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Spring 2021-Course Description

FREN 87400 - La France noire       
Professor Nathalie Etoke         

Wednesday, 4:15pm - 6:15pm     
2 or 4 credits
In French
Cross-listed with Africana Studies
In the wake of the death of George Floyd, France was rudely awakened from an amnesia matched only by the denial of justice that the country had so complacently perpetrated. The populations of the former colonial empire protested against police violence and racism. Despite the country’s refusal to accept race as a political and existential category, racism brings to fore a black condition that unsettles the republican motto — Liberty, Equality and Fraternity —.This course will expose the current conflict between republican ideals and identity politics. We will explore the paradoxes of French universalism and citizenship in relation to blackness. We will analyze literary and media texts, Hip Hop music alongside insights gained from a range of theoretical sources, such as Pap Ndiaye’s La Condition Noire, Léonora Miano’s Utopie post-occidentale et post-raciste, Mwasi’s Afrofem, Norman Ajari’s La dignité ou la race, Caroline Fourest’s La dernière utopie, Francis Wolff’s Plaidoyer pour l’universel, Ernest Renan’s Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?

FRENCH 71110 - Problems in Literary History          
Professor Max Kramer
Monday, 4:15pm - 6:15pm
4 credits/mandatory course for first-year students 
2 or 4 (or 3) credits for students not in French
In French
After a brief chronological overview, this course will trace the history of French literature from the classical age to the present, analyzing each movement, school, group, generation or, to use Alain Vaillant’s terminology, “event” as it reacts to the preceding one and heralds a new literary epoch. A variety of essays by literary critics such as Sainte-Beuve, Auerbach, Bénichou, Bourdieu or Michel Décaudin will help us understand each “event” and accompany our readings of the following texts (in their entirety or in part): Madame de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves, Voltaire’s Candide, Rousseau’s Les Confessions, Chateaubriand’s René, Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir, Hugo’s Hernani, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, Huysmans’ À rebours, Proust’s Du côté de chez Swann, Apollinaire’sAlcools, Beckett’s En attendant Godot, Sarraute’s Tropismes and Houellebecq’s Les Particules élémentaires.

FREN 77400 - Women’s Stories in Premodern French              
Professor Sara McDougall
Tuesday, 4:15pm - 6:15pm                       
2 or 4 credits
Taught in English    
Cross-listed with Women’s and Gender Studies
In the premodern era, French language and culture spread far and wide beyond the borders of "l'hexagone". This course will explore French stories told to, for, about, and by women between 1100 and 1700. These texts document the words and deeds of both real and imagined women, famous and infamous, and also women who history has forgotten. Our sources will include romances, poetry, plays, letters, trial records, medical and legal treatises, conduct literature, and illuminated manuscripts (the premodern version of the graphic novel). We will work from translations as well as the original, according to and accommodating the skillsets and interests of each student. Knowledge of French helpful but not in the least essential. 

FREN 79140 Francophone Literature from the Mashreq and the Maghreb
Professor Amr Kamal 
Thursday, 6:30pm - 8:30pm          
2 or 4 credits
Taught in English    
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies
This class examines the works of modern and contemporary Francophone writers from the Arab World, or of Arab descent. We seek to look at how these authors approach the task of writing between many languages and cultures as they experience the limitation and liberating aspects of bilingualism and explore the questions of national and cultural belonging, dominant narratives of history, migration and exile. The reading list includes works from the Mashreq (Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria), such as Albert Cossery, Amin Maalouf, and Joyce Mansour, the Maghreb, (Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco), such Jacques Derrida, Abdelkebir Khatibi, Assia Djebar, and Tahar ben Jelloun.

SOC 80000 Producing sociological theory: The Role of Gendered Colonialism, Culture and Revolution in Bourdieu’s work
Professor Marnia Lazreg

Monday, 4:15pm - 6:15pm
Taught in English
Cross-listed with French
In recent years scholars have called for a “decolonization” of knowledge or advocated a “decolonial” approach to academic disciplines. They argue for greater awareness of the imperial context within which the social sciences emerged, and attempt to identify the conscious and unconscious ways in which this context shaped theoretical concepts.  
Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology provides an opportunity to assess these claims conceptually as well as empirically.  Bourdieu formulated his key sociological concepts (such as symbolic violence, habitus, or masculine domination) and developed a “scientific” method during his fieldwork in villages in Eastern Algeria.  His formative years as a sociologist were spent in colonial Algeria during the war of decolonization as a draftee as well as a researcher, and references to his fieldwork recur in many of his books until the end of his life.  Besides, there were times when he perceived himself as a surrogate native.
This course examines Bourdieu’s struggles with colonialism as a political and cultural system of domination, and traces the process through which colonial fieldwork becomes productive of concepts applicable to a non-colonial (but colonizing) society.  Relatedly, the course explores Bourdieu’s conceptualization of revolution in light of his misgivings about Frantz Fanon’s theory.  Of special interest will be the differences between two empirical observers, a trained sociologist and a trained psychiatrist turned revolutionary.  Finally, the course will probe Bourdieu’s construction of culture in a non-Western milieu in view of his attempt to bridge the gap between anthropology and sociology.  Throughout, discussions will be guided by a concern for the complex relationship between Bourdieu’s interest in a scientific method, his recurring references to his biography, and his unresolved attitude toward the colonial situation. 
The course will be run as a seminar open to the unfettered exploration of significant facets of Bourdieu’s work.
Readings will include, in addition to sections of Outline of a Theory of Practice, Pascalian Meditations, The Bachelors’ Ball, In Other Words, Sociology in Question, Sketch of Self-Analysis, and a selection of secondary literature.​