The course aims at a systematic examination of the French sound system from the perspective of phonetics, or how sounds are articulated, and phonology, or how sounds fit together in speech. The course will mainly focus on Standard French, but will also allude to interesting phenomena in French dialects spoken in various francophone regions of the world. A contrastive analysis with relevant aspects of the phonology of English will enhance the students' mastery of the material. Upon completion of this course, students will acquire a sophisticated understanding of French phonology and a greater mastery of French pronunciation, enabling them to continuously improve their pronunciation independently beyond this course. Class sessions will consist of review and discussion of material covered in readings, analytical exercises conducted in small groups, and whole class pronunciation practice. Students are evaluated on the basis of participating in class discussion, regular quizzes, regular homework assignments, a three-page paper and its presentation, and two exams. Classes are conducted in French at the appropriate level of complexity for the students. Students from other departments may do their written work in English if permitted by their department.

Prerequisities: At least one 300-level course.


Romance, Betrayal, Tragedy: Aspects of Love in French Literary Masterpieces

French literature, in every century, has offered powerful, suggestive and memorable Articulations of the theme and the force of love. From the story of Tristan et Iseut, to some of the exquisite lais of Marie de France and on through the literary masterpieces of the Renaissance, Classic period and twentieth century love in its kaleidoscopic manifestations, romantic and elegiac, tormented and tragic, destructive and selfish, played a prominent role in French literature. The course will analyze love's nature and transmutations from the Middle Ages to modern times through a variety of authors in the realm of poetry, novel and drama.


Surrealism: Literature and Film

This course offers a critical engagement with Surrealist writing and cinema, approached from a theoretical body of work on the unconscious and the imagination. The first half of the course deals with works from the Parisian movement, starting with its emergence out of Dada till advent of WW2. It includes both canonical and marginal writings of Breton, Apollinaire, Aragon, and Soupault, as well as films by Man Ray, Buñuel & Dalí, Claire, and Artaud. The second half traces how canonical surrealism differentiates and inspires other movements as it spreads both historically and geographically, via London and New York to Prague and beyond. Assignments range from the writings and films by the lettrist group in France and the Beat generation in the U.S to the stop-motion animation films by Jan Svankmajer and the Brothers Quai. Students majoring or minoring in French are advised to have taken at least two 300-level French courses: one in language, another in literature. French-authored readings will be done in French.

Prerequisites: Written permission of French advisor needed before registration for the course can take place


The Eternal City: Culture & Literature of Rome

Rome was the capital of empires for more than two millennia and continuously inhabited for well over three. The city presents itself to the observer as a palimpsest in space, that is, as a 3D page written upon, cleaned of its writing, though never entirely, and re-inscribed in the visual and material idiom of later eras, often multiple times. The city of Rome has always been privileged in its relationship with Western history: constructed over layer upon layer, from Roman to Fascist eras. More recently, films by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini have contributed to capturing the changes modern Rome underwent, with suffocating traffic passing dazzling locations, long tracks down shadowed streets, and lively social gatherings masking potential violence. This course investigates the city of Rome, from antiquity to the present, from a variety of perspectives: history, art, urban space, literature, and film, through an interdisciplinary pedagogical approach.


Dante's Inferno

In-depth study of Dante's INFERNO. Also considers some of Dante's sources, including other narratives of hell (such as Book 6 of Virgil's Aeneid) and works by classical and medieval authors such as Ovid, St. Augustine, and Boethius. Students who have studied Dante before, as well as those who have not, are welcome. Lectures and assignments in English. Italian majors and minors are expected to read Italian texts in the original and to participate in an Italian discussion section (to be scheduled at a later date).

Requirements: two tests, various written assignments and projects.


Don Quixote

In post-commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the publication of DON QUIXOTE: Part I, the class will consist primarily of a careful reading of Cervantes' novel, Parts 1 & 2, with some emphasis on the reading process. The class will be conducted in English. Open to undergraduates and graduates. (Spanish students should check with instructor about homework in the language.)


Contemporary Issues in Spain

This course will examine life in Spain today by providing an interdisciplinary overview of key contemporary issues within a social and cultural context: new trends in art and cinema, expressions of popular culture, immigration and the development of a multicultural society, cycles of political change, nationalistic tensions and language policies, and changing external relations.

Format: Lecture/in-class discussion. Grade based on active class participation, oral presentations, critical essays, and final research paper. Class conducted in Spanish. 

Prerequisite: One 300-level Spanish course

Last Updated: 3/25/15