Dept. of French and Italian
Second Language Acquisition Research and Language Teaching Methodology
Christine M. Sagnier
Designed to provide future teaching assistants with the knowledge and conceptual tools needed to reflect critically on pedagogical practices in the second language classroom. Examines issues related to teaching language and culture in a university setting, highlighting the relationship between theory in Second Language Acquisition and language pedagogy and helping students understand the practical implications of theoretical frameworks in the field.
The Troubadours and the Occitan Tradition - Lyrics in a Manuscript Tradition
Christopher J. Davis
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the poetry of the Occitan troubadours, their language, and the rich manuscript culture that developed around their works during the thirteenth century. Special emphasis will be placed on the role that these poems played in conceptualizing literary language and authorship in the vernacular and on the construction of a textual and grammatical tradition in opposition to the fundamentally oral and musical nature of the lyric. Students will acquire a reading knowledge of Old Occitan as well as familiarity with manuscript research. Discussion in English, but reading knowledge of French required.
FRE 514 / COM 518
Human, Animal, Machine
This seminar examines the mechanical and animal heart of Renaissance humanism and the Renaissance "human." From Leonardo da Vinci's mechanistic anatomies and Erasmus's animal dialogues to Ambroise Paré's prosthetics, Montaigne's cat, and Descartes's bête-machine doctrine, we explore the ways in which the emergent category of the human is constituted through (and haunted by) a relation to nonhuman worlds. Special attention is paid to the technologization of the body in print, from anatomy to typography. Readings in posthumanism, animal studies, and the philosophy of technology.
ENG 567 / FRE 567
Special Studies in Modernism - The Avant-Garde
Joshua I. Kotin / Efthymia Rentzou
This course examines the major avant-garde movements of the first half of the 20th century--Futurism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Constructivism, etc.--as well as proto avant-garde movements. The seminar's methodology will be comparative and transnational, bringing together texts and artworks from a range of linguistic and national contexts. The seminar will also have a strong theoretical component and will integrate and evaluate theories of the avant-garde.
FRE 583 / COM 583
Seminar in Romance Linguistics and/or Literary Theory - The Literary Fantastic
Thomas A. Trezise
A seminar on the fantastic in 19th- and 20th-century fiction and related theorectical texts. Issues to be discussed include the fantastic in relation to other genres, the cognitive challenges it poses, its major thematic preoccupations, the importance of reception, and critical approaches drawing on philosophy, pychoanalysis and literary theory.
COM 565 / GER 565 / ENG 544 / FRE 565
Studies in Forms of Poetry - Poetry, History and Memory
Sandra L. Bermann / Michael G. Wood
This seminar explores the intricate relations of poetry to history and memory in the troubled 20th century. Individual poets are closely studied for their intrinsic interest but also for their (known and still to be discovered) connections with each other. The poets are Eugenio Montale, René Char, Paul Celan, and Anne Carson, but other writers will also be called on from time to time. Questions of war and resistance are important, and above all the course attends to what one might think of as the fate of language under pressure.
FRE 406 / GER 406
Roots in 20th-Century France and Germany
Christy N. Wampole
This course traces the problematic theme of rootedness, a metaphor for the genealogical origins of people and their attachment to geographical spaces, in the literature, philosophy, and politics of 20th-century France and Germany. Topics: nationalism and regionalism; word roots (Heidegger's etymologizing metaphysics); Jung and Bachelard on roots and the subconscious; Sartre's abject root and the phenomenologists' efforts to "reground" philosophy; Derrida's negotiation of radicality; the root-to-rhizome shift proposed by Deleuze and Guattari; recent attempts to create a non-anthropocentric philosophy; transplantation and colonization.
ART 450 / FRE 408
Seminar. 19th-Century European Art
Bridget A. Alsdorf
Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: New Approaches. This course will consider a range of recent scholarship -- both from the academy and museums -- that has shifted understandings of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting. By reading these texts against canonical ones, students will gain a deep and critical perspective on the state of the field. Special attention will be paid to methodology and changing approaches to the blockbuster exhibition. Artists discussed will include Cézanne, Degas, Monet, the Nabis, Pissarro, and Seurat. Field trips to museums in NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington.
Seminar in 17th-Century French Literature - Classical Quarrels
From the Querelle du Cid to the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes, the French 17th century was marked by crucial controversies which led to, and beyond, what would later be called "classicism." This seminar focuses in particular on quarrels concerning the theater, whose public nature made it the cultural battlefield par excellence. Readings include both the works in dispute and related critical and polemical texts. Among the issues to be explored: the uses and "morality" of dramatic fictions; the relation between writers, critics, and the public; imitation, originality, and progress; language, authority, and gender.
