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French Graduate Seminars, Spring 2018

FREN 775 - Literature on the Alert
Cross-listed with CPLT 789
Claire Nouvet - Mondays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: To be on the alert implies not only foreboding in the face of danger, but also vigilance, an awakening of sorts, a warning even. Literature can be on the alert in all of those senses insofar as it is attentive to a “mal,” an affliction that confronts language to its very limits. As we shall see, the poetry of the troubadours alerts us to the presence of “something” that, as Lacan pointed out, is not an object, but something else entirely and much more terrifying, which turns poetry into an infinite address and romance into an endless quest. Elevated through idealization or degraded into comical obscenity, this “something” can also make its presence felt as an enigmatic sickness, a devastating malaise at the core of the literary and social space.  As it attends to these afflictions, literature can become a strange wake-up call that breaks through everyday slumber to transmit what Julien Gracq called “something like a far-away alarm.”

Texts:
-- Troubadours [selections]
-- Tristan et Iseut: Les poèmes français, la saga norroise
-- Blanchot: “Orphée, Don Juan, Tristan” in L’entretien infini
-- Guillaume de Lorris: Le roman de la rose
-- Chrétien de Troyes: Perceval ou le Conte du Graal
-- Barbey d’Aurevilly:“Le rideau cramoisi” in Les diaboliques
-- Gracq: Le rivage des syrtes
-- Lacan: Ethique de la psychanalyse (selections)

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FREN 780 - Politics in Deconstruction
Cross-listed with CPLT 751 and PHIL 789
Geoffrey Bennington - Thursdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content:: Taking its lead from some of Derrida's later work, this course will follow the twin threads of sovereignty and democracy through some of the great texts of political philosophy in the Western tradition.  We shall attempt to understand why both of these notions, albeit in rather different ways, pose such problems for that tradition, and give rise to all manner of complications and paradoxes, which are however (or so I shall argue) definitive of the conceptual space of the political as such.  We shall wonder why almost all political philosophies are enamored of sovereignty, while almost none has anything very good to say about democracy.  We shall consider the possibility of a non-trivial affinity among the political, the rhetorical, the literary and the animal in their constant tendency to exceed conceptual grasp, and also compare our deconstructive approach to these political questions with some other modern and postmodern theories.

Texts: Classical authors to be discussed may include Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Bodin, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Tocqueville, and Schmitt; more recent theorists to be considered alongside Derrida may include Agamben, Badiou, Foucault, Hardt and Negri, Lyotard, Mouffe and Rancière.

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FREN 785 - Haïti et Martinique: Écritures de la terre
Max: 18
Valérie Loichot - Tuesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: S’il est un paradoxe, c’est d’aimer sa terre quand on y a été déporté. Ce séminaire envisagera, à travers les exemples de la Martinique et d’Haïti, l’écriture de la terre en littérature et philosophie. Nous y étudierons les stratégies de réappropriation de la terre après l’économie de la Plantation, l’ambivalence de la terre nourricière et cannibale, sa valeur mémorielle et poétique, son caractère profane et sacré, ses personnifications et sexualisations. Nous nous demanderons également, dans le sillage de la pensée du désastre de Blanchot, ce qu’il advient du texte quand la terre écrit elle-même par son tremblement. En effet, comment et quoi écrire après Goudougoudou ? Qu’advient-il de l’histoire quand la Révolution haïtienne est assimilée à une catastrophe naturelle ? Qu’est-ce que la production littéraire apporte à la pensée et aux pratiques écologiques ? Comment l’écriture de la terre des « petits pays » nourrit-elle la pensée de la planète Terre ?

Textes principaux:
Aimé Césaire. Cahier d’un retour au pays natal. ISBN 978-2708704206
Laurent Dubois. Haiti : The Aftershocks of History. ISBN 978-0805093353
Édouard Glissant. Poétique de la Relation. ISBN 978-2070720255
---. Philosophie de la Relation. ISBN 2070125424
Suzanne Roussi Césaire. Le Grand camouflage. ISBN 978-2021289275
Yannick Lahens. Failles. ISBN 978-2848050904
Jacques Roumain. Gouverneurs de la rosée. ISBN 978-2843046636

Particulars
One 12-page research paper, one oral presentation, active class participation, three 400-word response papers.

The seminar will be conducted in French. Students from other graduate programs who have a good reading knowledge and communication skills in French are encouraged to enroll and will be able to deliver their presentation and write their paper in English.

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French Graduate Seminars, Fall 2017

FREN 505 - Problems in Foreign Language Teaching
Cross-listed with LING 505
Lilia Coropceanu - Mondays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: This course presents an overview of current second language learning theories, a description and evaluation of existing second language teaching methods, and a discussion of major topics of instructional concern within the foreign language profession. The course goal is to provide experiences that facilitate the development of professional foreign language educators through practical classroom implementation and evaluation of research-based foreign language teaching practices.

