Café in Paris, France

Café in Paris, France

Honors and Scholars Program

Miami has an excellent Honors and Scholars Program, which offers a unique selection of courses for students admitted to their program. Many faculty in French have developed curricula especially for this program and regularly offer 180 seminars. A few of the most current courses are below.

FRE 180B - The Natural and the Un-Natural in Literary and Cultural Discourses (3)

What do we mean when we say that something is or isn’t "natural"? What criteria do we use to evaluate? What presuppositions? Through contextualized readings of 18th- and late 19th-century literature, we will explore how and why these categories emerged, how they have been employed, and how they continue to influence the ways we think about contemporary culture, politics, and art. We will question categories we tend to think of as “natural” and we will discover how the concepts of the natural and its obverse, the unnatural, have been used - and continue to be used - to give value to or to discredit myriad aesthetic as well as political claims and positions (gender roles, sexuality, ecological conservation, nationalism, etc.).

FRE 180E - Kafka in Context (3)

In this course, we will read all the major primary works by one of the 20th century's most brilliant and enigmatic writers. We will also explore selections from Kafka's extensive diaries and correspondence with friends, girlfriends, and family. We will situate Kafka's oeuvre in Prague, the multi-national, -cultural, -ethnic, and -religious city in which he lived and wrote. Our course will conclude with a brief survey of some of the seminal criticism and interpretation that Kafka's work has inspired from the 1920s to the present. All material will be read in English.

FRE 180F - Cinema as Cultural Discourse (3)

The course will focus on the masterworks of French cinema from the silent era to the digital age. We will explore how cinema emerges as a cultural discourse in dialogue with other arts and disciplines: literature, architecture, philosophy, and history. Topics to include the development of a French national style in the films of Jean Renoir, cinematographic space and architecture in early cinema of the 1930s, new wave cinema as a social and aesthetic critique, and feminist and minoritarian cinema after 1980. In the course, students will learn how to describe, analyze, and critique filmic sequences. They will also learn how to interpret the cultural stakes of aesthetic movements, like poetic realism and the French new wave, in order to understand how cinema interprets and functions as a critique of culture. Course conducted in English.

FRE 180G - Dangerous Reading (3)

In 1857 France was electrified by two highly publicized literary trials:  novelist Gustave Flaubert stood accused of immorality for his novel Madame Bovary and the poet Charles Baudelaire for his “obscene” collection Les Fleurs du Mal ( Flowers of Evil ).  The court’s concern:  could these books corrupt impressionable minds?  Is it possible – as in the case of Flaubert’s eponymous (anti) heroine – that reading too many novels could ruin lives? From its inception, with Don Quixote , the “modern” European novel has explored this (self-reflexive) question of its possible deleterious effects on readers. Even the Christian Bible provoked controversy in its time; when Gutenberg’s press made it available to individual, lay readers, debate about the danger or salutary effects of personal access to the Word tore asunder Europe’s organizing body and ideology. This semester, we will study important works of European fiction and film that engage this theme of dangerous reading.  Situating these texts in their cultural and historical contexts, we will ask:  What makes a book dangerous?  And conversely, what modes of reading (critical analysis, etc.) protect us from falling prey to seductive texts?  Why are certain books scandalous at certain historical moments?  What kinds of conversations can scandal generate? What widely-held preoccupations or fears does it belie? At the end of the semester, students will pursue small group research projects on more contemporary literary and artistic scandals such as Robert Mapplethorpe’s 1990 Cincinnati show, Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses , and debates about book banning in public schools.

FRE 180I - The Global Graphic Novel (3)

Graphic novels tell compelling stories that link people across the globe. A new wave of books by cartoonists from around the French-speaking world (Belgium, France, Québec, Switzerland, etc.), now translated into English, recounts the history of globalization through voyages of exploration and conquest, trade and tourism, NGOs and GMOs. Part of that history is the global movement of the graphic novel itself, beginning with the “novels of engravings” of Swiss cartoonist Rodolphe Töpffer, in the early nineteenth century. Although the main focus will be on graphic novels published during the last few decades (1980s–present), some attention will also be paid to the historical evolution and spread of the graphic novel form. Taught in English Translation.

FRE H102 - Scenes of Violence: French Wars from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century (3)

Insurgency? Terrorism? Torture controversies? Religious violence? “Scenes of Violence” (an Honors Writing and Cultures core course) examines these issues, of such pressing significance today, through the lens of French history and literature. We will investigate ideologies of war and violence through the study of four conflicts—the Crusades, the Wars of Religion, the French and Haitian Revolutions, and the Algerian War. While paying attention to historical and cultural specificities of the events studied, this course addresses the larger question of how the history of events is shaped and interpreted. We will also study representations of war in literature and film, exploring how such cultural productions participate in and/or resist ideologies of violence. Throughout the course, we will reflect on the following questions: How is war justified, promoted, critiqued? How is “the enemy” represented? How are memories of war mobilized or forgotten? (All readings and discussion in English).