French 16: Society and Self in Early Modern France

Instructor: Raphaëlle Burns

This course examines the role of religion, politics, and sociability in the construction of the self in relation to society in early modern France. Through the reading of excerpts from texts by thinkers such as Montaigne, Descartes, Pascal, and Rousseau, plays by Corneille and Molière, articles from Diderot’s Encyclopedia, and Montesquieu’s famous epistolary novel Persian Letters, the course aims to develop students’ critical thinking and understanding of the French and European intellectual tradition, but also to examine how that tradition has been historically framed. Among the concepts discussed: civility, reason, self and other, absolutism, freedom, nature, Enlightenment. Taught in English.

TR 12:30-1:45      Haines A24