French and Francophone Studies

Last updated: September 27, 2018 at 08:38 a.m.

As Michel de Montaigne wrote:

"Learning to speak, read, write, and think a new language teaches us to knock off our rough corners by rubbing our minds against other people's."

The French and Francophone Studies program puts Montaigne's advice to good use.

In French and Francophone Studies, students pursue their interests in French language, as well as in French and Francophone literature, film, and culture while learning to express themselves clearly and effectively when they speak and write. Students develop strong analytical and interpretive skills as they discover the historical depth and geographical breadth of literary and cultural expression in French, enhance their sensitivity to cultural difference, and deepen their understanding of the linguistic, cultural, and political complexities of the French-speaking world in Europe, North America, Africa, and the Caribbean.

In this era of increasing globalization, students must have strong skills in the analysis and interpretation of language and culture. We teach French language and French and Francophone culture at all levels, which provides students with a strong foundation as they pursue literary and cultural studies of French-speaking countries throughout the world.

Core Skills

  1. An advanced proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, writing and knowledge of French and Francophone cultures;
  2. The ability to analyze, evaluate and interpret works in verbal sources (such as literature, newspapers, critical articles, essays, etc.) and in other media (film, painting, photographs, music, etc.);
  3. The ability to explain how cultural differences help determine political, economic and social institutions.

Knowledge

  1. An understanding of the principal historical events and foundational cultural tenets (including notions drawn from politics, literature, sociology, philosophy, etc.) that shape France and the Francophone world;
  2. An understanding of how creative works in French reflect the past and present, announce future developments, and influence world culture;
  3. An understanding of the instrumental role that language (written and oral production of all types) plays in the formation of cultures, histories, and identities of the French and Francophone world;
  4. An appreciation of the cultural and linguistic diversity in the French-speaking world.

Social Justice
A panoply of French writers and philosophers have played a fundamental role in the evolution of our notions of social justice, freedom, equality, individual fulfillment, and the common good. By exploring these ideas in a variety of French and Francophone contexts, students analyze the different ways in which these concepts have developed and changed over time and across cultures.

In order to graduate, students must be able to function at an intermediate level in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in a foreign language. They may satisfy this requirement in several ways:

  • A score of 620 or higher on the SAT II language exam, 4 or higher on an Advanced Placement exam in language or literature, or 5 or higher on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam. We encourage students to continue studies in our department (please see below to choose a course at the appropriate level).
  • A passing score on the Proficiency Exam that shows you have gained an intermediate-level proficiency in French. Please contact Professor Hollie Harder (harder@brandeis.edu) to make arrangements to take the Proficiency Exam.
  • OR, study of a language at Brandeis. The completion of a 30-level course with a passing grade satisfies the language requirement.
Students with further questions about the language requirement should contact the Director of Language Programs, Professor Hollie Harder (harder@brandeis.edu).

Students considering a French and Francophone Studies major or minor should complete the language requirement as soon as possible.

  • After students complete a 30-level French language course, they are advised to enroll in FREN 104b, the first course in the sequence that counts toward the minor.
  • Students who scored 620–710 on the French SAT II exam, 4 on the French Advanced Placement exam, or 5 on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam are usually advised to enroll in FREN 105a.
  • Students who scored 720 or above on the French SAT II exam, 5 on the French AP exam, or 6 or higher on the International Baccalaureate Higher Levels Exam should enroll in FREN 106b, the first course in the sequence that counts toward the major.
  • Normally, students should take FREN 106b, FREN 110a, and/or FREN 111a before taking courses numbered above FREN 111.
Students interested in learning more about the major or minor are encouraged to speak with the French and Francophone Studies Undergraduate Advising Head.

Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche
Modern and contemporary French and Francophone literature and culture. History and theory of the novel. History of the body and the emotions. Vision and visual culture in nineteenth- and twentieth-century France. Religion and literary modernism.

