Spring 2023 Undergraduate Courses

Spring 2023

ELTS 167: European Identities in Hollywood Cinema: Dark Dreams and California Noir

Instructor: Arne Lunde

The course explores how Hollywood classic film noir and neo-noir exposed the darker, more nightmarish dimensions of the postwar California dream, particularly within the mean streets of  Los Angeles and San Francisco. European-born filmmakers (including directors, writers, actors, producers, cinematographers, art designers, and composers, many of whom were refugees and exiles from Hitler’s Nazi-occupied Europe) were essential to the development of the film noir crime-film genre/movement in Hollywood in the 1940s-1950s and as neo-noir in the 1970s and beyond. Students will read a number of theoretical and historiographical writings about noir, including its origins in German Expressionist cinema, French poetic realism, and American crime pulp fiction. They will also analyze, discuss, write about, and present in teams on a range of the course films. These include classic noirs such as Double Indemnity, Sunset Blvd., Criss Cross, Mildred Pierce, Detour, as well as neo-noirs such as Chinatown, Blade Runner, Dead Again, The Day of the Locust, et al.

MW 2-3:15           Pub Aff 2242

ELTS 187: Capstone Seminar: The Activist University

Instructor: David D. Kim

The aim of this seminar is to provide graduating majors with a deep understanding of European cultures and histories within a global context, culminating in a capstone senior thesis. For this learning outcome, students will examine why and how universities on both sides of the Atlantic have been sites of activist scholarship and teaching since the Middle Ages. Readings will include, among others, Marsilius of Padua, Bertolt Brecht and Victor Papanek. Topics will range from Italian humanism and Enlightenment philosophy to 1968 and design activism. On the basis of transcultural European case studies of activist universities, students will have opportunities to reflect on student and faculty participation in anticolonial movements in Argentina, Peru, South Africa, the United States, and Vietnam. 

The seminar will bring together the knowledge that graduating majors in the Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies have gained through their studies and apply it in new, collaborative, and research-based contexts. They will analyze, discuss, and interrogate historical, as well as aesthetic, modes of inquiry and demonstrate their proficiency in oral and writing skills, in areas of the experimental humanities (digital, environmental, medical and urban humanities as well as community engagement), and in the target languages. They will come from various majors in the department to study multilingual, transcultural, and international aspects of their studies through the lens of an activist university. 

W 3-5:50               Pub Aff 1284

ELTS 20: Copenhagen & the Nordic Model of Sustainability

Instructor: Patrick Wen

This introductory general education course explores the field of urban humanities before the backdrop of the Nordic model of sustainability through a case study of the city of Copenhagen.  Bridging the traditional divisions between urban and rural, historic Copenhagen, which means “merchant’s harbor,” has always been an intersectional space for commercial but also transcultural exchanges.  The sense or meaning of space and place in Copenhagen is forever under the negotiation of culture and identity.  The bicycle and the windmill are common symbols of the city’s commitment to mobility, accessibility, sustainability, carbon consciousness and pragmatic urban planning.  At its core, our case study of Copenhagen as a sustainable urban space will ask to what extent does urban design and planning center the human being versus other stakeholders?  We will investigate how the city’s human-centered design, planning and general sustainability are reflected in Scandinavian cultural traditions in literature, history, film, television, architecture, design, urban planning, and beyond.  Upon successful completion of this course, students will satisfy a General Education requirement in Literary and Cultural Analysis in the Arts and Humanities Foundation Area.

MW 12:30-1:45   Pub Aff 2317

French 100: Written Expression: Techniques of Description and Narration

Instructor: Kimberly Jansma

This course is designed to help you better understand and discuss narrative and descriptive French prose and to develop your own writing style. It will serve as a workshop to support the writing process. We’ll closely read and discuss a novel in addition to shorter texts.  This “book club” will expand your written vocabulary, and expose you to stylistic choices and genres.  Assignments will focus on short pieces and the eventual development of a narrative involving student collaboration. 

Prerequisite:  FR6 or equivalent

MWF 12-12:50    Haines 110

French 105: Structure of French

Instructor: Kimberly Jansma

FR105 is an introduction to French descriptive linguistics: phonology, morphology and syntax.  Through a socio-historical lens, you will learn how modern French emerges from vulgar Latin, differentiating itself from other romance languages.   Some of the questions addressed are why French and English cognates are so common; why the French are particularly protective of their language, and how the French language is changing in the contemporary context.

 Français 104 (Phonetics) is useful preparation, but no previous linguistics is required.  

