9 - Integrated Learning: Teaching Literature in French pp. 107-117By Simon Gaunt and Nicholas Harrison
French Studies in and for the Twenty-first Century
Online ISBN: 9781846316692
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5949/UPO9781846316692.011
Initially we were to contribute separate chapters to this collection, one on pre-modern French Studies, another on the place of literature in French Studies today. We decided, however, to write this piece together in the belief that the two questions are intimately related, on several levels (at least for UK universities, on which we shall focus). In practice, pre-modern studies in university French programmes are to a significant extent literary studies; and such pressures as exist to move away from pre-modern areas are closely linked to wider pressures to move away from literature of any era. Much of this chapter is concerned with the sources of pressure, which are multiple and sometimes murky. To put it more positively, though, we want to suggest that there are still good reasons to study French/francophone literature, and that the reasons for studying contemporary francophone film, say, are fundamentally similar to the reasons for studying medieval poetry.
According to survey results reported in Michael Worton's 2009 Review of Modern Foreign Languages Provision in Higher Education in England, undertaken for HEFCE, ‘By far the most widely-reported trend was a move towards a greater emphasis on contemporary cultural studies – including film studies, contemporary literature and “area studies”’. Trends in teaching and research are closely linked and the RAE 2008 Sub-panel Overview Report for French noted that: ‘The relatively low numbers of specialists in the fields of linguistics, medieval studies, Renaissance and seventeenth-century studies continue to be a cause of concern.’
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