Jun 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

FREN 403 - Voices from the Pacific Rim

This course is an introduction to colonial and postcolonial representations of the French territories in the South Pacific, including French Polynesia and New Caledonia, as well as the former French colonies of ‘Indochine.’ We will examine the process by which the colonized territories of the Pacific islands and South-east Asia are constructed as objects of desire and difference for a metropolitan French public, and link the formation of these colonialist ideologies to their political and economic underpinnings. We will also explore the interrogation, subversion and displacement of colonial ideology in contemporary postcolonial francophone literature and film by intellectuals in the Pacific and in the Indochinese diaspora. The course will begin with a introduction to the theory of ideology and an overview of the French colonial presence in the Asia-Pacific region. We will then move to examine the  conceptualization of the Pacific as an ‘antipodes’ of Europe beginning in French thought in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, i.e. as an uncanny opposite or other characterized by its inversion of often corrupt metropolitan social, political and religious values and norms. This section of the course will conclude with a survey of recent work by Kanak and Polynesian writers that confront the realities of the troubled legacy of French colonialism in the Pacific. The last part of the course will begin with an examination of exoticized representations of French Indochina that draw on a long history of European stereotypes concerning the ‘Orient.’ The course will end with the study of recent work that thematizes the conflicts experienced by the descendants of those former Indochinese colonial subjects who immigrated to metropolitan France. The course bibliography will include texts and images by Rétif de la Bretonne, Pierre Loti, Paul Gauguin, Victor Segalen, Déwé Gorodé, Marguerite Duras, André Malraux, Linda Lê, and Régis Wargnier. Taught in French. Prerequisite(s): FREN 306  . Offered occasionally. (4 Credits)