Fall 2014 Courses

ITAL 1010 800 – Do you need to fulfill your MAPS requirement but have been diagnosed with learning disabilities or have proven extreme difficulty in learning languages? You may be interested in our Modified Foreign Language Program. These classes are controlled enrollment classes. For more information please contact Judy McDonald (judith.mcdonald@colorado.edu) or Priscilla Craven (priscilla.craven@colorado.edu.)

This course has been graciously and generously funded in memory of Evelyn Carelli by her son Greg Carelli.

ITAL 3015 – Advanced Composition I. Taught in Italian.  How do you write a fairy tale, a film review, a sports article or a formal letter in Italian? If you are interested in learning different styles of writing in Italian and creating an Italian magazine with the class, ITAL 3015 is the ideal course to refine your writing and creative skills in a foreign language. This course uses materials drawn primarily from contemporary Italian culture (film, music, newspapers, etc.), which will serve as models for students’ own writing pieces. The final project for this course is a magazine in Italian that features the students’ work and highlights the various genres.

ITAL 3150 – Readings in 19th Century Italian Literature. Viva l’Italia! (Long Live Italy!) Taught in Italian. Prerequiste ITAL 2130.  What does it mean to be Italian”? When did Italy become a nation? When did Italian become the national language? This course is centered upon the analysis of the Risorgimento (Resurgence) which will guide our exploration of the 19th century from different cultural and literary perspectives, including the role of Opera in the formation of the national language. The 19th century is also known for its incredible scientific discoveries. In our course we will explore several of them (photography, steam engine and others) both within the Italian and European context. All these topics are going to be explored through a variety of readings, such as travel articles, historical and political texts, musical pieces, art, pictures, scientific articles and, of course, poetry and narrative. The class will also have an important visual component. Through the viewing of movies and documentaries on the Resurgence and its protagonists, we will have a chance to discuss and understand the complexities and contradictions of the beautiful and tormented Italian identity.

ITAL 4140/HUMN 4140 – The Divine Comedy and Dante’s World. Taught in English. Considered the most influential writer of the Middle Ages and among the greatest of all time, Dante Alighieri created in his Divine Comedy a masterpiece of despair, punishment and redemption. In this course, we will read the Divine Comedy together with other works by Dante and his contemporaries to understand his complex views about life, society and death in the Middle Ages. A must read for anyone who wants to understand the origin and continuation of Western views pertaining to society, politics and the afterlife. Satisfies upper division CORE requirement in Literature and Arts.

FREN 1200 Medieval Epic and Romance: Medieval Epic through the lens of Game of Thrones. The popularity of George RR Martin’s fantasy saga A Song of Ice and Fire and its Emmy winning HBO adaptation Game of Thrones shows us that major themes from medieval stories still resonate with audiences a thousand years after their composition. This course will examine major epic and romance texts of the Middle Ages such as Beowulf, The Song of Roland and the Death of King Arthur. We will aim to understand the rich literary tradition that has led to our modern interest in dragons, knights, heroes and magic. We will also look at how representations of medieval culture in contemporary series such as Game of Thrones influence our conceptions (and misconceptions) of the Middle Ages. Much like Sansa, we will find that the stories do not necessarily reflect the reality. Taught in English.

FREN 1900 Modern Paris. Filmmakers, novelists, painters, poets, urban planners have looked to Paris as an eternal muse – a source of fascination, intense pleasure an inspiration but also sometimes of repulsion and fear. The urban space of Paris figures as a space of  creativity; it inspires awe for its man made beauty and dizzying array of merchandise, art and its endless parade of beautiful people. But there is another Paris, one that disrupts visitors and inhabitants’ comfort zone, and presents disconcerting images of violence and social inequality, modern alienation, crowding and psychic fragmentation. This course presents an introduction to the many faces of Paris as the locus of the discontents and dreams of modernity. We will look at how artists, writers and urban planners understand and imagine the space and temporalities of Paris by watching films, analyzing paintings, novels and poems as well as reading sociological texts. Taught in English.

FREN 3200 Introduction to Literary Theory. What is literature and why does it matter? What does literature have to do with linguistics, Marxism, psychoanalysis and sociology? Theory is aimed towards examining and dismantling the received ideas and assumptions we make about literature and other art forms. Further, what we call “theory” is not only confined to the literary realm, for it has to do with understanding the various ways in which people construct their worldview. It is “thinking about thinking”, an “inquiry into the categories we use in making sense of things, in literature and in other discursive practices” (Jonathan Culler).

FREN 4600 Topics in French Film. Novels at the Movies: Adaptation-Translation-Interpretation. What do we see in novels and what do we read in films? What is gained and what is lost in the passage from the written word to the moving image? What does the novel tell us about film, and vice versa? In this course we will investigate these questions by studying film adaptations of French, Caribbean and African novels. Since its invention, the film industry has drawn much of its inspiration from canonical as well as popular novels. In addition to familiar story lines and memorable characters, film making owes much of its narrative and montage techniques to the novel. Novelists such as Balzac and Hugo have also described the effect of their writing on the reader in visual terms. The invention of cinema at the end of the 19th c. could then be considered, on some level, as an exteriorization of the experience associated with reading a novel. Along with reading novels and watching their screen adaptations, we will develop a historical and theoretical framework where the cinematic and the literary will interact in order to further our understanding of the two media.

FREN 5110/COML5660 Persons and Portraits: Experimental Selves in Early Modern Europe. An axiom shared by historical left and right alike holds that the crucial turning point in Western modernity is the advent of the so called “modern subject”, the sovereign rational mind personified by Descartes. However commentators evaluate its character and consequences, the fundamental assumption remains the same: the dualist severance of mind and body inaugurated a new era in Western history; and that era’s grounding postulate is reason’s at once critical and instrumental detachment from both physical nature and the cultural allegiances and authorities inherited from the past. Again this view, the course proposes that we cannot take the self of modern rationality at what we imagine to be face value. What emerges from the many different sources we will explore in the course is that, as early moderns knew, thought, or portrayed it, person or self is essentially experimental. In keeping with 17th c. English usage, the term “experimental” denotes several different yet crucially related things. First and foremost, it means that the knowledge of self (our own as well as others’) takes the form of an experience, “experimental” being, precisely, the period adjective for that noun. To be a person is to have experience; but to have experience is to be put to some sort of test, and to be changed as well as enlightened by the encounter.