In this day and age, it is hard for young people to justify studying literature to their parents, anxious about the marketability of their degree. Why not help them? By creating courses that bring Humanities content together with Social Science content and methodologies, we may retain enrollments and forge much-needed ways to prove the relevance of literature today. Below you’ll find one course that tries to do so, and I welcome your comments and suggestions for others!
ROFR 37500: Le patrimoine français, Past and Present
This course traces the rise and fall of the traditional French cultural legacy (le patrimoine): a concept of interest to students of economics, political science, gender studies, immigration, film, and cultural history. Class materials will include: economic history (Simmel, La Philosophie de l’argent), excerpts from Nora, Les Lieux de mémoire, journal articles, excerpts from great novels (Hugo, Les Misérables; Balzac, Eugénie Grandet), autobiography (Sartre, Les Mots, Carles, Soupe aux herbes sauvages), films (Bande à part by Godard; Une hirondelle a fait le printemps by Christian Carion), and popular songs by singers such as Jean Ferrat, Thomas Dutronc, and Alain Bashung. Guest speakers will include faculty from ECON, a wealth management advisor from TIAA-CREF, and a distinguished historian of the bourgeoisie in 19th-century France.
NB: Although the titles are listed in French, they all exist in English translation as well. This course could be taught as an interdisciplinary seminar in English.