Courses available in French

Courses

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

—Fanon

2020 Spring

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 -- The City

V. Bergstrom

In this course, we will be exploring representations of urban space in French and Francophone literature and film. We will be exploring two major movements to remake the city of Paris: the Haussmannian modernization of Paris in the mid-nineteenth century and the response to a housing crisis in the 1950s and 60s. Through novels (Balzac), poetry (Baudelaire), and film (Marker, Varda), we will consider the role culture plays during periods of radical social upheaval, and how these diverse genres marshal their particular resources to represent the process and repercussions of urban change. We will also consider the way features of Parisian architecture and city planning get reproduced in French post/colonial cities. This course is designed to fulfill the first half of the Reading and Composition requirement. The primary goal of this course is to develop students’ reading and writing skills through a series of assignments that will provide them with the opportunity to formulate observations made in class discussions into coherent argumentative essays. Emphasis will be placed on the refinement of effective sentence, paragraph, and thesis formation, keeping in mind the notion of writing as a process. 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 2: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- On the Road: Quests, Trips, and Inner Journeys

S. Rogghe

From errant knights, visionary poets, and compulsive travelers to psychedelic rock musicians, this course will examine the phenomenon of “the journey” throughout various literary representations. More than a linear route from A to B, this course will focus on those journeys that have no set destination, those whose goal is perpetually just beyond reach, or those that wander to the “edge of the night.” Through a close reading of texts ranging from Antiquity to the present, as well as by drawing parallels and making comparisons between these different texts, this course will sharpen critical reading skills as well as promote clear, argumentative writing. For additional details, please click on course title.

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R1B, section 2: English Composition through French Literature in Translation -- Restless Souls

T. Sanders

In the years preceding and especially following the French Revolution of 1789, a new literary figure—the Romantic hero—appeared across Europe. Characterized by acute self-consciousness and introspection, melancholy and world-weariness, and a profound sense of alienation and disenchantment, the emergence of this solitary hero not only constituted a radical break from more classical hero archetypes, it also represented a reaction to new historical realities—and to the social and political upheaval of the period. We will critically examine the development and evolution of this figure in the context of the Revolutionary period, reflecting on the ways in which these authors challenged literary conventions and expressed an oppositional political and cultural agenda through their writing. 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 -- No homo: same-sex sexuality and identity

T. Blakeney

In this course, we will explore forms of same-sex sexuality that do not fall easily under the banner of homosexual or gay identity. Recent years have seen claims of the “pansexual revolution” among millennials, according to which sexual identity categories have come to have less and less meaning. We will start in the current moment, and then go back in time to see the ways in which individuals with same-sex attraction have given a name to their sexuality in a way that does not always fit easily within the homo/hetero binary. The texts we read will be varied, from social media and films to novels and poetry. 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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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, section 1: Freshman Seminar -- Immigration in France: The Arabic Paris

S. Tlatli

This course is designed to give a new perspective on the city of Paris when it is considered through the perspective of its immigration history. It is, as well, an introduction to the history of North African immigration in France in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. We will consider the ways in which the city of Paris has been somehow redefined by its North African immigrant population by examining cultural documents, such as films, music, food and literature. Course taught in ENGLISH. No knowledge of French is needed. For additional details, please click on course title.

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24, section 2: Freshman Seminar -- Surfing the French New Wave

N. Paige

The French New Wave is perhaps the most emblematic moment in modern cinema, one that continues to inspire filmmakers from Los Angeles to Teheran to Hong Kong. This seminar will give students the opportunity to explore a dozen or so movies from this extraordinary flowering of filmmaking talent in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Films discussed include works by Godard, Truffaut, Varda, Rohmer, and Resnais, just to name a few. We will also be reading some important short essays from the period that will help bring the films’ preoccupations into focus. Students will be able to stream subtitled versions of the films on their own schedules. Course taught in ENGLISH. No knowledge of French is needed. Priority enrollment for Freshmen. For additional details, please click on course title.

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40: The French Novel (in Translation) in Historical Context: Les Misérables 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, and have been adapted for radio, for the stage, for television, and for the cinema. The initial publication of each was a momentous event in its own way: Madame Bovary was put on trial as an offense to public decency shortly after it appeared; a huge publicity campaign surrounded the publication of Les Misérables, which appeared while its author was in political exile and was an immediate bestseller. Both novels were, in some ways, reactions of revolt by the authors against the world they saw around them. The differences between the novels are perhaps as remarkable as any similarities there might be. We will study the two novels in parallel, reaching the end of both in the last week of classes. Our goal will be to understand the aesthetic and social ambitions of these two great novels, to read them carefully, and to explore the ways they intervened into their contemporary world. Course conducted in ENGLISH. For a more detailed description, please click on the course title.

