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FR345 Modern French Thinkers

Module Code: FR345
Module Name: Modern French Thinkers
Module Coordinator: Professor Oliver Davis
Time TBC
Module Credits: 30
Module description

This two-term module explores some of the most original and significant ideas in Modern French thought. The module is structured around the concept of the subject, or self: in the first term we explore, in turn, the feeling, learning and thinking subject. In the second term we explore the subject of reverie, the subject of sexuality and the subject of nature. The thinkers we study offer thought-provoking visions of what it means to be a (post-)human subject: to feel emotion, to learn, to understand ourselves in terms of science and neuroscience, to be liberated or trapped by categories of sexual identity, to grasp our freedom in the context of environmental destruction and climate emergency. As well as testing your understanding of the material, the assessment is designed to allow you to develop a range of transferable critical thinking and writing skills and comprises: a short critique of a journal article (a summary, contextualisation and discussion of a selected piece of secondary reading), an essay of 3000-3500 words and a two-hour exam.

Term 1
  • The feeling subject: Jean-Paul Sartre, Esquisse d’une théorie des émotions (1939). Please buy the Livre de Poche edition.
  • The learning subject: Jacques Rancière, Le Maître ignorant: cinq leçons sur l’émancipation intellectuelle (1987). Please buy the 10/18 edition.
  • The thinking subject: Catherine Malabou, Métamorphoses de l’intelligence (2017). Please buy this edition.
Term 2
  • 20% critique of journal article (1200-1500 words)
  • 40% essay (3000-3500 words)
  • 40% exam (2 hours)

You will have the opportunity to develop all of the necessary skills to enable you to complete these tasks during the module before the final summative assessments.