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Conveying otherness: French imaginings of Asia



Conveying otherness: French imaginings of Asia

Second semester

6 credits


100% coursework


FREN2002 or equivalent



Hours per week:

2 hrs/week

Contact hours:

24 hours

Total learning hours:

120 hours

This course discusses the way French travelers, writers, and artists from the Renaissance to the 20th century have represented in their works countries such as India, China, Vietnam, and Japan — commonly regrouped under the Euro-centered term of “Extreme-Orient.” Students shall investigate a selection of key novels, narratives, essays, travel logs, memoirs, journalistic reports, films, as well as works of art that depict discoveries, encounters, and experiences with the view of identifying underlying trends and recurrent themes. While the question of the construction of the Far East as Other and its subsequent orientalization by Western visitors will come into play in our readings, the extent to which these various accounts have inspired and influenced the aesthetics and the literary production in France will also be examined. The medium of discussion will be French, as well as all the material under investigation.


The objectives of this course are: to get acquainted with French literature and art trends in relation to Asia; to develop a critical reading of works by French authors, artists, and travelers inrelation to France’s history; to expand French language proficiency in the various competencies.

Learning outcomes

1) Use knowledge of French literature and art trends in relation to Asia to analyse and critique cultural, societal aspects of France from the Renaissance to the 20th century. 2) Demonstrate the ability to read, interpret and analyse perceptively works by French authors and artists with respect to the ways Asia is portrayed in their works. 3) Demonstrate the ability to identify a number of recurrent themes and trends that are characteristic of the representation of Asia in the works of French authors and artists since the Renaissance. 4) Use the French language at a level of upper-intermediate proficiency consistent with level B1+/B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).

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