Strange Contemporaries -- Interrograting the Present in the Contemporary Novel

R1A (Section 3) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Spring 2019
M. Evans


Annie Ernaux – The Years
Mathias Enard – Street of Thieves
Antoine Volodine – Bardo or not Bardo
Renee Gladman – Event Factory
Davi Kopenawa – The Falling Sky
Abdourahman Waberi – Transit
Selected Poetry by Juliana Spahr, Cole Swensen, and Susan Howe

Films by Jem Cohen, Sylvain George, Kelly Reichardt, and Agnes Varda.

Students can also expect to read a number of short texts from various corners of the humanities and social sciences that introduce the interdisciplinary problematics of defining the contemporary. Authors will include: Marc Augé, Pascale Casanova, Michel Foucault, Edouard Glissant, Bruno Latour, Peter Osborne, Georges Perec, Paul Rabinow, Hito Steyerl, and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro.

Course Description:

How is it we come to know the contemporary world? What makes our now distinct from the world or worlds of yesterday? What ways of thinking, modes of studying, manners of living together or in conflict with one another reflect whatever it is we recognize as today’s reality? And how is it we come to accept or resist it? In this course we’ll look at a series of recent novels and films that reflect these questions: texts that probe the distinctions (economic, gendered, racial, religious, linguistic, and aesthetic) that make our experience of the world at times legible, at others obscure. Our focus will primarily fall on French works in translation, we will however consider a number of English language texts, with an open mind to what relevance of categories such as national languages, translation, and genre bear in today’s world.

Additional Information:

French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes