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French 3801

French /American Culture Wars

M Joyce

Credit hours: 3
GEC categories: Culture & Ideas
Prerequisites: None

Text Books:

Title Author(s) Publisher ISBN
see TEXTS under Course Content

Example Syllabus:

Course Objectives: The principal objectives of this course are to help you 1) understand France’s essential role in the formation of the United States and its democratic institutions; 2) understand France’s position on many of the cultural phenomena the U.S. has “exported” to that country, especially since World War I; 3) understand the causes of the resentments that the (especially cultural) influence of each nation upon the other has generated and continues to generate today; 4) become familiar with a foreign culture; and 5) experience an illuminating estrangement from you own culture by seeing it through the eyes of the “other.”

Course Content: In this course, we will first take a brief look at the intellectual and political relations between France and the United States from the American Revolution to World War I. We will then focus on the cultural relations between the two nations from World War I to the present through several kinds of cultural texts -travel literature, films, music, cartoons, essays, and newspaper articles– that attest to the influence and the fascination the two cultures have exerted and continue to exert upon each other. We will also learn about contemporary French society and culture and discuss the ways in which they differ from American society and culture. Some of the questions concerning the complex “love-hate” relationship between France and the US that we will explore include: How have the French and the Americans tended to view each other over the past century? Which of their conceptions have remained static, and which have evolved over time? What has been the impact of different American “exports” (such as jazz, GIs, Hollywood, fast food, and the War on Terror) on French society and culture, Which aspects of American culture have the French embraced, and which have they resisted? In what ways has French culture, in turn, influenced American culture? And finally, what is the state of Franco-American relations today? TEXTS: 1.) Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong by Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow 2.) Seducing the French by Richard Kuiesel 3.) Au Contraire! Figuring out the French by Gilles Asselin and Ruth Mastron TEXTS & READINGS AVAILABLE ON CARMEN OR ONLINE: Alexis deTocqueville, Democracy in America (selected chapters) Tyler Stovall, Paris Noir (selected chapters) Bill Grantham, “Some Big, Bourgeois Brothel”: Contexts for France’s Culture Wars With Hollywood (selected chapters) 112 Gripes About the French Edward C. Know, “‘Not Our Kind of People’–GI Gripes on France in 1945.” Harvey Levenstein, We’ll Always Have Paris (selected chapters) Eric Touya de Marenne, French-American Relations : Remembering D-Day After September 11 (chpt. 3) Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies (chpt. 2)

Method of Presentation: Class format will be mostly discussion with some short lectures and small group work. Student evaluation will be based on your preparation and participation for class discussion & short in-class quizzes, two three pg. essays, one midterm exam, and one final exam

Method of Evaluation: Methods of Evaluation: Attendance, participation & HW 20% Essays (3 pages) (2) 30% In-class quizzes 10% Midterm exam (1) (short answer and essay) 20% Final exam (short answer and essay) 20%


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