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Spring 2020 - Course Descriptions

French 71110 :  Problems in French Literary History (taught in French)   
 Professor Ali Nematollahy           
Tuesday, 10am-12pm    (mandatory for first-year students of French), 4 Credits.
 
 
French 87000 :  On Affect (Passion, Sentiment, Emotion): In Theory, History, Texts      
 Professor Domna Stanton            
Tuesday, 4:15pm-6:15pm, 2 or 4 Credits.

How are passions and emotions different from affects? How do bodies perform passions, sensibility, feelings, emotions and affects? What do affects do and how do they do it? How are they shaped by their contexts?  What is the meaning and significance of the “affective turn”?  Does it mark a rejection of the idea(l) of rational self-control? How is this turn connected to studies of women (and the feminine) and to work on gender and racial embodiments and sexualities? 
This course will be structured around three areas: first, theories of affect and in tandem, a study of the cultural politics and ethics of specific affects, including anger, disgust, shame, compassion and happiness. Which emotions mobilize spectators/readers into collectives/communities. Are passions both a source and an obstacle to struggles for freedom and justice? How do they include and exclude? Among the theorists: Ahmed, Artaud, Berlant, Clough,  Cvetkovich, Deleuze and Guattari, Ghandi, M. Hardt, A. Lorde, Massumi, Scheer, Sedgwick, Stewart, M. Warner.
Second, we will grapple with the treatment of passions and emotions through history, especially in philosophy: from Aristotle and Cicero, Descartes, Pascal, Lebrun, Spinoza, and Kant to Darwin, W. James, Freud, Klein, and R. Williams. 
And third, in conjunction with this philosophical and historical work, we will read texts (verbal, visual and musical) to see how they inscribe emotional content and how they generate affective responses from readers even when their semantics and narratives do not depict strong emotions. Is feeling as a response to cultural forms different from a human emotion? We will consider the cultural politics of emotion in the work of  Margerie of Kempe, Montaigne,  Gentileschi (Portraits of Judith) , Racine (Phedre),  Goethe (Sorrows of Young Werther), Wagner (“Leibestod”) , H. Jacobs (Life of a Slave Girl), H. James (Beast in the Jungle),  Woolf  (Mrs. Dalloway) , A. Nin (“Incest” Diary),  Lanzman ( Shoah),  Beckett (Happy Days), C. Churchill  (Far Away) , Irigaray (“When our Lips Speak Together”), Morrison (Beloved),  Darwish (Poems),  Labaki ( Capernaum), Moore (Watchman, 2019).
The syllabus will be uploaded onto Blackboard by the beginning of the spring semester; all course materials will be on blackboard, except for one or two complete texts which will be indicated on the syllabus.

Work for the course: Whether the course is taken for 2, 3, or 4 credits, all students will be responsible for doing the assigned texts closely and for engaging consistently in class discussion.

a, Students who take the course for 2 credits will present in class a reading of one primary text, which will also be submitted in writing (c 5-7 pp); these students will also take the final exam.

b, Students who take the course for 3 credits, will do all of the above, but instead of the 5-7 page paper, they will do a 10-13-page paper on a topic they select, after consultation with the instructor. They will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography, an outline and the introduction (the schedule will be indicated on the syllabus).
c, Students who take the course for 4 credits will do all of the above, but instead of a 10-13 page paper, they will do a 20-25-page paper on a topic they select, after consultation with the instructor. They will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography, an outline, and an introduction (the schedule will be indicated on the syllabus).
Please contact Domna Stanton with any questions (dstanton112@yahoo.com).  

