Demand the Impossible! France in the 1960s

R1B (Section 2) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Fall 2017
Class No: 14699
M. Koerner


Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth

Georges Perec, Things: A Story of the Sixties

Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Jean-Luc Godard Tout Va Bien

Monique Wittig, Les Guérillères

Kristin Ross, May ’68 and Its Afterlives (Recommended)

Course Description:

In this course we will study some of the tumultuous events that occurred in France during the 1960’s beginning with the Algerian War, and later the massive student occupation of universities and the largest labor strike in French history in May ‘68. Situating these events in relation to their broader, post-war, global context – decolonization, the emergence of the “society of the spectacle,” and mass demonstrations against the wars in Algeria and Vietnam – this course offers students an overview of one of the most transformative decades of the twentieth century.

In challenging traditional social norms and existing forms of authority and representation, young people across the globe were calling the society they inherited into question and “demanding the impossible!” Through essays, novels, philosophical texts, manifestos, films and poetry, this course investigates the legacies of these movements as well as the historical narratives that have since come to frame these events.

In connection with our theme, this course fulfills the R&C requirement. Discussions and written work will focuses on the critical analysis of texts, images, and sounds. In addition to gaining skills in literary and rhetorical analysis, students will strengthen their capacities to produce informed responses to materials encountered in class, formulate compelling research questions, and build persuasive arguments. Writing assignments emphasize drafting, revising, and responding to feedback. In addition to reading and class discussion, students should prepare to write frequent discussion board posts, two formal essays (2-3 pages) as well as a final research paper (8-10 pages).

This class will introduce students to approaching textual material critically, and will stress the idea of writing as a process through a variety of assignments and revisions geared to guide the development and clear expression of coherent argumentation.

Additional Information:

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

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes