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From Fourier to Futurism(s)




Prerequisites and Requirements

  • The equivalent of FL 2020 in a European language is required for the European Studies minor.
  • Students who wish to receive foreign language credit for a major or minor in French, German or Spanish via this course (FL 3320) must have completed at least FL2020 in that language and should demonstrate oral and written proficiency at the Intermediate Low level or better.
  • In addition, students who wish to receive foreign language credit must complete their major written assignments, and do the research for them, in the foreign language; they must choose to write about topics related to the European language or culture in question.

Students seeking foreign language credit are required to 
   (a) apply their individual language expertise to these assignments, 
   (b) write their essays in the target language (French, German or Spanish) and 
   (c) use at least one reference written in the target language.


(1) Oral Presentation

Please be prepared to give a short presentation (of about 5-7 minutes) in class during the last week of the module.

  1. The topic of the presentation must be related to the topics read and discussed (or anticipated) in the module.
  2. You are welcome -- to kill two birds with one stone -- to build upon your presentation for your final essay.
  3. Students may collaborate on both the presentation and essay in pairs or groups of three.  If this is the case, in this particular module, your (in effect, composite) essay should reflect in substance the input and deliberation of all of the authors (which is, simply put: research and writing and thinking).
  4. Each presentation should include a handout (not to exceed one sheet, front and back), a media presentation (Powerpoint, Prezi, video, etc), or both.


(2) Writing Assignment

I suggest you write a 3-6 page informal paper -- call it an essay, a reflective journal or notebook entry, a personal mediation, you name it -- on any one of the larger, international issues we'll explore in our discussions, or beyond. Make sure you consult some sources listed on our resources page and/or additional substantial websites as you develop your expertise and articulate your thoughts. Please develop a topic for which you have a certain affinity/interest (perhaps based in part on your knowledge of a European country or culture), and please know as well that your writing does not necessarily need to advance a thesis; an exploratory informal paper in which you grope or write (yourself) toward something may be just a meaningful. If at all possible, try to integrate our primary readings (Benjamin, Everdell, etc.) with your additional research.

Due Date

  • On the Thursday following our last module #2 class session: 21 March 2019 -- spring equinox :). Please keep in mind that I'd be happy to talk to you about your papers and projects in progress. Message: let's talk . . .
  • Here are some user-friendly suggestions for possible topics (both the presentation and the paper):
    • The effects of (Parisian) World's Fairs on the idea of consumerism and a multicultural and/or imperial Europe.
    • Paris as Mecca for Russian artists (or artists from other parts of the world)? Why the attraction? What were the enabling conditions?
    • Vienna vs. Paris: a change of guards? A new synergy?
    • a close study of a work of art -- such as a ballet, a painting, a work of literature, a sculpture -- in the context of Paris, Europe, and the artist's self-definition (as European and/or Modernist -- Picasso, Stravinsky, Apollinaire . . . .)
    • The relationship between modern art and politics, demonstrated through a close look at a work of choice?
    • The relationship(s) between modern art, science, technology, speed (Seurat, Picasso, Italian Futurism, The Lumiére brothers, etc.)
    • Benjamin's notion of successive technological epochs and the media ecology of modernism -- in other words, what are the interactions between the various forms/schools of painting, photography, film, etc.
    • The city and modernism
    • The Dreyfus Affair (or a related incident of racial discrimination) in the context of Europe's ongoing self-(re)definition--- in the late 19th century as well as now . . . .
    • The relationship of speed and nationhood/Europeanness
    • French Film in the 1920/30s -- Jean Vigo, Jean Renoir. . .
    • French Surrealism, . . . . Dadaism . . . And the list goes on.

(3) Attendance and Participation

I expect regular and punctual attendance, which will enable you to make sustained contributions to our discussions and make our class into a community of learners.  While part of your participation grade will be determined by your presentation, your intellectual (not just physical) presence in the classroom will be an equal factor in determining your final grade.



