratched on paper, but it exists as living speech, as bodily presence, as material spectacle, and as a shared sensorial and emotional experience. In this class, we will study French theater from its founding by the neo-classical dramatists Corneille, Molière, and Racine throughout the great eighteenth-century comic dramatists, and finish with plays from the 1930s and the post-war period that took up the existential crises posed by fascism and war. In addition to reading plays, we will study theaters as physical, built structures that create relations among actors and audience members. We will consider modes of acting as well as the status of actors and of theater troupes. We will ponder the nature of dramatic authorship: are plays necessarily understood as collaborative, or should we focus on the individual creation of the dramatic author? Themes will include relations among the family, power, and the state; gender, sexuality and the stage; the representable and the unrepresentable -- can violence, can religion, be represented on the French stage? For additional details, please click on course title.

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141: French Studies in an International Context -- Francophone Crime Fiction

K. Britto

In recent decades, many postcolonial authors writing in French have produced novels that engage with a variety of sub-genres within the field of crime fiction, including the “hardboiled” detective novel, the roman noir, and the serial killer novel.  What might account for this literary turn toward the dystopian, toward texts constructed around mysteries and often marked by shocking descriptions of extreme violence?  In what ways do the genres of crime fiction allow writers to engage with long and complex colonial and post-colonial histories, and to address issues of social, political, and economic injustice?  How do postcolonial writers push the generic boundaries of crime fiction, and to what ends?  In this class, we will discuss these questions through a consideration of a variety of novels and films with links to France, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean.  A comparative approach will allow us to understand postcolonial texts alongside and against earlier narratives of crime. For additional details, 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. We consider four different levels: the phonology (sounds), the morphology (internal structure of words), the syntax (ordering of elements within the phrase) and the lexis (vocabulary). The course places considerable emphasis not just on the system but also on places where there is variation: we will consider, for example, why the negative particle ne is often dropped in spoken French, why some speakers use on instead of nous and how speakers decide between tu and vous in a given context. We use real linguistic data as much as possible, so you will find yourself analyzing transcripts of conversations, excerpts from films or short scientific texts.   For additional details, please click on course title.

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170: French Films — Introduction to French Cinema

M. Sidhu

This class explores the rich history of French cinema in terms of larger issues in French culture, society, and politics. We will examine some of the major movements in French film style from poetic realism to the Nouvelle Vague. We will also read works of French film theory, which ask how film is a distinctive medium of expression and can take up issues of gender, class, and race. In addition to considerations of film history and theory, this class provides an introduction to the study of the moving image. We will learn how to analyze a film closely through examining how image, sound, and editing work together to produce meaning. For additional details, please click on course title.

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171B: A Concept in French Cultural History -- The French Court under Louis XIV: Myths, Realities, Representations

D. Blocker

This class explores the French court under Louis XIV by confronting historical documents and a number of the most famous literary representations of the court produced in the 17th century with the writings of today’s historians of court culture. We also analyze the representations of the court articulated in three cinematic productions, one of them being a historical reconstruction of a 17th century performance. The class aims to better understand the social and political practices, as well the spiritual beliefs and aesthetic values, which characterized court life, while also inquiring into the various ways in which court culture has been accounted for since the 17th century. For additional details, please click on course title.

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180D: French Civilization -- The contemporary “banlieues” in Literature and Film

É. Colon

In this course, we will focus on French contemporary culture from the vantage point of the Parisian “banlieues,” the spaces of social marginalization and creativity surrounding the historical city-center. Drawing on critical discourses ranging from sociology to architecture, space theory, postcolonial studies and political theory, we will study literary texts, films and photographic works representing the banlieues to investigate a set of complex transitions and phenomena that participate in shaping the French social landscape today. How, indeed, can literature and film help us critically investigate, among other critical issues, the different and sometimes clashing layers of history traversing the banlieues (including the memories of industrial labor, of colonialism, of migrations); the encounter of  the relationships between city-planning, governance, and social unrest; the inscription, onto space, of notions of belonging, citizenship and democracy; the impact of race and gender on movements in space and between spaces? These questions will guide our exploration of the creative gestures, political and aesthetic, that have emerged in the banlieues in the last few decades. Students will be introduced to key notions in literary and film analysis, while being encouraged to relate their analysis of cultural objects to the social history of the banlieues. For additional details, please click on course title.

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183A: Configurations of Crisis -- Perception of Islam in Contemporary France

S. Tlatli

Dans ce cours nous explorerons le rôle de la religion et surtout de l’Islam dans la France contemporaine. Nous analyserons cette question en relation avec la question de l’identité nationale. Peut-on, dans la France contemporaine, être à la fois citoyen français et musulman? A partir de cette question fondamentale, nous discuterons de diverses exemples extraits de l’actualité française: Quel est le rôle de la religion dans la société française contemporaine qui se présente comme laïque?  Quelle part constituent la guerre en Syrie et la radicalisation islamique, dans la perception  française de la population musulmane?  Quel a été l’impact des attaques terroristes de 2015 sur le débat idéologique et politique?  Telles sont certaines des questions dont nous débattrons, en nous fondant sur des évènements historiques précis, mais aussi sur des analyses sociologiques, politiques et littéraires For additional details, please click on course title.

