Fall 2022 Undergraduate Courses

Fall 2022

ELTS 151: Valkyries and Dragonslayers: the Völsung/Nibelung Tradition

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

This course examines “the Great Story of the North” – the epic and legendary traditions of the Völsung family (descended from Odin) and their dealings with the Nibelung family (keepers of the Rhine Gold) – in texts ranging from Old Norse Eddic poetry and sagas, to the Middle High German Nibelungenlied, to Wagner’s 19th-century operatic Ring Cycle, to Fritz Lang’s silent Nibelungen films. It will consider the appeal and import of this enduringly popular story in terms of its historical and cultural contexts, its artistic and political uses, as well as the influence it has had on the modern fantasy tradition. Taught in English.

French 100: Written Expression: Description and Narration

Instructor: Laurence Denié-Higney

French 100 aims at refining your written expression in French. Throughout the quarter, we will analyze four short stories: ‘Le Retour de Mamzelle Annette’ by Joseph Zobel, ‘La Montagne de Feu’ by Suzanne Dracius, ‘La Leçon d’Histoire’ by Maryse Condé, and the novella ‘Eureka’ by Madame de Duras. The thorough study of these short stories will allow us to better understand the techniques of description and storytelling. In order to develop and improve your written French style, we will also review important grammatical structures. You will apply what we are studying in class by writing your own short story in French. Taught in French. 

French 119: Romanticism or Realism?

Instructor: Laure Murat

Known as two major artistic movements of the nineteenth century, Romanticism and Realism are supposed to be opposite philosophies. After carefully defining what is at stake in the «battle of romanticism» and the «battle of realism», conceptually and historically, we will try to understand both movements as actually intertwined problematics. But how and why? Through major texts of French nineteenth-century literature, including George Sand, Claire de Duras, Alfred de Musset, Honoré de Balzac, and Gustave Flaubert, we will analyze what we could call the queer couple of Romanticism and Realism. Taught in French and in conjunction with graduate seminar French 219. 

French 12: Journey Through French Literature

Instructor: Elsa Duval

Travel has been part of the history of humanity since its inception. It is thus on of the literary themes that are encountered in literature in all periods. In this course, students will be introduced to the history of Francophone literature through the prism of travel accounts. We will examine travel accounts ranging from the 12th to the 20th century written in a variety of literary styles, such as poetry, prose, drama, and essays. The first half of the class focuses on premodern literature, while the second half of the course will study 19th and 20th century texts.

French 120: Culture and Literature of a Student Revolution

Instructor: Elsa Duval

Paris is known for its romantic atmosphere, but it also has a long history of violent incidents. Urban revolts have shaken the city since the Middle Ages, culminating in the French Revolution of 1789. One of the latest incidents, a student revolution, took place in Mai of 1968 and has thus simply been called “Mai 68”. During several days thousands of students occupied the Quartier Latin of Paris and physically fought off the police. They constructed barricades, led public debates, and organized protest actions. At first limited to students, the action led to a widespread strike and had a significant impact on the French political and intellectual scene. This course proposes to study the student uprising of May 1968 in-depth through primary sources and literary production. Through this historical event we will encounter the French social and cultural life of the 1960s. In a first step, we will research the different actors, places, and actions of the revolt. We will then look at the cultural production surrounding the event through literature, music, play and film.

French 133: Francophone Short Story

Instructor: Laure Murat

What is a short story and what is its history, especially regarding the tale and the novel? After defining theoretically this very specific literary genre, we will study some of the masterpieces of the 19th century, generally considered the golden age of the short story, and of 20th-21st century French literature, from the Romantic era to the realistic movement, from the fantastic to the thriller. Taught in French.

German 140: Language and Linguistics

Instructor: Christopher Stevens

In this course you will acquire a fundamental understanding of language and linguistics in general and a broader and deeper understanding of the German language in particular. After defining language and surveying basic linguistic principles, our discussions will include: the history of German and its dialects, Austrian, Swiss and Luxembourger German, the orthography of modern standard German and its phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and lexis.  This course is mostly taught in English but you will have to draw on your German abilities to read and understand spoken German, to do linguistic exercises, and to write a few summaries in German. 

German 152: Conversation and Composition on Contemporary German Culture and Society I

Instructor: Christopher Stevens

This is an advanced course that expands and refines the skills and knowledge acquired during the first two years of college German. It includes: (1) advanced writing training in German; (2) intensive vocabulary building and review of selected grammar points; and (3) discussion of themes relevant to contemporary German culture and society.  We will be reading selections from some well-known authors, including Yoko Tawada, Herbert Rosendorfer, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Karl Valentin, Georg Diez, Wladimir Kaminer, Thomas Bernhard, Franz Kafka, and Judith Hermann and Bastian Sick, from his Zwiebelfisch column in Der Spiegel dealing with the German language. We will also work through a grammar that I’ll make available to you. Taught in German.

