The University of Southampton
Courses

FREN3028 Sex, Gender and Desire in French Literature and Culture

Module Overview

Fuelled by the sexual revolution, the women’s movement and gay activism, the late twentieth century saw a flourishing of critical interest in questions of sex, gender and desire and their relation to literature and culture. This module will develop your understanding of feminist critical approaches as well as introducing you to psychoanalytic and queer criticism. By reading a selection of critical writings alongside literary texts, you will explore questions such as: How do the stories we tell shape our understanding of gender roles? From whose perspective are these stories told and what do they exclude or repress? How have writers reinvented these stories? What is the relationship between gender and the acts of reading and writing? What is role of reading and writing in processes of social change? And how are representations of gender inflected by age, class, sexual orientation and ethnicity? All students will have some opinions on what it means to be a ‘woman’ or a ‘man’. This module will encourage you to examine these opinions in the light of contemporary thinking about gender and sexuality and via the study of a range of thought-provoking and sometimes troubling texts. This module will be taught in twice-weekly seminars with occasional lectures. You may also be expected to give presentations and en gage in group work. A substantial coursepack will be provided along with guidance on further reading.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to a diverse selection of writing in French that explores questions of gender, sexuality and desire. • Engage with a variety of critical approaches to literary texts (feminist, psychoanalytic and queer). • Examine the possibilities and limits of these critical approaches. • Encourage you to reflect on the cultural functions of gender and how these intersect with matters of age, class, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A variety of works of literature and the literary, political and cultural contexts in which they were written.
  • the diverse aims of feminist, psychoanalytic and queer literary criticism and writing.
  • the cultural inscription of gender in the French context and beyond.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • undertake independent research for individual and collaborative projects
  • participate in group discussions at an appropriate intellectual level
  • utilise material from a variety of sources and develop a well-structured written argument
  • organise and structure your ideas for seminar presentations
  • critically evaluate your own skills
  • think about you own experience in new ways
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • conduct close readings of critical and literary writing
  • use a variety of theoretical tools to interpret cultural texts
  • analyse the relationship between social and historical context and forms of cultural expression
  • Critically question your own experience as a gendered subject.

Syllabus

This module will be taught in twice-weekly seminars with occasional lectures. You may also be expected to give presentations and engage in group work. A substantial coursepack with extracts from critical writings will be provided along with guidance on further reading.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • twice-weekly seminars (with occasional lectures). • an extensive bibliography and course-packs will be provided, and you will be expected to undertake a programme of independent reading. • one-to-one consultations with the tutor (in person or by email) for students wishing to discuss their progress or to raise specific issues. Learning activities include • preparation of seminar presentations, individually or in pairs • class discussion • independent study • essay writing

TypeHours
Lecture12
Practical classes and workshops3
Seminar18
Follow-up work24
Preparation for scheduled sessions96
Total study time153

Resources & Reading list

Annie Ernaux (1987). La Femme gelée. 

For resources which are required or considered useful for the module.

Butler, Judith (2006). Gender Trouble. 

Bordo, Susan (1995). Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body. 

Cooper, Sarah (2000). Relating to Queer Theory: Rereading Sexual Self-Definition with Irigaray, Kristeva, Wittig and Cixous. 

Émile Zola. La Curée. 

Marcel Proust. Sodome et Gomorrhe, volume 1 (first chapter only). 

Rachilde, Monsieur Vénus (2004). roman matérialiste. 

Cameron, Deborah (1991). The Feminist Critique of Language: A Reader. 

Sigmund Freud (2002). Femininity. Freud on Women. ,0 , pp. 342-362.

Simone de Beauvoir. ‘Mythes: Chapitre Premier’ in Le Deuxième Sexe I. 

Celestin, Roger et al. (eds) (2003). Beyond French Feminisms: Debates on Women, Politics and Culture in France, 1981-2001. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (2000 words) 40%
Critical essay  (2500 words) 50%
Oral presentation 10%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Commentary exercise  (2000 words) 40%
Critical essay  (2500 words) 50%
Oral presentation 10%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Facebook Google+ Twitter Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×