Class and Gender on the French Stage
Authors include, but are not limited to: Molière; Beaumarchais; Jean Genet. We will watch performances on video, as well as read the texts.
How did the French see class and gender difference performed on the stage? In the theater, after all, where everyone is playing a part, what does it mean that a lowly actress might play the part of a queen? What happens when, onstage, a slave and a master exchange costume and position? What about cross-dressing? How did plays create and negotiate gender roles? How were actors and actesses (who came from the lower classes up until the 20th century), regarded by the public? When was “celebrity” invented? What did it mean to ordinary people in the audience to see actors and characters violate the norms and expectations of class and gender hierarchy? Did theater turn the social world upside down? Did it provide a safety valve to let pent up social pressures escape?
In this class we will study about 5 plays together. We will start with Molière and work our way up to the twentieth century. We will watch performances on video, as well as read the texts. Authors include, but are not limited to: Molière; Beaumarchais; Jean Genet.
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.
Satisfies 1 “Elective” requirement in the French major. Satisfies course requirement in French Minor. This course also satisfies 1 Historical Period Requirement in the French major.
Satisfies College of Letters and Science breadth in Arts and Literature or International Studies. Course may be taken by students concurrently enrolled in French 102.