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Graduate

200: Proseminar

D. Sanyal

This course gives new graduate students in French 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. 1 unit.

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205: Translation Theory and Practice

M. McLaughlin

The aim of this seminar is to develop the materials for a set of courses on translation that will serve either as a summer minor in translation or as a graduate certificate in translation. It is anticipated that these courses will be taught in future summers at UC Berkeley. We will source and read materials for courses on Translation Theory, Translation Practice, and a Language-Specific Translation Practicum. You will also have the chance to work on developing elective courses in other areas such as Literary Translation, Community Interpreting, Machine Translation etc. This is not a standard research seminar. Instead, it will prepare you very directly to develop and teach courses in translation, an area that is notoriously under-served in institutions of higher education in North America. For additional details, please click on course title.

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206: Language and Technology

R. Kern

This seminar will explore language as an adaptive cultural practice, focusing on how language forms and use interact with various technological mediations. We will focus on what is currently happening with digitally-mediated language use, but will do so within an historical perspective, starting with the origins of writing.  We will organize our exploration around three themes: 1) Language and technological change: How have the constraints and resources of various media over the history of writing (e.g., clay, stone, papyrus, print, electronic displays) interacted with language forms and language use? 2) Reading, writing, and technological change: How have material technologies of writing and social practices of literacy co-evolved historically? How does the emergence of new discourse practices and new genres in digitally-mediated communication affect our print-era definitions of reading and writing? 3) Education in an electronic age: In the context of digital media, what new interpretation/authoring practices develop, and how do people learn them? How are people socialized into electronic literacy practices and communities? What are the implications for the way knowledge is acquired, shared, and assessed? For additional details, please click on course title.

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211A: Reading and Interpretation of Old French Texts

D. Hult

Introduction to the study of medieval French language and literature of the 12th and 13th centuries. Through a careful analysis and critical interpretation of certain canonical works (La Chanson de Roland; Béroul and Thomas, Tristan; selected lais of Marie de France; selected romans of Chrétien de Troyes; Le Roman de la Rose) we will study Old French language and some main dialects; verse and prose composition; theories of the oral tradition; editorial problems; and the material aspects of the manuscript work (including some work on codicology and paleography). Class will be conducted in English. For additional details, please click on course title.

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250B: Nineteenth Century Literature -- The Nineteenth Century and ways of reading: Literature, social history, hermeneutics

M. Lucey

Pierre Bourdieu once commented that “the physical object that a book is only turns into a social object when it meets its other half, the incorporated half that is the reader or, more exactly, the social subject or the social agent endowed with the dispositions that prompt them to read and that give them the capacity to decipher it.” In this seminar we will be interested both in works as social objects and in the different capacities to decipher them that have developed over time (and that we are developing in ourselves). To that end, we will accompany our reading of nineteenth-century literary texts with a reading of thinkers who write critically about different kinds of interpretative acts (hermeneutical, anti-hermeneutical, and other) and about their histories. (Critical readings by Auerbach, Bourdieu, Chambers, Chartier, Jameson, Johnson, Lukács, Lyon-Caen, Rancière, Skinner, and others.) For additional details, please click on course title.

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265B: Modern Studies -- Arts of the Self

D. Young

What is it to have (or be) a self? How do different media technologies (writing, photography, digital media) generate different forms of selfhood? Is what Freud called the “bodily ego” differently oriented in relation to its written and photographic supports? In the era of networks, algorithms, cognitive behavioral therapy, neuroscience, and neoliberal economics, what is left of the opaque and displaced self described by psychoanalysis? In this course we will examine several historically-situated paradigms of selfhood, also asking how the experience of having a self gives rise to artistic practices in different media. We will read Foucault’s late seminars on governmentality and technologies of the self from antiquity to modernity, as well as Freud (The Ego and the Id) and some of his French commentators. We will then turn to recent work in continental philosophy and science studies on the brain, cognition, and neuroscience, as well as digital media theory (works by Catherine Malabou, Katherine Hayles, Steven Shaviro, Wendy Chun, Mark Hansen). Alongside this theoretical investigation, we will consider the aesthetic investigations of selfhood by authors, artists, and film-makers that might include Agnès Varda, Orlan, Sophie Calle, Roland Barthes, Ming Wong, Tracey Moffatt, Adrian Piper, Narcissister, Cindy Sherman, Lyle Ashton Harris, Ryan Trecartin, and Paul Preciado.  Class discussions in English; all readings available in translation 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. The two-hour weekly meetings consist of a one hour lecture/discussion and a one hour practicum.  GSIs are also required to attend a pilot class, taught by Seda Chavdarian, on select dates and as indicated on the lesson plans. Enrollment in this course is required for GSIs in their first semester of teaching in the French Department. For additional details, please click on course title.

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