FCS 390H1F

Special Topics in French Cultural Studies II: Cultural Studies in France: Foucault and after


A. Motsch


An introduction to the French tradition of cultural studies through a survey of some of the great thinkers on culture and history (Foucault, de Certeau, Barthes, Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Derrida, Lyotard, Metz, among others). Through a presentation of French cultural theory within a framework of intellectual history and by focusing on the emergence of (post)modern subjectivity and the realm of cultural production, the course provides access to the historical and philosophical debates which define the Humanities today. The surge of Cultural Studies in Canada and the US is fueled by the North American fascination with popular culture, the British school of Cultural Studies and the influx of French theory. In addition, Postcolonial Studies and debates about post modernity are also pertinent for the contemporary study of culture which focuses on a variety of media never seen before, ranging from literature, film, advertisement, and media studies to anthropological community studies. This course will deal with the French influence on this paradigm: its own tradition, different cultural context, ideological assumptions and theoretical foundations. Students will have the opportunity to work in groups as well as individually on a wide range of “texts” including literary texts, film, and images.

Required texts: Course reader and additional texts to be announced.

Assignments and evaluation: Two in-class exams (40%); Term paper (40%); 1-2 Oral presentations or Position papers & Overall evaluation (20%).

Prerequisite: At least 5 course credits in any subject.