Hollie Harder, Director of French and Italian Language Programs
French language, culture, and literature. Language pedagogy. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century French literature. Women's, gender, and sexuality studies.

Michael Randall, Undergraduate Advising Head for French and Francophone Studies
Late medieval and Renaissance poetry, prose, and philosophy. Comparative literature. Modern politics and literature in Francophone world.

Catherine Theobald
Early modern French literature and culture. Word and image studies. Portraiture. Early modern prose forms: maxims, portraits, novels. Book illustration. Collecting practices. Québec literature and film.

Martine Voiret
French language and culture. Eighteenth century French literature. Women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Cinema.

The minor consists of five semester courses:

A. FREN 106b (The Art of Composition).

B. FREN 110a (Cultural Representations) or FREN 111a (The Republic).

C. Three electives from French and Francophone Studies courses numbered 104 or above. Either FREN 92a, 97a, and 99a,b may satisfy the elective requirement. Cross-listed courses may not be used to satisfy the minor requirements.

D. No grade below a C- will be given credit toward the minor.

E. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the minor requirements.

Notes:

  • Students who take FREN 110a and FREN 111a may count one of them as an elective.
  • A French and Francophone Studies minor who wishes to do an internship in a French or Francophone environment on or off campus may enroll in FREN 92a. Students arrange their own internships with prior permission from the Undergraduate Advising Head.

All students pursuing a French and Francophone Studies minor will be assigned an adviser in the department, usually the Undergraduate Advising Head.

The major consists of nine semester courses:

A. FREN 106b (The Art of Composition).

B. FREN 110a (Cultural Representations) or FREN 111a (The Republic).

C. Seven electives from French and Francophone Studies courses numbered 110 or above. Only one of the seven may be satisfied with a cross-listed course. Either FREN 92a, 97a, and 99a,b may satisfy the elective requirement.

D. No grade below a C- will be given credit toward the major.

E. No course taken pass/fail may count toward the major requirements.

F. At the end of their studies in French and Francophone Studies (usually during the spring semester of the senior year), all students pursuing a major will participate in an oral presentation and discussion of a sample of their work that best demonstrates their proficiency in and knowledge of French and Francophone Studies.

Notes:

  • Students who take FREN 110a and FREN 111a may count one of them as an elective.
  • French and Francophone Studies majors have the option of writing a Senior Essay (FREN 97a) in the fall of their senior year as one of their electives.
  • A French and Francophone Studies major who wishes to do an internship in a French or Francophone environment on or off campus may enroll in FREN 92a. Students arrange their own internships with prior permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.
  • Students may receive credit for an elective for the major for one cross-listed or related course taught in English with prior permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.

All students pursuing a French and Francophone Studies major will be assigned an adviser in the department, usually the Undergraduate Advising Head.

Honors
To be considered for departmental honors upon graduation, students must successfully complete FREN 97a (Senior Essay) in the fall of their senior year, have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in all French courses, and apply to the department for permission to enroll in FREN 99b (Senior Thesis) in the spring of their senior year. Departmental honors are awarded based on cumulative excellence in all courses taken in the major, including the senior essay and thesis.

Study Abroad

We encourage internships and study abroad. Our students have enrolled in programs in France, Québec, Switzerland, Belgium, Senegal, Mali, Madagascar, Cameroon, and Morocco.

Students may receive credit for electives for the major or minor for courses taken in French abroad, with prior permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.

How to Choose a Course at the Appropriate Level

For more information, please refer to the Registrar’s website at www.brandeis.edu/registrar/newstudent/testing.html#frentest or to the Department of Romance Studies website.

