Graduate Seminar FREN 5120
Spring 2019
Thursday, 2-4:30PM
Professor Brian Valente-Quinn

Picture of a Paris magazine cover that shows a young black person salutingIn this critical theory seminar, we will explore points of convergence between the fields of postcolonial and performance studies with a focus on their affinities and recourse to what is known in the Anglophone world as “French theory.”

How did French theory’s reckoning with the politics of empire (especially in the work of Barthes, Foucault and Derrida) help contribute to a criticism of colonial hegemony? What are some responses on the part of critics hailing from the former French colonies or from outside the métropole (such as Senghor, Césaire, Fanon, Mbembe)? Lastly, how might theoretical tools developed in the fields of cultural and performance studies (De Certeau, Turner, Schechner) offer alternative critical perspectives to the study of “postcolonial” studies and realities (Said, Spivak, Bhabha).

The seminar is designed to provide doctoral students with a foundation in the work of several key critics. All readings and discussion will be in English. The course is open to graduate-level students from throughout the Humanities. There are no pre-requisites, although the course is conceived as the second half of a year-long critical theory seminar offered by the Department of French & Italian.

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