Graduate course descriptions
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THE MAGHREB IN TRANSITION: SOCIETY & CULTURE
This course explores the production of culture in the contemporary Maghreb. We consider how important dimensions of social and political life are explored in literature and film and, correspondingly, the role that these and other media play in shaping social and political dynamics. The focus is on Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, but these nations are also situated in broader regional and global contexts. Former French colonies, these three nations have in common a multilingual cultural environment in which French coexists with Arabic and Amazigh languages. The course begins in roughly 1990, a time of disenchantment when the political regimes established at Independence were challenged and in some cases replaced. We explore the dynamics of Algeria’s ‘Black Decade’ and Morocco’s emergence from the ‘Years of lead,’ then turn to more recent social and political dynamics, notably the ‘Arab spring’ of 2011-2012 and the ongoing Algerian hirak. Throughout the course we consider how the arts have responded to and contributed to change while also revisiting the past and reframing national narratives. The course is interdisciplinary, combining historical, sociological and anthropological approaches with close reading of texts and films. The syllabus is organized both historically and thematically. We explore questions including the representation and memory of violence, the geographies and sociology of migration and globalization, and the changing landscape of media and publication. Several sessions explore the meaning of ‘modernity’ in conjunction with explorations of subjectivity and spirituality, gender and sexuality.
QUESTIONS IN AFRICAN LITERATURE
Souleymane Bachir Diagne
The seminar, which is in French, will deal with the question: what makes a “classic” of African francophone Literature a classic? That question will be examined through the reading of five “classics” in connection with the discussion of Claire Ducournau’s La fabrique des classiques africains. Ecrivains d’Afrique subsaharienne francophone (1960-2012). The 5 works of fiction are the following: L’aventure ambiguë (C.H. Kane), Une si longue lettre (Mariama Ba), Les Soleils des indépendances (Ahmadou Kourouma), Le devoir de violence (Yambo Ouologuem), La vie et demie (Sony Labou Tansi), L’ombre d’Imana (Veronique Tadjo).
Designed for first-year graduate students in French, this course is an introduction to the conceptual and practical tools of literary research.
HISTORY OF POLICAL ECONOMY
Pierre Force & Carl Wennerlind
This seminar explores the relationship between economics and politics in eighteenth-century debates about political economy. The focus is on primary texts (Mandeville, Montesquieu, Hume, Rousseau, Smith, Say). We will also introduce students to some of the most influential historiography, with a discussion of the principal concepts used in eighteenth-century intellectual history.
FRENCH LECTURE SERIES
Students curate, organize and attend a series of lectures open to all members of the French department, including graduate students, faculty and undergraduate majors/concentrators. Working with a faculty member, they invite two speakers each semester, collaborate on the scheduling and organization of talks, introduce guests and lead the discussion. The lecture series exposes graduate students to new work in the field, including new methodologies and emerging areas of research and teaching. By giving students the opportunity to select speakers, it actively engages them in the cultural and intellectual life of the department. Students benefit from observing the different possible formats and styles of academic talks. By organizing and scheduling events, preparing speaker introductions and moderating questions and discussion, they also develop important professional skills.