Fall 2020 Course Descriptions

French Expanded Course Descriptions Fall 2020

All fall 2020 courses in the French & Italian Department will be held remotely (online).

FRE 100. Composition in French
Prof Claire Goldstein
T/Th 10:30-11:50


Required course for major/minor

In French 100, we will read memorable works of fiction in French: from novellas by Flaubert and Balzac, to Madame Leprince de Beaumont’s classic fairy tale, La Belle et la bête and Jean Cocteau’s surrealist film version of the same story, to Marjanne Satrapi’s humorous and poignant graphic novel exploring cultural norms regarding gender and sexuality. Students will develop critical reading strategies in French and hone their ability to present their ideas in French, orally and in writing.

Prerequisite: FRE 23 or the permission of the instructor

FRE 107B. The Making of Modern France
Prof. Claire Goldstein
T/Th 1:40-3


Fulfils Culture or Elective requirement for major/minor

Read real historical documents, analyze painting and architecture, and re-enact philosophical debates about important social issues in this quarter’s exploration of the political and cultural history of France from the beginning of the seventeenth century through the middle of the nineteenth century. Highlights of our survey will include: Henri IV’s edict of Nantes, which ended the French Religious Wars; Versailles and Louis XIV’s cultural and political project of French absolutism; Enlightenment polemics about economic inequality and religious toleration; the revolution of 1789; the rise of Napoleon; and the industrial transformation of Paris in the nineteenth century. We will engage topics such as the role of women and minorities in society and France’s relationship with the broader world as students hone reading, writing, and speaking skills in French.

All materials available via Canvas

Prerequisite: FRE 23 or the permission of the instructor

FRE 117B. The Classical Moment
T/Th 12:10-1:30
Prof Noah Guynn


Fulfils Literature (*pre-revolutionary) or Elective requirement for major/minor

This course will be devoted to the career of Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, otherwise known as Molière. We will read representative works from all the major phases of the playwright's career and will supplement our readings with screenings from Ariane Mnouchkine’s celebrated film-biography Molière (1978). Our emphasis throughout the term will be on theatrical depictions of power and dissent, order and disorder, convention and eccentricity. As serious as those subjects may sound, we will also do our best to find the pleasure in Molière’s plays, which are outrageously, almost unbearably funny.

The course requirements will include three writing assignments: a character study (2 pages), a scene study (3 pages), and an analysis of a full play (4 pages). There will also be a heavy emphasis on active, informed class participation. Students who enroll should plan to attend class regularly and intervene frequently in discussions. The course will guide students in developing effective analytical, critical, and communication skills, including both oral and written. It will also ask them to work on complex intellectual endeavors, both independently (at home) and collaboratively (in class). Students will receive regular, detailed feedback, and their progress will be assessed using grading rubrics, both written and oral.

Prerequisite: FRE 100 or the permission of the instructor

FRE 224: Francophone Literatures: Literature and the Archive
Tuesday 1:10-4pm
Prof Toby Warner

What is an archive? What can practices of literary and historical reading stand to learn from each other? In this course we will consider how two interlinked kinds of objects — the archive and the literary text – raise fundamental questions of how and why we read. We will engage with a variety of francophone literary texts from the Maghreb, West Africa and the Caribbean that ask how it is possible to speak for the past in the wake of French imperialism. We will investigate what possibilities open up when we read archives as literary texts, and ask what happens when literary works position themselves as alternatives to official historical records. Theoretical readings by Anne Stoler, Lisa Lowe, Stephen Best, Michel Foucault, Heather Love, Michel Rolph Trouillot, Reinhart Kosselleck, Edouard Glissant, David Scott, Achille Mbembe, Sadiyya Hartman, and James C Scott, among others. Literary works by Mariama Bâ, Aimé Césaire, Assia Djebar and Ousmane Socé.