Topics in Cultural Studies (Currents of Change: Artistic and Social Movements in 20th/21st Century France, Quebec, and the Caribbean)

Course Code
FREN 4585
Elizabeth Hall
Assistant Professor

How does art challenge social conventions? How do we change social conventions through art?  In this project-focused course, students will delve into these questions through the examination of artistic and social movements of 20th/21st century France, Québec, and the Caribbean. As a whole class, we will discuss selected declarations on political, artistic, and social movements, including, among others, Manifeste du surréalisme, Le deuxième sexe, Éloge de la créolité and Défense et illustration de la langue québécoise. At the same time, students will work closely with the professor in groups or individually on a student-driven research project through which they will examine the historical and artistic context of a chosen aesthetic current, the conventions that it challenges and the social and cultural developments of the particular movement. Students will choose readings, assign discussion questions, and lead workshops on their chosen topics. Students are encouraged to use their previous experience, knowledge, and interests to determine the focus of their study. Possible concentrations could be Dadaism, Surrealism, the Absurd, Feminism, Négritude, Existentialism, Postmodernism, the Quiet Revolution, Créolité, or other aesthetic movements.