The French-Latin American Connection: Arts and Literature.

Winter, Spring 1998-99/Group

Contract Sponsor: Marianne Bailey and Evelia Romano de Thuesen Faculty: 2 Students: 50
Credit total: 32
Prerequisites: Sophomore standing; previous course work in literature; at least one quarter college-level French language and/or Spanish language or equivalent.
Part time options: No
Internship possibilities: No
Additional course allowed: No


Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the resonance of French culture, aesthetics and philosophies has been strongly heard in Latin American artistic contexts. French poetic and narrative models still influence contemporary Latin American writers. However, during the past several decades, we have witnessed the transformation of that unilateral dynamic of influence into a more mutual exchange that has allowed French thinkers like Foucault to find their theories predicted and motivated by Latin American artists. French thinking has been enriched and modified from the 1930s onward through the development of Latin American artists' identity and voice. A good example of this exchange is the "marvelous real" movement defined by the Cuban writer Carpentier, and best represented by Gabriel García Márquez, which is one of the primary models of contemporary French and French Caribbean narrative.

Did Latin America adopt or adapt the French trends? How did processes of cultural syncretism impact the arts? How have the connections between France and the cultures of Latin America evolved during the past century? Which parallels can be established between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries' fins de siècle? We will proceed chronologically by analyzing particular examples from literature and the plastic arts along with studies of their informing theories and philosophies.

Students will choose, according to their interests, between a French language module and a Spanish language module that will be taught within the program. The language modules will maintain thematic relationships with program content, while emphasizing the development of the four basic language skills: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing.

Credit will be awarded in Latin American Intellectual History, French Intellectual History, Art History, French and Francophone Literature, Latin American Literature, Spanish Language, and French Language.

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