Texts: Required (to be purchased) Kate W Paesani, Heather Willis Allen, Beatrice Dupuy, “A Multiliteracies Framework for Collegiate Foreign Language Teaching: Theory and Practice in Second Language Classroom Instruction”. Prentice Hall; 1 edition (January 22, 2015).  ISBN: 978-0205954049  

Assessment: Class participation and preparation (10%); Classroom observation reports (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Lesson plans, classroom demonstrations, and self-evaluations (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Self-reflective journal (20%, not required for undergraduates); Evaluation of a professional presentation (10%); FL teaching philosophy (20%)

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FREN 775 - Primal Scenes: Literature and Psychoanalysis
Cross-listed with CPLT 751
Elissa Marder - Tuesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content::  In this course, we shall examine how psychoanalysis both establishes and challenges the boundaries of the human. Beginning with a close reading of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, we shall explore how Freud’s derives the specificity of the human unconscious (via the complex operations of the dream-work) by turning to literary language, theatrical spaces and events, and technological operations. Throughout the course, we will focus on the Freudian conception of the ‘primal scene’ as a way of examining how psychoanalytic theory challenges traditional conceptions of temporality, repetition, sexuality and desire, writing, mourning, cruelty, and the status of the historical event

Texts may include: The Interpretation of Dreams (Freud); Freud’s case histories (including ‘Dora,’ ‘The Wolf-Man’, ‘The Rat-Man,’ ‘Little Hans’, and ‘Schreber’) Phèdre (Racine); Le Ravissment de Lol V. Stein (Duras); Moderato cantabile (Duras); La Chambre claire (Barthes); Selections from: Combray and A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Proust); La Bête humaine (Zola); To the Lighthouse (Woolf) Muriel (dir. Alain Resnais).  Additional readings may include works by: Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Avital Ronell, Samuel Weber, Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, Hélène Cixous, & Sarah Kofman.

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FREN 780 - Literary Theories
Cross-listed with CPLT 750R
Geoffrey Bennington - Thursdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content:The course explores some of the ways in which an influential way of thinking about language has affected ways of thinking about literature. After investigating the main tenets of structuralist theory, as derived from Saussure’s Cours de linguistique générale, we shall go on to see how the internal logic of structuralism led to the rather different positions often referred to as ‘post-structuralism’ and/or ‘post-modernism’, and to a questioning of the position of theory itself.

Texts: TBA

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French Graduate Seminars, Spring 2017

FREN 550 - Rousseau
Cross-listed with CPLT 752; PHIL 525
Geoffrey Bennington - Thursdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: Plus qu’un autre, peut-être, c’est Jean-Jacques Rousseau qui aura signé le dix-huitième siècle français.  Que ce soit en matière de philosophie politique, de théorie pédagogique, d’écriture littéraire ou autobiographique, tout change là où Rousseau écrit et signe de son nom.  Nous essayerons, à travers la lecture de grands textes en tous genres, de mieux cerner la place et les enjeux de cette signature qui se veut unique, garant présumé d’une vérité qui se révélera de plus en plus fabuleuse.

Texts: Les Confessions; Emile, ou de l’éducation; Discours sur l’origine de l‘inégalité; Du Contrat socia; Les rêveries du promeneur solitaire; Rousseau juge de Jean-Jacques.

Particulars: The course will be taught in French

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FREN 770R - Theories of Subjectivity and Representation
Cross-listed with CPLT 752R, PHIL 789R, AHIST 769R
Dalia Judovitz - Tuesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: Reflecting on the burden of the Cartesian legacy to modernity, Maurice Merleau-Ponty noted that “there are some ideas that make it impossible to return to a time prior to their existence, even and especially if we moved beyond them, and subjectivity is one of them.” This course will examine the elaboration of rational consciousness in Descartes as a foundational moment in the development of modern metaphysics. At issue will be the radical shift from notions of self (notably as elaborated in Montaigne) to subject, that will inaugurate not just a new understanding of truth but a new way of being and picturing the world. The relation of subjectivity to representation, the mind-body dualism, the analogy of the body to a machine, the question of technology and ideas about art will be at issue along with attendant philosophical, theoretical, literary and artistic critiques by Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Georges Canguilhem, Emile Benveniste, Michel Foucault, Louis Marin, Jean-François Lyotard, etc.

Texts: Montaigne, “Of Experience,” and “On Some Verses of Virgil” from the Essays; Descartes, Discourse on Method; Heidegger, “The Age of the World Picture,” and “The Question of Technology;” Merleau-Ponty, “The Cogito,” and “The Body as Expression and Speech” from The Phenomenology of Perception; Benveniste, “Of Subjectivity in Language;” Georges Canguilhem, “Machine and Organism;” Foucault, The Order of Things (selections); Foucault, “Technologies of the Self; Marin, On Representation (selections)” and multiple pictorial references.  

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FREN 770S - Body History
Vincent Bruyère - Mondays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: This seminar proposes an introduction to the history of the body with a particular focus on clinical medicine, palliative care, and biography. The objective is to equip students with a frame of reference and a critical vocabulary that will allow them to develop research projects situated at the intersection of health sciences and literary studies. Taught in English.

Texts: Mauss, “Technics of the Body”; De Certeau, “The Unnamable”; Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic; Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Montaigne, “De l’exercitation”; Waldby, The Visible Human Project; Mol, The Body Multiple; Duden, The Woman Beneath the Skin; Walker-Bynum, Christian Materiality; Carlino, Books of the Body; King, Dying at Grace; Montross, Body of Work. Fournier and Minot, Les Mots des derniers soins; Armstrong, “The Temporal Body.”

