This Course at MIT

Course Overview

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.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • Analyze the role of film in contemporary French society.
  • Articulate the complexities of key social issues in France.
  • Perform visual analysis of moving images.
  • Identify the particularities of the French film industry.
  • Improve French language skills.

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

One intermediate subject in French or permission of the instructor.

Requirements Satisfied

Offered

Every spring semester.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by participation. 20% Participation
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by responses. 20% Responses
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by discussion. 15% Discussion
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by papers. 35% Papers
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a presentation. 10% Presentation
 

Student Information

14 students took this course when it was offered in Spring 2014.

Breakdown by Year

A few sophomores, mostly juniors and seniors.

Enrollment Cap

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.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

4 hours per week
  • Met 2 times per week for 2 hours per session; 24 sessions total; mandatory attendance.
  • Students viewed films and participated in student-led classroom discussions about contemporary French culture.
  • The final seminar session was devoted to student presentations.
 

Out of Class

8 hours per week

Students viewed films independently and completed readings, response papers, a research paper and a final presentation.

 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date.
2 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date.
3 No classes throughout MIT. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date. No session scheduled.
4 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
5 Class meeting scheduled; assignment due date. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date.
6 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date.
7 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date.
8 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
9 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
10 Class meeting scheduled; assignment due date. Class meeting scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date.
11 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled. Assignment due date. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
12 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Assignment due date.
13 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled; assignment due date. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
14 Class meeting scheduled. Class meeting scheduled; assignment due date. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled.
15 Class meeting scheduled. Student presentations; assignment due date. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when class meetings are held. Class meeting
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when assignments are due. Assignment due date
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when students presentations are held. Student Presentations
 

Instructor Insights

I encourage my students to read French newspapers, listen to French radio, or watch French TV in order to gain context.

—Catherine Clark

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.