RLFR 316
Paris on Fire: Incendiary Voices from the City of Light (1830-2015) Spring 2018
Division I
Cross-listed WGSS 315 / RLFR 316
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During the 1830s, Balzac described Paris as a “surprising assemblage of movements, machines, and ideas, a city of one hundred thousand novels, the head of the world,” but also characterized the French capital as a “land of contrasts,” a “monstrous wonder,” a “moral sewer.” Similarly, writers from Hugo to Zola have simultaneously celebrated Parisian elegance and condemned the appalling misery of Paris’s urban poor. Since 1889, Paris has been fĂȘted as the “City of Light” for its Enlightenment legacy, its Eiffel Tower modernity, and its luminous urban energy, captured in countless paintings, photographs, and film. However, Paris is also the historical site of revolution, resistance, and riots. From revolutionary revolt (1830, 1848, 1871), to wartime resistance (1870, 1914-18, 1940-44), to reformist and race riots (1968 and 2005), Paris has repetitively sparked with incendiary passion and political protest. As fires raged during the riots in 2005, many heard the echo of Hitler’s ominous 1944 question, “Is Paris burning?” and asked: why was Paris burning again at the dawn of the twenty-first century? And following the recent terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015, many wonder what lies ahead for the City of Light. To answer these questions, we will examine the social, political, and literary landscape of Paris during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from urbanization and modernization, to occupation and liberation, to immigration and globalization. Readings to include poetry, short stories, and novels by Hugo, Balzac, Baudelaire, Maupassant, Verne, Zola, Apollinaire, Colette, Duras, Perec, Rochefort, and Charef. Films to include works by Clair, Truffaut, Godard, Minnelli, ClĂ©ment, Lelouch, Luhrmann, Kassovitz, Besson, and Jeunet.Conducted in French.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 3417
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, midterm exam, and two to three papers
Extra Info: not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: strong performance in RLFR 106 or 107; a RLFR 200-level course; another RLFR 300-level course; or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: French majors and certificate students; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies majors; and those with compelling justification for admission
Distributions: Division I
Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under RLFR; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under WGSS
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 315 Division II RLFR 316 Division I
Attributes: GBST Urbanizing World Electives

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