Past Courses

SPAN 604: Seminar in Gender and Sexuality in Spain and Latin America - Gutiérrez Albilla - Spring 2021

SPAN 604: Seminar in Gender and Sexuality in Spain and Latin America Gender and Sexuality in Latin American and Spanish Cinema Spring 2021, Tuesdays from 2 pm to 4:50 pm, THH 116 and ONLINE

Through the study of gender and sexual discourses in Latin American and Spanish cinema, this seminar will look at issues that affect our globalized society, in general, and Latin American and Spanish societies, in particular, including marginality and exclusion, memory and trauma, exile and migration, or the nation and globalization, to   name just a few. We will explore feminist and queer film theory to address these issues, as well as relying on philosophical and psychoanalytic approaches to the study of cinema. Films studied include (but not be limited to):  Before Night Falls (Julian Schnabel, 2001), Carmen Miranda: Bananas is My Business (Helen Solberg, 1995), Um Passaporte Húngaro (Sandra Kogut 2001), A hora da estrela (Suzana Amaral, 1985), Fresa y chocolate (Tomás Gutiérrez-Alea, 1994), Todo sobre mi madre (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999), Pixote (Héctor Babenco, 1981), or Plata quemada (Marcelo Piñeyro, 2000). Theorists studied will include (but not be limited to): Sara Ahmed, Leo Bersani, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Lee Edelman, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Julia Kristeva, Jean-Luc Nancy, Emmanuel Levinas, José Muñoz, Herbert Marcuse, or Suely Rolnik.

COLT 511 TRANSLATING RACE - Harrison Spring 2021

COLT 511 * Spring 2021 * Mondays 2:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m.

What would it mean to “translate” race? Can one compare heterogeneous experiences of racialization from one imperial formation to the next? Is it possible to account for contemporary notions of racial, cultural, and religious difference by studying the emergence of the modern conception of race more than five centuries ago? How does one translate the concept of race across languages? This seminar will trace the genealogy of intersecting notions of race across imperial formations and analyze the ways in which these notions have been “translated” across languages and (post)colonial contexts. Readings include Bartolomé de las Casas, Arthur de Gobineau, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Hélène Cixous, and Jacques Derrida.

This seminar is an elective for the Graduate Certificate in Translation Studies, and is open to students in adjacent PhD programs. Knowledge of other languages is a plus but is not required.

COLT 525 Levitt and Meeker 20143

This course aims to introduce students to the defining debates of the Enlightenment in two very different places—France and Russia—that nonetheless have in common a commitment to political absolutism. We will take a comparative approach to the study of the Enlightenment period—a key moment in the transition toward modernity—in order to give students a more nuanced understanding of how the cultural myths and ideals that have come to define the era are both specific to their context, and developed in conversation with other perspectives, narratives, and models. By the conclusion to the course, students will have broad knowledge of two very distinct Enlightenment contexts, and a sense of the way in which the “timeline” of Enlightenment varies across cultures, often in surprising (and enlightening) ways.

COLT 602 Lydie E Moudileno FALL 2017

Postcolonial theory has always drawn on multilinguistic and transnational materials. Among the many histories it has revisited, the history of French colonization and its consequences occupy a privileged place. This seminar will survey the Francophone postcolonial context to  demonstrate that the multicontinental territory that was the French empire, now called the “French-speaking world,” has generated not only emblematic events (such as the Haitian Revolution or the Algerian War), but also a sophisticated critical discourse meant to uncover their particularities and historical significance....

The texts we will read come from across the Francophone world: The Caribbean (Jean-Price Mars, Suzanne Césaire, Aimé Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Edouard Glissant); the Maghreb (Albert Memmi, Assia Djebar), sub-Saharan Africa (Léopold Sédar Senghor, Achille Mbembe,); Europe (Jean-Paul Sartre, Jacques Derrida, Françoise Verges, David Murphy, Charles Forsdick); and North America (Dominic Thomas, Christopher Miller, Adlai Murdoch).

The ultimate goal of this course is simultaneously to highlight the unique critical gestures of this corpus, all while bringing it back into communication with the larger postcolonial debates that define the field as a whole.

CSLC 503 Harrison 20133

Introduction to Comparative Studies in Culture: The Abrahamic

The latter half of the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries have seen the steady rise of scholarly interest in religion, linked to distinct yet interrelated historical developments: the destruction of European Jewry and the crisis of European universalism it entailed; the emergence of Jewish nationalism in Europe, the establishment of the state of Israel in mandate Palestine and the ensuing conflict between Israel on the one hand and Arab states and Palestinian subjects (both Christian and Muslim) on the other...In this sense the Abrahamic is a utopian and nostalgic term, which simultaneously performs critical historiographic work and places a wager on the future of Jewish-Muslim-Christian relations. Readings with include Sigmund Freud, Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous, Edward Said, Talal Asad, Giorgio Agamben, Gil Anidjar, Fethi Benslama, Gil Hochberg, Albert Memmi, Boualem Sansal, and Anton Shammas.

