French Orientalisms

Subject 116-472 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Two hours of seminars per week
Total Time Commitment: .
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours in French.
Corequisites: .
Recommended Background Knowledge: .
Non Allowed Subjects: .
Core Participation Requirements: .


Dr Jill Anderson
Subject Overview:

This course explores major developments in French representations of the Orient of the last 150 years from a new millennium perspective. The Exotic beckons and seduces, inspiring desire and stimulating the imagination, yet fictional accounts can be construed as complicit with totalitarian regimes. The authors treated in the course, including Pierre Loti, Paul Claudel, Victor Segalen, Andre Malraux, Marguerite Duras, and Roland Barthes, each experienced a deep dissatisfaction with modern European values, followed by a turn toward the East. However, due to different class, gender, and personal backgrounds, they entertained diverse and complex relationships to (post)colonial ideology, which they both served and subverted at the same time. By examining techniques of representation and the authors' ambiguous constructions of the Orient, the course challenges the dichotomy that is frequently drawn between the Western colonial Self and the Eastern exotic Other. New fictional and critical texts take us into the era of the post-exotic.

Assessment: A 30-minute class paper of 1500 words 35% (written version due 1 week after presentation), a 2500-word essay 45% (due 1 week after the end of semester), and brief presentations on key issues for discussion (using net resources) totalling 1000 words 20% (due at regular intervals during the semester).
Prescribed Texts: Materials prepared by the department, available in course reader
Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Research: through frequent and systematic use of the library and other information sources, the definition of areas of inquiry and familiarisation with research methods;

  • Critical thinking and analysis: through required and recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by assessing the strength of arguments;

  • Thinking in theoretical and analytical terms: through lectures, tutorial discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences;

  • Understanding of social, political, historical and cultural contexts and international awareness/openness to the world: through the contextualisation of judgements and knowledge, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and new aspects of French and Italian culture, and by formulating arguments;

  • Communicating knowledge intelligibly and economically: through essay and assignment writing, tutorial discussion and class presentations;

  • Written communication: through essay and assignment preparation and writing;

  • Public speaking and confidence in self-expression: through tutorial participation and class presentations;

  • Attention to detail: through close reading and textual analysis, essay preparation and writing, and examination revision;

  • Time management and planning: through managing and organizing workloads for required and recommended reading, essay and assignment completion and revision for examinations.

Notes: .
Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Arts (French)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (French)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (French)

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