Spring 2021 Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2021

French 101: Persuasive Writing

Instructor: Kimberly Jansma

In FR101, students will work on writing informative, analytical and persuasive texts in French on topics of interest. They’ll learn how to engage the reader, defend a thesis, analyze, concede and conclude. In order to develop a clear, logical writing style, students will work on rhetorical expressions such as cause and effect, comparison and concession. They will begin each new topic with a close reading and class discussion of both contemporary and classical writing paying careful attention to style and vocabulary. Taught in French. 

French 105: French Linguistics

Instructor: Kimberly Jansma

FR105 is an introduction to French linguistics. Students will analyze the systematic nature of the French language. We’ll examine the phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax of French. In addition, we’ll investigate the impact of historical events and social trends on the language. Among the questions we will explore are: Why do French and English share so many cognates? What is the source of engrained French attitude towards their language, How does « mythical » French compare to the everyday language? FR104 French phonetics is a useful preparation but it is not required or expected. Taught in French.

French 109: Language and Communication in Business French

Instructor: Laurence Denié-Higney

FR 109 is intended to develop your communication skills both orally and written in a French business setting. You will learn to write a resume in French and an application letter. You will practice for a job interview in French. You will develop your vocabulary to be able to answer the phone, send an e-mail and write a professional letter. You will also discover French business culture. Taught in French.

French 112: Medieval Foundations of Europe

Instructor: Zrinka Stahuljak

The objective of this course is to introduce you and trace the genealogy of some of the most important medieval concepts and institutions, such as empire and state, religion, university, architecture and visual arts, identity, class, race and sexuality, foundational for European civilization. As most European nations draw their genealogy from the Middle Ages, the course explores the birth of modern nations from their medieval foundation. Along the way, it looks at cultural production: how and why were certain values created and then passed on to us? 

French 116: Studies in Renaissance French Culture and Literature – Equity or the Desire for Justice in Early Modern France

Instructor: Raphaëlle Burns

Equity has come to the fore in recent years as a key concept in campaigns for social justice. But what is equity and where does the term come from? This course will explore the classical roots of the concept of equity and its multifaceted revival in early modern French literature and thought. Students will be invited to think critically about the role of early modern approaches to equity in the shaping of present-day ethical and political discourses. Authors will include Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Ronsard, Montaigne, Bodin, and Pascal. All works will be read and discussed in English, though attention to the French originals will be encouraged wherever possible.

French 117: The History of Truth in 17th-Century France

Instructor: Malina Stefanovska

Is truth historical, and therefore relative, or is it universal? Every period and has defined it, pursued it, and questioned it in own context. Through the study of major thinkers and playwrights of 17th century France such as Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Descartes and Pascal, we shall explore the relationship of truth to illusion (fiction), religion, politics, science, social norms and the inner self. Excerpts from theatrical performances will bring the plays closer to us. Texts read in French and in translation, class discussions and papers in French.

French 120: Literature and Child Soldiers in Africa

Instructor: Alain Mabanckou

During these past decades, we have witnessed the national armed forces or armed groups using children in Africa in several conflicts and during civil wars. African literature addresses these questions, notably the Ivorian writer Ahmadou Kourouma in two of his novels, Allah n’est pas obligé and Quand on refuse on dit non. In this course we will analyze the presence of children in conflicts through Kourouma’s novels and some theoretical articles from prominent scholars. Taught in French.

French 130: Introduction to Sub-Saharan African Short Stories

Instructor: Alain Mabanckou

This course is an approach to French-speaking, black African literature through short fictions. While this genre is developed in the English-speaking world, few French-speaking writers focus on short stories. Emmanuel Dongala’s Jazz et vin de palme, which the course will focus on, is a rich and dense collection. He describes a postcolonial painting of African societies, in particular the Congolese society, but he also opens up to the United States of America. We will also explore Jacques Chevrier’s Anthologie Africaine, which gives us a wider view of African writers. Finally, we will hear the voices of certain African writers, such as Veronique Tadjo, through sound recordings. Taught in French.

French 16: Individual and Society in Early Modern French Thought

Instructor: Malina Stefanovska

This course studies the role of religion, politics and sociability in constructing the self and understanding its relation with society in early modern France. Through reading excerpts by thinkers such as Descartes, Pascal, Rousseau, comedies by Corneille and Molière, articles from Diderot’s Encyclopedia, and Montesquieu’s famous epistolary novel Persian Letters, our aim is to develop students’ critical thought and knowledge of the French and European intellectual tradition, but also to demonstrate how that tradition has been historically framed. Among the concepts discussed: civility, reason, self and other, absolutism, nature, Enlightenment. Taught in English.