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FREN 770 - Water Graves
Cross-listed with ENG 789R, CPLT 751
Valérie Loichot - Wednesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: Martinican philosopher and poet Edouard Glissant writes: “The cemeteries of countries and cities of creolization, and, generally, of powerful hurricanes --Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti, New Orleans, Cartagena-- grow into glittering small towns like white beaches, whose avenues open onto fleeting illuminations rather than onto the mute space of a dull hereafter.”

The seminar focuses on the shared vulnerability -ecological, societal, cultural- of sites of creolization in the Caribbean and in the US South. Particularly, it explores how poets, fiction writers, performer and mixed-media artists represent the vulnerability of land and people in response to the lack of official rituals granted to the drowned. In addition to figuring death by drowning in the aftermath of slavery and “natural” and human-made catastrophes, their aesthetic creations serve as memorials, dirges, tombstones, and even literal supports for the regrowth of life underwater. Water, as we will see, is both a place of disconnection (island) and relation (archipelago), as well as an abyss and conduit between the dead and the living.
Hurricane Katrina, which revealed to the world the coincidence of natural and technological vulnerability, poverty, and racial inequality, will serve as a privileged platform to discuss the historically related event of the Middle Passage and the states of ecological and social frailty of our 21st century.

Course Material: In addition to the books to be purchased, readings will include selections from texts by Derek Walcott (The star Apple Kingdom), Édouard Glissant (Poetics of Relation and Overseer’s Cabin), C.L.R. James (The Black Jacobins), George Washington Cable (“Belles Demoiselles Plantation”), William Faulkner (Absalom, Absalom!), Longfellow (“The Slave in the Dismal Swamp”), Natasha Trethewey (Native Guard) for poetry, fiction, and essays; Judith Butler (Frames of War), Colin Dayan (The Law Is a White Dog), Joseph Roach (Cities of the Dead), Ian Baucom (Specters of the Atlantic), Tanya Shield’s (Bodies and Bones), Alexander Weheliye (Habeas Viscus), Vincent Brown (The Reaper’s Garden) for theory. We will also discuss creations by artists Radcliffe Bailey, EPaul Julien, Eric Waters, Kara Walker, and Beyoncé (US); Fabienne Kanor, Patricia Donatien-Yssa, and Laurent Valère (Martinique); Édouard Duval-Carrié and Gabrielle Civil (Haiti); and Jason deCaires Taylor (Guyana).

Required Books (to be Purchased with indicated ISBN only)

  • Aimé Césaire. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. 978-0819564528 or Cahier d’un retour au pays natal for students reading in French. 978-2708704206
  • Edwidge Danticat. Farming of Bones. 978-1616953492
  • NourbeSe Philip. Zong! 978-0819571694
  • Jesmyn Ward. Salvage the Bones. 978-1608196265

Particulars: Sustained participation, 3 short response papers, oral presentation, and research paper with annotated bibliography.

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FREN 780 - Literature and Justice: Writers on Trial
Cross-listed with CPLT 751
Shoshana Felman - Mondays 4:00-7:00PM

Content: History has put on trial a series of outstanding thinkers. At the dawn of philosophy, Socrates drinks the cup of poison to which he is condemned by the Athenians for his influential teaching, charged with atheism, and corruption of the youth. Centuries later, in modernity, similarly influential Oscar Wilde is condemned by the English for his homosexuality, as well as for his provocative artistic style. In France, Flaubert and Baudelaire are both indicted as criminals for their first, innovative literary works; Emile Zola is condemned for defending a Jew against the state, which has convicted him. E. M. Forster writes about a rape trial / race trial of an Indian by the colonizing British Empire. Different forms of trial are instigated by religious institutions, as well as by psychoanalytic ones. Jacques Lacan, the French psychoanalyst, compares his expulsion from the International Psychoanalytic Association, with a religious “excommunication”-- for charges of nonorthodoxy and heresy (compare Luther, Spinoza). However different, all these accused have come to stand for something greater than themselves: something that was symbolized -- and challenged – by their trials. Through the examination of a series of historical and literary trials, this course will ask: Why are literary writers, philosophers and creative thinkers, repetitively put on trial, and how in turn do they challenge culture and society and reflect their crises? What is the role of literature as a political actor in the struggles over ethics, and the struggles over meaning? How does literature become the writing of a destiny, what can be called a life testimony or Life-Writing?

Texts: Texts selected among: Plato’s Dialogues; Molière’s plays; Shakespeare’s plays; Oscar Wilde (Plays, Autobiography, Critical writings); Gustave Flaubert (novels, letters); Charles Baudelaire (poems, criticism, theory of art); Emile Zola (political writings); Herman Melville (novellas); Bertolt Brecht (plays)); Hannah Arendt (Eichmann in Jerusalem, Interviews); Spinoza (Ethics); Sigmund Freud (Psychoanalytic Writings); Jacques Lacan (psychoanalytic seminar); E. M. Forster (novel); Virginia Woolf (novel); Franz Kafka (short stories, parables).

Particulars: Regular attendance; Two short papers distributed throughout the course of the semester; Brief oral presentations; Intensive weekly reading (weekly one-page reading reports) and active preparation of texts for class discussion; ongoing participation.

