Courses available in French




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


The full list of materials studied with be provided to students at the beginning of the semester. Theorists, writers, filmmakers and artists will likely include: Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras, Julia Kristeva, Jean-Luc Godard, Monique Wittig, Djibril Diop Mambéty, Anne Garréta, Nina Bouraoui, Nacira Guénif-Souilamas, Christine and the Queens, Virginie Despentes, Paul Preciado, Céline Sciamma.

Course Description:

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.

Throughout the semester, we will work through the following questions: what is the function of language in general, and literary language in particular, in the naturalization of categories such as the feminine, or femininity? How can we think through literature and film’s capacity to interrupt or reproduce, to weaken or reinforce, gender roles and representations? Under which conditions are (literary) language and (cinematic) images reifying gender? How have novels and self-writing contributed to elucidate the complex and changing relationships between gender, race and class? How can art be used as a site of untheorized gender experimentations? 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.


French 102 or equivalent.

Additional Information:

Satisfies 1 “Culture” or 1 “Elective” course requirement in the French Major.  Satisfies 1 course requirement in French minor.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes