New Feminisms

103B :  Language and Culture
Spring 2021
Class No: 22240
remote; synchronous
E. Colon

Readings:  Excerpts of the texts and films below will be studied throughout the semester. Only one book, marked with an asterisk,* is to be purchased by students at the online bookstore of their choice.

Zahra Ali, Féminismes islamiques
Simone de Beauvoir, Le deuxième sexe
Nina Bouraoui, Garçon Manqué
*Fatima Daas, La petite dernière
Hélène Cixous, « Le rire de la méduse »
Virgine Despentes, King Kong Théorie
Assia Djebar, Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement
Maïmouna Doucouré, Mignonnes
Anne Garréta, Sphinx
Laure Murat, Une révolution sexuelle ? Réflexions sur l’après-Weinstein 
Beatriz Preciado, Testo Junkie
Céline Sciamma, Portrait d’une jeune fille en feu
Françoise Vergès, Pour un féminisme décolonial
Monique Wittig, « La marque du genre », Les guérillères, Le corps lesbien

Course Description:

In this course, 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? What can be the role of art, and theory in the creation of liberating relationships between gender and sexual identity? How have novels and self-writing contributed to elucidate the complex and changing relationships between gender, religion, race, and class? 
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 French #MeToo movement, in particular).


Students must have either previously completed French 102 or its equivalent, or be concurrently enrolled in French 102. For additional placement information please see Placement Guidelines.

Additional information:

Satisfies 1 “Elective” requirement in the French major.  Satisfies 1 course requirement in French Minor.

Course may be taken by students concurrently enrolled in French 102.