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French Graduate Seminars, Fall 2016

FREN 505 - Problems in Foreign Language Teaching
Cross-listed with LING 505
Lilia Coropceanu - Mondays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: This course presents an overview of current second language learning theories, a description and evaluation of existing second language teaching methods, and a discussion of major topics of instructional concern within the foreign language profession. The course goal is to provide experiences that facilitate the development of professional foreign language educators through practical classroom implementation and evaluation of research-based foreign language teaching practices.

Texts: Required (to be purchased):

  • Shrum, J. & Glisan E. Teacher's Handbook, 4th Edition. Heinle Cengage Learning, 2010.
  • Kern, Richard. Literacy and Language Teaching. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Janet K. Swaffar, Katherine Arens. Remapping the Foreign Language Curriculum: An Approach through Multiple Literacies. New York: MLA, 2005.
  • Graves, Kathleen. Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle, 2000.
  • Hiram, Maxim. Advanced Foreign Language Learning: A Challenge to College Programs. Ed. with Heidi Byrnes.  AAUSC Series Issues in Language Program Direction. Boston: Heinle, 2004.

Assessment: Class participation and preparation (10%); Classroom observation reports (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Lesson plans, classroom demonstrations, and self-evaluations (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Self-reflective journal (20%, not required for undergraduates); Evaluation of a professional presentation (10%); FL teaching philosophy (20%)

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FREN 775 - Poetry by Other Means: Baudelaire, Benjamin, Derrida
Cross-listed with CPLT 751
Elissa Marder - Tuesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: Baudelaire’s writings have a peculiar—almost uncanny—chameleon-like ability to adapt themselves to the historical experience of his readers. From the first publication of Les Fleurs du Mal in 1857 up to the present day, Baudelaire’s poetry has fascinated many major philosophers, thinkers, and writers (including but not limited to: Mallarmé, Valéry, Sartre, Ponge, Bataille, Blanchot, Proust, Walter Benjamin, de Man, and Derrida).  We will focus on Baudelaire’s signature ability both to read his readers and to imagine the forms that poetry takes in an increasingly prosaic world.  By reading Baudelaire though Benjamin and Derrida, we will attempt to understand why Baudelaire remains the poet of (post) modern life. Questions addressed include: materialist historiography, photography, mourning, translation, experience, the body, allegory, and sexuality.

Texts will include:  Baudelaire: Les Fleurs du Mal, Le Spleen de Paris, Le Peintre de la vie moderne, Les Paradis artificiels.  Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire, The Arcades Project (Das Passagen-Werk) and selected essays.  Derrida, Donner le Temps and other essays.

Note: This course will be taught in English.  Reading knowledge of French and/or German highly desirable but not absolutely required.

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FREN 780 - Literary Theories
Cross-listed with CPLT 750R
Geoffrey Bennington - Thursdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: The course explores some of the ways in which an influential way of thinking about language has affected ways of thinking about literature. After investigating the main tenets of structuralist theory, as derived from Saussure’s Cours de linguistique générale, we shall go on to see how the internal logic of structuralism led to the rather different positions often referred to as ‘post-structuralism’ and/or ‘post-modernism’, and to a questioning of the position of theory itself.

Texts: TBA

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FREN 785 - “OHO! CONGO!”: Literature and War in the Two Congos
Cross-listed with CPLT 751
Subha Xavier - Wednesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content:  In his 1956 poem “Congo”, Léopold Sédar Senghor sings of his love for the Congo River, praising the mythical beauty of the Congolese landscape as the embodiment of a beloved Africa he wishes to restore to its former glory. Located in the center of the African continent, traversed by one of the world’s largest rivers and home to some of the earth’s most precious natural resources, the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa, formerly Zaire) were once the pride of Africa. However, in the wake of the Berlin Conference of 1885, which signed over one Congo to the personal property of Belgian King Léopold II and the other to the French colonial empire, the remains of the region’s riches became the object of one of the world’s deadliest wars.
This course investigates the representation of Africa in the works of Congolese poets, novelists and playwrights. Indeed, if one can even speak of viable national literature in Francophone Africa, it would have to be that of the DRC and its neighboring Congo. Seemingly against all odds, an unrivaled literary production rises from the chaos of two countries torn apart by dictatorships, poverty, social unrest, ethnic wars, racial massacres and forced migrations. In tackling the socio-political realities of this conflict-ridden region, the works of Tchicaya U Tam’si, Emmanuel Dongala, Henri Lopès, V. Y. Mudimbe, Sony Labou Tansi, Marie Léontine Tsibinda, Clémentine Madiya Faïk-Nzuji and Alain Mabanckou offer a formal ingenuity and thematic forcefulness that have made them classics of the African literary canon.  Analysis of these authors focuses on the poetics of place and the ethics of war and displacement through theories of postcolonialism (Fanon, Appiah, Bhabha, Mudimbe, Mbembe), cosmopolitanism (Appiah, Robbins) and human rights (Cheah, Shivji). Our literary and theoretical readings will be supplemented by historical and anthropological works by Nzongola-Ntalaja, Turner, Trefon, Ikambana and a film by Raoul Peck.