German 103: Lubitsch Touch-Quatsch

Instructor: Kalani Michell

This course focuses on the transnational films by the German-Jewish director Ernst Lubitsch (1892- 1947), who immigrated to Hollywood in 1922. While the idea of a “Lubitsch touch” has long guided interpretations of films he directed, this course seeks to move beyond vague, tautological authorial categories. Students will engage with a broader body of film and media theory to understand how these silent comedies, historical dramas, musicals and romantic and political comedies are never stable, intact works, but always dispersed and fragmented through the reception process that, especially in this case, occurs on both sides of the Atlantic. Taught in English. 

German 110: Germany and Europe

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

In this course, we will examine the changing meanings and significance of “Europe” for postwar Germany and of “Germany” for postwar Europe through a wide variety of materials, from the founding documents of the EU and other policy papers to films, literary works, music, cartoons, and art. Thematically, we will focus on particularly contentious and recurring issues: borders and identities, history and memory, and migration and transformation. Studying a variety of materials and perspectives will sharpen your analytical skills and develop your understanding of the discussed issues in depth. This course is taught entirely in English and presumes no prior knowledge of Germany or of the EU.

German 110: Special Topics in Modern Literature and Culture: Language and Identity

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

What impact does language have on one’s identity? Does learning and speaking another language change a person? How do multilinguals exist in a supposedly monolingual world? Can a language be traumatized by the acts committed in it? These are just a few of the questions we will be discussing in this course as we explore the nexus of language and identity by drawing on a diverse group of 20th and 21st century writers such as Franz Kafka, Elias Canetti, Klaus Mann, Jhumpa LahiriEmine Sevgi Özdamar, and Olumide Popoola, as well as considering relevant films, public debates, and scholarship. Most of the materials for this course are drawn from the German context but the readings and discussions will provide you with interpretive tools to consider the issues in other contexts as well. Taught in English.

German 112: Race, Migration, and Identity in German Letters, Visual Arts, and Film

Instructor: Maite Zubiaurre

This undergraduate seminar explores how race and migration shape the identity of modern and contemporary Germany and its cultural representations. With the help of a series of representative works in literature, visual arts, and film, it takes a close look at Germany’s colonial past; at Afro German identity and culture during and after the Third Reich; at the “Gastarbeiter” or guest worker influx and Turkish migration during the sixties and seventies; at ethnic Germans and “Spätaussiedler;” and at contemporary migration and the refugee movement under Angela Merkel. Taught in English.

German 174: German Through Translation: Perspectives and Practice

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

In this course, you will both learn about translation and practice it in a variety of ways, thereby also developing your German language skills in new ways. First, we will see how important translations have been in shaping the German language and German cultural identity more broadly. Second, we will read fictional and non-fictional texts that creatively engage with as well as pose challenges to translation. Finally, we will consider the possibilities and challenges of machine translation in the digital age and inventively imagine translation scenes of the future. Throughout the class, you will actively practice translation and reflect on your process. Translation exercises will also serve as a means to review crucial grammar points, while lively in-class discussions of the readings and exercises will continue to develop your spoken German. Taught in German.

German 191A: Speculative Ways of Writing History

Instructor: Kalani Michell

The course explores speculative approaches to historiography, focusing on new methods of writing media histories for women and LGBTQ+ and nonwhite people. Students will learn to analyze and interpret materials of visual culture and moving image work thematizing Germany and Europe that engage with speculation as a productive mode of writing media history. The course will pay particular attention to new scholarship in Black European Studies that challenges gendered and colonial teleological historiographies. Taught in English.

German 191C: Capstone Seminar

Instructor: Magdalena Tarnawska Senel

Seminar, three hours. Limited to senior German majors. Collaborative discussion of and reflection on courses already taken for major, drawing out and synthesizing larger themes and culminating in paper or other final project. Must be taken in conjunction with one course numbered 140 or higher.

Italian 102B: Crucial Period Between Medieval and Renaissance

Instructor: Elissa Tognozzi

This course looks at the stunning achievements between the Medieval and Renaissance periods. The course will interweave many factors that contributed to this phenomenon including literature, poetry, painting, architecture, music, theater and science from the period between Boccaccio and Galileo. Taught in English.

Italian 116A: Laughing Matters in Renaissance Italy

Instructor: Raphaëlle Burns

This course provides an introduction to the Italian Renaissance through the prism of laughter. Laughter was anything but trivial to writers and artists of the time. In fact, it was considered by many to be of great philosophical, social, and pedagogical value. We will explore the humor of the humanists in its various guises, from wit and pleasant comedy to trenchant satire and the grotesque, and consider its place within broader transformations of Renaissance art and thought. Authors will include Alberti, Aretino, BraccioliniBurchiello, Castiglione, Fonte, Galileo, Leonardo, Machiavelli, and PulciAll works will be read and discussed in English, though attention to the Italian originals will be encouraged wherever possible.

