French Courses

Spring 2021

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 Pauline Pascal 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 Pauline Pascal 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 Marithe 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: Murielle Marie Perrier
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 Jacques 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 Marithe 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 Marie 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: Volker Schröder
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
Classics of French and Francophone Cinema
This course will explore classic French and Francophone cinema from Meliès and Lumière to the Nouvelle Vague. Directors to include Vigo, Renoir, Godard, Truffaut, Rouch, Varda, and Djibril Diop Mambety. The course will investigate both the specific cinematic languages developed by these various directors, as well as the historical and political context in which these films developed.
Instructors: F. Nick Nesbitt
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 Marie Perrier
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 Molière, 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 M. Sagnier
Styles of Literature and Science in 18th- and 19th-Century Europe
Is literature a "science"? Can science be "literature"? This class reads literary, scientific, and philosophical texts from the Enlightenment and 19th century from the lens of both history of science and literature. We focus on France, Germany, and England, though we also look at scientific voyages beyond Europe. Other than published "works," we will engage with the rich material culture of drafts, notebooks, botanical specimens, illustrations, and research of all kinds that these fields produced. Our aim will be to deepen our understanding of the complex interrelations of practice and thought among the sciences, philosophy, and literature.
Instructors: Celia Leonore Orane Aita Abele
Democracy and Education
What's the point of education? What should anyone truly learn, why, and how? Who gets to attend school? Is it a right, a privilege, a duty, an investment, or a form of discipline? Do schools level the playing field or entrench inequalities? Should they fashion workers, citizens, or individuals? Moving from France to the US, and from the Enlightenment to the present, we look at the vexed but crucial relationship between education and democracy in novels, films, essays, and philosophy, examining both the emancipatory and repressive potential of modern schooling. Topics include: Brown, class, meritocracy, testing, and alternative pedagogies.
Instructors: Göran Magnus Blix
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 Pauline Pascal Blaise, Johnny Laforêt, Christine M. Sagnier
France Through its Archives: Media, Memory, History
What is an archive? What role do archives play in producing historical knowledge and cultural memory? How are new digital technologies reshaping the archive and thereby transforming our relationship to the past? This course develops practical research skills by introducing students to major archives and digital collections in France, while also exploring key theoretical works on the archive from media theory, literary criticism, and philosophy (Foucault, Nora, Benjamin, Derrida). Students will also gain hands-on experience producing their own new media "archives" by creating podcasts and participating in an ongoing digital humanities project.
Instructors: Katie Chenoweth
Topics in Francophone Literature, Culture, and History: Francophone Caribbean Literature
An examination of the literature of the francophone Caribbean from the Haitian Revolution to the present. The course focuses on how literary creation, history and theoretical reflection united in this unique and compelling culture. Caribbean literature in French is the symbolic, imaginative expression of the peoples of the French-speaking regions of the Caribbean, including Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana, and their dependencies.
Instructors: F. Nick Nesbitt
Le roman populaire en France au XXe siècle
What features distinguish popular literature from literature? Can genre novels ever be treated as works of literature? Why are popular novels so popular, and what lessons can we learn from their popularity? This course introduces a selection of popular fictions, mostly from the second half of the 20th century, in various genres (detective fiction, science fiction, topical fiction, satire, and historical reconstruction) with the aim of finding some answers to questions of this kind.
Instructors: David Michael Bellos
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 M. Sagnier
Seminar in French Literature of the Renaissance: Renaissance Margins
Seminar explores the 'margin' as a defining textual and cultural space during the 16th century. We consider how the margin functions as a space of exclusion (ethnically, religiously, linguistically, politically, geographically, typographically, etc.) while also opening new possibilities of resistance, invention, and radical alterity. Readings include primary works (Marot, Labé, Léry, Montaigne, La Boétie, Paré) as well as theoretical & secondary works in book history, feminism, deconstruction, post-colonialism, ecocriticism, & social history that will provide us with methodological guides as we ask how to read in, and from, the margins.
Instructors: Katie Chenoweth
20th-Century French Narrative Prose: Albert Camus: Writing in Motion
We examine the works and figure of Albert Camus - to redefine them. Through the study of his most acclaimed narratives, plays, essays, but also his more obscure juvenilia, notebooks, and up to his last, unfinished novel, we see what confirms the canonical (sometimes sanctified) dimension of Camus, and what challenges it. Looking at his critical reception and his own assessments, we assess his greatest accomplishments, his shortcomings and even (self-proclaimed) failures. Always in between, eternally moving, we reconsider Camus as concerned as much by politics as he was by poetics.
Instructors: André Benhaïm
Seminar in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature: Money in the 19C Novel
A study of the circulation of money in French fiction alongside the economic history of publishing and the financial position of writers in the period 1820-1880. The central figure is Balzac, but comparisons are also made with English and Russian fiction of the period. Students are asked to pursue individual research tasks within the field. The aim is to elucidate what has become obscured by changes in society, language, culture and the economy, and to restore some degree of clarity to the drama and romance of the money plots of many major works of 19C literature.
Instructors: David Michael Bellos
Seminar in French Civilization: Thinking With Animals
A study of the 'animal question' in French literature and philosophy from Montaigne to Derrida and beyond. Lévi-Strauss noted, famously, that animals were good to 'think with,' and we try to do so here - looking at fables, novels, poems, and philosophical texts - while avoiding their reification into mere things or symbols in the 'anthropological machine' (Agamben). But we can also try to 'think (along) with' non-human animals, as J.-C. Bailly suggests, and, more urgently, interrogate their enigmatic presence anew against the backdrop of the sixth extinction. Topics: fables, language, mind, rights, conservation, companionship, extinction.
Instructors: Göran Magnus Blix
Racial Imaginaries
The focus of this course is the representation of race across media (literature, film, visual arts, multimedia) and in various discourses (scientific, political, philosophical) in France, particularly from the 19th century to today. The first weeks of the course provide an earlier history of racial theorization and representation in France. Then we discuss themes such as scientific and bureaucratic racism, exoticism, intercultural influence, and the ways in which colonialism, immigration, and globalization have changed depictions of race in French cultural production.
Instructors: Christy Nicole Wampole