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French Graduate Seminars, Spring 2016

FREN 540 - Language and Power in Early-modern French Literature
Cross-listed with
Bruyère - Mondays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: Based on close readings of major French texts from the 16th and 17th centuries and anchored in a discussion of key critical interventions in literary theory, this seminar proposes to map out some of the most violent, cruel, and rapturous intersections between language and power that defines the political and theological stakes of representation during the early modern period. This course will be taught in French.

Readings: Marin, La parole mangée ; Le récit est un piège ; De la représentation (excerpts), Rabelais, Pantagruel, Gargantua ; Auerbach, Mimesis (excerpts), Conley, “All French Literature is Francophone” ; Montaigne, Essais I, 29-30-31 ; de Certeau, “Des Cannibales” ; Méchoulan, Le corps imprimé ; Lafontaine, Fables ; Perrault, Contes de ma mère l’Oye ; Ph. Lewis, Seing Through the Mother Goose Tales ; Lafayette, La princesse de Clèves.

 

FREN 780 - Derrida
Cross-listed with CPLT 751 and PHIL 789
Bennington - Thursdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: In this course we shall attempt to reconstruct the general movement of Derrida's thought from early to late. In the first part of the course, we shall concentrate on texts from the 60s and 70s, with the aim of understanding fundamental Derridean notions such as différance, écriture, dissémination and trace, and assessing his polemical exchanges with Foucault,Lacan and Searle. In the second part, we shall look at some more recent work bearing on questions of ethics, politics and religion. Although the class aims at a reasonably philosophical (rather than, say,'literary') understanding of Derrida, it also assumes that Derrida's thinking is not philosophy is any usual sense. No prior knowledge of Derrida is necessary.

Readings will be available in both French and English, and the class will take place in English.

 

FREN 780 - Art and Acts of Justice (Literature, Psychoanalysis, and Law)
Cross-listed with with CPLT 751 (max 3), English 789 (max 3), FREN 780 (max 2), PHIL (max 2), LAW (max 10)
Felman - Mondays 4:00-7:00PM

Content:  A study of scenes of judgment in literature, art and philosophy, focusing on literature’s specific ways of dealing with injustice (and with trauma) in various literary, psychoanalytic, political and legal circumstances.  We will examine both (great) literary texts and actual trials, dramas of great literary writers brought to court because of their innovative work, perceived as having pushed the boundaries of the accepted social standards. We will try to understand: What does literature mean, and why is it important, why does it matter?  Why does a path-breaking work of art provoke each time not just a controversy but a larger cultural crisis? Topics under discussion include the interaction between justice, truth, desire, censorship, testimony, injury, memory, exile, and cross-cultural, global exchanges.

Texts by Sophocles (Oedipus Rex, Antigone), Molière (Tartuffe), Gustave Flaubert (Three Tales), Charles Baudelaire (The Essence of Laughter, Flowers of Evil), Oscar Wilde (The Artist as Critic, Lady Windermere’s Fan, De Profundis), Moises Kaufman (Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde), Sigmund Freud (from The Interpretation of Dreams), Jacques Lacan (from The Ethics of Psychoanalysis), Jean Anouilh (Antigone), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird).

Requirements:  Two short papers (Spread throughout the semester); weekly reading responses (1-2 pages reflections (draft notes) on the week’s reading assignments); oral presentations; regular attendance; active participation in class discussion.

 

FREN 785-000 - Edouard Glissant
Cross-listed with CPLT 751
Loichot - Wednesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: This course proposes to come to a global understanding of Glissant’s thought and writing from the 1960s to his death. Through an examination of novels, poetry, and theoretical essays we will analyze his key-concepts of Relation, Antillanité, créolisation, opacité, Tout-Monde, and his late pensée du tremblement. We will also look at Glissant’s impact on postcolonial theory and contemporary politics.

Texts: Readings from Soleil de la conscience, Le Discours antillais, Poétique de la Relation, Tout-Monde, Traité du Tout-monde, Philosophie de la Relation, La Case du commandeur, Les Indes, Pays Rêvé, pays réel.
To be purchased (no alternative editions please): Edouard Glissant. Le Discours antillais. Folio, essais, 1997. 2070746224 ---. Poétique de la Relation. Gallimard. 207072025X ---. La Case du Commandeur. Gallimard. 2070746240. Other readings will be available on Blackboard.

Assessment: One 10-page final paper + bibliography, one oral presentation, four 500-word response papers, and active class participation. The seminar will be conducted in French but students from other departments who have a reading knowledge and good conversational skills in French are encouraged to enroll. They will be able to deliver their presentation and write their paper in English.

 

French Graduate Seminars, Fall 2015

FREN 505 - Problems in Foreign Language Teaching
Cross-listed with LING 505
Coropceanu - Mondays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: This course presents an overview of current second language learning theories, a description and evaluation of existing second language teaching methods, and a discussion of major topics of instructional concern within the foreign language profession. The course goal is to provide experiences that facilitate the development of professional foreign language educators through practical classroom implementation and evaluation of research-based foreign language teaching practices.

