Winter 2021 Undergraduate Courses

Winter 2021

French 101: Advanced Expository Writing

Instructor: Laurence Denié-Higney

This course will teach students to write strong argumentative essays in French while discovering the French and Francophone intangible cultural heritage. We will carefully read and study texts that will help you develop both your writing skills and your ideas. You will learn how to write a well-structured introduction in French, how to defend your position while taking into account counter-arguments, and how to effectively conclude your essays. You will develop your vocabulary, and learn how to use French expressions to introduce examples, causes and consequences, comparisons, and concessions.

French 104: Theory and Correction of Diction

Instructor: Kimberly Jansma

People all over the world appreciate the beauty of the French language, yet French is difficult to pronounce and few students of the language feel confident about their pronunciation. The aim of this course is to improve your French pronunciation and overall fluency. Learning sound – spelling correspondences will help you sight read accurately. A thorough study of the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (API) will give you the tools to work on your pronunciation systematically.  Standard French will serve as our model, but we’ll look at various dialects that are spoken in the Francophone world.

French 107: Advanced Oral Expression

Instructor: Kimberly Jansma

Lecture, three hours. Requisite: course 6. Discussion and analysis of current events and sociocultural issues; techniques of argumentation.

French 108: Advanced Practical Translation

Instructor: Dominic Thomas

Lecture, three hours. Requisites: courses 100, 101. Translation of literary, sociocultural, and journalistic texts. May include editorials, polemical issues, film subtitles, biography and interview, formal and informal reporting, advertising and idiomatic language. Comparative stylistics of translation. 

French 115: The Rules of the Game: Social Constraints and Poetic Play in Medieval French Literature

Instructor: Raphaëlle Burns

This course will explore French literary works, from the 11th to the 15th century, through the lens of play. Games and entertainment were central to medieval life. But to what extent was literature itself conceived as a playful practice: a game with its rules and players, its strategies and rewards, but also with its tricksters and transgressors? Finally, how did medieval poets and storytellers mobilize metaphors of games and play to portray and problematize the political, moral, religious, and amorous codes of their time?

Texts will be read in modern FrenchDiscussion and assignments will be conducted in FrenchEnforced requisite: course 5. 

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


Lecture, three hours. Enforced requisite: course 5. Taught in French. Study of 19th-century French culture and literature, including Romanticism, generation of 1848, naturalism and symbolism, and genres and trends from 1885 through World War I. May be repeated for credit with topic change.

French 120: Algerian Afterlives

Instructor: Lia Brozgal

This course explores a wide swathe of French-language Algerian cultural productions (including novels, memoir, feature and documentary film, architecture, and performance) with particular attention to the question of the representation of the past and the articulation of possible futures. Fr120/Fr220 is a combined undergraduate/graduate course taught in French. More information can be found on the course website:, beginning in Week 7 (of Fall 2020). 

French 121: European Francophone Identities (The Example of Switzerland)

Instructor: Jean-Claude Carron

A study of political, social and cultural identity through the language question in countries bordering France, part of what is sometimes called “Francophonie blanche,” or “white Francophony”.  French is a minority language in Switzerland, Belgium, and, historically, in the Aosta Region of Northern Italy. We will look into the status of French in all three areas, but we will dedicate most of the course to Switzerland, multi-language land by excellence.  Taught in French.

French 130: Sexual Politics in France and in the United States

Instructor: Laure Murat

Beyond the worldwide scandals, the Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Harvey Weinstein affairs have revived a fundamental debate between two cultural approaches about sex, politics and feminism, between France and the United States, between the traditions of the so-called « libertinage » and the so-called « puritanism ». What are the philosophical roots of « libertinage » and what does that mean and imply today? What are the critical differences between French and American feminisms? What is obscenity in our societies, on both sides of the Atlantic? The course will be conducted in French. 

French 14: Introduction to the Study of French and Francophone Literature


Lecture, two hours; discussion, one hour. Enforced requisite: course 6. Principles of literary analysis as applied to selected texts in poetry, theater, and prose by French and Francophone writers. Taught in French. 

French 19: Reading and Writing Self Narratives

Instructor: Malina Stefanovska

Students read autobiographical writings from French tradition. Students write their own self narratives–incorporating insights from readings and discussion–that concern crucial themes highlighted by authors selected, such as issues of memory, bilingualism, social origin and growth, family narratives and ethnicity, conflicts and ethos, etc.

