RCLANG 320 - Readings in French
Fall 2022, Section 001 - 'Un homme sur deux est une femme': Are We There Yet? The Status of Women in France and Francophonie
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: RC Languages (RCLANG)
Department: LSA Residential College
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With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Successful completion of the RC French Proficiency, FRENCH 235 or instructor permission.
May be elected three times for credit.
Primary Instructor:



“Every other man is a woman,” such was one of the slogans coined by the Mouvement de libération des femmes (MLF), born in France in 1970, in the aftermath of the revolution of Mai 68. More than 50 years after the creation of the MLF, one might question what has been accomplished in terms of women’s rights. What battles were won? Which ones still remain to be fought? What demands were given up along the way? In short, what is the status of French-speaking women today and is there still a fight to improve it?


Before taking on answering these questions, we will retrace the origin of the French feminist movement and gain a historical perspective of its evolution by reading seminal texts. While we will go as far back as the early 15th century, with Christine de Pisan’s La Cité des dames, which is often identified as the earliest French feminist writing, we will quickly reach the French Revolution of 1789 with Olympe de Gouges’ Déclaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne. From then onward, we will learn about the major intellectual figures who have played major roles in the liberation of French women, among them are: Tristan, Auclert, de Beauvoir, Halimi, Wittig, Gould, Badinter, Cixous, and Ouzof. We will read pivotal works from some of them. (Note that we will not discuss the different feminist currents in-depth.)


We will pursue our study by adopting a thematic approach to examine issues from various realms of life (domestic, political, professional, etc.) to understand the status of today’s women vis-à-vis equal rights. Issues such as reproductive rights, parity in politics and in the workplace, and the #BalanceTonPorc movement (the French equivalent of #MeToo) will be addressed, among others.  Exploring how the same themes play out in Francophonie, with an emphasis on African countries, will allow us to assess the status of women in other cultures, as well as to be introduced to African women’s rights activists such as Aissa Doumara Ngatansou (Cameroon) and Blandine Bonianga (DRC). As we explore these issues, the successes, challenges, and resilience of women around the world will coalesce to underscore the commonality of their condition, beyond vastly different realities.

Course Requirements:

Attendance is required. Course work will include analytical and research essays and a presentation that will contribute to a collective project on prominent female figures from the French-speaking world. Students are expected to participate actively in class discussions.

Intended Audience:

This course is open to students who have passed the RC French Proficiency Exam, completed French 235 or received instructor permission. Priority is given to RC students.

Class Format:

This is a seminar type course which meets twice a week for 90 minutes.


RCLANG 320 - Readings in French
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
Note: N/A

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