Sunday, October 16, 2011

Les Cours

 Only about a month later than everyone else in the rest of the world all of my classes have finally started, mais ça va. I am enrolled in two american university classes, a langue et composition class with Smith, and a class called "France-Afrique" hosted by the Middlebury-Hamilton consortium.  My other two classes are at La Sorbonne.

The first of these is a staple for french students the art history department, it is on archeology and art history of ancient least I think so, comprehension is a little tricky au moment. French university classes could not possibly be any more different from Smith classes.  First, there are well over one hundred students in this art history class. We sit at long, thin tables crammed up against each other in a high-ceilinged lecture hall with enormous windows. The professors (the course is composed of three separate classes taught by three different professors) sit at the front of the hall on a raised platform, behind a desk, with a microphone into which they list facts about whatever map they happen to be showing us at the time. Most notably, when the professor who specializes on Alexandria (the Egyptian city) got to the city's significance in contemporary culture, she showed a slide of this little 1970s gem:

Then when class is over we all congregate outside the art history building for a cigarette.

My second class is a master's level course taught in english, supposedly.  It's called "Le reve américain" (the american dream).  I am, unsurprisingly, not the only american.  I am also, surprisingly, not the only eleanor (although her name is spelled éléonore because she is french). 
Les séances so far have been on how to conduct research and write a solid memoire (thesis) on american culture, since part of the master's program is to turn in a research paper in september, well for everyone except me! 

Now, off to write my first 'fiche de lecture' on a book called "Discours sur le colonialisme" par Aimé Césaire!

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