skip to content

Module options

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


FR Contemporary: Modern and Contemporary French and Francophone Culture: Articulations of the Real

Course Convenor: Dr Ian James, Section of French

From the early twentieth century to the present day, French and Francophone artists, writers, film-makers, and thinkers have proposed a series of compelling, and often conflicting accounts of the encounter between cultural production, in all its forms, and the material, textures, rhythms, and practices of lived experience. This module will build up a picture of this central strand of the culture of its period, through a series of sessions dedicated to engagement with topics and works in which its key concerns are decisively articulated. The question of the engagement between the cultural object and its world forms a core around which many of the period's most significant contributions to intellectual and cultural debate may be gathered: the module thus aims both to propose a coherent exploration of a specific question, and to open onto a panoramic view of the period's most interesting and important aspects, as well as some particularly striking recent work in the fields of intellectual and aesthetic inquiry.


The module is open to all those who have degree-level French, whether or not they have previously studied the period. It may also be borrowed by students taking the MPhil in Film and Screen Studies.


Preparatory reading might include any of the following (or similar):


  • Roland Barthes, La Chambre claire.
  • Jean Baudrillard, La Société de consommation.
  • Alain Corbin (et al), Histoire du corps, 3: Les Mutations du regard. Le Xxe siècle.
  • Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Mille plateaux.
  • Jacques Derrida, Le Toucher.
  • Georges Didi-Huberman, Ce que nous voyons, ce qui nous regarde.
  • _, La Ressemblance informe.
  • _, Images malgré tout.
  • Mary Ann Doane, The Emergence of Cinematic Time.
  • Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub, Testimony: Crises in Witnessing.
  • Hal Foster, The Return of the Real.
  • Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism.
  • Martin Jay, Downcast Eyes.
  • _, Force Fields.
  • Rosalind Kraus and Yve-Alain Blois, Formless: A User's Guide.
  • Julia Kristeva, Pouvoirs de l'horreur.
  • Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire, XI : Les quatre concepts fondamentaux de la psychanalyse.
  • Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film.
  • _, Touch.
  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Le Visible et l'invisible.
  • Jean-Luc Nancy, Les Muses.
  • _, Au Fond des images.
  • Martha Nussbaum, Love's Knowledge.
  • Jacques Rancière, Le Partage du sensible.
  • Kristin Ross, Fast Cars, Clean Bodies.
  • Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain.
  • Michael Sheringham, Everyday Life.
  • Vivian Sobchack, The Address of the Eye.
  • Susan Rubin Suleiman, Subversive Intent.
  • _, Risking Who One Is.
  • Cathryn Vasseleu, Textures of Light.
  • Andrew Webber, The European Avant-Garde 1900-1940.
  • Slavoj Zizek, The Fright of Real Tears.
  • _, Welcome to the Desert of the Real.

[back to Modules]