Prerequisite:  FR6 or equivalent

MWF 1-1:50         Haines A24

French 109: Language and Communication in Business French

Instructor: Laurence Denié-Higney

Lecture, three hours. Requisite: course 6.  taught in French. In this course, you will learn to create a resume in French, write a cover letter in French, and prepare for a job interview. You will also learn how to communicate in a business environment (e-mail, phone calls, formal letters, etc..). You will develop an understanding of the French business culture while learning specific vocabulary and reviewing specific grammar structures to help you refine your professional writing and oral skills.

MWF 10-10:50    Haines 110

French 116: Studies in Renaissance French Culture and Literature

Instructor: Jean-Claude Carron

Dire l’amour à la Renaissance

La conception que l’on se fait de l’amour connaît un renouveau remarquable durant les siècles dit de la Renaissance en Europe (XIV-XVIe siècles). Héritières d’une double révolution formelle et philosophique, les diverses littératures nationales offrent chacune à sa manière de multiples exemples de ce renouveau venu d’Italie. Durant ce trimestre, on verra plus particulièrement comment, se greffant sur et se distançant de ses sources transalpines, la France tente à son tour de dire l’amour. Cela nous conduira à mettre en évidence la part grandissante que la femme prend, au XVIe siècle en France, dans la production littéraire réservée jusqu’alors quasi exclusivement aux hommes. Parmi les textes que nous verrons, soulignons ceux de :

Louise Labé
Pernette du Guillet
Marguerite de Navarre
Catherine et Madeleine des Roches
François Rabelais
Joachim du Bellay
Pierre de Ronsard
Michel de Montaigne

TR 2-3:15              Haines A74

French 117: Studies in 17th Century French Culture and Literature: The “Je-Ne-Sais-Quoi”: Art, Literature, and the Sublime in Seventeenth-Century France

Instructor: Raphaëlle Burns

The “je-ne-sais-quoi” is one of many French expressions that have historically found their way into the English language. But what does this expression mean, where does it come from, and what makes it so untranslatable? In this course, we will delve into the history of seventeenth-century French literature, art, religion, and society, to understand how and why the idea of the “je-ne-sais-quoi” became so popular. We will examine how this enigmatic notion served contemporary ideologies of class, gender, and race but also how, for certain writers, it evoked an aesthetic, spiritual, and/or moral experience that transcended these categories entirely. We will read authors such as Corneille, Molière, La Fontaine, Pascal, Bouhours, Bossuet, and Boileau, and engage together with art and music from the period. Extracts from modern theoretical readings on the “je-ne-sais-quoi”, by the likes of Bourdieu, Jankélévitch, Nancy, and Wittgenstein, will also be introduced. Taught in French.

W 2-4:50               Royce 152

French 119: Studies in 19th Century French Culture and Literature

Instructor: Églantine Colon

TR 9:30-10:45      Pub Aff 1278

French 12: Introduction to French and Francophone Literature

Instructor: Jean-Claude Carron

Principles of literary analysis as applied to selected texts in poetry, theater, and prose by French and Francophone writers. P/NP or letter grading.

TR 11-12:15          Pub Aff 2317

French 121: Studies in Francophone Cultures and Literature

Instructor: Alain Mabanckou

MW 11-12:15      Pub Aff 1278

French 130: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures

Instructor: Alain Mabanckou

MW 2-3:15           Bunche 3123

French 133: French and Francophone Short Story

Instructor: Églantine Colon

TR 12:30-1:45      Royce 152

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

German 110: Special Topics in Modern Literature and Culture: History and Memory in the Family: Versions of the Past

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

Study of contemporary cultural representations that foreground the family (and especially grandparents) as the site of the transmission of the past. Stories about the past told in the family often differ significantly from versions of history found in textbooks, sometimes offering alternative access to repressed histories and other times covering them up. We will analyze how family dynamics and historical accounting come into play in select memoirs, literary works, documentaries, and fictional films, with special attention to the dynamics at play in (not) remembering National Socialism and the Holocaust, on the one hand, and migration and refugeedom, on the other. Introduces students also to central concepts from Memory Studies, such as cultural and communicative memory. No prior knowledge required. Taught in English.

TR 9:30-10:45      Pub Aff 1323

German 174: Advanced Study of Literature and Contemporary Culture

Instructor: Yasemin Yildiz

This course introduces you to translation, both as a linguistic practice and skill set and as an overlooked but crucial cultural phenomenon. We will ask, among other questions: 1. What is translation and why does it matter? 2. In what ways have translations shaped the German language and German cultural identity? 3. How does the digital age change translation and what is the future of language learning? In addition to delving into these cultural questions (and thus developing your speaking skills in discussions), you will actively practice translation and acquire translation skills throughout the class.  Translation exercises will aid you in expanding your vocabulary and review recurring grammar points.

