In this seminar we will explore the relationship between animality and sovereignty as posited in theoretical texts and as represented in selected medieval French narratives. We will ask how representations of animal-human relationships speak about sovereignty and the human, about agency and animality, and about embodiment and intimacy.
The seminar offers the opportunity to develop a theoretical toolkit drawn from some fundamental works in animal studies as they address questions of sovereignty and intimacy, and to use those theoretical tools to explore representations of animal-human relationships in literary works; it also offers an introduction to medieval French literature and in particular, to romance narratives.
Students will complete a research project that engages with the theoretical paradigms offered in the course. Requirements include an annotated bibliography, a final paper, and an oral research presentation.
Prior knowledge of animal studies or of medieval literature is not required, and the seminar should be useful to any student interested in gaining a broader understanding of contemporary theory and developing a methodological toolkit for engaging with both literary texts in any period.
All texts will be available in modern French and English translations, and the seminar will be conducted in English.