French 60: French and Francophone Novel

Instructor: Dominic Thomas

Lecture, three hours; discussion, one hour. Study of literary masterpieces produced by writers from France and Francophone world (Canada, Africa, Caribbean, etc.) from 17th to early 21st century.

German 110: Media Environments, Ecocriticism and German Palm Tree Dreams

Instructor: Kalani Michell

This course explores emerging scholarship on the relationship between media and the environment. It will focus on German and European histories and theories of perceptual, artificial, virtual and infrastructural media environments, as well as their postcolonial implications. Students will become familiar with recent debates in ecocritical discourse and consider a range of literary and theoretical texts, artworks, photographs and films, from Germany and elsewhere, that intervene in these discussions. In examining media objects that thematize the environment, this course will also reflect on how media studies, as a discipline, is potentially being shaped by this embrace of new ecocritical theory. Taught in English. 

German 115: 19th-Century German Philosophy

Instructor: John McCumber

This course will explore the difficult and complex, but enormously influential, development of philosophy from the Critical Philosophy of Kant through the Absolute Idealism of Hegel and the post-Hegelians Kierkegaard and Marx, ending with a brief examination of Nietzsche. In addition to clarifying some of the views of these very different philosophers, we will examine the reasonsthey have for those views. 

All readings in English; papers may be written in German or French with permission of instructor.

German 141: The Morphology, Syntax, Lexicology and Pragmatics of German

Instructor: Christopher Stevens

The objectives of this course include acquiring a fundamental understanding of language and linguistics in general and a broader and deeper understanding of the German language in particular. In so doing, you will also improve your German language skills. After a brief introduction to language and the basic principles of linguistics, you will investigate the morphology, syntax, lexicon, and pragmatics of modern standard German. 

German 154: Business German

Instructor: Magdalena Tarnawska Senel

Lecture, three hours. Requisite: course 6. Taught in German. Specialized language course that teaches German business administration, practices, and correspondence, with attention to cultural nuances. Ongoing developments in European Union analyzed via newspaper articles and Internet.

German 173: Photographs from Germany

Instructor: Kalani Michell

This course will focus on new theories of photography and a range of photographic practices from Germany and Europe. Students will explore recent scholarship in photography to analyze and interpret various photographic genres, such as family photography and city photography, as well as new photographic materials that experiment with these generic conventions. This course will also pay attention to how photography materializes in other media (e.g., films, comics, magazines, architecture) to consider how this presents challenges for medium specificity. Open to undergraduate and graduate students. Taught in English. 

German 19: Eyewitness Testimony of Holocaust Survivors

Instructor: Todd Presner

Seminar, one hour. Discussion of and critical thinking about topics of current intellectual importance, taught by faculty members in their areas of expertise and illuminating many paths of discovery at UCLA.

In collaboration with Jewish Family Services, Hillel at UCLA, and Leve Center for Jewish Studies, students have chance to talk with and interview Holocaust survivors through Zoom. Involves about 18 survivors who have agreed to talk with UCLA students. Includes overview of Holocaust; students supplied with knowledge about history and role of eyewitness testimony in understanding Holocaust. Study also makes use of audio-visual testimonies through USC Shoah Foundation and some of its new interactive digital testimonies.

Italian 103A: Introduction to Classic Italian Literary and Cultural Studies

Instructor: Massimo Ciavolella

In this course, taught in Italian, we will trace the development of the Italian language, literature and the arts from the Middle Ages to the early Baroque period. We will examine literary works by Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Caterina of Siena, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli, Gaspara Stampa, Veronica Franco, Tullia d’Aragona, and the works of visual artists such as Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. 

Italian 124: 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. 

Italian 140: The Italian Novella from Boccaccio to Basile in Translation

Instructor: Raphaëlle Burns

 This course provides an introduction to the Italian short story from the novellas of Boccaccio to the fairy tales of Basile. We will consider some of the precursors to this tradition and explore its lasting influence in literatures beyond the confines of early modern Italy. Special attention will be paid to the orality and sociability of storytelling and to how narrative framing devices structure readerly experience. We will also delve into the paradox of how a narrative form as simple as the short story came to achieve such enduring popularity as a means of elaborating and debating complex ethical problems of everyday life. 

All works will be read and discussed in English translation, though attention to the Italian originals will be encouraged wherever possible.

