Upcoming Courses

FREN 501 Pleasure and its Illusions: An Introduction to the Literature and Thought of the French Enlightenment

Dr. Natania Meeker, *Spring 2023* Tuesdays,  2-4:50 PM

In this course, we will study the eighteenth-century fascination with the conjunction of pleasure and illusion. If pleasure is in some sense our “truth,” as many authors of the period would suggest, why does it emerge precisely and intensely at moments of deception? We will approach this question as an entry point into some of the most crucial debates of the Enlightenment—around aesthetics, ethics, and politics, certainly, but also around the emergence of publics, both feminine and masculine, who sought out new modes of sensation and new forms of experience—in the novel and at the theater, in the pursuit of knowledge and in the critique of orthodoxies.... Authors we will read will include: Charrière, Crébillon fils, Diderot, Du Châtelet, La Mettrie, Montesquieu, Riccoboni, and Rousseau. Course is taught in French but students from all disciplines are welcome.

FREN 500: Pro-Seminar in French and Francophone Studies

Dr. Olivia C. Harrison * Fall 2022 * Mondays, 10am-12:50, THH 221

Becoming a scholar in French and Francophone Studies requires gaining a broad understanding of the field, its range of methods and subjects, its interdisciplinarities and heated debates, and its uncharted terrains. What are some of the tools and methods of analysis scholars take up in the study of French and Francophone cultures in the academy today? How are scholars at USC engaging in the research and study of French and Francophone cultures? How do different research units and centers around the world produce thought about French and Francophone cultures? This pro-seminar will serve as an introduction to the current state of French and Francophone studies as well as its evolution and latest trends, considering everything from critical methods of research in literature and cultural studies to the history of French studies and contemporary issues in the profession. Led by a faculty member from the Department of French and Italian, it will feature guest speakers from other units and programs at USC as well as our partner institutions in the SoCal area. The course will culminate with two faculty roundtables where our guest speakers willoutline new directions in the field of French and Francophone Studies.

Offered every fall, FREN 500 is a required course for students in the French and Francophone Studies track of the PhD in Comparative Studies in Literature and Culture. The course is conducted in English, and is open to students in other tracks and adjacent PhD programs. Readings are in English and French.

Assoc. Prof. Jennifer J. Wild / Fall 2022: THE CINEMATOGRAPHIC TURN THU 2-4:50, THH 105

FREN 550: Studies in Literature and Other Media

For centuries, writers and artists have drawn metaphors, figures, and symbols from historical technologies associated with spectacle, illusion, reproduction, and transmission. Our seminar examines how cinematic technologies, experience, and culture transformed and expanded this legacy in French literature, poetry, and art practice in the late-nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth. Among other questions, we will consider how the “new” technology of the cinema assisted writers and artists complicate accepted notions around genre, style, medium specificity, aesthetic experience, and reception.

Students will have the opportunity to perform original research on their choice of texts, objects, and cultural practices or phenomena. Alongside authors of secondary theoretical and historical texts, our primary corpus will include works by: G. de Pawlowski; Villiers; J. Romains; Mallarmé; Apollinaire; Louis Feuillade; Cendrars and S. Delaunay; Jean Epstein; Colette; a range of figures associated with the Dada, Surrealist, and Lettrist and other modernist post-war movements; the Belgian poet-artist-filmmakers, Marcel Marïen and Marcel Broodthaers.

COLT 510 Introduction to Translation Studies - Professor Kamuf-Fall 2022

“What to think of translation?” Some form of this question has been asked non-stop for many centuries, but it found new resonance in the past century, after Walter Benjamin’s now canonical essay, “The Task of the Translator” (1923). This seminar is going to reflect on a small selection of work on translation in the wake of this famous essay. Besides Benjamin, we’ll read texts by, among others, Jakobson, Derrida, and Blanchot, as well as eminent translation studies scholars Antoine Berman and Lawrence Venuti. For background to these more contemporary theories, we will also probe the German tradition out of which Benjamin’s thinking emerges, beginning with Martin Luther and the Romantics, especially Schleiermacher. Students will engage with the seminar topic in their papers and in-class presentations. And they will be enjoined to think about how their own future research will have to remain engaged with issues of translation. The seminar will be conducted in a confusion of tongues.

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