Current Seminars

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

Fall 2020

FRE 516
Seminar in 17th-Century French Literature: Le Merveilleux sous Louis XIV
Volker Schröder

This seminar explores the presence of the marvelous in French literature of the "classical age" (1650-1700). What is the role of the extraordinary, the supernatural, and the fabulous in a strictly ordered and increasingly rational and sceptical world? How can literature and art astonish, enchant, and transport while following the rules of reason and verisimilitude? Readings range from mythological dramas to fairy tales, considered with relation to critical debates about the merveilleux and the sublime, the Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes, and the discourse of absolute monarchy.

20th-Century French Narrative: Voice Matters
Thomas Trezise

This course explores the narrative articulation of conflict and loss in a selection of works from different historical contexts, including slavery, the Holocaust, and the postcolonial world. Emphasis is placed on voice both from a narratological perspective and as a mode of thematization pertaining to such issues as class, gender, and race. Subjects to be discussed also include history, memory, and memorialization; the features of posttraumatic life; and the question of créolité.

FRE 534
Rousseau's Politics
Flora Champy

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) is one of the most influential and controversial figures of Early modern political philosophy. Prosecuted by the authorities in his native demo-theocratic Geneva as well as in the French absolutist kingdom, Rousseau analyzed politics as a moralist reflecting on collective habits, as a severe critic of social inequality, as a philosopher attempting to lay down the "principles of political right" while addressing government practices and as an innovative writer. This course explores Rousseau's multi-faceted political thought, reflecting on the methodologies adequate to apprehend such a complex work.

FRE 587
Topics in French and Francophone Critical Theory: Spinoza and French Theory
Nick Nesbitt

Course provides an introduction to key French thinkers via the reception of Spinoza's philosophy in French Theory. Philosophers to include Deleuze, Althusser, Macherey, Balibar, Negri, and Badiou. Course also develops readings of the main Spinozist texts through the various lenses of this reception

Spring 2020

COM 500
Second Language Acquisition Research and Language Teaching Methodology
Christine 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.

COM 525 / FRE 526
19th and 20th-Century French Literature: Writing the People in 19th Century France
Göran Blix

What is the people? Much of nineteenth-century literature is an effort to confront this urgent political question after the Revolution, and to give shape and voice to this amorphous new sovereign. At once ubiquitous and intangible, the people is an unsettling power that modern writing seeks to name, express, silence, or shape. This course examines some landmark novels (by Hugo, les Goncourt, Sand, and Zola) and social analysis (by reformers, hygienists, and intellectuals) at the crossroads between politics and aesthetics. Critical texts by Marx, Chevalier, Rancière, Foucault, T.J. Clark, Lefort, and Rosanvallon.

COM 533 / FRE 533 / HUM 533
The Contemporary
Christy Wampole

What does it mean to be contemporary? How does one truly inhabit the present? Through theoretical texts and examples in literature and film, this course explores the ways in which thinkers, writers, and filmmakers have crafted themselves as agents of actualité. Topics covered include: presentism, littérature engagée, culture critique, the tug-of-war between history and the future, the phenomenology of the now, the personal and collective steering of the present toward a particular course, and the genres best suited to register the contemporary (novel, journalistic writing, documentary, essay, journal).

FRE 571
Political Writing in Eighteenth-Century France
Flora Champy

This course explores a series of questions. Who writes about politics in eighteenth-century France? And why? How can censorship, official and unofficial, make a political event of a book even when it does not directly address governmental issues? Used by Montesquieu in defense of his treatment of religion in the Spirit of the Laws, the phrase "political writer" can apply to a wide range of writers whose motivations, purposes, and publishing strategies vary in response to different urges. The course is based on the study of primary texts but also historical documents, such as official indictments of writers.