IGS 120A Intro video


This video features one image with voice over.      

Image: [Professor Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche sits facing the camera]   


[Bonjour! Hello! In the spring I will be teaching the course Inventing Oneself cross-listed in the IGS and French and Francophone Studies programs, and this course is mainly about what the French philosopher, Michel Foucault, called the attitude of modernity and which he defined as the task of elaborating oneself. So, this course is about this attitude and in particular about a strain in French and Francophone thought and literature centered on existential freedom. This idea that one is always and at each moment of one's life inventing oneself and is responsible for that self-invention.

 So, the course encompasses most of the writers who have been referred to as existentialists, such as Jean Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and the great feminist writer and thinker Simone de Beauvoir, but its call is actually larger, it goes back in time to the great precursors of existentialist thought, such as André Gide and his crucial interlocutor, Nietzsche. And it also opens the spatial compass because it retraces the migration of existentialist forms and themes in the thinkings of Frantz Fanon, a Black thinker from Martinique, whose anti-colonial thought and thinking about Black identity has been very influential especially within Black nationalism in the United States. The course also deals with colonialism, as we are going to read the Algerian writer Kamel Daoud’s postcolonial reappropriation of Camus’s The Stranger. So, I mean, the important aspect of the course is this transnational dimension that I mentioned, the global circulation of existentialist thinking.

We also enlarge our disciplinary perspective alongside literary works we are also going read philosophical tests by Kierkegaard, by Nietzsche, by Foucault, and we will also watch movies centered around existential themes.

So, I hope you join the course, and I wish you a beautiful winter break!]