Viewing sexuality as a distinctive 21st Century Challenge, Francophilia examines literary representations of non-conforming sexualities in France from the 19th century to the present. Since the modern history of 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. What makes French writing queer? What makes queer writing French?
In answering 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 modern French literature: Balzac, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Huysmans, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Proust, Gide, Yourcenar, Colette, de Beauvoir, Genet, Wittig, Brossard, Taïa, and Foucault, among others. We will also be screening at the end of the term a selection of recent films that explore the impact of the AIDS pandemic and the legacy of French colonialism.
Francophilia is a general education humanities course intended especially for first- and second-year students; more advanced non-majors are welcome as well. No previous college-level experience with literary or historical analysis is required. The course will be taught in English and all readings will be in translation, though students who have the ability to read French are invited to consult the original texts.
Francophilia has been certified for the 21C and WCD Core Curriculum requirements, with the specific learning goals a, s-1, t & v. In completing the course, students will have learned how to
Analyze the degree to which forms of human difference—in this case, sexuality—shape a person's experiences of and perspectives on the world.
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.