Courses available in French

Courses

La poétique de la durée s'efforce d'apaiser l'hier fiévreux, de tramer ce lointain devenir.

—Glissant

2019 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 & R1B: English Composition through French Literature in Translation

the staff

Course information and schedules for French R1A and R1B forthcoming -- please check back!

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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

M. Sidhu

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 information, please click on course title.

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14: Advanced Conversation

M. Sidhu

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

M. Arrigo

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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40: The French Novel (in Translation) in Historical Context: Les Miserables and Madame Bovary

M. Lucey

Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1856-1857) and Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables (1862), published only a few years apart, have both had a huge impact on readers and writers around the world, We will study the two novels in parallel, examining how the techniques used in the two novels help determine their belonging to two different literary families. We will also investigate the way these two novels deal with a number of issues that are pressing in our own time: the consequences of income disparity, prison reform and police violence, sexual violence against women, and the aspirations of women for a variety of kinds of social and sexual freedom, questions about how best to achieve social reform, questions about the place of art and literature in the world, and questions about what a more just world might look like. Course conducted in ENGLISH. For a more detailed description, please click on the course title.

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43B: Aspects of French Culture -- Paris: A Historical Anatomy of the World's Most Romantic City

N. Paige

This class will offer students an in-depth exploration of the urban artifact that is Paris. The visible features of the City of Lights will be approached “forensically,” as we peek beneath the glamour to reveal the economic, demographic, and ideological pressures that have produced the most visited city in the world. We will be looking at photos, films, and paintings, and reading some literary works (usually in excerpt). Primary as well as secondary historical sources will be studied. And the course will include a data science module that will give a hands-on statistical look at the city and its history (no coding experience necessary). Course taught in English; knowledge of French not required. For additional information please click on the course title.

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102: Writing in French, 2 sections

D. Blocker, V. Rodic

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 -- Class and Gender on the French Stage

S. Maslan

How did the French see class and gender difference performed on the stage? In the theater, after all, everyone is playing a part, what does it mean that a lowly actress might play the part of a queen? What happens when, onstage, a slave and a master exchange costume and position? We will study about 5 plays together; we will start with Molière and work our way up to the twentieth century. We will watch performances on video, as well as read the texts. For additional information, please click on course title.

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112A: Medieval French Literature -- Continuity and Change in Thirteenth-Century French Literature

D. Hult

For additional information please click on the course title.

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120B: Twentieth Century Literature -- L’écriture à l’état d’urgence: Appels, manifestes et discours du 20ème et du 21ème siècle.

E. Colon

Dans ce cours, nous retracerons l’histoire de la littérature et de la culture française et francophone à partir d’un mode d’écriture particulier, le mode manifestaire, à travers lequel écrivain.e.s et intellectuel.le.s ont défini les mouvements littéraires majeurs de la modernité (Dadaïsme, Surréalisme, Nouveau Roman, Situationnisme, Négritude…) et sont intervenus face aux questions les plus critiques de leur temps. Nous verrons aussi ce qu’il reste du manifeste littéraire à l’époque contemporaine, alors que le mot et la notion même d’avant-garde ont eu tendance à s’effacer. For additional information, please click on the course title.

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124A: Modern Theatre

S. Guerlac

In this class we will examine French theatre in the 20th  and 21st centuries. We will study various movements -- theatre of the absurd, avant-garde theatre,  engaged theatre,  as well as various sites of performance --  different types of theatrical spaces -- from the Comédie Française to  the Festival at Avignon and its various theatres large and small.  We will consider how film and social media have both challenged theatre as an institution and have nourished it, as well as  ways in which theatre is deployed to  engage with social issues. For additional information please click on the course title.

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126: Senior Seminar -- Victor Hugo: Writer and Activist

S. Guerlac

Victor Hugo has a lot to teach us about engaging passionately and uncompromisingly with the world around us both as artists and as activists. In this seminar we will study Hugo’s literary works (prose, drama, and poetry) in relation to his evolving social concerns and the changes underway in French culture.   Senior standing recommended, but not required. For additional information please click on the course title.

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138: French for Teaching and Related Careers -- Second Language Acquisition in French

R. Kern

This course will introduce students to the field of second language acquisition, with a specific focus on the learning and teaching of French. We will study theoretical models of second language acquisition, as well as a variety of approaches to the teaching of French as a foreign language. Students will learn how to observe and analyze teaching and learning, and will get practice in preparing and teaching a micro-lesson. For additional information, please click on course title.

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151A: Francophone Literature -- Francophone Journeys

K. Britto

In this course, we will read a number of texts produced by writers with ties to the Caribbean, West Africa, and North Africa, as well as to France. Each of these texts stages a journey of some kind—one-way or round trip, real or imagined, in or out of various colonial, postcolonial, and metropolitan locations. As we discuss these narratives of displacement, we will pay particular attention to the dynamics of power that structure the movement of colonial and postcolonial subjects, as well as the coming into contact of different cultures, languages, religions, and histories. For additional information please click on the course title.

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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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172A: Literature and Psychoanalysis -- The Surrealist Movement in Literature, Painting and Films

S. Tlatli

This course will discuss the artistic, political and literary aspects of French and international Surrealism from its first expression in the early 1920’s to the aftermath of the Second World War. We will consider all the artistic components of this avant-garde movement. Our material will include textual sources such as prose, poetry and manifestos, but also films, photographs and paintings by Salvador Dali, Chirico, Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp. For additional information please click on the course title.