TR 12:30-1:45      Bunche 2156

German 59: Holocaust in Film 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, digital media, and a wide range of primary historical sources. The course treats a broad range of issues such as the truth and contestation of history, the politics of memory, the value of testimony and witnessing, and the ethics of representation. Upon successful completion of this course, students will satisfy two General Education requirements: Foundations of Arts and Humanities—Literary and Cultural Analysis and Foundations of Arts and Humanities—Philosophical and Linguistic Analysis.

TR 9:30-10:45      Pub Aff 2214


Italian 191

Instructor: Eva Del Soldato

MW 11-12:15      Pub Aff 1323

Italian 50B: Masterpieces of Italian Literature in English: Enlightenment to Postmodernity

Instructor: Robert Rushing

In this class, we will look at three kinds of modern Italian masterpieces: the music of the 19th century (three of the great operas of Giuseppe Verdi, which combine poetry, theater, and music), the literature of the 20th century (three of the strange and beautiful novels of Italo Calvino), and the cinema of the 21st century (three films by the astonishing young talent of Alice Rohrwacher). Class will focus both on appreciation (understanding why these three artists have made such an impression and why these really are “masterpieces”), critical analysis (understanding their historical and political context, their ideology, where they sometimes fall short), and theory (how do these arts speak to an inform each other?). No knowledge of Italian is required; all works are either subtitled or in translation. 

TR 11-12:15          Bunche 3211

Scand 147A: Hans Christian Andersen

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

Study of works of Hans Christian Andersen, 19th-century Danish novelist, dramatist, travel-writer, and writer of tales, including consideration of his literary background and of his times.  Analysis of his works in terms of their structure, style, and meaning.  All readings in English translation.  P/NP or letter grading.  Taught in English.

TR 9:30-10:45      Pub Aff 1329

Scand 50

Instructor: Patrick Wen

Scandinavian 50 provides undergraduates with a broad overview of the literary and cultural traditions of the Nordic countries. 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.  In turn, we will examine many of the cultural and intellectual movements from which these texts sprung, thereby providing a context for our study. Upon completion of the course, students will have a firm grounding in several major currents in Scandinavian literatures and cultures. 

MW 3:30-4:45     Bunche A152

Scand 50W: Gender, Sexuality, Class, and crisis in the Scandinavian Modern Breakthrough of the 1880s and 1890s

Instructor: Arne Lunde

This Writing II course focuses on the period in Scandinavian literature and the arts known as “The Modern Breakthrough” of the 1880s and 1890s. In the wake of Darwin, Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, Zola, and other European iconoclasts, Scandinavian writers and artists embraced naturalism and scientific discourses, questioned religious and social dogmas, engaged in fierce debates about women’s rights and morality questions, while relentlessly putting society under a critical lens. Not only were these radical artists important and influential in Scandinavia, Europe, and beyond in their own epoch but more than a century later their works still powerfully resonate with us. Course works include short fiction by Victoria Benedictsson, Anne-Charlotte Leffler, and Herman Bang; Amalie Skram’s novel Lucie; Ibsen’s play Hedda Gabler and Strindberg’s drama Miss Julie; the lyrical prose of Knut Hamsun, and the expressionist paintings and prints of Edvard Munch.

MW 11-12:15      Bunche 3164

Scand C180: The Supernatural in Contemporary Nordic Cultures

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

This course will explore representations of the supernatural in recent Nordic literature and film.  We will also consider the beliefs, experiences, and attitudes vis-à-vis the supernatural in contemporary Nordic societies, and what role(s) the supernatural plays in contemporary Nordic worldview and culture.  Questions we may ponder include: How do recent works of Nordic fiction reflect and reflect upon folk traditions of the supernatural?  Given that the supernatural is associated with traditional beliefs and stories from past eras, how do representations of the supernatural figure our relationship to the past?  What is the relationship between the supernatural and modernity, rationality, or science?  What does the supernatural element bring to existing genres such as detective fiction, coming-of-age stories, murder mysteries, young adult fiction, or social-realist novels/films – and why does the supernatural element tend to be the least horrific aspect of recent Nordic supernatural horror stories?  How do supernaturally monstrous beings make us think about what it means to be human, to be animal, to be different, to be alive?  All readings in English translation; all films with English subtitles.  SCAND C180 is a variable topics course that may be repeated for credit with topic change. Taught in English.

TR 12:30-1:45      Bunche 2160

Yiddish 10: From Old World to New: Becoming Modern as Reflected in Yiddish Cinema and Literature

Instructor: Miriam Koral

R 2-4:50                 Bunche 3211

Yiddish 131C: Yiddish Literature in Translation

Instructor: Miriam Koral

Three cities as fertile ground for Yiddish literature in the 20th century: Vilna, Warsaw, New York  

TR 10-11:50          Kaufman 153