FREN 3585 Topics in Cultural Studies

Insanity - les femmes et la folie

Who determines conventions of sanity and what does it mean not to be “sane” or “insane”? How do we define our selves and how does society define us? What are the consequences of naming women as insane, hysterical, mad, or odd? How do writers and filmmakers portray conditions of women’s mental illness? This course examines French/Francophone women’s works of literature and film that depict various states of women's mental health, including anxiety and depression, and the repercussions of these crises. Driving questions will include how we define sanity and insanity and the effects of isolation, povery, and oppression on self and identity. We will focus on women's literature of the 20th century, including autobiographical narratives, fictions, and films. Authors and directors to be studied will include Marguerite Duras, Amélie Nothomb, Maryse Condé, Anna Gavalda, Leïla Slimani, Anne Hébert, Marie-Claire Blais, Agnès Vardas, and Claire Denis. Students will engage actively, keep a reflection journal, write a midterm and final critical essay, and collaborate on a multimedia cultural studies research project. Course conducted in French.

MWF 1:00 – 1:50pm (Hall)