Texts: Required (to be purchased):

  • Shrum, J. & Glisan E. Teacher¹s Handbook, 4th Edition. Heinle Cengage Learning, 2010.
  • Kern, Richard. Literacy and Language Teaching. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Janet K. Swaffar, Katherine Arens. Remapping the Foreign Language Curriculum: An Approach through Multiple Literacies. New York: MLA, 2005.
  • Graves, Kathleen. Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle, 2000.
  • Hiram, Maxim. Advanced Foreign Language Learning: A Challenge to College Programs. Ed. with Heidi Byrnes.  AAUSC Series Issues in Language Program Direction. Boston: Heinle, 2004.

Assessment: Class participation and preparation (10%); Classroom observation reports (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Lesson plans, classroom demonstrations, and self-evaluations (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Self-reflective journal (20%, not required for undergraduates); Evaluation of a professional presentation (10%); FL teaching philosophy (20%)

 

FREN 770 - TBA
TBA - Tuesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: TBA

 

FREN 775 - Revolutionary Perversions: Literature, Sexuality, Anachrony
Cross-listed with CPLT 751 and PSP 789
Marder - Mondays 4:00-7:00PM

Content:  In this course, we shall examine how representations of “non-normative” sexuality in several major nineteenth-century works relate to the problem of representing history in the aftermath of the French revolution.  Many of the most famous canonical literary texts written in French prior to 1871 include references to impotence, lesbianism, hysteria, cross dressing, bestiality, masturbation and prostitution in the context of narratives that re-write or un-write the legacy of the French revolution. By focusing on the literary treatment of these ‘perverse’ forms of sexuality, we shall attempt to see how they encourage us to think differently about questions of historical transmission, language, gender, and sovereignty. Possible texts include: La Philosophie dans le boudoir (Sade), René (Chateaubriand), Ourika, Mme de Duras, Armance (Stendhal), Le Père Goriot and La Fille aux yeux d’or (Balzac), L’Education sentimentale (Flaubert), “Le Secret de l’Echafaud” (Villiers de L’Isle-Adam), and selections from Baudelaire’s prose poems. Critical readings may include works by Freud, Marx, Benjamin, Blanchot, Daniel Arasse, Derrida, and others. 

 

FREN 780 - Literary Theory
Cross-listed with CPLT 750
Bennington - Thursdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content: The course explores some of the ways in which an influential way of thinking about language has affected ways of thinking about literature. After investigating the main tenets of structuralist theory, as derived from Saussure’s Cours de linguistique générale, we shall go on to see how the internal logic of structuralism led to the rather different positions often referred to as ‘post-structuralism’ and/or ‘post-modernism’, and to a questioning of the position of theory itself.
Texts: TBA
Particulars: TBA

 

FREN 785 - States of Migration
Cross-listed with Film 573
Xavier - Wednesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Content:  From forced political migrations to economic migrations, this course will examine the theory and practice of migration in its relationship to the nation. Central to our study of literary and cinematic texts will be questions of aesthetics and ethics (Spivak, Derrida), poetics (Bhabha, Deleuze/Guattari, Naficy, Desrosiers) and economics (Marx, Wallerstein, von Mises). As we weigh concepts of migration over and against theorizations of nationhood, this course will delve into problems of hospitality, trauma and criminality, as well as the possibilities for individual and creative agency.

Literary Texts:
Ying Chen, Lettres chinoises
Fatou Diome, La Préférence Nationale
Alain Mabanckou, Bleu Blanc Rouge
Emile Ollivier, Passages
Régine Robin, La Québecoite
Dai Sijie, Le Complexe de Di

Cinematic Texts:
Philippe Falardeau, Pâté Chinois (1997)
Philippe Falardeau, Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
Michael Haneke, Caché (2005)
Aki Kaurismaki, Le Havre (2011)
Mweze Ngangura, Pièces d’identité (1998)
Moussa Touré, La Pirogue (2013)

 

French Graduate Seminars, Spring 2015

FREN 770 - Feminist Theory
Cross-listed with WGS 751R
Huffer - Wednesdays 1:00-4:00PM

Description:

The institutionalization of feminist theory over the past three decades has produced splits, debates, and contestations that have repeatedly threatened the coherence of the field. Critics complain that feminist theory is destabilized by the fragmentation of its proper object, woman, as an analytic category. But if the theoretical object of a feminist political project is no longer stable, we might ask if this retrospective projection of stability does not itself deny the splintered, uncertain, and contentious nature of feminist thinking from its very inception. With that in mind, this seminar will not be concerned to produce the proper object for a universal narrative about feminism’s conceptual foundations. Rather, it will attempt to think with and about some of the most visible contemporary texts that circulate as theory in Western academic feminism. Articulating a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, methods, and discursive styles, these texts will allow seminar members to reflect on the ethical, epistemological, and political stakes of feminist thinking over the past three decades. Members of the seminar will be encouraged to connect their readings in feminist theory with their own intellectual projects.
Readings will include Beauvoir, Irigaray, Anzaldúa, MacKinnon, Williams, Brown, Butler, Spivak, Gibson-Graham, Halley, and Barad.

Texts:

  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, trans. H. M. Parshley (New York: Vintage, 1989).
  • Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman, trans. Gillian C. Gill (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985). 
  • Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999).
  • Catherine A. MacKinnon, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989).
  • Patricia J. Williams, The Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991). 
  • Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).
  • Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. (NY: Routledge, [1990] 2006).
  • Morris, Rosalind, ed. Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea
  • J.K. Gibson-Graham, The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006). 
  • Janet Halley, Split Decisions: How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008).
  • Karen Barad, Meeting the Universe Halfway (Durham: Duke UP, 2007).