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

FREN 10a Beginning French
Prerequisite: For students with no previous knowledge of French and those with a minimal background. Students enrolling for the first time in a French and Francophone Studies course at Brandeis should refer to http://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/newstudent/testing.html#frentest.
Intensive training in the basics of French grammar, listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing within the context of French and Francophone cultures. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FREN 20b Continuing French
Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in FREN 10a or the equivalent. Students enrolling for the first time in a French and Francophone Studies course at Brandeis should refer to http://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/newstudent/testing.html#frentest.
Continued work in French grammar, listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing within the context of French and Francophone cultures. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FREN 32a Intermediate French: Conversation
[ fl ]
Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in FREN 20b or the equivalent. Students enrolling for the first time in a French and Francophone Studies course at Brandeis should refer to http://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/newstudent/testing.html#frentest.
Focuses on improving the speaking ability of students who wish to develop greater ease of expression in conversation while discussing contemporary French and Francophone issues. Students continue to improve their skills in listening, comprehension, reading, and writing. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FREN 92a Internship
May be taken with the written permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.
A combined on- or off-campus internship experience related to French and Francophone studies with written analysis under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. Students arrange their own internships. Counts only once toward the fulfillment of requirements for the major or the minor. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FREN 97a Senior Essay
Students should consult the Undergraduate Advising Head before enrolling.
FREN 97a offers French and Francophone Studies majors an opportunity to produce a senior essay under the direction of an individual instructor. Students normally enroll in FREN 97a in the fall. Only under exceptional circumstances will students enroll in FREN 97a in the spring. Offered every fall.
Staff

FREN 98a Independent Study
May be taken only with the written permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.
Reading and written analyses under faculty supervision. Offered as needed.
Staff

FREN 99b Senior Thesis
May be taken only with the written permission of the Undergraduate Advising Head.
Senior French and Francophone Studies majors who successfully complete FREN 97a (Senior essay) in the fall and who have a 3.5 GPA in all French and Francophone Studies courses may apply to extend the essay into a thesis in the spring.
Staff

(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

All courses are conducted in French except as indicated.

FREN 104b Advanced Language Skills through Culture
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: A 30-level French and Francophone Studies course or the equivalent. Students enrolling for the first time in a French and Francophone Studies course at Brandeis should refer to http://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/newstudent/testing.html#frentest.
For students who would like to continue studying French beyond the foreign language requirement. Topics will vary, but all investigate aspects of French and Francophone cultures through written texts, film, and other media. Usually offered every semester. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FREN 105a France Today: French Conversation
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 104b or the equivalent. Students enrolling for the first time in a French and Francophone Studies course at Brandeis should refer to http://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/newstudent/testing.html#frentest.
For students who want to improve their speaking skills while learning about and discussing socio-cultural issues that distinguish the French view of the world from that of Americans. Students also continue their work on reading, listening and writing. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FREN 106b The Art of Composition
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 105a or the equivalent. Students enrolling for the first time in a French and Francophone Studies course at Brandeis should refer to http://www.brandeis.edu/registrar/newstudent/testing.html#frentest.
A crucial course for students that helps develop greater competence in examining texts in order to write and speak in a more sophisticated manner. Focuses on composing summaries and descriptions, constructing arguments, and analyzing different types of writing to produce thoughtful compositions and textual analyses. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

FREN 110a Cultural Representations
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
A foundation course in French and Francophone culture, analyzing texts and other cultural phenomena such as film, painting, music, and politics. Usually offered every year.
Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche, Hollie Harder, or Michael Randall

FREN 111a The Republic
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
The "Republic" analyzes how the republican ideal of the citizen devoid of religious, ethnic, or gender identity has fared in different Francophone political milieux. Course involves understanding how political institutions such as constitutions, parliaments, and court systems interact with reality of modern societies in which religious, ethnic, and gender identities play important roles. Usually offered every year.
Michael Randall

FREN 124a French Cultural Perspectives on Work and Business
[ fl ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor. Does not meet the requirement in the school of humanities.
Examines the cultural and practical elements of the French work place. The course is designed for students who wish to better understand the complexity of the French social model as well as the distinctive aspects of the French vision of work and business. Students will gain the communication skills necessary for entering into and advancing in the French-speaking workplace. Usually offered every second year.
Gabriela Nenciu

