The Parisian suburbs—la banlieue—are a multifaceted space inhabited by 8 million people where history and tradition meet social turmoil and exclusion. Through an exploration of this complex environment, learners can access a deeper understanding of contemporary France. They can reconsider the stereotypical view of Paris as a city of light through an encounter with antithetical representations of the political and societal changes reflected in the banlieue. Literary texts, films, political cartoons, music and media coverage provide exceptional pedagogical resources and exemplify some of the most vivid innovations of French language. These resources provide a fertile tool for stimulating debate and cross-cultural comparison while integrating the study of vocabulary and grammar within an enlightening literary, cultural, and political framework. This presentation features classroom-tested sequences focusing on the critical study of authentic materials about the banlieue.
Institution: Columbia University
Author of Article: Alexandra Borer
Subject Language: French