French

  • France on Display: Shaping the Nation under the Third Republic, 1870-1940

    This course is a metaphorical visit to Third Republic France (1870-1940) in which we will examine images and public spaces as a language communicating republican ideology. We will investigate how the Republic molded the new citizen in schools and townhalls; served as gatekeeper of culture and advocate of progress in museums and world fairs; and influenced the marketplace. We will consider how writers, artists, architects, and filmmakers contributed to the representation of France and how they critiqued its displays. The seminar will draw parallels with the U.S.
  • Looking for the Beast: Animals as Spectacle in Literature, Film, and Culture

    This course focuses on the ways literature, film, but also cultural events and spaces (circus, zoo, museum) present animals as objects of admiration and subjects of performance. We will consider the fascination that animals inspire in humans, which might lead to question the distinction between "us" and "them". What is at stake, what are the consequences, for us and for them, when animals are seen or shown as an elusive Other who still beckons a closer encounter?
  • Essayism: Trajectory of a Genre

    This course explores the thematically capacious genre of the essay, a compact prose form where science and poetry meet. Students learn the essay's history, explore various theories of the essay, and encounter prominent examples of essayistic writing from across the centuries. The essay, itself a hybrid form, seems always to reach beyond text toward other media: essay-film, photo-essay, desktop essay. The class invites students to analyze these new essayistic experiments and consider the implications the essay form might have for their own scholarly writing.
  • Medieval Speech Acts

    A seminar on medieval practices and theories of performative speech, from lies to oaths, promises, blessings, curses, deeds and sacraments. Readings are drawn from Old and Middle French poetry as well as earlier and later medieval grammar, logic and theology, where doctrines of "efficacious" signification and the force of words play major roles. To bring into focus the medieval treatments of speech acts, we also consider selected twentieth-century philosophical, linguistic and sociological accounts of performative speech (particularly by Austin, Benveniste and Goffman).
  • Seminar in Romance Linguistics and/or Literary Theory: Levinas

    The seminar focuses on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas from its origins in Husserlian phenomenology and Heidggerian ontology to the major articulations of Levinasian ethnics. It examines encounters between Levinas and such thinkers as Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-François Lyotard, and considers the implications of Levinas's thought for aesthetics, gender, and politics.
  • France on Display: Shaping the Nation under the Third Republic, 1870-1940

    This course is a metaphorical visit to Third Republic France (1870-1940) in which we will examine images and public spaces as a language communicating republican ideology. We will investigate how the Republic molded the new citizen in schools and townhalls; served as gatekeeper of culture and advocate of progress in museums and world fairs; and influenced the marketplace. We will consider how writers, artists, architects, and filmmakers contributed to the representation of France and how they critiqued its displays. The seminar will draw parallels with the U.S.
  • Looking for the Beast: Animals as Spectacle in Literature, Film, and Culture

    This course focuses on the ways literature, film, but also cultural events and spaces (circus, zoo, museum) present animals as objects of admiration and subjects of performance. We will consider the fascination that animals inspire in humans, which might lead to question the distinction between "us" and "them". What is at stake, what are the consequences, for us and for them, when animals are seen or shown as an elusive Other who still beckons a closer encounter?
  • Essayism: Trajectory of a Genre

    This course explores the thematically capacious genre of the essay, a compact prose form where science and poetry meet. Students learn the essay's history, explore various theories of the essay, and encounter prominent examples of essayistic writing from across the centuries. The essay, itself a hybrid form, seems always to reach beyond text toward other media: essay-film, photo-essay, desktop essay. The class invites students to analyze these new essayistic experiments and consider the implications the essay form might have for their own scholarly writing.
  • Medieval Speech Acts

    A seminar on medieval practices and theories of performative speech, from lies to oaths, promises, blessings, curses, deeds and sacraments. Readings are drawn from Old and Middle French poetry as well as earlier and later medieval grammar, logic and theology, where doctrines of "efficacious" signification and the force of words play major roles. To bring into focus the medieval treatments of speech acts, we also consider selected twentieth-century philosophical, linguistic and sociological accounts of performative speech (particularly by Austin, Benveniste and Goffman).
  • Seminar in Romance Linguistics and/or Literary Theory: Levinas

    The seminar focuses on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas from its origins in Husserlian phenomenology and Heidggerian ontology to the major articulations of Levinasian ethnics. It examines encounters between Levinas and such thinkers as Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-François Lyotard, and considers the implications of Levinas's thought for aesthetics, gender, and politics.

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