Graduate Seminars

Fall 2017

FREN 610, Old French, W 3.30-5.20

R. Howard Bloch

An introduction to the Old French language, medieval book culture, and the prose romance via study of manuscript Yale Beinecke 229, The Death of King Arthur, along with a book of grammar and an Old French dictionary. Primary and secondary materials are available on a DVD. Work consists of a weekly in-class translation and a final exam comprised of a sight translation passage, a familiar passage from Yale 229, and a take-home essay. No previous study of Old French necessary, although a knowledge of French is essential. In English.

FREN 840, Renaissance Lyric: La Pléiade, W 1.30-3.20

Edwin Duval

The seminar will focus on a poetic revolution that sought to reinvent French lyric by purging it of all traces of its medieval origins and infusing it with the qualities, forms, and prestige of Greek and Latin lyric.  We will concentrate together on the best-known works of the two principal poets of this movement, Du Bellay and Ronsard, while each student works independently to become an expert on one of the lesser poets of the so-called “Pléiade” that formed around them.  Emphasis will be on close reading of some of the best poems written in French, but due attention will be paid to the necessary background in poetics and literary history.  The seminar will be conducted in French.

FREN 877, The Libertine Novel, T 1.30-3.20

Pierre Saint-Amand

The course will study how this sub-genre of the eighteenth-century novel radically transforms its more accepted model and pushed its limits. Leaving the focus of interiority, the libertine novel explores space; characters lose their psychological depth to become bodies, surfaces of pleasure. On the side of heroes and heroines, we will consider the effort in the construction of libertine communities. Those experiments with the novel bring it fully into modernity.

FREN 946/AFAM 846/CPLT 725, Postcolonial Theory and Its Literature, Th 1.30-3.20
Christopher Miller

A survey of theories relevant to colonial and postcolonial literature and culture. The course focuses on theoretical models (Orientalism, hybridity, métissage, créolité, “minor literature”), but also gives attention to the literary texts from which they are derived (francophone and anglophone). Readings from Said, Bhabha, Spivak, Mbembe, Amselle, Glissant, Deleuze, Guattari. Conducted in English.

FREN 980a, Seminar on the Profession, TBD
Pierre Saint-Amand

Open only to French department graduate students entering the job market, this workshop concentrates on the skills and the materials needed for candidacy. Individual and group activities throughout the fall term. Intense focus on the preparation of written materials, followed by training in performative skills. For credit (does not count toward sixteen-course requirement). Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.


Spring 2018

FREN 881/HSAR 829, Baudelaire, T 1.30-3.20

Carol Armstrong

The work of poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire, a pivotal figure in the history of both romanticism and modernism, has had a significant afterlife in modern art theory and criticism, modern literature, and modern thought about everything from pornography to photography, and from caricature to comedy, as well as cities, industrial forms, the temporality of modern life, modern art, modern music, and modern poetry. This interdisciplinary seminar pairs Baudelaire’s writing with the work of a variety of other figures of his and our time, from the artists Goya, Delacroix, Guys, and Manet; the photographers Nadar, Carjat, Disdéri, Marville, Le Gray, and Atget; the art critics Gautier and Zola; the Symbolist poets Mallarmé and Verlaine; the writers and artists of the Surrealist movement; and the composers and performers Wagner, Debussy, and Diamanda Galás; to the work and thought of Walter Benjamin concerning Parisian modernity, and the ideas of Sigmund Freud about dreams and the unconscious. We stress the visual, art historical, and art critical ramifications of Baudelaire’s work—in particular his Salons and Le Peintre de la vie moderne, but also his poetry and other writings.

FREN 899, Modernity, Th 9.25-11.15

Maurice Samuels

The seminar studies literature and art from nineteenth-century France alongside theoretical and historical reflections to explore the significance of modernity. How did historical forces shape cultural trends? How did literature and art define what it means to be modern? Writers to be studied include Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Maupassant, and Zola. Theorists include Benjamin, Durkheim, Foucault, Marx, Simmel, and Weber. We also examine the painting of Manet and his followers. Reading knowledge of French required.

FREN 900/HIST 667/WGSS 667, History of Sexuality in Modern Europe, T 1.30-3.20

Carolyn Dean

This class provides an introduction to the various lines of inquiry informing the history of sexuality. The course asks how historians and others constitute sexuality as an object of inquiry and addresses different arguments about the evolution of sexuality in Europe, including the relationship between sexuality and the state and sexuality and gender.

FREN 942/CPLT 986/AFST 942, Decolonizing Memory, W 3:30-5:20

Jill Jarvis                       

This seminar introduces graduate students to theories of memory, testimony, and trauma by bringing key works on these topics into dialogue with literary texts by writers of the former French and British empires in Africa.  Literary readings may include works by Djebar, Ouologuem, Farès, Salih, Head, Aidoo.  Theoretical readings by Arendt, Adorno & Horkheimer, Agamben, Césaire, Derrida, Fanon, Foucault, Mbembe, Spivak. 

FREN 951/AFAM 822/AFST 651, The Francophone African Novel, Th 1:30-3:20

Christopher Miller            

A comprehensive study of the novel—its discourse, aesthetics, and history—in colonial and postcolonial francophone Africa. Authors include Lamine Senghor, Ousmane Socé, Ousmane Sembène, Ferdinand Oyono, Ahmadou Kourouma, Yambo Ouologuem, Mariama Bâ, Aminata Sow Fall, Fatou Diome, Calixthe Beyala, Alain Mabanckou.  Readings in French; course conducted in English.