The Literature of Enlightenment - Defining the Human
Natasha C. Lee
At the eve of the French Revolution, debates about identity and difference, diversity and equality, announced the stakes of the democracy to come. This course asks how political, scientific and religious discourses marked individuals as 'others' in the eighteenth century. What strategies of resistance did individuals, in turn, employ to define themselves? It considers 18th-century answers to contemporary questions surrounding sex, race and class in travel narratives, utopias and political essays. The Enlightenment's legacy, and the relation between colonial past and contemporary post-colonial struggles will also be explored.
Romanticism - Ecocriticism and French Nature-Writing
The purpose of this seminar is twofold: to provide a practical guide to the burgeoning field of ecocriticism through an overview of its critical canon; and to shed new light on the French Romantic tradition by reading it through an environmental lens. We will look at landscape painting and poetry, nature writing, animal depictions, and orientalist works from Rousseau to Michelet, and, in the process, analyze nature's shifting status as mere background, hostile other, sublime landscape, vital milieu, intimate place, and full-fledged agent. Topics include biocentrism, ecofeminism, vitalism, postcolonialism, animals, and eco-cosmopolitanism.
Francophone Literature and Culture Outside of France - The Francophone Caribbean
F. Nick Nesbitt
An examination of the literature and theory of the francophone Caribbean from the Haitian Revolution to the present. The course focuses on how literary creation, history and theoretical reflection united in this unique and compelling culture.
COM 563 / FRE 563 / ENG 577
Studies in Forms of Narrative - Henry James and Gustave Flaubert
Peter P. Brooks
The seminar starts from Henry James's complex and ambivalent attitudes toward Flaubert's novels, his baffled attempts to understand Flaubert's project, and moves on to consider principally how the two novelists developed radically incompatible theories of the uses of fiction in their late work.
HUM 596 / COM 596 / ENG 529 / FRE 596
Unpacking Derrida's Library: Secrets of the Archives
Eduardo L. Cadava / Avital Ronell
Marking the 10th anniversary of Derrida's death, this course provides an opportunity to "unpack" Derrida's library, to remember several of his lessons - about philosophy, literature, history, politics, religion, economics, ideology, law, rights, nationalism, racism, colonialism, the media, university institutions, capitalism, rogue states, the war on terror, justice, responsibility, language, friendship, love, life, death, and mourning - all of which are more urgent and necessary than ever before.
FRE 510 / MED 510
Seminar in Medieval French Literature - Living Texts, Live Performances
Jeanette L. Patterson
We often treat medieval texts as dead artifacts by dead authors in a dead language, preserved in "best-text" print editions. This course aims to recover medieval experiences and practices of literature that depended on the living bodies that read, recited, performed, recopied and repurposed it. With attention to the fluidity of the French vernacular and the mediated nature of its early literature, this course covers a range of medieval texts and critical-theoretical approaches to their study, while also giving students hands-on experience with manuscripts and basic reading knowledge of Old/Middle French.
Romanticism - Mil Huit Cent Trente
David M. Bellos
An Interdisciplinary approach to the cultural production of France in a year of revolutionary change. The focus is on the many important works of fiction produced in that year, seen in relation to each other and to the theater, poetry, painting, music and politics of one of the most significant years in French history.
This course examines the development of surrealism from its birth in Dada-infused Paris through its years of exile in New York to its decline after the Second World War. Materials considered will include literary and theoretical texts, visual works (including film), and magazines. The course will treat the topic at a variety of inter-related levels, exploring surrealism as part of the broad historical phenomenon of the avant-garde, examining its specific ways of (re)conceiving literature and art, and investigating the epistemological ramifications of surrealism's aesthetic, political, and moral positions. (In English)
The Heroism of Modern Life
How can modern bourgeois life still claim to be, as Baudelaire suggested, worthy of heroic treatment, despite the rise of democratic values? While many post-revolutionary thinkers opposed heroism on political grounds, or judged it historically impossible, some fashioned new democratic heroes reconciling exemplarity and typicality. Meanwhile, reactionary thinkers revitalized an older heroic code to justify hierarchy and order. We examine the nineteenth-century crisis of heroism in a wide range of authors such as Balzac, Stendhal, Marx, Nietzsche, Carlyle, Emerson, Baudelaire, Comte, Michelet, Hugo, Rostand, Barrès, and Bergson.
Levinas and Blanchot
Thomas A. Trezise
A seminar on the work of Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, following the development, from a common origin in German phenomenology, of the ethics and the aethetics for which they are respectively well known.