 
French 71000 :  Espaces, exclusions, identités de la fin du Moyen Âge jusqu’au XVIe siècle (taught in French)  
Professor Francesca Sautman     
Wednesday, 6:30pm-8:30pm,  2 or 4 Credits.
Comment, entre la fin du Moyen Age et la Renaissance, les communautés et les individus qui en émanaient ou disaient les représenter, articulaient-ils les notions d’espace et d’identité au sein de l’écriture, provoquant des tensions avec les limites imposées par les contextes socio-politiques et avec d’autres référents expérientiels—ceux du genre [gender] par exemple ?
Parmi de nombreuses articulations possibles, certaines soulignent combien la conscience du soi, impliqué dans des identités historiquement précises ou dans les exclusions qui en dérivent (pour fait de religion, entre autres), est intimement reliée à la conscience des espaces (naturels, intérieurs) ou de lieux (quartiers, villes, régions, pays—soit eaux, mers, forêts, élévations, jardins…) et au poids qui leur est accordé dans ces écrits.
Ce sont les questions essentielles abordées par ce cours.
Dans sa Recepte véritable de 1563, le céramiste et savant autodidacte Bernard Palissy écrivait que le bois massacré par la coupe hâtive devrait crier d’être ainsi meurtri, se ressentant charnellement de sévices infligés par les exploiteurs humains, et de même, que la terre constamment maltraitée devrait se révolter contre ses meurtriers.
Cette vision de la nature, menacée, mutilée, souffrante et devant être protégée, était sans aucun doute originale et ne cesse de surprendre aujourd’hui— Palissy était pourtant aussi de son temps à bien des égards et en particulier, par une vision de la nature et de l’environnement rattachée à son identité de Protestant fidèle et persécuté.  
Le cheminement vers une telle pensée ne s’est pas effectué soudain, ni, à plus forte raison, le développement d’une perspective envers espaces et lieux marqués par une histoire individuelle ou collective, indissociables d’intégrations ou d’exclusions identitaires : lentement, et par des détours en eux-mêmes passionnants, ces idées ont pris forme depuis le Moyen Age.
Un texte comme la description du jardin dans la première partie du Roman de la Rose, celle de Guillaume de Lorris, situe bien la problématique de ce cours : évocation du lieu idéal, à la fois allégorique et poétique, son enjeu est de mettre en place un système d’adhésions et d’exclusions rigides—jeunesse-vieillesse, richesse-pauvreté—à travers une codification de l’ordre social entier où manque de pouvoir égale négativité morale. Autre exemple : Le Jeu de la Feuillée d’Adam de la Halle, œuvre majeure du théâtre ancien, déjà innovatrice, où la notion médiévale de congé poétique, marquant le seuil d’une séparation dramatique (comme la séquestration pour cause de maladie) est contiguë à l’évocation de lieux familiers et étranges et de multiples formes d’altérité sociale. Avec Villon, on tourne le dos à la nature, et l’espace est nettement urbain, marqué par des lieux précis, historiques ou métaphoriques, mais bel et bien occupés par les identités de la marge. Avec Marguerite de Navarre, nous considérons la violence des espaces intérieurs, leurs liens aux affects et à une nature reconnue mais hostile, et comment ils formulent une identité à la fois personnelle et communautaire.
Le cours vous propose donc d’explorer cette pensée de l’espace/identité, ses écarts et ses tendances, ses théories, ses avancées, ses manques et ses contradictions, depuis le Moyen Age central jusqu’à la fin du 16e siècle, à travers une douzaine de textes tant littéraires que polémiques ou didactiques.
Textes étudiés : Chrétien de Troyes ( ?1130-1194), Perceval ou le conte du Graal ; Guillaume de Lorris (c. 1200-c. 1240), Roman de la Rose 1, introduction ; Adam de la Halle, Le Jeu de la Feuillée (entre 1285 et 1288) ; Christine de Pizan (1364-c. 1430) Le Livre de la Mutacion de Fortune (sections) ; François Villon (1431-c. 1463), Le Testament ; Clément Marot (1496-1544), L’ Enfer ; Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549) Miroir de l’âme pècheresse ; Bernard Palissy (1510-c. 1590) Recepte véritable par laquelle tous les hommes de la France pourront apprendre à multiplier et augmenter leurs thrésors; Guillaume Postel (1510-1581) L’Histoire memorable des expéditions depuys le deluge faictes par les Gauloys ;  Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), sections du Journal de Voyage, et deux essais, « De l’Exercitation » et « Des Cannibales »; Agrippa d’Aubigné (1552-1630), sections du Livre I des Tragiques.
La durée d’un semestre limitant le choix de textes possibles, les textes principaux seront encadrés de manière à vous fournir un contexte plus vaste, par les lectures critiques, notes de préparation des cours, outils bibliographiques et documents visuels.
L’approche aux textes est fondée à la fois sur 1) les travaux critiques récents d’écocritique, d’études du concept de nation et des faits de colonisation, et sur la formation de la conscience de soi au Moyen Age et à la Renaissance; 2)  et sur un ensemble de textes théoriques et philosophiques modernes, dont Jane Bennett (« vibrant matter ») ; Patrick Boucheron (histoire globale et comparée), George Didi-Huberman (culture visuelle, identités, mémoire de la souffrance), Michel de Certeau (histoire et délégitimiser le pouvoir) ; Maurice Merleau-Ponty (perception, affect, environnement) et Emmanuel Levinas (éthique, nature, environnement).
Travail requis : pour 4 crédits, devoir écrit de mi-trimestre ; une préparation orale (à préciser en fonction du nombre d’inscrits dans le cours) ; un travail de recherche final substantiel, 25 pages environ. Participation : en classe et aussi électronique, « blog » à travers le site Blackboard du cours ; vous serez invité-e-s à y partager avec les autres membres du cours vos réactions, des idées sur les discussions du cours ainsi que des détails sur votre propre projet (vous avez le choix de ce que vous voulez bien mettre en ligne pour la classe).
2 crédits : un midterm (version courte), et soit une préparation orale, soit un 2e devoir écrit court,
Students outside the French Program on a 3-credit system ­ their own program: see 4 credits, but final paper can be 15 to 10 pages, and blog is optional.
Students outside of the French Program: students in programs other than French are welcome in the course but must be able to do most (not all) of their readings in French and follow class presentations and discussions in French. They may, however, do all their work (including oral presentations and interventions in class conversations) in English.
A pre-syllabus (course work details, class meeting topics and main readings, some bibliographical tools) should be available by the end of the Fall semester so that you can read during January. Please check Blackboard site for early postings.

