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Spring 2022 - Course Description

French 71110 – Problems in Literary History                          
Professor Erec Koch

Thursdays, 6:30pm -8:30pm
Taught in French (2/4 credits)
Fully In-Person
French 85000 – Affect, Sentiment, Sensation: Structures of Desire in the Nineteenth-Century Novel
Professor Bettina Lerner

Mondays, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Taught in French (2/4 credits)
Fully In-Person
French 707000 - African Cinémas: History, Theory, and Industry
Professor Boukary Sawadogo

Wednesdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Taught in English (2/3/4 credits)
Fully In-Person
African cinema was birthed out of the imperative need for Africans to appropriate the gaze against the backdrop of discursive othering in colonial cinema. Being in front and behind the camera allowed more nuanced and complex African stories to be told from African perspectives by pioneering filmmakers such as Ousmane Sembène, Med Hondo, and Moustapha Alassane in the 1960s. The historical development of African cinema is marked with the use of the medium as an instrument of political and cultural liberation, and a critical reading of postcolonial African societies depicted onscreen. Technological development—video in the 1990s followed by digital in the 2000s—has led to democratized access to filmmaking and the emergence of diverse voices and practices. From a theoretical standpoint, African cinema can be regarded as a form of oppositional cinema, with similarities to the anti-establishment vein of the Italian neorealism, French New Wave, Cinema Novo, and Third Cinema. More recent trends include a gradual shift toward transnational cinema with production, distribution and consumption which involve local stakeholders, the (new) African diaspora, and transnational media companies such as M-Net, Netflix, Showmax, Disney, and HBO. Also, the ecosystem of local film industries is being shaped by several African governments passing laws or creating film funds to enable the emergence of sustainable local film industries. More film schools are created to locally train professionals. Festivals, and televisual and online distribution are bringing content to local audiences on a multiplicity of screens. 

French 87400 – Queer Africa: Foreign Bodies/Forbidden Sexualities
Professor Nathalie Etoke

Thursdays, 4:15pm-6:15pm
Taught in English (2/4 Credits)
Fully In-Person

According to a report by Amnesty International, homosexuality is still illegal in thirty-eight African countries and is punishable by the death penalty in four. Despite these repressive laws, sexual subjectivities beyond the heteropatriarchal stranglehold are no longer taboo to name. They are a part of public debates. 
This course explores sub-Saharan African LGBTQI+ subjectivities while highlighting several trends that expose tensions between local and global dynamics in the day-to-day existence of these countries’ citizens. Such trends include the overlapping of European colonization and discourses on African sexual identities, the hate-driven influence of American far-right evangelicals on the African Christian church, sexual democratization, homonationalism and state-sponsored homophobia.
We will examine current conflicting discourses on sex, gender, and subjectification within the domains of law, anthropology, art, literature, documentary cinema, social media, and journalism. Our analysis will bring out the tension between local and global dynamics at stake in the struggle for queer freedom in sub-Saharan Africa.
Course taught in English.

Hist. 74300 - Gendered Justice in Europe and the Americas c.1350- 1750
Professor Sara McDougall

Wednesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, 
Taught in English (3 credits)

The course will explore the role of gender in the prosecution and punishment of crime in social and cultural context in Europe and the Americas c.1350-1750. We will examine gender and justice as it intersected with race, religion, and status, as found in the Atlantic World, and particularly the French and Iberian metropoles and colonies. Our main body of evidence will be trial records, including litigation, witness testimony, confessions, and sentences. In addition, we will engage with a range of other source materials such as law codes, prison records and the writings of incarcerated persons, newspaper reports, true crime narratives, and images of alleged criminals and crime. Training in these subjects welcome but not a requirement, this will be an interdisciplinary inquiry open to graduate and professional students in the humanities and social sciences and related fields.