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Department of French & Italian at Emory

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Ph.D. in French and Educational Studies | Graduate Requirements
Previous Graduate Seminars

French Graduate Seminars Fall 2008

FREN 505: Problems in Foreign Language Teaching, Herron
FREN 770: La Pensée de Roland Barthes, Lang
FREN 770: Politics in Deconstruction, Bennington
FREN 775: Bodily Expression and Figurative Style in the Classical Period, Judovitz
FREN 780: Literary Theory, Marder
FREN 780: Literature and Justice: Writers on Trial, Felman
FREN 780: Deception and War in the Age of Image

FREN 505 Problems in Foreign Language Teaching

Herron M 1-4
(cross-listed with Lang 505)

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 and inquirers through practical classroom implementation and evaluation of research-based foreign language teaching practices.

Texts: Teacher’s Handbook: Contextualized Language Instruction (3rd edition), Shrum and Glisan. A collection of xeroxed research articles.

FREN 770 La Pensée de Roland Barthes
(cross-listed with CPLT 751)              

Lang Th 1-4

Content: Roland Barthes, though generally classified as a literary critic, is best defined as a “thinker”: theorist, aesthetician, intellectual, historian, writer. Seductive and persuasive but never dogmatic, his writings were both reflections of the philosophical and literary movements of his times and distinctive, innovative appropriations of them that in turn played a significant role in their evolution. Critics from a multiplicity of camps—marxist, structuralist, deconstructionist, feminist, queer, etc.—have acknowledged a debt to this “penseur glissant,” as Robbe-Grillet liked to call him. In this course we will read texts from the various periods of Barthes’s work with an eye to what made it so representative of the ideological trends of his times, and yet so uniquely “Barthesian.” Course will be taught in English; texts may be read in French or English.

Texts: Readings from Éléments de sémiologie, Le Degré zéro de 1'écriture, Mythologies, Sur Racine, Essais critiques, Critique et vérité, S/Z, Le Plaisir du texte, Roland Barthes par Roland Barthes, La Chambre claire and others.

FREN 770 Politics in Desconstruction
(cross-listed with CPLT 751)

Bennington T 4-7

Content: Taking its lead from some of Derrida’s late work, this course will follow the 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 concepts, 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 all political philosophies are enamored of sovereignty, while almost none has anything good to say about democracy.  We shall also compare our deconstructive approach to these political questions with some other contemporary accounts, and consider the possibility of a non-trivial affinity between the political and the literary in their constant tendency to exceed philosophy’s grasp.  Classic authors to be discussed will probably include Plato, Aristotle, Bodin, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Tocqueville and Schmitt; contemporary theorists to be considered may include Agamben, Badiou, Mouffe and Rancière.

FREN 775 Bodily Expression and Figurative Style in the Classical Period
(cross-listed with CPLT 752)

Judovitz W 1-4

Content: This course will examine the representation of the body in 17-th century French literature as gesture and speech. It will focus on the body’s expressive vocabulary as mobilized through gesture along with the specific stylistic implications that characterize its position and patterning within the baroque and classical worldviews. We will explore how the signs associated with bodily expression will shift and change in meaning given the epistemological rupture between baroque and classicism. We will inquire into the classical legacy that privileged the mastery of reason and the regulatory force of social norms, its emphasis on being rather than appearance. We will consider how the materiality of the body is constituted through gesture as reiterative performance rather than as object. Questions of love and self-love will be considered in terms of attendant issues regarding the play of language in representation. May love become the bearer of a monstrosity endemic to the order of representation? Can the expression of emotions be simulated or counterfeit? The guiding question is how the representation of gestures challenges the limits of classical discourse. Most reading assignments will be in French.

Required Texts: d’Urfe, L’Astrée (selections); Guilleragues, Lettres portugaises; Corneille, Le Cid; Racine, Phèdre; Molière, Tartuffe; Mme de Lafayette, La Princesse de Clèves; and theoretical texts by Sartre, Foucault, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty, Starobinski; Spitzer; Kamuf, Peyre, Barthes, Agamben, etc., available on on-line reserves.

FREN 780 Literary Theory
(cross-listed with CPLT 751)
Max: 12

Marder T 1-4

Content: An introduction to literary theoretical thinking, focusing on twentieth century structuralism, post-structuralism and contemporary theory. Readings include influential texts by: Saussure, Derrida, Lacan, Barthes, Foucault, Cixous, Irigaray, de Man and Benjamin.

FREN 780 Literature and Justice: Writers on Trial
(cross-listed with CPLT 751/ILA 790/ English 789R))
Max 2 (permission required)

Felman M 4-7

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, 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 banning by, and expulsion from, the International Psychoanalytic Association, with a religious “excommunication” for charges of nonorthodoxy and heresy (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 put culture and society on trial?  What is the role of literature as a political actor in the struggles over ethics, and the struggles over meaning?  Why does justice matter, philosophically, artistically and humanly, and how does it move us, make us think, and pervade the emotion and the drama of our lives?

Authors: Plato; Oscar Wilde; Moises Kaufman; E. M. Forster; Emile Zola; Hannah Arendt; Baruch de Spinoza; Jacques Lacan;  Nella Larsen; Virginia Woolf.

Particulars: Regular attendance; two short papers; brief oral presentations; intensive weekly reading and active  (annotated) preparation of texts for class discussion; ongoing participation.

FREN 780 Deception and War in the Age of Image
(cross-listed with CPLT 751/ENG 789R/ILA 790)
Max: 5           

Caruth Th 4-7

Content: Taking as a starting point Hannah Arendt's late essays on lying and politics, this course will examine the role of war in the era of what Arendt refers to as "image-making."  The course will consider 20th-century literature and film, as well as political and literary theory, in order to explore the relation between action and lying,  "image-making" (of different kinds) and war-making, war and deception.  Across these various genres and media, we will ask: what is the relation between the possibility of history and the possibility of its erasure?  And what does it mean to act, or to reveal truth, in the age of the modern (or absolute) lie?

Texts: TBA



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