Italian 121: Literature and Film

Instructor: Thomas Harrison

This class has concurrent graduate enrollment (Italian 260C). Its theme is the “visibility of the invisible” in the art of Italian film, starting almost from that art’s beginning (circa 1900) and moving onto the work of some of Italy’s most celebrated directors (Rossellini, De Sica, Fellini, Pasolini, Antonioni, Sorrentino, Garrone). Film theory will also play a big role. Taught in English.

Italian 150: Modern Fiction in Translation

Instructor: Thomas Harrison

Branching out as necessary into the other arts and topics of particular relevance to culture today, this course will question the relationship between (a) Self and Collective, and (b) Truth and Representation. These are the poles between which most of us seek to orient ourselves within our times. Course materials will be drawn from modern and contemporary Italian literature, as well as philosophical and culture-critical essays. Taught in English.

Italian 98T: Border(ed) Identities: Between Italy, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia

Instructor: Thomas Harrison

Seminar, three hours. Requisite: satisfaction of Entry-Level Writing requirement. Freshmen/sophomores preferred. Comparative study of contemporary approaches to difference in hybrid, peripheral, and interstitial geographical contexts. Analysis of post-imperial and post-war struggles over identity in South-Central Europe through cinematic and literary representations of self with focus on borders, subalternity, and transnationalism.

Scandinavian 147A: Hans Christian Andersen

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

Study of works of Hans Christian Andersen, 19th-century Danish novelist, dramatist, poet, and writer of tales, including consideration of his biography, his literary context, and his times. Analysis of his works in terms of their structure, style, and meaning. All instruction and readings in English/translation.

Scandinavian 19: Kierkegaard and Fundamentals of Existentialism

Instructor: James Massengale

Difficult writings of Danish philosopher and kind-of-poet Søren Kierkegaard constitute singular labyrinth of pseudonyms and challenging points of view. Kierkegaard is often credited with being father of existentialism. But as convinced (not necessarily convincing) Christian author, his pseudonymic works create path ofstages leading toward–but not necessarily into–Christian faith. Along way, he challenges reader to understand more deeply how to define his or her actions, and comprehensive set of patterns emerges as guide for existence. This is existentialism not as abstract philosophical concept, but as completely practical matter: how am I to live my life? is central idea behind all of Kierkegaard’s obfuscations and posturing. Exploration of how current issues–pandemic, climate change, January 6, 2021 insurrection, and Black Lives Matter movement–relate to existential crises as Kierkegaard defined term; and how one may respond creatively when faced with existential problems.

Scandinavian 50W: Introduction to Scandinavian Literatures and Cultures

Instructor: Patrick Wen

Scandinavian 50W provides undergraduates with a broad overview of the literary and cultural traditions of the Nordic lands.  This course examines many of the cultural and intellectual movements from which these traditions sprung, thereby providing a context for our study of “The Outsider in Scandinavian Literature.” In accordance with the Writing II Committee’s objectives, the writing component in this course is designed to furnish the UCLA student with a valuable set of tools for writing a successful analytic humanities paper. Taught in English. 

Scandinavian 88S: Game of Thrones in Real Life: Ancient Times to Modern Times

Instructor: Arne Lunde

Seminar, one hour. Game of Thrones is arguably most popular show in world. For seven seasons, this HBO show captured attention and hearts of viewers of all different backgrounds. While at face value Game of Thrones might simply be entertaining, show tackled wide array of social and political issues. Despite being set in medieval-era fantasy world, themes that are part of Game of Thrones are still applicable to current day. Guided discussion about themes and ideas that Game of Throne touched upon that may not have been noticed. Overview of historical events that relate to Game Thrones. Connection of historical events to Game of Thrones and modern day issues. P/NP grading. Facilitated by Kavya Juwadi, with Arne O. Lunde as faculty mentor.

Scandinavian C180: The Supernatural in Contemporary Nordic Culture

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

How might representations of the supernatural figure our relationship to the past? How do supernaturally monstrous beings make us think about what it means to be human? What does the supernatural element bring to detective fiction, coming-of-age stories, or social realism? With these questions in mind, this course will explore representations of the supernatural in 21st-century Nordic literature and film, as well as the beliefs, experiences, and attitudes vis-à-vis the supernatural in contemporary Nordic societies. All instruction, readings, and films in English/translation.