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177A: History and Criticism of Film -- Sex, Gender, and Desire

D. Young

In this course, we will examine the historical contexts, politics, and aesthetics of French cinema’s century-long problematization of sex, gender, and desire. Our (mandatory) weekly film viewings will be accompanied by readings of both theoretical and literary texts. No prior experience with film analysis is necessary. Please note: the course touches on topics of a potentially sensitive nature and includes some sexually explicit materials, including scenes of (fictional) sexual violence. Indeed, one of our key questions is why images and narratives of transgression have played such a key role in French literature and cinema, and we will also ask how and why French film-makers in the 21st century have veered in the direction of an explicit treatment of non-normative sex, from Catherine Breillat’s Romance (1999) to Abdellatif Kechiche’s La Vie d’Adèle (2013) and Alan Guidaudie’s L’inconnu du lac (2013). For additional information please click on the course title.

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183B: Configurations of Crisis -- L'Occupation nazie à travers la littérature et le cinéma

D. Sanyal

An inquiry into the history and memory of occupied France through a range of cultural production: novels, essays, poetry, theatre and cinema. We will focus on representations of the Occupation; the literature of Resistance; art under Nazi censorship; Vichy France and collaboration; war and the colonies; anti-Semitism, deportation and the Holocaust. Our explorations will seek to understand why France continues to be haunted by this “past that refuses to pass.” For additional information, please click on the course title.

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Graduate

210A: Studies in Medieval Literature -- The Romance of the Rose and the Tradition of Medieval Allegory

D. Hult

This course will combine a detailed reading of the Roman de la Rose and its critical heritage with a study of the medieval tradition of allegorical writing. Annex texts will include those written by some of the great predecessors of Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, including selections from Saint Augustine, Macrobius, Boethius and Alain de Lille. The latter few weeks of the course will concentrate on extended passages from the fourteenth-century Ovide moralisé, which not only illustrates the move to translation in the later Middle Ages, but also exemplifies a type of exegetical reading, issuing from the theological tradition, applied to a manifestly secular (and frankly immoral) text, Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Additional topics will include the rhetorical mode of personification, verbal and visual modes of allegorical representation, Biblical exegesis, and symbol vs. allegory. Work for the course will include a class presentation and a substantial research paper or alternate written assignment. Class will be conducted in English and no knowledge of medieval French is presupposed, though reading knowledge of modern French will be helpful, as the Rose will be read in a dual-language edition, with facing page Old French and modern French translation. Since the class will center on close readings, a certain amount of class time will be reserved for discussion of linguistic and translation issues.

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251: Francophone Literature -- Fictional Writings of History in Post-Colonial Maghribi Literature

S. Tlatli

In this seminar, we will first explore the various meanings of writing History from a fictional point of view. According to this perspective, we will explore literary works by Assia Djebar, Kateb Yacine and Tahar Djaout. On a theoretical level, we will analyze essays by Michel de Certeau, Jacques Rancière and Ibn Khaldun. In the second part of the seminar, we will analyze the contemporary transformations that have affected the Muslim world, and more specifically the Maghreb, in its relation to death, violence and sacrifice in post-colonial times. To explore these questions, we will read essays by Freud, Walter Benjamin, Judith Butler, Achille Mbembé, Talal Asad and Veena Das. The course is taught in French, and discussions will be held in English, or French.

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274: Traditions of Critical Thought -- French Theories and their Aftermaths

E. Colon

In this course, students will be introduced to the theoretical problems that have emerged in France in the wake of “French Theory.” We will consider the extent to which the questions and epistemological methods of structuralism, post-structuralism and deconstruction have been reshaped through the political urgencies of the 1980s and 1990s, in particular the emergence of neo-liberalism and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Seminars will conducted in English. Readings in French. For additional information, please click on course title.

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281: Interdisciplinary Topics in Literary and Cultural Studies -- The Politics of Representational Pleasures: Early Modern Court and City Spectacles of Theater, Music and Dance in Comparative Perspective (1600-1800, and in their modern-day receptions and performances).

D. Blocker

This seminar will comparatively investigate the social and political uses of early modern court and city spectacles of theater, music and dance over a 200-year period (1600-1800), both through the contextualized study of early modern documents and in a number of modern-day performances of eight works. This thoroughly interdisciplinary seminar — originally designed with REMS students in mind, but also more than suitable for RLL students, as well as graduate students in French, Italian Studies, English, German, Music and Performance Studies — will have three main learning goals : 1) initiate students to the contextualized analysis of early modern court and city performances, in their various social, political, institutional and economic contexts ; 2) train participants in the production history and analysis of contemporary performances of early modern spectacles, in the context of the current wave of Baroque revival productions (including through a live production of Shakespeare’s Julius Cesar by Le Théâtre National de Bretagne, to be given at Cal Performances on April 26-28 : http://calperformances.org/performances/2018-19/theater/theatre-national-de-bretagne-julius-caesar-by-william-shakespeare.php, which the class will collectively attend in the last week of the semester) ; 3) develop in all participants the necessary skills and confidence to enjoy, interpret and historicize early modern spectacles comparatively, in five closely interrelated geographic areas across early modern Europe (Italy, England, France, Prussia and modern day Germany, as well as the Austro-Hungarian Empire). The works studied (please see detailed list given above) will be examined in class in the language(s) they were originally produced in. But current English translations exist for all of the works to be investigated and will be made available to students via the seminar’s Courses site. Thus, no other language than English is needed to take this seminar,

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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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