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Cultures of Resistance in the French-Speaking World

MW 1:25-2:40pm, Prof. Jessica Tanner (

This course explores cultures, practices, and arts of resistance in France and the French-speaking world from 1789 to the present. Through the study of literature, film, visual art, music, and other texts, we will explore moments of political resistance (the Revolution of 1789, the Revolution of 1848, the Commune, the Dreyfus Affair, the Résistance, colonization and decolonization, the Algerian War of Independence, May 1968, the 2005 riots, the gilets jaunes, antiracist movements) as well as other forms of cultural or aesthetic resistance (e.g., utopianism, Impressionism, Dada, Surrealism, littérature engagée, Negritude, Feminism, the Nouveau Roman, decolonial art and literature, le raï). Questions we will study include: what is resistance? What forms does it take (e.g., language, narrative, visual, sonic, political)? How does it differ from engagement or commitment? Can resistance be passive? What is aesthetic resistance, and what does (or can) it do? Authors and filmmakers may include Hugo, Marx, Michel, Mallarmé, Rimbaud, Zola, Char, Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Beauvoir, Sartre, Camus, Césaire, Fanon, Adorno, Foucault, Rancière, Abirached, Tansi, Mouawad, Barthes, Varda, Condé, Despentes, Denis, Kassovitz, Niang, Peck, Ndaliko Katondolo, and others.

Prerequisites: FREN 300 and one of the following: FREN 255, 250, or 262.

General Education: This course fulfills the Literary Arts (LA) and North Atlantic World (NA) requirements under the Making Connections curriculum.

Target Audience. This course is primarily designed for French majors and minors (and counts for major/minor credit), though all students who meet the prerequisites are welcome. Other students with a strong command of written and spoken French are also welcome, pending instructor approval.

*Taught in French.

Previously Offered:

Fall 2021