French Courses

Spring 2022

Beginner's French II
The main objective of this course is to enable you to achieve intermediate communication proficiency in French. All four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing will be actively practiced in realistic communicative situations, through a variety of activities designed to help you strengthen newly acquired vocabulary and grammatical structures. You will learn to talk about events and people, construct narratives in French and develop reading and writing skills that will be a foundation for literacy in the target language. There is a wide use of authentic material from France and the Francophone world throughout the course.
Instructors: Johnny Laforêt
Intensive Intermediate and Advanced French
FRE 102-7 is an intensive double course designed to help students develop an active command of the language. Focus will be on reading and listening comprehension, oral proficiency, grammatical accuracy, and the development of reading and writing skills. A solid grammatical basis and awareness of the idiomatic usage of the language will be emphasized. Students will be introduced to various Francophone cultures through readings, videos and films.
Instructors: Sandie Blaise
Intensive Beginner's and Intermediate French
FRE 103 is an intensive beginning and intermediate language course designed for students who have already studied French (typically no more than 2-3 years). Covering in one semester the material presented in FRE 101 and FRE 102, this course prepares students to take FRE 107 the following semester. FRE 103 is designed to develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing in French in a cultural context using authentic materials. Classroom activities include comprehension and grammar exercises, conversation, skits, and working with a variety of audio-visual and online materials.
Instructors: Sandie Blaise
Intermediate/Advanced French
The main objective of this course is to examine what it means to communicate in a foreign language while helping students strengthen their linguistic skills and gain transcultural and translingual competence. Students will reflect on differences in meaning through the study of diverse cultural modules, including stereotypes; slang; advertisements; Impressionist art; Occupied France; current events; and French and Francophone literary texts and films.
Instructors: Carole Trévise
Advanced French
FRE 108 is an intermediate advanced course. It will take you on a journey through various periods of French history and culture and offer an opportunity to reflect on important questions at the center of contemporary debates. Examples include: the role of the State in the shaping of the nation, the organic revolution, the role of education in our society, etc... We have selected a wide variety of materials (films, videos, music, newspaper articles and literary texts) and carefully incorporated them into the curriculum so you will develop the ability to communicate and gain understanding of French and francophone cultures and societies.
Instructors: Raphael Piguet
Studies in French Language and Style
An interdisciplinary course proposing the study of language, culture, and French and Francophone literatures organized around the theme "Visions fantastiques". Includes the study of different genres and mediums on topics including fairy tales and folk tales; utopias and dystopias; science fiction; and folly, dreams and the surreal. The course offers a review and reinforcement of advanced grammatical structures and aims to improve written and oral expression through the study of texts.
Instructors: Raphael Piguet
Speak up! An Introduction to Topics in the Francophone World
This course is a discussion-based seminar, taught entirely in French, integrating cultural and linguistic learning. We will explore the Francophone world, examining a wide range of topics and issues and interacting with guest speakers from the regions studied. The course will provide intensive language practice, with an emphasis on the acquisition of a rich lexical base for social, economic, political and cultural topics and consolidation of grammatical foundations. Topics will vary from semester to semester and may include environmental, educational, health, social, cultural and political issues as well as aesthetic considerations.
Instructors: Carole Trévise
The Making of Modern France: French Literature, Culture, and Society from 1789 to the Present
This course examines the major historical and cultural developments that have shaped France since the Revolution. By studying a series of classic texts, important films, paintings, and essays, we will undertake an interdisciplinary tour through two centuries of French cultural history, addressing issues such as nationhood, colonialism, democracy, and consumer society. The focus will be on the relations between artistic renovation, social change, and historical events.
Instructors: Murielle Perrier
French Literature: Approaches to the Language of Literary Texts
This course is meant to introduce students to great works of French literature from a range of historical periods and to provide them with methods for literary interpretation through close reading of these texts. The syllabus is organized around common themes and generic categories. This course is invaluable preparation for more advanced and specialized 300-level courses. Classroom discussion emphasized, free exchange encouraged.
Instructors: Celia Abele
Contemporary French Theater
Contemporary French Theater will introduce students to the vibrant and diverse scene of contemporary theater in France. Every week we will read a new play by a celebrated or an emerging living playwright, and examine their shared topics of interest and writing styles. A great emphasis will be put on honing the students' speaking and writing skills through staged readings of excerpts of plays in class, and creative play-writing exercises. Some playwrights will join us virtually from France, as well as actors and directors specializing in the contemporary repertoire so as to share their experience creating it in the present times.
