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Institut d'Etudes Françaises d'Avignon
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899

Phone: (610) 526-5984
FAX: (610) 526-7479

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Curriculum 2015

The Institut's curriculum includes general and advanced courses in French language, literature, history and economics. The plan of study is designed to accomplish two main purposes. The first is to provide work in French language of such a nature that each student will make appreciable progress in fluency, comprehension and writing. The second is to provide courses covering material pertinent to the understanding of modern France and the appreciation of French culture. Students also attend a series of lectures given by visiting speakers and are expected to participate in supplementary discussions. Individual drill in French phonetics is available for students who need to do remedial work in French pronunciation. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the listening and recording equipment available at the Médiathèque Ceccano.

Each student must enroll in two courses, for a total of two units of academic credit. Attendance at all class meetings is required. Courses are organized so as to include student participation in classroom discussion.
The student who wishes transfer credits should make the necessary arrangements with the appropriate officer of his/her own college or university.

Undergraduate Courses

French S 204
(Liana Pshevorska, Assistant to the Director, Princeton University)

How can we interpret the supernatural and the marginalized in their historical and philosophical contexts? Ranging from 17th-century fairy tales to the postmodern figure of the zombie, this course will examine the tropes of Otherness in literary and cinematographic works with a special focus on grammar. The texts will vary in genre (fantastic, surreal, marvelous) and in medium (fairy tales, short stories, critical texts, films, prints). Authors include Perrault, Mlle Bernard, Maupassant, Gautier, Carrington, Coulombe.

French S 208
(Keti Irubetagoyena, Paris X-Nanterre)

This workshop aims at improving your French oral skills (pronunciation, language structure) through the practice of theater, by exploring the work of a major author of contemporary French theater, Michel Vinaver. We will study texts through stage work (construction of characters, focus on the act of speaking) as well as through the experience of spectators and critics (analysis of reception, working notes). This workshop includes attending performances at the famous Avignon Festival and will include the staging of a comedy by Michel Vinaver.

French S 241

(Pauline de Tholozany, Wellesley College)

This course will focus on major 19th-century French adventure novels. We will discuss a genre that has received less critical attention than others, but whose popularity in the nineteenth century helped shape national myths that persist to this day. We will seek to understand how adventure novels question and sometimes displace the boundaries between the subject and the world surrounding them, in a genre that stages both individual agency and collective missions. We will also discuss the links between the rise of the adventure novel and the emergence of the nation-state in the 19th-century. Authors include Sue, Dumas, Hugo, and Verne.

French S 261
(Koffi Anyinefa, Haverford College)

Since its inception in the 1920s, African Francophone literature has developed into a remarkably rich and diverse cultural field in a relatively short period of time. The goal of this course is to introduce students to this field through a representative sample of works by some of its most celebrated authors. What are the historical and cultural contexts that have shaped this literature? What are its major themes, and its most distinctive formal and aesthetic features? These are some of the questions this course seeks to answer. Authors include Senghor, Laye, Oyono, Bâ, Sembène, and Beyala.


Graduate Courses

NOTE: Courses on the 500-level carry graduate credit. Qualified undergraduates may be admitted to these courses with the consent of the Director.

French/History S 371/571

(Jean-Marie Apostolidès, Stanford University)

Guy Debord (1931-1994) was at the same time a philosopher, a film director and the leader of two avant-garde movements, The Letterist International (1953-1957) and The Situationist International (1957-1972). This latter movement is particularly important, because it took in consideration different aspects of post-WWII Civilization, described and analyzed in Debord’s Society of the Spectacle. In this famous essay, he considers that “in societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles.” Is it still possible to analyze our contemporary society through the lens of the situationist approach? In this class, we will try to understand Debord and the SI movement first in their own historical context and then as a possible tool to describe and analyze our contemporary society.

Selected undergraduate students may enroll in this course.

French S 532
(Gilles Declercq, Sorbonne Nouvelle)

As a form of paroxystic attraction, fascination points to the extreme power of image - whose dangers have been strongly underlined by Plato. This course will analyze in arts and literature the ambivalent effects of fascination: a sublime and extatic attraction, or an overwhelming and almost lethal alienation. We will primarily focus on the work of contemporary French writer Pascal Quignard (Prix Goncourt 2002) who explores the great mythological paradigms of fascination such as Medusa, Narcisse and Medea. A study of French classical drama will follow with Molière’s Tartuffe (1669) as a staging of threatening fascination, and Jean Racine’s Esther (1689) as an example of sideration in both drama and early modern painting. The analysis of seduction in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film, Theorème (1969), will conclude this pluridisciplinary study of fascination in art and culture. Authors include Plato, Longinus, Molière, Racine, Marin, Quignard.

French S 521

(Tom Conley, Harvard University)

“All the world’s a stage…”: Shakespeare’s words allude to the Theatrum mundi, a concept taking hold when, following the Columbian encounters and conquest of the Americas, maps and atlases capture the Western imagination. This course will study the impact of manuscript and printed maps on literature, theater and the arts from, roughly, Villon and Rabelais to Montaigne and D’Aubigné.  It will examine how the literary traditions bequeathed to us in the name of the Renaissance correlate language, space and cartography.  In the context of canonical authors we will examine maps and mapmakers extending from early editions of Ptolemy to Ortelius and from Oronce Fine to Bouguereau, La Guillotière and the early Nicolas Sanson.