Italian 191: To Heal the Body, To Persuade the Mind: The Relationship between Lovesickness, Melancholy and Nostalgia in Renaissance Culture

Instructor: Massimo Ciavolella

Lovesickness, melancholy, and nostalgia share many traits in common. Indeed, through the course of history their pathologies have often overlapped, and the ambiguity thus created persists today. Medicine, natural philosophy, and literature play a unique role in this process of distortion and reassignment of meaning. In the case of these three pathologies in particular, physicians and philosophers have shown an indefatigable propensity to explore their boundaries, to bring their reciprocal relationships to light and, most importantly, to ponder their relevance in terms of the physical and mental health of the individual. This course will first focus on the relationship between melancholy and erotomania (amor hereos) in ancient and early modern medical and literary texts, with special emphasis on late medieval and Renaissance Italian works.

Italian 42A: Saints and Sinners in Early Modern Italy


Using the relationship between Church and State as a starting point, this course examines the cultural history of early modern Italy. Students will examine representations of this relationship in literary texts such as Dante’s Inferno and Boccaccio’s DecameronSaint Catherine’s Letterspolitical treatises such as Valla’s On the Donation of Constantine and Machiavelli’s The Prince, and artistic masterpieces such as Raphael’s and Michelangelo’s frescoes. A complex picture will emerge from these works in which the boundaries between lust for power and sexual intemperance are blurred, and saints and sinners share the same stage. Taught in English.

Scandinavian 138: Vikings

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

Vikings were early-medieval raiders, traders, and pioneers who journeyed from their Scandinavian homelands as far west as the shores of North America and as far east as Baghdad.  Survey of history, anthropology, and archaeology of Viking Age society. Readings draw on medieval texts as well as secondary sources, consider many aspects of Scandinavian societies during the Viking Age, as well as the impact of Vikings on Europe and beyond.  All instruction and readings in English. 

Scandinavian 156: Scandinavian Literature of the 20th Century

Instructor: Patrick Wen

This course explores notions of exile and belonging in 20th and 21st century Scandinavian literature.  Under the broad umbrella of migration, this course investigates shifting constructions of identity such as “the migrant,” “the refugee,” “the immigrant” and “the expatriate.”  We will also investigate the literary-historical backdrops of our wide-ranging texts by conducting ongoing research throughout the quarter.   

Scandinavian 172A: Nordic Folk and Fairy Tales

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

Once upon a time, before books, film, radio, television, or the Internet, folk and fairy tales served as a primary source of entertainment for both children and adults. These oral-traditional stories often incorporate fantastic elements: talking animals, enchanted forests, witches, trolls, spells, and curses—but they are also about fundamental relationships between men and women, young and old, rich and poor, good and evil. Both the folktale collection movement and folktale scholarship have been especially strong in the Nordic countries—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden—where interest in the preservation of these tales has historically been tied to issues of national identity. This course will explore Nordic versions of such international tale-types as Dragon Slayer (ATU 300), Cinderella (ATU 510), and Hansel and Gretel (ATU 327) in their historic and cultural contexts.  We will also read important works of Nordic and international folktale scholarship, representing a wide range of approaches. This course will develop your critical thinking and close textual analysis skills, and will deepen your understanding and appreciation of a genre that continues to pervade our popular culture, while also exposing you to other cultures, histories, and worldviews.

All instruction and readings in English translation.

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

Instructor: Patrick Wen

This 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 readings include short fiction by Victoria Benedictsson, Anne-Charlotte Leffler, and Herman Bang; Amalie Skram’s novel LucieIbsen’s Hedda Gabler and Strindberg’s Miss Julie; the lyrical prose of Knut Hamsun, and the expressionist paintings and prints of Edvard Munch. Course taught in English. 

Scandinavian C180: European Identities in Classic Hollywood and Los Angeles

Instructor: Arne Lunde

This new course explores myriad European identities within the classic Hollywood studio system and the city of Los Angeles between the 1910s and the 1960s. We will analyze and historicize the artistry and impact of European emigres and exiles on studio-system American cinema (especially film noir). Identities here include Victor Sjöström, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, and Warner Oland from Sweden, Germans and Austrians Ernst Lubitsch, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, and Robert Siodmak, French exiles Jean Renoir, René Clair, and Julian Duvivier, and Italian-born Frank Capra. Europeans in LA (not least artistic and intellectual exiles from Hitler’s Nazi-occupied Europe in the 1930s and 1940s) inextricably shaped the cinema of the 20th century. Course taught in English.