Course Description: Viewing the recent history of sexuality as a Contemporary Challenge, Francophilia examines literary depictions of love and sexualities in France from the 17th century to the present. Since modern thinking about sexuality passes through France at its origins, Francophilia provides students with the means (both critical and historical) to make sense of the emergence of contemporary categories of sexual identity—straight, lesbian, gay, bi, trans—along with the challenging literary works in which these categories were first imagined and tested. Is sexuality socially constructed? How did we navigate the feelings before the Age of Tinder? Is Gallantry a component of Rape Culture? Are unconforming genders, Polyamour or pansexuality new concepts?
By responding to these questions you will learn to read closely and to write analytically about literature, film, and the history of sexuality. Our writers include many of the giants of early modern French literature: Cyrano de Bergerac, Racine, Molière, Scudéry, Lafayette, Aulnoy, Sévigné, Rousseau, Laclos, Sade and Restif de la Bretonne, among others. We will also be screening at the end of the term a selection of films that explore queerness and gender roles in Early Modern France (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, The King is Dancing, Games of Love and Chance, Dangerous Liaisons). [The course is cross-listed with Sexualities Studies 01:888:291.]
Francophilia is a general education humanities course intended especially for first- and second-year students; more advanced non-majors are welcome as well. There are no prerequisites, and previous college-level experience with literary or historical analysis is not assumed. The course will be taught in English and all readings will be in translation, though students who can read French are encouraged to consult the original texts.
In completing the course, students will have learned how to . . .
*Analyze the degree to which forms of human differences and stratifications among social groups shape individual and group experiences of, and perspectives on, contemporary issues. Such differences and stratifications may include race, language, religion, ethnicity, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, abilities, or other social distinctions and their intersections.
*Communicate effectively in modes appropriate to a discipline or area of inquiry.
The degree to which students have attained these goals will be assessed over the course of the semester through rubrics established by the Core Curriculum Committee.
*Assignments will be posted on a CANVAS sited dedicated to the course
Grading: The instructors value consistency in grading across the four course sections, and we’ll meet weekly to compare our assessments of exercises and papers. Email us if you have questions about a grade or a comment. Please allow 48 hours for your busy instructor to respond.
Final grades will be assigned on the following basis:
1-Four short essays (3 to 5 pages) 30%
2-In-Class Writing 20%
3-In-Class Participation 10%
4-A collaborative and creative final project 40%