RLFR 210
Scientific Selves: Medicine, Technology, and Identity in Early Modern France Fall 2019
Division I
Cross-listed RLFR 210 / STS 211

Class Details

The early modern period has long been associated with scientific discovery and shifting ideology in France. From Copernicus on, thinkers such as RenĂ© Descartes, Blaise Pascal, and Antoine Lavoisier helped advance the Scientific Revolution, which led to medical and technological breakthroughs, as well as important advances in our understanding of the world and our solar system. This course examines the role that France played in pursuing such discoveries, as well as the ways newfound knowledge impacted notions of belonging and alterity. How did the Scientific Revolution and French colonization lead to the creation of social, cultural, and medical “others”? How did scientific discourse permeate verbal and visual expression and depict those who did not fit into normative paradigms of gender, sexuality, ability, ethnicity, belief, and culture? What avenues for self-expression and definition were available to those whom society excluded? What parallels can we see with twenty-first-century questions of political activism, social justice, sciences, and technology? To explore these questions, we will analyze literary texts, visual representations, and historical documents, such as medical treatises, scientific diagrams, and texts on new technologies. Conducted in French.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1804
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, written reflections, quizzes, mid-semester presentation, and final paper
Prerequisites: strong performance in RLFR 105; RLFR 106; another RLFR 200-level course; placement exam; or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: French Majors and certificate students
Distributions: Division I
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
RLFR 210 Division I STS 211 Division II

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