2017 Fall

French 201: History of the French Language

Instructor: Professor Mairi McLaughlin

This course covers the history of the French language from its Latin roots through to contemporary usage. Both internal and external history will be considered so that students acquire a firm grounding in the linguistic evolution of the language, coupled with an understanding of its development in relation to a range of social and cultural phenomena. The course will be structured around our analysis of the wide range of texts from different genres presented by Ayres-Bennett (1996) and which date from 842 CE to the present day. We will use the relatively new historical sociolinguistic approach to try to capture what Anthony Lodge (2009) has called “une image multidimensionnelle de la langue du passé”. [more]

French 230: Romances and Novels

Instructor: Professor Paige

Romance vs. novel. It's one of the most basic distinctions in literary history, and it goes back a good 350 years: the old, obsolete form is replaced by the modern. But is the narrative sound? We'll be reading a selection of classic and recent criticism on the topic and five celebrated works that may or may not document the transition from romance to novel: d'Urfé's L'Astrée, Sorel’s Francion, Scarron's Le Roman comique, and two works by Lafayette, Zayde and La Princesse de Clèves. All primary and most secondary works will be available in English for those who need the option. [more]

Italian Studies 204: From Gramsci to Agamben: Philosophy, Politics and Italian Theory

Instructor: Professor Diego Pirillo

Is there an Italian Theory? What are its origins and the reasons for its popularity outside of Italy? Why do most of its protagonists, regardless of their philosophical positions, share a tense and troubled relationship with political (and religious) power? The seminar will address these and other questions and introduce students to the most important figures of modern and contemporary Italian thought. Readings will include not only Antonio Gramsci and Giorgio Agamben but a wide selection of classic authors, such as Benedetto Croce, Giovanni Gentile, Norberto Bobbio, Ernesto de Martino, Adriana Cavarero and Antonio Negri. Particular attention will be given to the Italian debate on the ‘political’ (borrowing the concept from Carl Schmitt) and to the relationship between theory and politics that marked Italian philosophy from Fascism to the cold war era until today. [more]

Italian Studies 215: The Italian Renaissance, Then and Now

Instructor: Professor Albert R. Ascoli

As the New Historicism began its quest to revolutionize Renaissance studies, one of the first things to go was a little book by E.M.W Tillyard called The Elizabethan World-Picture, Tillyard’s book, like Curtius’ even more valuable European Literature in the Latin Middle Ages, was a compendium of clichés, absent any contextualization in the complex of social, political, religious conflicts and the realities of everyday life from which they had been abstracted. And yet, those clichés were deeply embedded in the language and texts of the times, and the fact that we have stopped teaching them systematically in favor of more interesting and complex, yet also more narrowly conceived, topics has, in significant ways, made the period less legible, more susceptible to partial and anachronistic readings. [more]