Current Seminars

Fall 2018

For details and updates, please consult the Course Offerings on the Office of the Registrar's website.

FRE 504
Reading Capital
Nick Nesbitt

Reading of Marx's classic critique of political economy, Capital, along with a selection of the principal philosophical readings of the mature Marx since the 1960s: Louis Althusser's Reading Capital, Michel Henry's Marx, and Moishe Postone's Time, Labor, and Social Domination. Emphasis is placed upon developing a categorial understanding of Marx's conceptual apparatus adequate to the contemporary context, in the wake of the collapse of actually-existing Socialism, industrialization, and the crisis of valorization in the Twenty-First century. The seminar this year focuses on Marx's epistemology: What is the object of analysis of Capital?

FRE 521
Romanticism - Ecocriticism and French Nature-Writing
Göran Magnus Blix

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 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.

FRE 583/COM 583
Seminar in Romance Linguistics and/or Literary Theory - Literary Theory from Phenomenology to Post-Structuralism
Thomas Trezise

The seminar examines major theoretical works representative of phenomenological, structuralist, and post-structuralist approaches to reading. Wherever possible, these works are paired with literary texts in order to see whether they facilitate or frustrate mutual translation. The ultimate ambition of the course is not only to familiarize students with important moments in twentieth-century intellectual history but to foster a practical capacity for the recognition and critique of theoretical frameworks.

ART 561 / ENG 549 / FRE 561
Painting and Literature in Nineteenth-Century France and England
Bridget A. Alsdorf and Deborah E. Nord

Course explores the dynamic interplay between painting, poetry, and fiction in 19th-century France and England. The focus is twofold: painters and paintings as protagonists in novels and short stories, and paintings inspired by literature. Themes include problems of narrative, translation, and illustration; changing theories of the relative strengths of painting and literature as artistic media; realism and the importance of descriptive detail; the representation of the artist as a social (or anti-social) actor; the representation of women as artists and models; and the artist's studio as a literary trope.


Spring 2019

FRE 500
Second Language Acquisition and Pedagogy
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.

FRE 515
The Classical Tradition - Academic Quarrels
Volker Schröder

One of the most important cultural developments of 17th-century France was the establishment of royal academies of arts and sciences. This seminar aims to provide an introduction to these institutions by examining several crucial controversies which took place in or around the academies, from the Querelle du Cid and the Querelle du coloris to the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes. Course materials include a variety of literary, theoretical, and polemical texts as well as visual resources and rare books preserved in Firestone and Marquand libraries.

20th-Century French Poetry or Theater – Surrealism
Efthymia Rentzou

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 include literary and theoretical texts, visual works (including film), and magazines. The course treats the topic at a variety of inter-related levels, exploring surrealism as a 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)

FRE 538 / COM 538 / MOD 579
Le Monde par la bande
André Benhaïm

This course explores representations of the World and History in major bandes dessinées (or graphic novels) published in French from the 1930s to the present, and produced by authors of various backgrounds (French, Belgian, Italian, Jewish, Iranian). Informed by theoretical readings, discussions will address key aesthetical, political, and ethical issues, including Exoticism, Orientalism, (Post)colonialism, national and individual identity, as well as the theory of reception, to critically assess the fluctuations of these visions between fantasy and testimony.

FRE 541
Formal and Conceptual Experiments in the Age of Enlightenment
Flora Champy

In this course, we explore the connection between the development of new literary forms and the burgeoning of original philosophical notions in the eighteenth century. As they questioned the political, social and ethical norms of their time, the philosophes also started a global rethinking of the literary rules they inherited from the "Grand siècle". Through a significant selection of non-classifiable works, we study how the bubbling laboratory of ideas changed the conception of literature, opening the path to multiple definitions that are still familiar to us today.