Italian 100

Instructor: Elissa Tognozzi

This course, taught in Italian, will enable students to gain insight into key texts and topics in Italian literature. Opportunities will be provided to think critically and develop high skills of literary analysis. The course will more deeply develop existing proficiency levels in Italian and improve writing skills with a focus on accuracy, interpretation, style, and expression of complex ideas. Course content will include short stories, plays, and films.  Pre-requisite Italian 6.

Italian 116A: Italian Renaissance: Renewal of Art and Thought

Instructor: Massimo Ciavolella

This course considers the idea of Humanism and Renaissance in Italy from the prism of literature, the visual arts, medicine, and political and social life. We will start with the 1347-48 black plague and the epochal changes that came about in the aftermath of this deadly catastrophe, and follow the “rebirth” of the peninsula through to the second half of the sixteenth century.

Italian 42C: Food and Literature in Italy

Instructor: Elissa Tognozzi

This course, taught in English, will look at Italian food culture through essays, literature, films and other works that highlight the role and significance of food and eating. Course content will span the origins of Italian cuisine through the present slow food movement in Italy. Themes of discussion will include the relationship between eating and religion, politics, social class, health and gender differences. We will further look at how these practices influenced Italian American cuisine and culture.  Explanations in the form of digital materials, videos and lecture slides, will be provided when necessary. 

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, Høeg, Palma, and others. Taught in English.

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. Taught in English. 

Scandinavian 161: Introduction to Nordic Cinema: The Classic Era, 1910s-1960s

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 directors such as Victor Sjöström, Benjamin Christensen, Carl Th. Dreyer, Alf Sjöberg, Ingmar Bergman, Edith Carlmar, and Mai Zetterling. It will also focus on Nordic stars like Ingrid Bergman, Harriet Andersson, and Max von Sydow, among others. We will explore Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian film cultures within multiple contexts: film form (e.g., cinematography, editing, music, sound), transnationalism, society and politics, the star system, genres, auteurist and studio styles, and new technologies). Taught in English.

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

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

This course explores representations of heroes and heroic journeys in Nordic narrative traditions.  We will consider stories from myth, epic, folktale, and legend within their historic, geographic, and cultural contexts. Questions we may ponder include: What makes a hero heroic? In what ways is a heroine like a hero, and in what ways different? What is the hero’s relationship to the community? To the divine?  To death? What differentiates a hero from a leader? A trickster? A monster? Satisfies GE requirement for “Literary and Cultural Analysis” under the foundation of “Arts and Humanities.”  Taught in English.

Scandinavian 40W: Heroic Journey in Northern Myth, Legend, and Epic – Writing II

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

We will explore representations of heroes and heroic journeys in Nordic narrative traditions, considering stories from myth, epic, folktale, and legend within their historic, geographic, and cultural contexts. This course develops students’ critical thinking and close textual analysis skills, and offers instruction in the development of persuasive, well-structured essays.  Enforced requisite: English Composition 3 or 3H or English as a Second Language 36.  Satisfies Writing II requirement. Taught in English.

Scandinavian C145B: Knut Hamsun and his Contemporaries in Late-19th Century Scandinavian Literature.

Instructor: Arne Lunde

This quarter, the course will focus on the patriarchy, masculinity, and fatherhood in crisis in Scandinavian literature and the arts of the 1880s and 1890s. Primary readings include prose fiction by Knut Hamsun, Amalie Skram, Victoria Benedictsson, Anne-Charlotte Leffler, and Herman Bang; plays by Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg; and the expressionist paintings and prints of Edvard Munch. These writers and artists engaged in fierce debates about women’s rights and morality questions, embraced naturalism and scientific discourses, questioned religious and social dogmas, while relentlessly putting society under a critical lens. Taught in English.

Scandinavian C180: Norms and Deviants in Scandinavian Society

Instructor: Patrick Wen

Who decides what constitutes “deviance”?  Does the successful labeling of deviant behavior and the specialized treatment of deviants serve a specific function in society?  How do categories or definitions of deviance change in various historical or cultural contexts?  We will examine these questions, together with properties of norms, of normatively governed conduct, of lay and professional methods for describing, producing, using and validating norms in contrasting settings of socially organized activities in the context of modern Scandinavian society. Addressing fictional and nonfictional Scandinavian narratives, we will then investigate how these narratives of normativity and deviance reflect cultural anxieties surrounding identity, ideology, memory and power relationships. Taught in English.