CSLC 640 Seminar in Film and Visual Studies

It is by now a commonplace to evoke the ubiquity of screens and their impact on every facet of our daily life... In short, screens are not only used to hawk goods, elicit desires, disseminate cultural values, they are an integral part of the cinematic

We will screen and study very different movie genres such as the Lumière’s actualités, the war movie like Gillo Pontecorvo’s Battle of Algiers or Pierre Schoendoerffer’s The 317th Section, the political essay fi lms of Chris Marker, Raoul Peck, Harun Farocki, and the multiscreen video art installation of Din Q Lê. For the fi nal paper, seminar participants are encouraged to work on a  project that will question old or new practices and uses of the screen in a domain of research  congruent with their disciplinary training.

FREN 501

“Toute la Philosophie, lui dis-je, n’est fondée que sur deux choses, sur ce que l’on a l’esprit curieux et les yeux mauvais.”
Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle

How can we account for the “plurality of worlds” that we inhabit? In this course we will explore the French Enlightenment as creator (and destroyer) of worlds—in its utopianisms, in its scientific and travel narratives, in its libertine and moralizing fictions. The question of possible worlds informs eighteenth-century theories of the cosmos, but also shapes the eighteenth-century novel in its most literal and fantastical dimensions. Fiction becomes a space for the exploration of marvelous new worlds and for the production of a new “worldliness.” ...
The goal of this seminar is to provide students with an overview of key debates and methods in French eighteenth-century studies; the problem of “other worlds”—worlds imagined, made, explored, conquered—will serve as our guiding thread throughout this inquiry. Students from other disciplines welcome; the course will be taught in French, with accommodations for students who are not in the French doctoral track. Authors to be studied will include: Diderot, Fénelon, Fontenelle, de Gouges, Marivaux, Mercier, Voltaire.

FREN 502 - Representations of the Algerian War of Independence

Fifty years ago, Algeria celebrated its independence from France, after one of the most protracted and iconic decolonization struggles of the twentieth century. Alternatively called a war, a revolution, or simply “the events,” the conflict opposing France and its colony, but also pro- and anti-colonial Algerians and  French(wo)men, has been depicted and debated in memoirs, essays, novels, plays, and films on both sides of the Mediterranean from the 1950s to the present day. This seminar will examine the ways in which the Algerian war of independence has shaped French and Algerian politics, culture, and civil society, as well as global emancipatory and imperialist discourses. Topics will include historiography and testimony, terrorism and torture, and women and war.

Readings and discussion in French and English.

FREN 503: Modernités noires: Crime Fiction & Black Fugitivity in France:

While the crime narrative is as old as the can also argue that crime fiction especially crystallizes certain crises and contradictions of modernity. In twentieth and twenty-first century crime narrative forms we witness the post/ colonial emergence of modern modes of identity formation and identification; the reconstitution of ideas about truth-telling and truth-seeking in relationship to testimony and confession; and new sciences of the evidentiary, of truth and of power.

In this course, we will consider “noir fiction” as the intersectional site of transatlantic relations between ideas about modernity, blackness, and a critique of Enlightenment operated in and through crime fiction narratives...In other words, noir and crime fiction offer sites for the exploration of modern and postmodern relationships between narrative form, representations of racial difference, and a range of
ideas about blackness, opacity, criminality, and fugitivity.

In addition, we will pay special attention to the constitution of the atmosphere of le noir, the constitution and location of racial difference within the fraught landscapes and post/colonial wastelands of the modern city... 
Our fiction reading will includeworks by:Jean-Claude Izzo, Patrick Chamoiseau, Alain Mabanckou, Yasmina Khadra, Chester Himes and others. Theoretical discussion will center on works by Frantz Fanon, Edouard Glissant, Carlo Ginzburg, and Sianne Ngai.


Palestine has been a point of identification and rallying cry in postcolonial France, from the comités Palestine formed after May ‘68 to the BDS campaigns of the 2000s. This seminar explores the continued centrality of the Palestinian question in French social and cultural texts, from Jean-Luc Godard and Jean Genet to Sakinna Boukhedenna and Mohamed Rouabhi. We will situate French engagements with the Palestinian question within a global context of pro-Palestinian activism, culminating in current indigenous mobilizations around Palestine, from Chiapas to the Parisian banlieue. Readings to include Sartre, Derrida, Rancière, Badiou, Genet, Ross, Boukhedenna, Rouabhi, and others. Readings and class discussion in French.

  • Department of French and Italian
  • Taper Hall 155 (THH 155)
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0359