Women in French Culture

Instructor: Dr. Michael Henderson
Office: Humanities 206
Office Hours:

MWF 1:00 -1:55
Tuesday and Thursday 10:30 - 11:55
And by appointment

Phone: (641) - 3497 (office)
641-7192 (Home)


Goals and Expectations:
In this course, we will encounter differing views and debates analyzing or prescribing gender roles within French and francophone culture. The discussions lend themselves easily to a comparison and contrast of relevant cultural issues in different parts of the world as well as at different times in history. As a CAII course, we will focus on the assumptions of modernity that were introduced in CA I, especially those concerning marginalization and creation of cultural others. Discussions and sharing ideas in writing or in formal presentations to a group constitute a significant portion of the class work. During the course of the semester, students will prepare at least one presentation for peer evaluation. In addition, the course will culminate in a final project in the form of an original piece of research. Early in the semester, students will select a topic and develop a bibliography of sources, which may include but not be limited to the Worl Wide Web. Students will submit an analytical paper detailing the results of their research by the final exam date.

Assignments are intended to develop critical reading and analytical writing skills. Students will be expected to submit written analytical critiques about the works they view and read. There will be three relatively short essay exams during the course of the semester. Each of these will be returned to you with instructor comments for revision and editing, and the re-submitted. Both copies will receive a grade, which will be weighted equally in the overall average for these assignments. The semester will culminate with an extended analytical essay, submitted with a bibliography. The final paper will document your research on a major topic concerning women in French culture, a comparison of literary or artistic works, an historical movement or event, or a biography of a significant figure in history. Students will be asked to prepare at least one formal oral presentation that will be evaluated on form as well as content. A literature course does not lend itself easily to evaluation through midterm or final exams, so this course will include neither. Specific reading and viewing assignments will be announced in class discussion periods. You are responsible for completing all assignments even if you are absent, so be sure to check with other members of the class and make your own copies of handouts.

Administrative policies:
Class attendance is mandatory. Frequent, unexplained absences will lower the final grade
Students in this course are expected to familiarize themselves with and abide by Juniata College's policy on academic integrity. All work submitted for this course must adhere to this policy. http://services.juniata.edu/registrar/catalog/integrity.htm
I will seek sanctions against anyone who is found to be violating it.

Three essay exams: 45%
Presentation: 15%
Participation: 10%
Final project: 30%


Discussion Outline

August 28 - 30 Introduction and historical background
Coming to writing. Who writes and why? Oral and written traditions.

September 4 - 6: Tradition and Myth Building
Marriage, love and death in the middle ages: The Lais of Marie de France.

September 11 - 13: Utopian Visions
The Book of the City of Ladies: Christne de Pizan

September 18 - 20: Noblesse Oblige: Women writers of the Ancien Régime
Madame de Lafayette and Madame de Sévigné: What's a princess to do?

September 25 Essay 1

September 25 - 28: Rights Revolutions
The Encyclopedia; Olympe de Gouges

October 2 - 5: Romantic Revisions
Reading and discussion of excerpts from George Sand's autobiography.

October 9 - 11 New Science, Old Fears
Reading and discussion of excerpts from Jules Michelet's Satanism and Witchcraft.

October 11 Essay 2

October 18 - 23 Film viewing and discussion
The Sorceress by Suzanne Schiffman (1987)

October 25 - 30 Passages: motherhood


November 1 - 6 Family
Miriama Bâ: So Long a letter

November 8 - 20 Writing the Body
Helene Cixous
Luce Irigaray
Julia Kristeva

November 20 Essay 3

November 26 - 29 Suffering and Sensibility
Film Viewing and discussion: No Fear, No Die, Claire Denis

December 3 Peer review of final projects

December 6 Conclusions and questions