“Strangers in a Strange Land” – The Nation and Belonging

R1B (section 2) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation (Summer Session D -- 6 weeks)
Summer 2021
Class No: 13574
M. Arrigo

Course Description:


Imagined Communities

The Stranger

The Meursault Investigation

The Suns of Independence

A Tempest

The Class (film)


Course Description: 

This course will be oriented toward the development of research skills and the production of two papers. Its theme will focus broadly on how literature shapes the national imaginary and mediates our sense of belonging. 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 expression, 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 Kourouma’a masterwork of disenchantment The Suns of Independence, to Bégaudau’s fictionalized account of his experience as French teacher in a schoolroom in Paris in an evolving France. Beyond textual readings, students will develop practical skills involved in the research process including searching for secondary sources, note taking, bibliographical curation, as well as further improving analytic and argumentative writing skills.

Additional Information:

French R1B fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement in the College of Letters and Science. Class conducted in ENGLISH.