 
French 75000 : Boys to Men: Virility in Nineteenth-Century France (taught in French)     
 Professor Rachel Corkle  
Tuesday, 6:30pm-8:30pm,  2 or 4 Credits.

 In this class we will examine the nineteenth-century French novel through the lens of gender and masculinity studies and what it means in nineteenth-century France to “become a man”. We will begin by looking at models of virility inherited from Rousseau and his libertine rivals and contemporaries and the earliest nineteenth-century Romantic manifestations of these models. We will then look at novels written during the July monarchy whose heroes, haunted by the generations before them who had asserted their manhood in Revolution and war, struggle to be all that men should be. In the second half of the semester we will look at historical novels that see their heroes prove their virility (or fail to do so) on the battlefield. Students in this seminar will gain familiarity with major movements in the nineteenth-century French novel (romanticism, realism, naturalism) and important subgenres of the period (the roman de formation, the historical novel). We will address how the nineteenth-century French novel becomes a privileged site to study how gender and genre, poetics and politics, education and expectations, intersect. This course will be taught in French.

Sociology 8000 (cross-listed) :  Foucault, Bourdieu, and Baudrillard: Culture, Power, and Sexuality in the Global Era
Professor Marnia Lazreg  
Monday, 4:15pm-6:15pm,  2 or 4 Credits.
 








Fall 2019 – Course Descriptions
 

French 79130 : Contemporary Issues in Post-Colonial Sub-Sharan Francophone Literature and Film

Nathalie Etoke

Thursdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm

2 or 4 Crédits

Course description

2010 marked the 50 years of ‘African independences’. This course will explore various dimensions of the francophone post-colonial experience in Sub-Saharan Africa.  We will reflect on the legacy of colonialism and current challenges facing former French colonies. The focus will be on the failure of the postcolonial state, violence, memory, gender, sexuality and immigration. We will also address current debates in Francophone Sub-Saharan literary criticism.

The course will be taught in French,
 

French 87500: Maximal and Minimal

Prof. Mary Ann Caws

Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 (Last 5 weeks of Semester)

1 Credit

5 weeks, discussion and independent project

Excess, series, the epic poem, etc., examples: Georges Bataille, poetry of Charles Olson, etc. X Aphorisms, understatement, with examples: Whistler, Duchamp, Agnes Martin, Sol Lewitt. etc. How the major and minor play against each other, in the two semesters Fall and Spring 2019-2020. 

