Foreign Languages, Cultures, and Literatures comprise those programs which are based on the foreign languages currently taught at Bard: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Sanskrit, and Spanish. The programs' common philosophy involves the critical appreciation of one or more foreign cultures and literatures through the learning and mastery of the language of each. While each program has its own intellectual and academic plan, the requirements for moderation are similar:

(1)     Linguistic proficiency, based usually on three or more semesters of language study; (2) Literary proficiency through completion of at least one course in the foreign literature, preferably a survey course; (3) Cultural proficiency, demonstrated by at least one course in a related area outside of literature, e.g., philosophy, history, or music.






Course No.

FLCL 405


Capstone Course: Disoriented Traditions and Dual Identities: Writing as Migration


Abdallah Taia (See Eric Trudel for registration)


Wed     4:30 pm – 6:50 pm    OLIN 310

Writing requires distance—emotional as well as spatial. It plays itself out through the constant metamorphoses of editing and reediting.   It is always a double action, the gamble of two competing visions.  The text that congeals immediately is a rare miracle.  This explains why writing in a language that is not one’s own provides a distancing mechanism, a jolt that stimulates linguistic and psychological examination.  Writing in a foreign tongue liberates our most intimate stories,  breaking taboos and revealing forbidden and sacred realms. In this seminar, we will examine these questions through works written by Moroccan authors who have had to express themselves in a language other than their own (French or English).  First, we will consider present the idiosyncratic aspects of these texts, their place within the Arabic world, and within Muslim religion. We will focus on Mohamed Choukri’s autobiographical novel For Bread Alone, translated in English from the Arabic by Paul Bowles. Secondly, we will concentrate on the more philosophical aspect of writing—that mysterious mouthpiece of our intimate and secret identity. The instructor will evoke his own relationship to writing, his split condition as a writer stuck between two cultures and two languages.  It is this particular position that students will be encouraged to analyze: they will be summoned to collective writing exercises,  working on themes that students and instructor will have selected jointly in connection with the main topic of the seminar. 

Abdellah Taia is a Moroccan writer.  He has been living in Paris for the  past five years.  He has published three novellas in French in Des Nouvelles du Maroc (Paris: Ed. Paris-Méditerranée, 1999) and Mon Maroc (Paris: Ed. Séguier, 2000).  His second book, Le Rouge du Tarbouche, will appear in France and in Morocco in 2004.  His writings have been mostly autobiographical.  Abdellah Taia writes regularly for Moroccan newspapers and is preparing at the Sorbonne a doctoral dissertation on the painter Fragonard.