French Crowds, Mobs, and Mobilities|
Spring 2024 not offered
Under the date of 14th July 1789, Louis XVI entered in his diary but one word: "Rien." That day, a crowd of sans-culottes flooded the streets of Paris, overwhelmed the guards, and captured the Bastille. What the king could not foresee is the political power of a mob, a "foule," deriving its etymology and strength from the pressure of thousands of feet pounding the pavement. From this founding event on, the building of the French nation could be read as a history of mobile crowds kept alive today in yearly student and union demonstrations. How does "rien" become the emblematic event of French national identity? What moves a crowd, and what does a crowd move? What do such gatherings accomplish, and how do they form in France and why? Can governments bring crowds to a stop? What does immobility mean for the French?
Drawing on French sociology and literature, this course will explore the influence that crowds have exerted on French politics, society, and aesthetics. We will discuss the power of numbers by focusing on major events in French history from the 18th century to contemporary France: the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, May 1968, the 1983 March for Equality and Against Racism, the Yellow Vests, and the COVID-19 lockdowns. Students will be encouraged to relate the course to their own experience of mobile crowds, in concerts or sports events, on more quotidian moves such as commuting, and to draw comparisons across time and space.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARHA)(CGST-MN)(COL)(FRST-MN)(FRST)
Text selections from:
Charles Baudelaire, SPLEEN DE PARIS
Gustave Flaubert, EDUCATION SENTIMENTALE
Victor Hugo, LES MISERABLES
Emile Zola, GERMINAL
Jules Michelet, LE PEUPLE
Gustave Lebon, LA PSYCHOLOGIE DES FOULES
Georges Perec, ESPECES D'ESPACES
Michel de Certeau, LŅINVENTION DU QUOTIDIEN
Alain Corbin, LE VILLAGE DES CANNIBALES
Jacques Tati, PLAYTIME (1967)
IsmaŽl Ferroukhi, LE GRAND VOYAGE (2004)
Nabil Ben Yadir, LA MARCHE (2013)
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Active class participation. At least one in-class presentation. Short papers and one final project.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
While any student who has completed FREN215 (with a minimum grade of B) or has placed out of FREN215 through the placement test may sign up for this course, it is an advanced course intended for students who have already taken two courses in French beyond FREN215 or already studied abroad in a French-speaking country. Readings, written assignments and class discussions will be in French. Only COL students may take this course CR/U. All others must take it for a letter grade. Students who are not admitted to the course through pre-registration are strongly encouraged to submit an enrollment request and attend the first class.
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