This page focuses on the course 21F.341 Contemporary French Film and Social Issues as it was taught by Catherine Clark in Spring 2014.
This course covers issues in contemporary French society as expressed through movies made in the 2000s. Topics include France's national self-image, the women's movement, sexuality and gender, family life and class structure, post-colonialism and immigration, and American cultural imperialism. The class is taught in French.
One intermediate subject in French or permission of the instructor.
Every spring semester.
The students' grades were based on the following activities:
A few sophomores, mostly juniors and seniors.
Enrollment is capped at 18 for pedagogical purposes. In case of over enrollment, preference is given to pre-registered declared French majors, minors, and concentrators, followed by juniors, seniors, sophomores, continuing students, and freshmen (in that order), who attend the first day of class.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
Students viewed films independently and completed readings, response papers, a research paper and a final presentation.
Below, Catherine Clark describes various aspects of how she taught 21F.341 Contemporary French Film and Social Issues.
This content of this course is dynamic because it features actual contemporary social issues in France and the films that have become part of discussions around them.
I have found it helpful to pair the films with readings that give students understandings of these social contexts. I also encourage my students to read French newspapers, listen to French radio, or watch French TV. Short lectures in class help show them how something they find shocking or innocuous might read to a French audience.
Students lead many of the discussions in this class. My advice for other educators hoping to do something similar would be to pair student-led discussions with questions generated by the instructor. This allows the instructor to help guide students’ approach to the week’s materials.