 

FREN 770S - Michel de Certeau: Lessons in Interdisciplinarity
Cross-listed with CPLT 751-002
Bruyère - Wednesdays 4:00-7:00PM

This seminar has three objectives: 1) to introduce students to Michel de Certeau’s experiments and explorations in critical historiography, 2) to put some of his concepts in dialogue with recent development in critical historiography and human geography as a contrastive agent, 3) to reflect on the stakes and the very historicity of interdisciplinarity by using his own work on ethnography, mysticism, and cultural resistance as both case studies and launchers. Although students are encouraged to navigate between the English translation and the French original, no prior knowledge of French is necessary to follow this seminar. Assessment will be based on class presentations, response papers, and a self-reflexive case study in which participants will attend to a singular encounter with Certaldian concepts or/and to modes of problematizing notions of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity within their domain of research.

Required Texts:

Michel de Certeau,

  • L’écriture de l’histoire (Paris: Folio-Gallimard, 2001). Trans. The Writing of History,translated by Tom Conley (Columbia UP, 1988)
  • L’invention du quotidien 1 (Paris: Folio-Gallimard, 1990). Trans: The Practice of Everyday Life, translated by Steven Rendall (U. of California P. 2011)
  • La fable mystique 1 (Paris: Gallimard, 1987) Trans. The Mystic Fable: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, translated by Michael B. Smith (Chicago UP, 1992)
  • Heterologies, translated by Brian Massumi (Minnesota UP, 1984)

 

FREN 775T - Other to Oneself: Variations on Narcissism
Cross-listed with PSP 789
Nouvet - Thursdays 1:00-4:00PM
 
The course will explore the status of the “ego” and its relation to the “other” through the question of narcissism as it is addressed in literature, psychoanalysis, painting, and video art. We will focus on the role that the “other” plays in the very constitution of the “self,” on the constitution and function of the “image” (including body-image or the “avatar” in video games), and on the notions of “identification” and “alienation.”  We will also see how the issue of narcissism problematizes the notions of self- recognition, self-knowledge, love (both of the “self” and of the “other”) and aggressivity. Finally, attention will be paid to those cases where the mirror does not send back any reflection.
The course will be taught in English

Texts may include:
Ovid: “Narcissus and Echo” in Metamorphoses
Guillaume de Lorris: The Romance of the Rose
Maupassant: Le horla
Rosalind Kraus: “Video: the Aesthetics of Narcissism”
Dalí: The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (poem and painting)
Freud: On Narcissism: An Introduction
Lacan: The Mirror Stage
Leclaire: A Child Is Being Killed: On Primary Narcissism and the Death Drive

 

FREN 780 - Biography, Autobiography, and Scandal: Literature as Testimony and as Courtroom Drama
Cross-listed with CPLT 751, ENG 789, PHIL 789, RLR 700, PSP 789, & LAW (Undergraduate - Permission-only)
Felman M 4:00-7:00PM
Max 2

Content: History has put on trial a series of outstanding thinkers. At the dawn of philosophy, Socrates drinks the cup of poison to which he is condemned by the Athenians, charged with atheism and corruption of the youth.  Centuries later, in modernity, similarly influential teacher, Oscar Wilde, is condemned by the English for his homosexuality, as well as for his provocative artistic views. In France, Flaubert and Baudelaire are both indicted as criminals for their literary works; Emile Zola is condemned for defending a Jew against the state, which has (wrongly) convicted him. Different forms of censorship are instigated by religious institutions, as well as by psychoanalytic ones. The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan – who practices and teaches new techniques—is expelled from the International Psychoanalytical Association, and perceives his expulsion as a religious “excommunication” (Luther, Spinoza). Through the examination of a series of historical and literary trials, this course will ask:  Why are literary writers, philosophers and creative thinkers, repetitively put on trial, and how in turn do they put society on trial? Can these trials be viewed as autobiographies of sorts, or as biographies of scandal? What is the role of literature as a political actor in the struggles over ethics and the struggles over meaning?  And finally: how does literature become the writing of a destiny, or what can be called “Life-Writing”?

Texts: Selected authors for Spring 2015: Plato (Apology; Crito; Philosophy on trial; Plato’s experience of his mentor’s execution); Oscar Wilde (Sexuality, art, and biography on trial: Wilde’s writings--novel, plays, autobiography, ballad; and Wilde’s biography – in literary memoirs narrated by his friend and colleague, the French writer André Gide); Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary, novel on trial); Charles Baudelaire (Flowers of Evil, poetry on trial: exemplary poems studied); Herman Melville (Billy Budd, one of the richest literary illustrations of “Law in Literature”: a story of Innocence on trial).
Particulars: Regular attendance; two short papers distributed in the course of the semester; brief oral presentations; weekly one-page reading reports, and active (annotated) preparation of texts for class discussion; ongoing participation.

