Precarity / Care / Security

270A :  Literary Criticism: Recent Work in French
Spring 2021
Class No: 30371
remote; synchronous
É. Colon


List of works (subject to minor modifications)

Critical and theoretical works (excerpts) by Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, Alexandre Gefen, Franz Fanon, Michel Foucault, Nancy Fraser, Hi‘ilei Hobart & Tamara Kneese, Sandra Laugier, Caroline Merchand, Achille Mbembé, Precarias a la Deriva, Fréderic Worms, Joan Tronto, Caroline Yusoff.

Films by Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne (Rosetta), Mati Diop (Atlantique), Djibril Diop Mambéty (La petite vendeuse de soleil), Céline Sciamma (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu)

Literary texts (mostly excerpts) by Paul B Preciado (Testo Junkie) ; Patrick Chamoiseau (Texaco), Hervé Guibert (À l’ami qui ne m’a pas sauvé la vie or Le protocole compassionnel), Philippe Lançon (Le Lambeau), Antoine Volodine (Le post-exotisme en dix leçons, leçon onze)


Course Description:

In this seminar, we will explore how thinkers, writers, and filmmakers of these last two decades have thematically and formally engaged with the intricate interactions between precarity, care, and security. We will historicize and conceptualize these notions, retrace their recent emergence in critical discourses, and think through the differentiated experiences and practices they seek to describe. We will attend to aesthetic works that complicate both the theoretical frameworks used to delineate these terms and the discourses and measures through which they get socially activated, regulated, or dysregulated. The precarization of labor in the post-Fordist era, the “universalization of precarity” after 9-11, the neo-liberal privatization of care, the “humanitarian” repression of migrant bodies, the racializing weaponization of security for instance, will be among the contexts defined to account for how recent literature, film and critical discourses have responded to the social dys/regulations of the relationships between precarity, care, and security in the French and Francophone contexts. As we read texts and analyze films, we will ground our investigation in six figurative spaces: the post/colony, the prison, the hospital, the border, home (as an ecological and a domestic construct), and the body. Students will be encouraged to explore, should they want to do so, non-traditional forms of writing (especially auto-theory and creative non-fiction), instead or in addition to the usual academic essays. Readings in French. Seminar in English.