Songs, Lyrics & Poetry F18 (FREN*3160) | College of Arts

Songs, Lyrics & Poetry F18 (FREN*3160)

Code and section: FREN*3160*01

Term: Fall 2018

Instructor: S. Nutting


Course objectives/ Descriptif du cours:

This course will provide students with the opportunity to explore the cultural richness of song lyrics and poetry in the Francophone world. By engaging with a variety of songs including, but not limited to: traditional folk, political songs (“chansons engagées”), reggae to “World music”, students will explore several facets of this complex subject. Activities include: analysis on how visual images, especially videos, influence the ways in which songs are interpreted and received; a debate on the ramifications of language choice on the francophone musical scene; research on the arc of critical reception of a given songwriter (or group) or a comparison of the treatment of a specific theme (for example “money” or “apathy” or “nostalgia”) across musical genres.

Guest musicians will drop in either in person or by skype to discuss their music and to give students a chance to engage with them in French on topics related to the syllabus.


Learning outcomes / Résultats d’apprentissage:

By the end of this course, successful students will be able to:

-Discuss a selection of iconic figures in the French European and Québécois songwriting traditions and describe the specific qualities that are associated with their works.

- Analyze individual francophone songs by close attention to 1- form and 2- the links that exist between the various historical, socio-political, cultural and aesthetic (poetic) factors at play.

- Apply critical thinking to the visual imagery used to enhance, or sometimes even change, the meanings of certain songs. This requires having developed a critical vocabulary in French and applying it to a selection of music videos.

- Debate issues that have arisen around linguistic policies and choices in the francophone music industry.

- Describe the ways in which songs, particularly politically-driven songs ("les chansons engagées"), depict and challenge the society from which they emerge.



FREN*2020, FREN*2060, FREN*2520








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Please see Undergraduate Calendar for all French courses offered by the School of Languages and Literatures