French Graduate Seminars, Fall 2014

FREN 505: Problems in Foreign Language Teaching

(Cross-listed with LING 505)
Coropceanu Mondays 1-4PM

Content: This course presents an overview of current second language learning theories, a description and evaluation of existing second language teaching methods, and a discussion of major topics of instructional concern within the foreign language profession. The course goal is to provide experiences that facilitate the development of professional foreign language educators through practical classroom implementation and evaluation of research-based foreign language teaching practices.

Texts: Required (to be purchased):
Shrum, J. & Glisan E. Teacher¹s Handbook, 4th Edition. Heinle Cengage Learning, 2010.
Kern, Richard. Literacy and Language Teaching. Oxford University Press, 2000.
Janet K. Swaffar, Katherine Arens. Remapping the Foreign Language Curriculum: An Approach through Multiple Literacies. New York: MLA, 2005.
Graves, Kathleen. Designing Language Courses: A Guide for Teachers. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle, 2000.
Hiram, Maxim. Advanced Foreign Language Learning: A Challenge to College Programs. Ed. with Heidi Byrnes.  AAUSC Series Issues in Language Program Direction. Boston: Heinle, 2004.

Assessment: Class participation and preparation (10%); Classroom observation reports (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Lesson plans, classroom demonstrations, and self-evaluations (20%, 30% for undergraduates); Self-reflective journal (20%, not required for undergraduates); Evaluation of a professional presentation (10%); FL teaching philosophy (20%)

 FREN 770: Theories of Subjectivity

(Cross-listed with CPLT 752, PHIL789, ILA790, PSP789)
Judovitz Tuesdays 1-4PM

Content:  This course examines the emergence and consolidation of modern notions of subjectivity. It traces the radical shift from notions of self to subject, based on a new understanding of truth which also implies a new way of being in the world. Combining philosophical and literary approaches, we consider Montaigne’s and d’Urfée’s elaborations of selfhood in terms of multiplicity, embodiment and embeddedness in the world. We follow with an analysis Descartes’s elaboration of rational consciousness as a foundational moment for the development of modern metaphysics. At issue will be the relation of subjectivity to representation, the mind-body dualism, and the analogy of the body to a machine along with attendant philosophical critiques by Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Foucault, and Benveniste. We conclude with an examination of the literary manifestations of the Cartesian rationalist worldview as outlined through the crisis of signs and the problems implied in attempts to secure and master representation in Mme de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves.
 
Required Texts: Montaigne, “Of Experience,” and “On Some Verses of Virgil” in  Essays; d’Urfée, L’Astrée (selections); Descartes, The Discourse on the Method;  Heidegger, “The Age of the World Picture;” Merleau-Ponty, “The Cogito,” and “The Body as Expression and Speech” in The Phenomenology of Perception; Benveniste, “Of Subjectivity in Language;” Georges Canguilhem, “Machine and Organism;” Foucault, “The Prose of the World” and “Representing” in The Order of Things and “Technologies of the Self,” in Ethics; Mme de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves.  


FREN 785: Cannibalism in Caribbean Literature

(Cross-listed with CPLT 751; ENG 789)
Loichot Wednesdays 1-4PM

Content:In Martinican Creole, Mwen ké mangéw, “I’m going to eat you,” refers both to the action of ingesting food, and to the sexual act. The seminar will examine the intersection between the primal act of eating, sexuality, and acts of colonization (of land, persons, and language), in a series of texts and films from or about the Caribbean in a Black Atlantic perspective. The following will be addressed: repercussions of slavery and colonialism on eating and sexuality; representations of black subjects as edible products (e.g. banania) or as deviant eaters (e.g. cannibals); culinary and erotic responses to colonial or racialist violence; food metaphors and nationalism; consumption and sexual tourism; closeted and reclaimed sexualities; literary cannibalism and textual authority; ecocritical agencies.

Primary Texts (to be purchased):

  • Aimé Césaire. Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. Or Cahier d’un retour au pays natal.
  • Suzanne Césaire. Great Camouflage. Or Le grand camouflage.
  • Maryse Condé. Story of the Cannibal Woman. Or Histoire de la femme cannibale.
  • Frantz Fanon. Black Skin, White Masks (2008 Philcox’s translation only). Or Peau noire, masques blancs.
  • Jamaica Kincaid. A Small Place.
  • Dany Laferrière. How to Make Love to a Negro. Or, Comment faire l’amour avec un Nègre sans se fatiguer.
  • Marie Vieux-Chauvet. Love, Anger, Madness. Or Amour, Colère, Folie.

Additional texts by Jack Forbes, Lafcadio Hearn, Édouard Glissant, Audre Lorde, Montaigne, among others, will be available on electronic reserve.

Films: Vers le Sud / Heading South (Cantet/Laferrière); Mange, ceci est mon corps / Eat, For This is my Body (Quay); Bouillon d’Awara / Awara Soup (Paes) will be on reserve at the Woodruff Multimedia Library.

Particulars:  The seminar will be taught in English. No knowledge of French is required. However, French doctoral students will be encouraged to do the readings and to write their papers in French. Students working on different linguistic zones of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora will have the opportunity to write their final paper on their respective linguistic area of studies in English or French. All texts originally written in French will be available in English and French.
Sustained participation, 3 1-2 page response papers on Blackboard, 1 presentation, a 12-page research paper with annotated bibliography.

 

 

 

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