Fall dates:  October 23, October 30, November 6, November 3, November 20

 

French 70500: Writing the Self: From Augustine to Selfies 

Distinguished Prof. Domna Stanton 

Tuesdays 4:15 - 6:15

2 or 4 Credits

How is the self written, visualized, constructed? What different forms and shapes do such texts take over time, in different genres? What purposes do they serve, for the several selves inscribed in a text and for others (including the self) who will read it.This course will begin by examining several theoretical texts on writing the self (Lejeune, Smith, Derrida, Butler, Stanton), then trace self-writing from the Middle Ages (Augustine, Kempe) through the early-modern periods, focusing on both the global (travel narratives on conquest --La Casas, Equiano), and on various forms (letter and diary, for instance) of gendered interiority (Gentileschi, Sévigné, Westover). Signal texts on post-Enlightenment confession and memoir (Rousseau, Sand) will be followed in the second half of the seminar by a more thematic approach to issues of modernity, including slavery and liberation always deferred (Jacobs, Douglass, Coates); modernism and the limits of experimentation (Woolf, Nin, Cahun); autofiction (Colette, Stein); dislocated, traumatized selves in wars and holocausts (de Beauvoir, Sartre, Anne Frank, Levi, Agamben, Henson [comfort women]); testimonio, the indigenous (Hurston, Menchu) and human rights narratives (Eggers); and French post-structuralism and the psychoanalytic (Barthes, Cardinal, Louise Bourgeois, Lacan). Our last two seminars will lead to a discussion of contemporary inscriptions of sexual and medical bodies, featuring birthing, AIDS, cancer and transgender selves (Arenas, Guibert, Bornstein, Leonard), and end with digital/virtual self-writing and the selfie (Abramovic, Smith, Giroux, Nemer and Freeman). Throughout, we will consider what the enduring obsession with confessing/revealing/ concealing; constructing and deconstructing selves might mean; and finally, whether, at bottom, all writing is self-writing

Work for the course: Whether the course is taken for 2, 3 or 4 credits, all students will be responsible for doing the readings closely and for engaging consistently in class discussion.
a, Students who take the course for 2 credits will present in class a reading of one primary text, which will also be submitted in writing (c 5-7 pp); these students will also take the final exam.
b, Students who take the course for 3 credits, will do all of the above and in addition, they will do a 10-13 page paper on a topic they select, after consultation with the instructor. They will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography and an outline, and the introduction (the schedule will be indicated on the syllabus).
c, Students who take the course for 4 credits will do all of the above, but will do a 20-25-page paper on a topic they select, after consultation with the instructor; they will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography and an outline, and an introduction (the schedule will be indicated on the syllabus).

Please contact Domna Stanton with any questions (dstanton112@yahoo.com).
The syllabus and the course materials to be downloaded will be posted on Blackboard by August 15, 2019.
The class will be conducted in English; readings are in English and French; all French readings will be listed in the syllabus along with their translations.
 

French 77010: Techniques of Literary research 

Prof. Erec Koch

Wednesdays 4:15pm – 6:15pm

2 or 4 Crédits

Course description: This course examines major theoretical approaches to literature, with a focus on critical theory of the late 20th century and early 21st century.  We will also consider the ways in which theory has shaped and re-shaped the field of literature and literary studies as well as modalities of reading, interpretation, analysis, and criticism of literary texts.  The approaches examined will include structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxist/Marxian, semiotics (esp. intertextuality), deconstruction, Foucauldianism/New Historicism, and “distant reading”/text analysis.  Whenever possible, readings in critical theory will be paired with literary texts.  Students will be expected to build toward a final research paper of significant length from a series of assignments: reaction papers to readings, a proposal for a conference paper, a 3-5pp overview of the final paper, an in-class presentation on the paper, and submission of the final paper.  

The course is open only to first-year students in the PhD program in French; the course is taught in French.

 

French 76000: Ruptures: Roman/Théâtre/Théories aux XXème et XXIème siècles.

Prof. David Jones

Tuesdays 6:30pm – 8:30pm

2 or 4 Crédits

Readings and Discussion in French, open to students outside of French, who may write in English, (2-4 crs.). Check with the professor for details on the editions we will use.

In this course, we will focus on some of the major novels, plays and theoretical texts that changed our understanding of literary and theatrical creation in the 20th and 21st centuries. Beginning with Ubu Roi, and continuing thorough readings of writers such as Proust, Gide, Artaud, Genet, Beckett, Duras, Césaire, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Cixous, Derrida, Blanchot and Barthes, we will explore the (r)evolutions in the French and Francophone novel and theater since 1900.