Fall 2020 Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2020

French 100: Written Expression: Techniques of Description and Narration

Instructor: Laurence Denié-Higney

The objective of this course is to help students improve their written expression in French. We will study in depth short stories to understand how writers design their stories, how description and narration are intertwined to create powerful stories. Student will produce their own short story using the techniques studies in class. When necessary, we will review grammar structures (such as past tenses, complex sentences).

French 116: Intolerant Renaissance

Instructor: Jean-Claude Carron

Alterity, during the European Renaissance, is born out of ruptures, reforms, “discoveries,” or gender relations. FR116 problematizes the ensuing intolerance in the encounter with “new worlds,” the Reformation, the anti-medieval renewal, and gender. See Calvin, Dentière, Labé, Navarre, Rabelais, Ronsard, Du Bellay, Montaigne, religious pamphlets, travel documents, and films. Taught in French.

French 118: Studies in 18th-Century French Culture and Literature

Instructor: Malina Stefanovska

Oriented around the theme of “us and the other” this course will study 18th-century authors and Enlightenment philosophers who staged different versions of alterity in order to better understand and critique their own culture: a Martian on earth, a Persian in France, a “naturally educated” child in society, a Peruvian princess in exile. We will read texts by Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and a novel by Mme de Graffigny. Taught in French.

French 121: Introduction to the Fiction of Francophone Subsaharan Africa*

Instructor: Alain Mabanckou

Ahmadou Kourouma showed in Les Soleils des Indépendances the disillusionments after the independences of the African nations. Camara Laye, with L’Enfant noir, distinguished himself by painting the Africa of his childhood when African writers were expected to be very socially committed. Mariama Bâ in Une si longue lettre presents the voices of African women. This course is intended to approach the literature of Subsaharan French-speaking Africa. It helps to understand how the novel has always been close to African history, but increasingly stands out, with the globalization of the world. Taught in French.

*Course taught in conjunction with a graduate seminar.

French 137: The Crisis of Universalism

Instructor: Laure Murat

Why French universalism, as a project for a fairer society, is now in crisis? How does it compare specifically to the American model? As a political and philosophical concept, universalism has always been at the chore of the debates about democracy in France. From revolutionary idealism to post-colonial era, we will analyze historically the evolution of an idea and its impact on migration, minorities, gender and race. Taught in French.

French 139: Paris

Instructor: Laure Murat

This course is designed as a cultural history seminar on Paris, providing a historical and geographical overview of the French capital, from the Middle Ages to nowadays. Following the chronological order of the urban formation, we will try to understand how literature and visual arts analyze poetically and politically a city that has always been the foremost attraction in Europe. Taught in French.

French 164: Five Fictions in French

Instructor: Lia Brozgal

A study of 5 contemporary French-language novels, translated in to English. Over-arching question: What do novels do? Questions of representation, form, and reception, but also history, politics, gender, migration, and religion. Taught in English, remotely, synchronously—the “Zeminar” (zoom seminar) is a thing! For more information, consult course website beginning in September.

French 191B: Variable Topic Research Seminar

Instructor: Alain Mabanckou

Seminar, three hours. Taught in French. Research seminars on topics to be announced each term. Topics include major writers, genres, cultural movements, or theoretical practices. Reading, discussion, and development of culminating project. May be repeated for credit with consent of major adviser

French 41: France and its Others: Race, Ethnicity and Difference in French Cinema

Instructor: Lia Brozgal

Exploration of French film, from colonial documentary to contemporary “bromance,” through the lens of race. Particular attention to the complexities of race in France; historical and cultural context; formal film analysis; postcolonial and critical race theory. Taught in English, remotely. Fulfills the GE requirement for “Literary and Cultural Analysis” and “Visual and Performance Arts Analysis and Practice,” and the Diversity Requirement. For more information, consult course website: https://ccle.ucla.edu/course/view/20F-FRNCH41-1.

German 152: Conversation and Composition in Contemporary German Culture and Society

Instructor: Magdalena Tarnawska Senel

Lecture, three hours. Requisite: course 6. Taught in German. Structured around themes as they emerge in contemporary German texts ranging from news magazine articles to literature, with emphasis on speaking and writing proficiency. Presentation software featured.

German 159: A Unified Country? Post-Wall Germany at 30

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

This fall is the 30th anniversary of German unification. On this occasion, this course will revisit German division, unification, and their aftermath. We will pursue three primary questions: 1. What was life in East Germany like? We will focus particularly on everyday life and culture. 2. What actually happened in 1989? The opening of the Berlin Wall was the most spectacular event of that year, but what were some of the events that preceded it and made it possible? What happened right after it? 3. What role does the fall of the wall still play 30 years later? How has it shaped society and culture? We will seek to understand the differences that still persist between East and West and how they play out in the current moment, for instance in response to the recent refugee crisis. Throughout the course, we will seek out different perspectives. Assigned materials include documentaries, first-person accounts, and literary depictions. If you want to watch something about the topic ahead of time, I recommend viewing the comedy Good Bye Lenin (2003). This course is conducted in German.

