Spring 2020 Course Descriptions

French Course Descriptions Spring 2020

FRENCH 100 - Composition in French
Associate Instructor Poonam Vaya

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 11:00am-11:50am - CRN 66351

Instruction and practice in expository writing in French, with emphasis on organization, correct syntax, and vocabulary building. Students will complete papers during the quarter and take a midterm and a final exam.

Prerequisite: French 023 or permission of the instructor.

General Credit(s): Arts & Humanities, World Cultures, and Writing Experience.


  • A Course Reader
FRENCH 118A - The Age of Reason and Revolution
Professor Julia Simon

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 10:00am-10:50am - CRN 84167

This course will examine the trajectory of philosophical thought on society and political life during the Enlightenment and ending with the Revolution of 1789. We will study well-known texts from the Age of Enlightenment of the philosophes, such as Rousseau, Montesquieu and Diderot, as well as the historical events of the Revolution. Most importantly, we will look closely at concepts such as liberty, equality and citizenship that prefigure debates of the revolutionary period.

Prerequisite: French 100 or permission of the instructor.

General Credit(s): Arts & Humanities, Oral Literacy, World Cultures, and Writing Experience.


FRENCH 141 - Revision, Rewriting, Restaging
Professor Toby Warner

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30am-11:50am - CRN 84168

In this course we will read a selection of literary texts and films that rewrite, revise or restage other, earlier works. Our class will be arranged around three pairings of “original” texts and their “rewritten” counterparts. These will include Aimé Césaire’s play Une Tempête, which is a rewriting of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest; Kamel Daoud’s novel Meursault, contre-enquête, a reply to Albert Camus’ L’Etranger; and Abdellatif Kechiche’s film L’Esquive, which restages the play Le Jeu de l'amour et du hasard by Pierre de Marivaux. In each case, we will work comparatively in order to trace how plots, scenes, and characters have traveled through time and found different resonances in new circumstances. In our readings, conversations, and assignments, we will explore revision from two angles: as a sign of the weight of the past on the present, but also as an attempt to carve out space to imagine and stage new futures. In keeping with our theme, students in this course will write and revise their own essays to practice both composition and literary analysis.

Prerequisite: French 100 or permission of the instructor.

General Credit(s): Arts & Humanities, World Cultures, and Writing Experience.


FRENCH 209A - Twentieth-Century Literature: "Autobiographical Fictions"
Professor Jeff Fort

Thursdays 2:10pm-5:00pm - CRN 84169

This course will provide an introductory survey of a number of major narrative works in which fictional forms cross with autobiographical material, in conformity and/or confrontation with the genre of the novel. Readings will include:

  • Proust, Du côté de chez Swan
  • Colette, Chéri
  • Genet, Journal du voleur
  • Sarraute, Enfance

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or permission of the instructor.


FRENCH 251 - Topics in French Linguistics
Professor Eric Louis Russell

Tuesdays 2:10pm-5:00pm - CRN 84170

This seminar will be a critical exploration of questions surrounding gender at the intersection of language form, structure, and performance. We will proceed cross-linguistically and -culturally to investigate how gender and language are entwined and co-constitutive. Our focus will be particularly on data and evidence from Romance (especially French) and English, although (depending on student constituency), we may look beyond these.

The seminar is conceived in three thematic units, each given to a particular perspective on the question of gender {and / in / through} language, as well as a general orientation of the topic at hand, terminology, and key concepts.

Introduction: How has and is “gender” understood; how does and has this been the object of language scholarship. We will develop some base-line concepts and terms useful for all other points of discussion during the quarter.

Unit 1: Gender and language substance. We will explore how gender is formally instantiated through morpho-lexical forms and -grammatical structures, as well as how these forms and structures have changed over time. We will also delve into questions of semantic specificity and linguistic relativism.

Unit 2: Gender and language performance. We will critically examine at how language is co-opted to convey gender identities/expectations, as well as how these identities and expectations shape language. We will also question the competence/performance divide, as well as issues of representation.

Unit 3: Challenging gender through/with language. We will investigate how contemporary issues surrounding gender (e.g. non-binarity) are being lived out in and through language, and how language practices are being challenged by such.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing or permission of the instructor.