FREN 125b Mediterranean Crossings
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Navigating French and Francophone literature and film, we will explore the Mediterranean as a transnational space of multiple circulations, migrations, and cultural crossings in works by Lebanese, Algerian, Moroccan, Tunisian, Greek, Romanian, and French writers and filmmakers. Usually offered every third year.
Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche

FREN 129a La Révolution tranquille?: Québec's Culture Wars on Stage and Screen
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Considers the plays and films of the last sixty years that have probed the tensions at the heart of québécois culture to provide a violent counterpart to the sexual, political, and generational "Révolution tranquille" of the 1960's and 1970's. Usually offered every third year.
Catherine Theobald

FREN 131a Orientalism and Literature
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
An examination of how French literature has often represented the "Orient" or "the East," in particular North Africa, parts of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, as its opposite, its imaginary "other." Will also look at how some twentieth-century writers of North-African backgrounds have reacted to these misrepresentations. The course includes paintings, film, and readings in many different genres (novels, travel literature, etc.). Usually offered every fourth year.
Martine Voiret

FREN 133b Visions of Change in Eighteenth-Century French Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Examines how 18th century French literature generated new frames of thinking and how these visions influenced contemporary values in such areas as religion, politics, society, education, and the family. Readings from Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Diderot. Usually offered every fourth year.
Martine Voiret

FREN 134b Masculine/Feminine
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Examines diverse representations of masculinity and femininity in French literature today and in the past with special focus on historical and cultural aspects. Readings include: Beigbeder, 99 francs; Duras, L’amant; Stendahl, Le Rouge et le Noir; excerpts from: Rousseau, Emile; readings from Beauvoir and Badinter; and films like the Esquive (a contemporary banlieue version of an 18th century play). Usually offered every fourth year.
Martine Voiret

FREN 136b Necessity and Freedom in French Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Explores the relationship of necessity and human freedom in French literary texts and film. We will especially be interested in how individuals express their freedom in face of what often seems an implacable necessity. Authors studied include Pascal, Guillaume de Lorris, Sartre, Camus, Racine and Corneille as well as the filmmaker, Eric Rohmer. Usually offered every second year.
Michael Randall

FREN 138a Boats, Ships, and Vessels: The Global Novel in French and the Transoceanic Imagination
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Examines French and Francophone novels through the prism of the transoceanic imagination. We will study how these texts transcend the national boundaries traditionally associated with novels. We will investigate how "transoceanic" genres treat issues such as the slave trade, adventure, migration, and créolité. Usually offered every second year.
Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche

FREN 139a Bad Girls / Les Filles de mauvais genre
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Through a selection of literary texts, articles, images and films, students will explore how works from the Middle Ages to present day depict female figures in the French and Francophone world who have failed to conform to expectations of their gender. Usually offered every second year.
Hollie Harder

FREN 141b Introduction to French Cinema: un certain regard
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Introduces students to the major trends in French cinema since the forties (New Wave, "cinema du Look," feminist cinema, cartoons, "comédie à la française," beur cinema, etc.) Students will learn the critical vocabulary necessary to describe the formal aspects of film and to analyze films from a variety of theoretical approaches. Films will also be viewed as cultural products influenced by their social, political contexts and their modes of production and diffusion ("l'exception française.") Usually offered every third year.
Martine Voiret

FREN 142b City and the Book
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Analyzes the symbolic appearance of the city in French literature and film from the Middle Ages to the present day. The representation of the city in literature and film is contextualized in theoretical writings of urbanists and philosophers. Literary texts include medieval fabliaux, Pantagruel (Rabelais) and Nana (Zola) as well as theoretical texts by Descartes, Ledoux, Le Corbusier, Salvador Dalí, and Paul Virillo. Usually offered every second year.
Michael Randall

