Undergraduate Course Descriptions

01:420:481 - Senior Seminar in French Culture: Animalité(s)

  • Credits: 3

Offered Spring 2022

Prerequisites 6 credits at the 300-level.

Course Description: In this seminar we will study representations of animals in French and Francophone cultures from the Middle Ages to the present. Six engaging modules based on a wide range of materials, from classical philosophy to Disney documentaries, and from narrative fiction to environmental activism, will help us understand how representations of animals have informed the Western construction of “man” and “woman.” We will also explore the inextricable connection between representations and rights, as well as the potential of art to foster animal welfare.

Course Modules What is an Animal? • Great Apes • Bear • Friends or Food? • Monsters and Hybrids • Birds and Bees

Language of Instruction French

Course URL A Canvas site will be available at the beginning of the semester.

Learning Goals

  • introduce students to the philosophical debate on the nature and value of animals
  • introduce students to the complex biological and social relationship between animals and humans
  • introduce students to the complex role played by pets in modern society
  • acquaint students with a broad range of contemporary issues about the relationship between animals and the human world
  • teach students how to identify narrative techniques used in the representation of animals and to evaluate the impact of literary form on our understanding of the relations between humans and animals
  • help students understand the ideological nature of representation, and its effects on the actual treatment of animal
  • encourage students to think about the relationship between the exploitation of animals and the marginalization and oppression of human groups
  • initiate students to a dozen authors (philosophers, fiction writers, filmmakers, photographers, etc.)
  • help students improve their academic skills including those needed for writing and research
  • help students improve their speaking and writing skills in French
  • teach students how to bring academic rigor to the study of controversial and emotive subjects

 Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Attendance and participation 50%
1 personal narrative OR response paper 12.5%
1 oral presentation 12.5%
1 final project 25%

Course materials

Students must acquire electronic or hard copies of the following works:

Catherine Guillebaud, Dernière caresse
Georges Simenon, Le Chat
Antoine Volodine, Alto Solo
All other materials will be provided by the instructor.

Course Closed? If this course is closed, please contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to be placed on a Wait List.

Faculty: Carole Allamand