RLFR 415 Fall 2012 Senior Seminar: Banned In France: Censorship in Eighteenth-Century France

Censorship is probably as old as culture itself, but recent global debates over network neutrality, media regulation, and copyright reveal a growing sense of urgency over what role, if any, censorship should play in the digital age. This seminar will explore the role of censorship in eighteenth-century France, another complex period transformed in part by unprecedented access to knowledge. Students will critically assess a range of works that were, before or after publication, repressed or altered by various religious and civil authorities, editors, publishers, and, in some cases, audiences. Discussions will focus on the formal and thematic content of each work, as well as its broader place in Enlightenment and French Revolutionary literature and culture. Analysis of such historically-specific concepts as tolerance, obscenity, and public censorship will be supported by critical work and commentary from the eighteenth century and the present day. As a central feature of the course, students will conduct a semester-long research project that will draw on readings from Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Sade, Beaumarchais, Chenier, Gouges, Charriere, Stael, and others. Key issues include copyright and the literary market, self-censorship, public opinion and public censure, gender and canon formation, blasphemy, pornography, and the politics of incitement. Conducted in French.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, weekly online postings, semester-long research project involving an abstract and annotated bibliography at mid-term, and final research paper
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Prerequisites: any 200-level RLFR course
Enrollment Preference: senior French majors or students completing the Certificate in French, but open to advanced students of French
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
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Enrollment Limit: 15
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1858
RLFR415-01(F) SEM Sr.Sem: Banned in France Division 1: Languages and the Arts Annelle M. Curulla
MR 1:10 PM-2:25 PM Weston 021 1858
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