"This Could All Be Yours Someday" -- Building the Nation through Literature

R1B (Section 1) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Spring 2018
Class No: 24378
M. Arrigo


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

Course Reader

Course Description:

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.

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.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes