Francophone Literatures & Cultures
Prof. Richard Watts
Course conducted in French
By the mid-19th Century, France’s colonial empire spanned the four corners of the earth. Today, all that remains are a few islands here and there. Still, strong traces of that history--including in the language--can be found in Africa, the Americas, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere today. We will consider many types of texts – primarily “creative” texts such as novels, poems, and films, but also legal documents, essays, advertizing, a “rapped” news program, etc. – in French in order to answer the following broad questions: How are these texts bearers of that history? What are the consequences of expressing oneself in the language of the (former) colonizer as opposed to producing texts in one’s native or “vernacular” language? To what extent does France remain a key referent in the francophone world (at a time when, for instance, China's role in Africa is becoming preponderant)? And how has France itself changed in light of that history?