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43B: Aspects of French Culture -- Arts of the Border: Refugee Itineraries and Identities

D. Sanyal

This course explores the paths taken by refugees and their accounts of identity and experience at Europe’s borders. Contemporary films, literature and other artistic materials will help us map perilous migrations across land and sea into Europe. We will pay particular attention to how borders keep out, contain, detain and deport illegalized bodies, but also how these borders are negotiated, resisted or evaded by migrants. We’ll pay attention to the forms of identity that emerge or are put into crisis by surveillance, clandestine passage, detention, encampment, deportation or asylum. We’ll also consider the importance of “storytelling” for organizing histories and selves in ways that are audible and visible to the state. Course conducted in ENGLISH. For additional details, please click on course title.

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102: Reading and Writing Skills in French (3 sections)

D. Blocker, V. Rodic, M. McLaughlin

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 details, please click on course title.

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112A: Medieval French Literature

D. Hult

The subject of this course is the most creative period of medieval literature, in which the epic still flourished but courtliness and the romance were born. Among the topics will be oral tradition, the chanson de geste, the troubadours of southern France and the rise of courtliness, the women troubadours, the values of courtly society, the invention of romantic love, adultery and faithfulness, the transmission of Celtic themes in the matière de Bretagne, the legends of King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere, Tristan and Iseut, as well as medieval manuscripts (including a session viewing manuscripts in the Bancroft Library). Most of the texts will be read in modern French, but instruction in the Old French language will be an important component of the class and key passages will be read in their original linguistic form. For additional information please click on the course title.

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120A: Twentieth-Century Literature -- Guerres, Révoltes, Littératures. Minuit dans le 20ème siècle.

E. Colon

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

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126: Senior Seminar -- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

S. Maslan

Jean-Jacques Rousseau is perhaps the most controversial and contradictory figure in the history of French literature and culture. The father of Romanticism, he was also the most rigorous political analyst of the Enlightenment. He posed the most fundamental and radical questions: why is there inequality among human beings? How can states and societies be ordered so that people are free and equal? Why do some command and some obey? What is the self and how is it formed? How should children be educated? These questions, along with the life and personality of Rousseau, inspired the French revolutionaries. Was he a crank? Was he the original theorist of totalitarianism, as some have claimed, was he the founder of modern democracy, as others have argued? Our seminar will be devoted to exploring these questions and more as we study one of the greatest writers and thinkers in the French tradition. For additional information please click on the course title.

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139: Creative Writing in French -- “Spaces of Memory”

R. Shuh

Borrowing from historian Pierre Nora’s idea of “lieux de mémoire” (privileged spaces for the construction of collective memory), we will undertake a creative exploration of writing our individual inventory of spaces of memory. Just as Nora’s way of looking at French history works from the meaning of spaces, broadly conceived, we will bypass chronological narrative and the autobiographical storyline in order to engage in a kind of individual mapmaking. The exploration of spaces of memory will take us through elements of the creative writing process and we will work on the craft of writing via pastiche, targeted exercises, free writing, rewriting and editing. Students will engage in a practice of daily composition to gain fluency and ease in writing creatively in French. Collaborative activities will include discussing drafts with other students. At the end of the semester, students will assemble a collection of their “lieux de mémoire” and contribute to a class anthology. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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148: Translation Methodology and Practice

M. Mclaughlin

This course brings together aspects of translation theory and translation methodology in order to develop our skills as translators. During the course we will translate both from French into English and from English into French, paying particular attention to the linguistic differences between the two languages that pose problems for translators. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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150B: Women in French Literature -- The Arts of Gender (1949-2019)

E. Colon

In this course, we will attend to the sustained conversation that has taken place, from the postwar period onward, between the successive waves of feminisms, the theorization of gender, and aesthetic/cultural production. We will read key texts in feminist theory and queer studies, study novels and autobiography, and analyze films, videos and songs by well-known French and Francophone critiques, writers, filmmakers and artists to explore how literature and film have intervened in the debates, questions and struggles that have participated in shaping the way “gender differences” and “gender inequalities” are approached today. The texts and films studied will be placed in dialogue with feminist theory and queer critique within their social context of emergence (the post-war period, decolonization, the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, islamophobia in postcolonial France, the migrant crisis, in particular). Comparisons between the French/Francophone contexts and other cultural areas will be encouraged. For additional details, please click on course title.

