Culture Courses - French and European Studies Track
111. Histories of Paris
Christina von Koehler
Using the buildings and space of Paris as a laboratory, this course surveys key events in the histories of Paris and France. The course will focus on the social and cultural history of the city in its material dimensions; the relation of streets and buildings to the unfolding events of French history, and the meanings of local topography within the enduring mythologies of the city. A central goal of the course is to teach students to read and write critically about the history of Paris and the cityscape around them. Includes some excursions.
5.0 UC quarter units. This course has previously transferred for these subject areas: History/Sociology/Urban Studies
115. Unbound Boundaries: The Idea of Europe and European Integration
This course aims to provide a general introduction to the history, the structure and the current developments of the European Union with a specific focus on France. We shall look at the circumstances after the second World War that once again put the 'Idea of Europe' on the agenda and the role that France played in the rebirth of this idea. The EU will be studied from a theoretical point of view; how do we define its structure? What determines the shape and speed of the integration process? How does this institution maintain its legitimacy? We will evaluate the success of this project by looking at specific policies, such as the common agricultural policy, the economic and social policy and common foreign and security policies. Finally we will consider the role of the EU as a global actor and study the EU's link with the rest of the world.
5.0 UC quarter units. This course has previously transferred for these subject areas: European Studies/History/Political Science
117. Media, Politics & Society in France & the EU
This course will explore and critically analyse major institutions, actors and trends in contemporary French Media and attempt to situate them in the larger contexts of “unifying” Europe and “globalized” world-media-scene. It will examine the operational schemes, performances and internal decisional and power structures of different branches of French media: written national & regional press, specialized magazines, the publishing industry, advertising, radio, television, the internet. It will also engage in a specific analysis of ‘New Media’ and ‘Social Networks’ involvement, influence and interaction with ‘traditional’ media spheres and their political, social, and cultural impacts.
5.0 UC quarter units. This course has previously transferred for these subject areas: Communication/Film and Media Studies/Political Science
129. Parisian Voices in Literature
In this course, students will engage in discussions prompted by a multiplicity of voices that make up what has been often referred to as the Parisian mosaic - a mosaic whose colorful tiles represent a collection of diverse and multivalent identities. Students will explore how the voices that have emerged in the past several decades bring myriad perspectives, ranging from "traditional" French culture to first and subsequent generation immigrant cultures, many of which come from former French colonies in the Francophone world, to bear on Parisian society and how these contemporary voices take a sometimes playful but often critical look at the identity of their post-war and postcolonial society. The course will, therefore, focus on examining the different social worlds that make contemporary Paris such a fascinating, diverse, and culturally important city. Through readings and class excursions to sites important to their understanding of the texts, students will trace some of the ways French alongside the more problematically termed Francophone writers and filmmakers have made their sundry voices heard over the past half a century.
5.0 UC quarter units. This course has previously transferred for these subject areas: Comparative Literature/French/History
135. Faces of the City, Faces of French Cinema
This course examines French films from the birth of cinema in 1895 to the more recent creations celebrated at the Cannes Festival in 2014. We will be studying selected avant-garde and popular films and we will explore how film narratives can reflect historical and social conditions in France during a given time. The following periods will be discussed: Early cinema (the Lumière brothers, Alice Guy, Méliès); the Golden Age of French classical cinema (Renoir), the “New Wave” (Varda, Godard), the “Cinéma du Look” (Besson), “Heritage Cinema” (Claire Denis) and the challenges of Globalization (Sciamma). The course will also cover several film genres, from the birth of the fantastique to the influence of the film noir on New Wave cinema. We will explore the cross-cultural interactions between French cinema and foreign films and how French cinema as an art form has had a deep impact on international cinema. Films and readings will be supplemented by site visits. Most of the films chosen for this class were shot in Paris and reveal the city’s different faces, going from the romanticized version in Agnès Varda’s film or Claire Denis’ grittier version. One of the class visit will consist of going back to the streets where Cleo from 5 to 7 was shot in 1962 and analyze how the city was filmed then and how the 6th and 14th arrondissement have evolved since. We will also go to a Cinémathèque exhibition and we will have a director come discuss his work with the class.
5.0 UC quarter units credits. Suggested subject areas for this course: Film/Gender Studies/History
136. May 68: Politics, Gender, and Cultural Production
May 1968 was an explosive year in France, with student and worker strikes that converged to contest a social order the revolutionaries imagined they could overturn. It was also a time of massive cultural production, whether in the art that often accompanied the mobilizations or in the burgeoning field of cinema. In this course we will skirt the nostalgia that so often clings to our point of view on the events and explore what a few elements of its expanded archive might offer as resources for contemporary political and cultural activities by considering them through the writing and art that provided their context or preserved memories of them.
5.0 UC quarter credits. Suggested subject areas for this course: Gender Studies/Comp Lit/Sociology
137. The Art of War: From Old Regime Glory to Contemporary Disenchantment
War, a constant in society across time and space, is also a constant in art. For centuries, representations of war served the purpose of celebrating, legitimizing and glorifying victorious sovereigns, states and/or civilizations, justifying what was considered a necessary, if unpleasant, social reality. However, over the course of the Napoleonic Wars at the turn of the 19th century, a significant shift occurs in the art of war, as images of suffering and disenchantment infiltrate the canvas, at the dawn of an age increasingly open to aesthetic subjectivity.
The way in which war is depicted in art—both in terms of subject matter and style—is a product not just of aesthetic currents and concerns, but also of the place and perception of war in society. Through the exploration of changing visions of war across artistic media from Old Regime France to the present, in relation to, and as a reflection of, the evolving socio-political and cultural context from which they emerge, this course aims to explore modern society’s progressive aversion to war.
After addressing historical perspectives on representation and war, we will embark on a chronological visual history of war through selected major conflicts involving France taking place from the 17th century to the present. Throughout the course, we will seek to define war, revealing how this definition is bound to social context, as part of a larger reflection on the nature, purpose and impact of the art of war over time. We will study how artists act as harbingers of society’s evolving mentalities on war, modifying their forms and styles to capture conflict as it becomes increasingly ideological and destructive, and art less constrained by convention. Themes covered include representations of monarchical quests for glory, post-revolutionary ideological campaigns, orientalism and colonial conquest, war and technology (both in terms of weaponry and means of representation), war and nationalism, war as the clash of civilization and barbarianism, and the role of identity (including race, class, gender) and military experience in representing and perceiving war.
Paris and its museum collections will provide the material background for the discussion of representations of war in art, and our reflection on the art of war will be enriched by selected theoretical and literary texts and cinematographic depictions of conflict.
5.0 UC quarter units credits. Suggested subject areas for this course: Art History/European Studies/History