Instructors: Florent Masse
Picturing Africa. Multicultural Visions for a Global Youth
This interdisciplinary course looks at representations of North and sub-Saharan Africa in modern popular culture aimed (supposedly) at a younger audience. Through literature, graphic novels, films, advertising and digital media, we will see how artistic and more practical goals coexist with didactic intentions. This will lead us to address critical contemporary issues in Africa, such as education, multiculturalism, gender equality, politics, ecology, etc. We'll see how these productions by Europeans, Europeans of African descent, and Africans, do not only perpetuate and transmit stereotypes, but also convey progressive visions.
Instructors: André Benhaïm
Advanced French Language and Style
To improve spoken and written French through attentive study of French grammatical and syntactic structures and rhetorical styles, with a variety of creative, analytical and practical writing exercises, and reading of literary and non-literary texts.
Instructors: Murielle Perrier
The Future of Reading
This course interrogates the ways we read now and in the future, along the cultural, social, and cognitive ramifications of our habits of reading. The course is divided into three sections, past, present, and future of reading, investigated through questions such as: Why do we read? How do we read? What does reading do to/for the individual and the community? We approach reading not as a neutral process, but as a basic cognitive function and a life skill that is determined by many factors (material, cultural, social, and psychological), which can have considerable repercussions on the individual and the society at large.
Instructors: Efthymia Rentzou
Advanced French Theater Workshop
In Advanced French Theater Workshop, students will focus their work on three main French playwrights: one classical, one modern, and one contemporary. This year, students will rehearse and perform excerpts from the great works of Marivaux, Alfred de Musset, and Pascal Rambert. The course will place emphasis on refining and improving students' acting and speaking skills. It will culminate in the public presentation of the students' "Travaux" at the end of the semester.
Instructors: Florent Masse
Language, Power and Identity
This course is an intensive discussion-based seminar which offers an introduction to sociolinguistics, or the study of language as a social phenomenon. Through readings, films, and documentaries, we will explore contemporary debates related to language, culture, politics, identity, and ideology in the Francophone world. The course includes a series of guest speakers for the discussion of Francophone case studies. Past speakers were from Morocco, Québec, Louisiana, Republic of Benin, La Réunion, and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.
Instructors: Christine Sagnier
Topics in 17th- and 18th-Century French Literature: "Women used to reign": Women on stage in pre-Revolution France
Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun famously said: "Women used to reign; the Revolution dethroned them." Did women enjoy greater power and agency in an aristocratic society? Did the attempt to install democracy result in a backward slide for women's rights? This course will examine these questions through one of the most significant cultural expressions in Early modern France: theater. We will study the representation of women on stage in the era from both a historical and a literary perspective, considering for instance the social status of actresses at the time as well as the depth of female roles in the extant repertoire.
Instructors: Flora Champy
The 19th-Century French Novel
Close readings of landmark novels from nineteenth-century France by Balzac, Stendhal, Sand, Hugo, Flaubert, Zola, Huysmans, Claire de Duras, and Constant. What course did the modern novel chart between realism and naturalism, romantic disenchantment and fin-de-siècle decadence, engaged art and aesthetic detachment, national history and private life? How did the novel reflect, shape, and map this revolutionary period in French history? Topics to be highlighted: formal innovation, realism, social critique, theories of the novel, the reading public, and print culture.
Instructors: Göran Blix
Topics in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature and Culture: Francophone Postcolonial Cinema
This course will investigate the development of Francophone Postcolonial Cinema from the 1950's to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the development and flourishing of this cinema in the 1950s and 60s in the period of Decolonization. Focus will be on films by directors such as Jean Rouch, Chris Marker, Ousmane Sembene, Assia Djébar and Djibril Diop Mambety. The course will investigate both the specific cinematic languages developed by these various directors, as well as the political and historical context of Decolonization, in which these films developed critical, militant interventions against French and global colonialism and racism.