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161A: A Year in French History -- 1962: Algeria and France

S. Tlatli

Dans ce cours, nous explorerons en profondeur l’importance de la guerre d’Algérie (1954-1962) de manière à établir cette guerre dans son continuum historique: dans l’histoire de la colonisation française. Nous analyserons donc toutes les péripéties de cette guerre qui ont donné lieu à de grandes transformations de la vie politique française, tel le passage de la quatrième à la cinquième république: un changement de gouvernement. Nous analyserons l’impact de cette guerre sur des écrivains majeurs tels que Feraoun, Dib et Camus. Dans un deuxième moment, nous analyserons les répercussions de la guerre d’Algérie comme une clé pour interpréter la société et la politique française contemporaine. La question thématique que nous explorerons est celle de la continuité entre le passé colonial de la France et la vie politique contemporaine. For a more detailed course description, please click on title.

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Graduate

C203: Comparative Studies in Romance Literatures and Cultures -- The Learned Academies of Early Modern France, Italy and Spain and the Emergence of New Understandings of Language and Literature (1500-1800).

D. Blocker

In this seminar, we will investigate the social, political and institutional history several of the most important of these academic institutions by reading both primary and secondary sources, with the aim of better understanding both their social practices and their intellectual productions. In the process, students will be introduced to the study of rare books and manuscripts produced within these institutions. In particular, we will ask how examining the materiality of these academic productions could help us better understand why and how linguistics and literary criticism began to emerge in the early modern period. We will also discuss the question of the extent to which the discursive practices and scholarly paradigms originally developed within early modern academies might continue to shape linguistic, literary and cultural studies to this day. This seminar is designed for graduate students in the Romance Languages and Literatures (RLL) doctoral program. It is however also suitable for students in the D. E. in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (REMS), especially those interested in social history, the history of the book and manuscript studies, literary history, the history of science and the history of ideas. For additional details, please click on course title.

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

D. Hult

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. For a more detailed description, please click on course title.

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245A: Early Modern Studies -- Early Modern Affect: From Passion to Sensibility

N. Paige

If the “affective” turn in the humanities can be seen (in part) as a reaction against conceptions of the aesthetic predicated on the disinterestedness of the ideal consumer of art, it’s also true that the disinterestedness associated with Kant was itself a turn away from a previously dominant understanding of art as precisely a cultivation of interest — with “interest” long meaning not mere curiosity but rather something on the order of heightened emotional involvement. This seminar takes as its subject early modern literature’s varying role in the production and regulation of emotion in its audience. Since we will be ranging over two centuries, one question we will return to is the extent to which we can separate Classical “passion” from Enlightenment “sensibility,” and how such a transition (if it exists) maps onto socio-political formations (court society, bourgeois domesticity) and contributes to the advent of a properly modern aesthetics. We’ll be reading widely in the history of emotions and aesthetics, and tackling the following texts: Corneille, Horace; Molière, Le Misanthrope; Racine, Bérénice; Lafayette, La Princesse de Clèves; Diderot, Le fils naturel and La Religieuse; Rousseau, Julie; Laclos, Les liaisons dangereuses.

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251: Francophone Literature -- Rewriting the Hexagon: Metropolitan Reflections in Francophone Literature

K. Britto

For almost a century, francophone writers have been concerned with the various cultural, political, and economic dynamics that shape the experiences of colonial and postcolonial subjects who travel into and out of France. In this seminar, we will read and discuss several texts, dating from the 1930s onward, that foreground movement to (and from) the metropole. Over the course of the semester, we will consider a number of interrelated questions: how do these texts reflect the profound psychic ruptures and geographic displacements that shape colonial and postcolonial subjectivity? What sorts of challenges do they pose to narratives of French national and cultural identity? How do they transform concepts of “home” and “nation,” “citizen” and “foreigner,” “French” and “francophone”? What forms of agency (or lack thereof) underlie these metropolitan itineraries? How do the terms within which travel to France is imagined shift over time? For additional information, please click on course title.

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274: Traditions of Critical Thought -- Literature and Anthropology

S. Tlatli

The literary genre can often be considered from an anthropological point of view, whereas anthropological texts can very well be perceived through their literary mode of writing. In this seminar, we will seek to understand the blurring of distinctions between these two disciplines, that of literature and anthropology. This seminar is divided into two parts. In a first moment, we will devote our analysis to twentieth-century France, by exploring the dialog between anthropological knowledge and literary writing. This dialog is best exemplified in the works of Michel Leiris, Georges Bataille and Levy-Strauss. We will consider the meaning of notions such as sacrifice, religion, ritual and community, through an analysis of these author’s main body of work. In the second part of the seminar, we will turn toward the analysis of the relationship between literature and anthropology in post-colonial studies. Taking as a point of departure works by Edward Said and Achille Mbembé, we will analyze in depth conceptual terms such as exoticism, orientalism and otherness when they relate to the understanding of colonial and post-colonial societies For additional information, please click on course title.

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Pedagogical

302: Teaching French in College – Advanced First Year

R. Kern

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 Daniel Hoffmann, on select dates and as indicated on the lesson plans. For additional details, please click on 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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