FREN 146a Reading Versailles: Portrait, Space and Spectacle under the Sun King
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Examines bodies of literature, visual arts, and courtiers at Versailles in the theatrical society of intrigue and exile under Louis XIV. Concentrates on how the texts, maps, and art of the palace fashion a global portrait of absolutism: the Sun King. Usually offered every third year.
Catherine Theobald

FREN 149b Le Livre Illustré: Word and Image in Francophone Texts from Bestiaries to Bandes Dessinées
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Explores the theories and practices of text-image interactions in illustrated francophone books of the past and present by addressing themes such as learning, travel, sentimentality, pornography, politics, and humor. This course will include archival work in the Brandeis library. Usually offered every third year.
Catherine Theobald

FREN 150b French Detective Novels: Major Questions for a Minor Genre?
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Examines how French and Francophone detective novels take on big questions such as the origin of evil and how do you know what you know. Authors include Fred Vargas, Simenon, Driss Chraibi, Moussa Konate. Usually offered every second year.
Michael Randall

FREN 151b Francophone Identities in a Global World: An Introduction to Francophone Literature
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Introduces Francophone literature and film, retracing, through the works of great contemporary Francophone writers and directors, the evolution of the Francophone world, from the colonial struggles to the transcultural and transnational trajectories of our global era. Usually offered every second year.
Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche

FREN 153a Food and Identity in the French and Francophone World
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Why in France is food so intertwined with national identity? This course apprehends French and Francophone culture by thinking with food - its connections with identity, power, gender, social distinction and aesthetics. Foodwriting, films, literary texts, articles by major cultural historians are studied. Usually offered every third year.
Clémentine Faure-Bellaiche

FREN 154b Regards vers la Chine
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Examines how China has often been represented by French writers and artists as the Other in order to question their own society, artistic practices, and political order. We will also wonder if the new generation of francophone writers born in China offer a different vision of their country of origin. The course includes novels, poetry, movies, and paintings. Usually offered every second year.
Martine Voiret

FREN 162b From Les Confessions to Tumblr: Self-Writing in Contemporary French and Francophone Literature
[ fl hum ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Through the works of major writers, the main goal of the course will be to study the many variations of autobiographical writing that characterize contemporary French and Francophone literature, and to relate them to the renewed exploration of the post-modern subject. We will examine along the way how the self relates to the others, how it engages with filiation, memory and history - (especially World War II and the Franco-Algerian War) - and we will put an emphasis on the notions of self-fashioning and performance. Usually offered every second year.
Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche

FREN 180a "L'exception française": French Singularity in a Globalized World
[ fl hum wi ]
Prerequisite: FREN 106b or the equivalent, or permission of the instructor.
Explores what is known as the "exception française" as it manifests itself today and its historical underpinnings. We look at both the highs and lows of the French understanding of culture and commerce in an increasingly globalized world. Usually offered every fourth year.
Hollie Harder

Cross-Listed in French

ECS 100a European Cultural Studies Proseminar: Modernism
[ hum wi ]
Explores the interrelationship of literature, music, painting, philosophy, and other arts in the era of high modernism. Works by Artaud, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Mann, Mahler, Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Kandinsky, Schiele, Beckett, Brecht, Adorno, Sartre, Heidegger, and others. Usually offered every fall semester.
Stephen Dowden

ECS 100b European Cultural Studies Proseminar: Making of European Modernity
[ hum wi ]
Investigates how the paradigm of what we know as modernity came into being. We will look at the works of writers and philosophers such as Descartes, Aquinas, Dante, Ockham, Petrarch, Ficino, Rabelais, and Montaigne. Artwork from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance will be used to understand better what "the modern" means. Usually offered every spring semester.
Michael Randall

ENG 115b Fictions of Liberty: Europe in a Revolutionary Age
[ hum ]
The "Age of Enlightenment" fostered new notions of human rights that found their tumultuous proving ground in the French Revolution. Through writings from several genres and nations, this course explores some of the political, economic, religious, racial, and sexual "fictions of liberty" that have shaped our own time. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