German 59: Holocaust in Cinema and Literature

Instructor: Todd Presner

This course approaches the Holocaust by examining the challenges and problems encountered in trying to imagine and understand it through literature, film, and a wide range of primary historical sources. We will read and look at some of the most significant literary, historical, filmic, and philosophical representations of the Holocaust, including those by Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Hannah Arendt, Ruth Kluger, Art Spiegelman, Paul Celan, Nelly Sachs, Steven Spielberg, and Claude Lanzmann. The course treats a broad range of issues such as the politics of memory, the value of testimony, the problems of witnessing, and the ethics of representation. Fulfills the GE requirement for “Literary and Cultural Analysis” and Philosophical and Linguistic Analysis, and the Diversity Requirement.

Italian 110: Dante in English


This course focuses on Dante’s Divine Comedy, a classic masterpiece of world literature and a crucial work in the development of Italian culture. We will discuss Dante’s poem in relation to its biblical and classical archetypes – as well as its deep philosophical, religious, and political background – and will consider the protagonist’s journey to “salvation” as a challenge to many of our most entrenched assumptions about the nature of good and evil. Taught in English.

Italian 116B: Power and Imagination in Renaissance


This course explores two Renaissance epic poems, Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso and Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata. It considers numerous themes, including the following: the influence of classical models (especially Virgil’s Aeneid); the interplay between love and war; questions of gender; the encounters between Islam and Christianity in the Renaissance. The discussions will be conducted in English, but the Orlando furioso and the Gerusalemme liberata will be read in Italian (advanced reading knowledge of Italian required).

Italian 131: Reading and Reciting

Instructor: Elissa Tognozzi

In Italian 131 we read and analyze plays by Italian authors focusing on the social and political environments they represent as a means to better understand contemporary Italian life and society. Before reading each play, we will discuss its author and her/his historical and cultural background. We will also continue working on the four skills of language proficiency: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Additional work includes theatre improvisation games, videotaping of short role plays, and focus on fluency and pronunciation. Taught in Italian.

Scandinavian 134: Scandinavian Mythology

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

All lectures and readings in English.  Overview of gods and goddesses, realms and beings, narratives and information that make up lore collectively referred to as Scandinavian, or Norse, myth. Reading and examination of this lore that is chiefly preserved in two collections traditionally called “Poetic (or Elder) Edda” and “Prose (or Younger) Edda.”

Scandinavian 141C: Short Story in Scandinavia

Instructor: Patrick Wen

This course focuses on the evolution and elevation of the short narrative in Scandinavia during the 19th and 20th centuries, from the humble folk tale to the “literary” novella. Our study includes short narratives by a number of authors, including Andersen, Axel, Dinesen, Oehlenschläger, Palma, Propp, and others.

Scandinavian 143C: Scandinavian Crime Literature

Instructor: Patrick Wen

How does the “nonfiction” true crime genre inform the traditional crime “fiction” narrative and vice versa? Do these accounts of crimes of power and crimes of desire reveal anything about culture, identity and ideology?  This course will address these questions from a Scandinavian perspective, exploring recent crime narratives from Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the American Midwest.

Scandinavian 161: Introduction to Nordic Cinema: The Classic Era

Instructor: Arne Lunde

This survey course provides an overview of Nordic film history during its classic period (1910s-1960s). Films will include works by canonical European filmmakers such as Victor Sjöström, Mauritz Stiller, Gustaf Molander, Carl Th. Dreyer, Ingmar Bergman, Alf Sjöberg, and Mai Zetterling. Lectures, readings, and discussions will explore Scandinavian film cultures within multiple historiographical contexts (transnationalism, gender, sexuality, class, politics, the star system, genres, new technologies, auteurist aesthetics, studio house styles, et al). Taught in English.

Scandinavian 40: Heroic in Northern Myth, Legend, and Epic

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

(4 units) Not open for credit to students with credit for course 40W. All readings in English. Comparison of journeys of heroes. Readings in Nordic mythology, legend, folktale, and epic. Cultural and historic backgrounds to texts. Fulfills the GE requirement for “Literary and Cultural Analysis.”

Scandinavian 40W: Heroic in Northern Myth, Legend, and Epic

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

(5 units) Enforced requisite: English Composition 3 or 3H or English as a Second Language 36. Not open for credit to students with credit for course 40. All readings in English. Comparison of journeys of heroes. Readings in Nordic mythology, legend, folktale, and epic. Cultural and historic backgrounds to texts. Satisfies Writing II requirement.

Scandinavian 50: Introduction to Scandinavian Literature and Culture

Instructor: Patrick Wen

Scandinavian 50 provides undergraduates with a broad overview of the literary and cultural traditions of the Nordic lands. Surveying a wide range of authors and filmmakers from these countries, we will familiarize ourselves with numerous influential Scandinavian texts. In this course, “literature” will be loosely defined in order to include several types of narratives, including film and folklore in addition to traditional written narrative forms. Taught in English.

Scandinavian C145: Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg and late 19th-Century Scandinavian Drama

Instructor: Arne Lunde

This course will focus on gender, sexuality, class difference, and crisis in the dramatic works of Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen and his key rival, Sweden’s August Strindberg. The two most important European playwrights of their epoch in the 1880s and 1890s, both created their greatest plays in self-imposed exile on the Continent in Germany, Italy, France, et al. Course lectures, readings, and discussions will further illuminate their artistry and influence within the cultural, political, and social history of their times. Taught in English.