Ian Williams Curtis joined the faculty at Kenyon College in 2020 after receiving his doctorate in French from Yale University. While completing his dissertation, he studied as a pensionnaire étranger at the École Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, and as a visiting student in the Department of History at Sciences Po, Paris. He holds a master’s degree in psychoanalysis from the Université de Paris VIII where he wrote a thesis on James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. In 2012, he received an A.B. with highest honors in French Literature from Kenyon College. A cultural historian by training, his teaching and research interests include the French popular press, crime fiction and the récit d’enquête, post-World War II youth culture, and the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis in France.

Areas of Expertise

Twentieth-century French literature, youth culture and crime, Lacanian theory

Education

2020 — Doctor of Philosophy from Yale University

2017 — Master of Philosophy from Yale University

2015 — Master of Arts from Yale University

Courses Recently Taught

This course is designed for students interested in further developing their ability to speak, write and read French. The course includes a comprehensive grammar review and short cultural and literary readings, which will serve as points of departure for class discussion. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Attendance at a weekly French table is strongly encouraged. Students enrolled in this course will be automatically added to FREN 214Y for the spring semester. Prerequisite: FREN 111Y–112Y or equivalent or placement test. Offered every fall.

This course is the continuation of the first semester of intermediate French and includes a comprehensive grammar review and short cultural and literary readings, which will serve as points of departure for class discussion. This course includes required practice sessions with an apprentice teacher (AT), which will be scheduled at the beginning of the semester. Attendance at a weekly French table is strongly encouraged. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y or placement or permission of instructor. Offered every spring.

This course is designed to provide advanced students with the opportunity to strengthen their abilities to write, read and speak French. The conversation component of the course will focus on the discussion of articles from the current French and Francophone press, films and web sites, with the aim of developing students' fluency in French and their performance of linguistically and culturally appropriate tasks. Through the composition component, students will seek to improve their ability to write clearly and coherently in French. In order to foster these goals, the course also will provide a review of selected advanced grammatical structures and work on literary excerpts. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Offered every year.

In this course, we will examine representative texts — lyric poems, plays, short stories and novels — from the Middle Ages to the French Revolution. In addition to gaining a greater understanding of French literary history and of related social and philosophical trends, students will develop skills necessary for close reading, explication de texte and oral discussion. We will read complete texts rather than excerpts whenever possible. It is especially recommended for students with little or no previous exposure to French literature. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Offered every year or alternating with FREN 324.

We will examine some of the social, cultural and political issues in contemporary France, as well as their historical context, by analyzing representative films and texts from the 20th and 21st centuries. Films and themes may include "La Grande Illusion," "Lacombe," "Lucien" and World Wars I and II; "Coup de Torchon," "Indochine" and the colonial experience; "Milou en Mai" and the 50s and 60s; and "La Haine" or "Welcome" and the impact of immigration. Students will be regularly required to view films outside of class. We also will read a textbook on contemporary France to supplement the films and students will be required to complete an independent research project on a topic related to class discussions. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Generally offered every other year.

This course is designed to build on the oral and written skills of students at the advanced level. Students will undertake critical writing, creative writing and performance activities. Coursework also will include attention to pronunciation, with the goal of increasing sensitivity to phonetics, intonation and expressiveness in French. Students will regularly perform improvisations, short scenes they write themselves and scenes from authors such as Molière, Ionesco, and Camus. The largest single component of the course will be the analysis, interpretation and staging of a French play or series of scenes in the original. The course will be conducted in French. FREN 321 is recommended. Prerequisite: FREN 213Y–214Y or equivalent. Generally offered every third year.

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