FA 155a Impressionism: Avant-Garde Rebellion in Context
[ ca wi ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took FA 171a in prior years.
Focuses on the major artists from the period 1863 - 1886, from the time of Manet and the Salon des Refusés through the eight group exhibitions of Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Pissarro, Morisot, and Cassatt and company. The antithesis of impressionism, its academic rivals, the backdrop of the sociopolitical context, the Second Empire, and the Third Republic will be provided, as well as the roots of the movement's dissolution. Usually offered every third year.
Nancy Scott

FA 156b Postimpressionism and Symbolism, 1880-1910
[ ca wi ]
Artists Vincent Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat and Cézanne, first identified with Post-Impressionism, are contextualized with Toulouse-Lautrec and others who defined the French art world before 1900. Symbolism has its roots in the art work of Redon, Van Gogh and above all Gauguin, here studied in context with poetry and art criticism of the times. The Expressionist move toward an abstract idiom in Norway, Germany and Austria will focus on Edvard Munch and Gustav Klimt. Decorative styles such as Art Nouveau and Jugendstil define the bridge to the 20th century. The course ends with early 20th century masters, Matisse and the Fauves, and finally German Expressionism. Usually offered every fourth year.
Nancy Scott

FA 158b 20th Century Painting in France: Picasso and Matisse
[ ca ]
Examines the roots of major 20th century tendencies in art: the development of Cubism by Pablo Picasso and his circle; the color revolution of Fauvism, initiated by Henri Matisse. Topics include examination of the artists, poets, and collectors associated with both Picasso and Matisse, the modernist innovation of the arts in Paris, and the period of Surrealism up to World War II. Usually offered every third year.
Nancy Scott

HIST 133a Politics of the Enlightenment
[ ss ]
Examines the Enlightenment as a source of the intellectual world we live in today. Examination of some of the political, philosophical, and scientific writings of the philosophers. Usually offered every third year.
Mark Hulliung

HIST 192b Romantic and Existentialist Political Thought
[ ss ]
Readings from Camus, Sartre, Beckett, and others. Examination and criticism of romantic and existentialist theories of politics. Usually offered every second year.
Mark Hulliung

HOID 102b Knowledge and Power
[ hum ]
What is the relationship between knowledge and power? Using the work of Michel Foucault as a foundation, this course will explore the interweaving effects of power and knowledge in institutions and their systems of thought. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

HUM/UWS 1a Tragedy: Love and Death in the Creative Imagination
[ hum uws ]
Enrollment limited to Humanities Fellows.
How do you turn catastrophe into art - and why? This first-year seminar in the humanities addresses such elemental questions, especially those centering on love and death. How does literature catch hold of catastrophic experiences and make them intelligible or even beautiful? Should misery even be beautiful? By exploring the tragic tradition in literature across many eras, cultures, genres, and languages, this course looks for basic patterns. Usually offered every year.
John Burt and Stephen Dowden

IGS 110a Religion and Secularism in French & Francophone Culture
[ hum ss ]
Tackles the persistent power of religion in France and its former colonies despite common ideals of secular nationalism. Through literature and film we will study the historical and contemporary cultural wars waged around the French notion of “laïcité” -- its confrontation with Islam, but also the experiences of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants.
Clementine Fauré-Bellaïche

IGS 120a Inventing Oneself
[ hum ]
Do our backgrounds determine our lives, or can we transcend such limits to pursue dreams of our own? This class explores themes of liberation in works by French and Francophone writers and filmmakers and the global artistic and social movements they have inspired. All works in English. Usually offered every second year.
Clementine Fauré-Bellaïche

PHIL 177b Simone Weil
[ hum ]
Studies the French philosopher Simone Weil, revolutionary and mystic. Is divine perfection reconcilable with human suffering? Weil shook the foundations of Christianity and Judaism attempting to answer this question and this course will rejoin her quest. Usually offered every third year.
Palle Yourgrau