  • Laptops and notebooks are part of classroom resources, but I expect you to use them judiciously. That means you are focused on class learning, not checking email, surfing, gaming, etc. during class. I reserve the right to ask a student to switch off a laptop/notebook if I feel it is not used appropriately. I do not allow the use of cell phones or handheld devices in class and, in the event of non-compliance, will ask you to leave class for the remaining period. Please turn off your phone during the class hour. Thank you.


  • Plagiarism is a violation of the WSU Student Code. To plagiarize means to pass off someone else’s work as your own or to improperly or insufficiently document your sources. If you plagiarize, you will receive an E for the assignment. If it happens again, you will fail the class, and I will notify university authorities about disciplinary action.
  • WSU subscribes to, an electronic service that verifies the originality of student work. Enrollment in this course may require you to submit some or all of your assignments to, and documents submitted to are retained, anonymously, in their databases. Enrollment in this course constitutes an understanding of an agreement with this policy.

Disability Accommodation

  • PPM 3-34 notes: “When students seek accommodation in a regularly scheduled course, they have the responsibility to make such requests at the Center for Students with Disabilities (SSD, #181 of Student Services Center) before the beginning of the semester in which the accommodation is being requested. When a student fails to make such arrangements, interim accommodations can be made by the instructor, pending the determination of the request for a permanent accommodation." Such accommodations include reading services, provisions in case of mobility impairment, sign language and interpretive assistance, and closed captions for the hearing impaired, among others.

Emergency Closure

  • In the unlikely event of an extended campus closure, we will conduct our course electronically via email and virtual discussion groups. In this case, please make sure that you check your email account regularly for messages and attachments (in Word, PowerPoint, or audio) coming from me and/or your fellow seminar participants. Such messages may function as lecture substitutes, provide directions for reading and writing assignments, and contain other relevant information. Also make sure that your account has adequate storage capacity for transmitting documents. Please let me know by the end of the first week of the semester if you do not have access to a computer and/or the Internet from your home. Thanks.

Core Beliefs

  • According to PPM 6-22 IV, students are to “determine, before the last day to drop courses without penalty, when course requirements conflict with a student's core beliefs. If there is such a conflict, the student should consider dropping the class. A student who finds this solution impracticable may request a resolution from the instructor. This policy does not oblige the instructor to grant the request, except in those cases when a denial would be arbitrary and capricious or illegal. This request must be made to the instructor in writing and the student must deliver a copy of the request to the office of the department head. The student's request must articulate the burden the requirement would place on the student's beliefs."


  • If you prefer an alternate name or gender pronoun, please advise me of your preference and I will happily honor your request.

Recycling Policy

  • Weber State University is dedicated to being a leader in sustainability to ensure present needs are met without compromising the ability for future generations to inherit a healthy planet, society, and economy. Part of this commitment includes sustainable waste management practices with the ultimate goal of becoming a zero-waste campus. In order to achieve this goal, it is up to the WSU community to be informed about the various recycling policies on campus.
  • Please recycle following items on campus: plastics #1 & #2 (rinsed), cardboard, non-glossy paper, & metal cans.
  • *Please look at plastic identification symbol on the bottom of plastic bottles & jugs before recycling.
  • For more information on recycling at WSU, please reference Energy & Sustainability Office website

The Golden Rules

  • Assignments must be typewritten and are due on the date specified—no exceptions.
  • For reasons of class integrity, and out of consideration of others, do not come late or leave early. For the same reason, I will not be able to accept late work.
  • The captain has requested that you please disable your cell phones and other electronic devices that could interfere with our intellectual flight.
  • Bottom line (repeat): Be there in body and mind!
  • Mid-Day bonus (but no bonbons):  A class starting mid-morning or mid-day may be early — not to say, in the middle of the night — for some of you, but it's also getting close to lunchtime (or breakfast, as the case may be). Please feel free to bring a snack or beverage to recharge your intellectual batteries and to ward off hypoglycemic fantasizing, but munch and imbibe with discretion.

    last updated, 11 Feburary 2019

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mwutz@weber.eduPhone  801-626-7011
Skype  michaelwutz007

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Michael Wutz, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor
Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West
Department of English, 1404 University Circle
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84404-1404 USA