French 281: The Politics of Representational Pleasures: Early Modern Court and City Spectacles of Theater, Music and Dance in Comparative Perspective (1600-1800, and in their modern-day receptions and performances)

Instructor: Professor Déborah Blocker

This course fulfills the elective requirement for the DE in REMS.

Please note that this seminar’s new meeting time is Wed 5-8, still in 4125A Dwinelle.

This seminar will comparatively investigate the social and political uses of early modern court and city spectacles of theater, music and dance over a 200-year period (1600-1800), both through the contextualized study of early modern documents and in a number of modern-day and performances of the 8 works listed above. This thoroughly interdisciplinary seminar — originally designed with REMS students in mind, but also more than suitable for RLL students, as well as graduate students in French, Italian Studies, English, German, Music and Performance Studies — will have three main learning goals : 1) initiate students to the contextualized analysis of early modern court and city performances, in their various social, political, institutional and economic contexts ; 2) train participants in the production history and analysis of contemporary performances of early modern spectacles, in the context of the current wave of Baroque revival productions (including through a live production of Shakespeare’s Julius Cesar by Le Théâtre National de Bretagne, to be given at Cal Performances on April 26-28 :, which the class will collectively attend in the last week of the semester)  ; 3) develop in all participants the necessary skills and confidence to enjoy, interpret and historicize early modern spectacles comparatively, in five closely interrelated geographic areas across early modern Europe (Italy, England, France, Prussia and modern day Germany, as well as the Austro-Hungarian Empire). The works studied (please see detailed list given above) will be examined in class in the language(s) they were originally produced in. But current English translations exist for all of the works to be investigated and will be made available to students via the seminar’s Courses site. Thus, no other language than English is needed to take this seminar, though a working knowledge of French, Italian and/or German would of course be helpful. If you are interested in this seminar but are unsure if it would work well for you, please free to contact the instructor directly at — or in person, during her Fall 2018 office hours.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes