The Invention of French Theory: A History of Transatlantic Intellectual Life since 1945

Diners overlook a bustling street at an open air café in Paris.

Les Deux Magots is a Parisian café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood that was famous as a hangout for intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. (Image courtesy of Ingo Ronner on Flickr.)

Instructor(s)

MIT Course Number

21F.068J / WGS.234J

As Taught In

Spring 2012

Level

Undergraduate

Cite This Course

Course Description

In the decades following the Second World War, a cluster of extraordinary French thinkers were widely translated and read in American universities. Their works were soon labeled as "French Theory." Why would sharing the same nationality make authors such as Lacan, Cixous, Derrida, Foucault or Debord, ambassadors of a specifically "French" theory? The course will explore the maze of transatlantic intellectual debates since 1945 and the heyday of French existentialism. We will study the debates on communism, decolonization, neo‐liberalism, gender, youth culture and mass media. This course is taught in English.

Perreau, Bruno. 21F.068J The Invention of French Theory: A History of Transatlantic Intellectual Life since 1945, Spring 2012. (MIT OpenCourseWare: Massachusetts Institute of Technology), http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/global-studies-and-languages/21f-068j-the-invention-of-french-theory-a-history-of-transatlantic-intellectual-life-since-1945-spring-2012 (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA


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