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  • SAS Core Learning: AHp
  • Language Taught In: Taught in English
  • Credits: 3

TALES OF BELONGING is intended for first- and second-year students; more advanced non-majors are welcome as well. No previous college-level experience with literary or historical analysis is required. The course will be taught in English and all readings will be in translation, though students who have the ability to read French are invited to consult the original texts.

Prerequisites: None.  

Course Description: In an age of increasingly globalized relationships, belonging somewhere among a group of like-minded others has never seemed more critical to the human experience.  Where, how, and with whom we belong has become an essential measure by which in the 21st century we forge our identities, we shape our lives and account for our own places in the world, we experience our own self-worth, gauge our own ability to succeed, and imagine what happiness looks like.

With a selection of short stories and films from the French and the Francophone world, this course will take us along the journeys of migrant workers, working-class women, second-generation students, uprooted colonial subjects, social misfits, and stigmatized school children who long to belong.  We’ll examine how those who are excluded from the privileged classes and dominant cultures challenge us to rethink social attachment. Moreover, we’ll explore why for some home is precisely where they feel they do not belong – the place they choose to reject to become who they want and need to be. Tales of belonging will also take us back in time to explore how differently belonging was structured and experienced at other moments in French and Francophone history.

Course URL - A Canvas site will be available at the beginning of the semester.

Satisfies SAS Core Learning Goals

  • Arts and Humanities (AHp): analyze arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies.

Satisfies Department of French and Francophone Learning Goals

  • to encounter French literature, in a historical context
  • to develop critical thinking
  • to start mastering abstract reasoning and concepts
  • to sharpen communication skills, written and oral

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

Attendance and participation: 15%
Blog posts: 15%
Oral presentation: 20%
Two short papers: 30% (15% each)
Final project: 20%

Detailed guidance for all papers will be provided and discussed in class. Please note that your instructor will do her best to discount absences or tardiness due to technical problems related to equipment or internet connection.

Course Materials: No required textbook. All readings will be available on the course Canvas site.

Schedule of Undergraduate Courses