Instructors: F. Nick Nesbitt
Migration, Diversity, Diaspora: Francophone Community-Engagement
This course explores displacements, identities and representations of the francophone populations around the globe. We will address some key issues including resettlement, global migration, the relationship between language and identity, transnationalism, multilingualism, language maintenance of French-speaking communities, particularly those living in the US and New Jersey, through readings, videos, movies, graphic novels, and documents in French and English. The course will also provide students opportunities to engage in civic service, to interact with local community members and to critically reflect on their experiences.
Instructors: Sandie Blaise
The Art of the Essay
In this course, which is both a creative writing course and a literature course, students will study canonical French-language essays and newer forms of essayistic production (the essay film, photo essay, blog, and podcast) and will use these texts as models for their own writing. Beginning in the Renaissance with Montaigne's famous Essais and continuing to the present day with essays written throughout France and the Francophone world, students will analyze the stylistic and formal features of this compelling genre and seek to understand how the essay has maintained its relevance throughout the centuries.
Instructors: Christy Wampole
Second Language Acquisition Research and Language Teaching Methodology
Designed to provide future teaching assistants with the knowledge and conceptual tools needed to reflect critically on pedagogical practices in the second language classroom. Examines issues related to teaching language and culture in a university setting, highlighting the relationship between theory in Second Language Acquisition and language pedagogy and helping students understand the practical implications of theoretical frameworks in the field.
Instructors: Christine Sagnier
Marx in the Caribbean
The course examines Marx's critique of capitalist slavery and its refiguration in Caribbean critique. We discuss the writings of Toussaint Louverture, Henry Christophe, C.L.R. James, Eric Williams, Aimé Césaire, and Suzanne Césaire - key figures of the `Black Jacobin' tradition - as they develop original critiques of slavery, colonialism, and Antillean capitalism, these being understood as what Marx called the `social forms' (gesellschaftliche Formen) of labour and wealth.
Instructors: F. Nick Nesbitt
The Literature of Enlightenment: Marivaux tongue
Weighing flies, eggs in cobweb scale: Voltaire's venomous characterization still sticks to Marivaux's oeuvre today. In opposition to that view, this course takes a deeper look into the seeming glibness and shallow sophistication of the marivaudage, to consider it as an exploration of the potentialities and perils of language. Do words help us to express ourselves, or are they a hindrance? Is language itself a disguise? Is disguise the most authentic way to be? Is the quest for authenticity a futile one? We examine how Marivaux's exploration of these questions let him innovate in multiple genres, from plays to novels and journalism.
Instructors: Flora Champy
20th-Century French Narrative Prose: Voice Matters
This course explores the narrative articulation of conflict and loss in a selection of works from different historical contexts, including slavery, the Holocaust, and the postcolonial world. Emphasis is placed on voice both from a narratological perspective and as a mode of thematization pertaining to such issues as class, gender, and race. Subjects to be discussed also include history, memory, and memorialization; the features of posttraumatic life; and the question of créolité.
Instructors: Thomas Trezise
Seminar in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature: Readings of Proust
A study of Marcel Proust's works and "imaginaire", some of his most remarkable readings, along with readings of/by some of his most remarkable readers (writers, philosophers, critics, artists, and film makers).
Instructors: André Benhaïm
Seminar in French Civilization: The Heroism of Modern Life
How can modern bourgeois life still claim to be, as Baudelaire suggested, worthy of heroic treatment, despite the rise of democratic values? While many post-revolutionary thinkers opposed heroism on political grounds, or judged it historically impossible, some fashioned new democratic heroes reconciling exemplarity and typicality. Meanwhile, reactionary thinkers revitalized an older heroic code to justify hierarchy and order. We will examine the nineteenth-century crisis of heroism in a wide range of authors such as Balzac, Stendhal, Marx, Nietzsche, Carlyle, Emerson, Baudelaire, Comte, Michelet, Hugo, the Goncourts, Barrès, and Bergson.
Instructors: Göran Blix
Charles Baudelaire
This course discusses Charles Baudelaire's poetry, prose, art and literary criticism, autobiographical texts, and translations, and their pivotal role for perceptions of modernity. Baudelaire's oeuvre is approached through different perspectives, ranging from poetics, aesthetics, literary history, the political and social context of his time, sexuality and gender, popular culture, reception history, trauma studies, etc. We take into consideration influential readings of Baudelaire's work, while particular emphasis is given to Baudelaire's relevance for the 21st century and specifically in contemporary literature and art.
Instructors: Efthymia Rentzou