"This Could All Be Yours Someday" -- Building the Nation through Literature
Imagined Communities – Benedict Anderson
God’s Little Bits of Wood – Ousmane Sembene
Métronome, l’histoire de France au rythme du métro parisien – Lorànt Deutsch
Battle of Algiers
This course will focus broadly on how literature shapes the “nation” and mediates our relationship to it. Using concepts from Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities as a starting point, this class will focus on a variety of texts, principally from traditions of French expession, meant to consider various themes and questions literature helps to answer in creating and sustaining the imaginary of the nation: who belongs to the nation? how should the nation be represented? What is its genesis story? What versions of history should constitute the nation’s shared memory?
Texts will range from Ousmane Sembene’s masterwork God’s Little Bits of Wood, to the recent controversial French history Métronome produced for popular consumption, to de Gaulle’s memorable “Vive le Québec libre!” speech of 1967. Beyond textual readings, students will develop practical skills involved in the research process including searching for secondary sources, notetaking, bibliographical curation, as well as further improving analytic and argumentative writing skills. This course will be oriented toward the development of research skills and the production of two papers.
French R1B fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement in the College of Letters and Science. Class conducted in ENGLISH.