French Courses

Fall 2022

Beginner's French I
Subject associations
FRE 101

This class develops the basic structures and vocabulary for understanding, speaking, writing, and reading in French. Classroom activities foster communication and cultural competence through comprehension and grammar exercises, skits, conversation and the use of a variety of audio-visual materials.

Instructors
Vincent Chanethom
Nicolas J. Estournel
Susan L. Kenney
Intensive Beginner's and Intermediate French
Subject associations
FRE 103

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
Susan L. Kenney
Johnny Laforêt
Intermediate French
Subject associations
FRE 105

The main objective of this course is to develop your listening, speaking and writing skills, while allowing you to explore contemporary French-speaking societies. It offers a thorough review of French grammar and a wide range of communicative activities chosen to improve proficiency and give practice of newly acquired linguistic material. The course will build your confidence in French while giving you a foundation for the understanding of French-speaking cultures and exposing you to their rich literary and artistic productions. A wide range of authentic material will be offered, including films.

Instructors
Raphael J. Piguet
Intermediate/Advanced French
Subject associations
FRE 107

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
Sandie P. Blaise
Nicolas J. Estournel
Carole Marithe Trévise
Advanced French
Subject associations
FRE 108

FRE 108 is an intermediate to advanced class that will take you on a journey through various periods of French/Francophone 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, urbanism, pandemics and ecology, healthcare, education, race and identity. We have selected a wide variety of materials (films, videos, newspaper articles, literary texts, etc.), so you will develop your ability to communicate and write on a wide range of topics in French and gain understanding of French and francophone cultures and societies.

Instructors
Murielle M. Perrier
Raphael J. Piguet
Studies in French Language and Style
Subject associations
FRE 207

Visions fantastiques: using this notion, this course explores and questions concepts that are at the core of our common human experience. Why is the fantastique such an enduring genre? What political, philosophical, or sociological messages does it convey? How do authors exploit perceived cracks in our reality? Through a survey of many kinds of fantastiques works, FRE 207 offers in-depth, small-group discussions and critical analyses of the themes they tackle (such as colonialism and identity, our relationship to time and to nature, science and progress, or madness and reason) along with reinforcement of advanced grammatical structures.

Speak up! An Introduction to Topics in the Francophone World (SA)
Subject associations
FRE 208

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
French Theater Workshop (LA)
Subject associations
FRE 211 / THR 211

FRE/THR 211 will offer students the opportunity to put their language skills in motion by exploring French theater and acting in French. The course will introduce students to acting techniques while allowing them to discover the richness of the French dramatic canon. Particular emphasis will be placed on improving students' speaking skills through pronunciation and diction exercises. At the end of the semester, the course will culminate in the presentation of the students' work.

Instructors
Florent Masse
French Literature: Approaches to the Language of Literary Texts (LA)
Subject associations
FRE 224

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 course syllabus is organized around common themes and generic categories. This course is invaluable preparation for more advanced and specialized 300-level literature courses. Classroom discussion and free exchange encouraged.

Instructors
Efthymia Rentzou
Politics and Environment in France (SA)
Subject associations
FRE 230 / ENV 232

Improve your spoken and written French while studying some urgent topics in French environmental politics, from climate change and energy politics to environmental racism, food safety, animal rights, and degrowth. How is the French case unique? What is a ZAD and "un grand projet inutile"? What happened at Plogoff and Larzac? How do class, race, and gender intersect with the exploitation of nature? What exactly is "ecofascism" anyway? Discussion and creative projects will focus on films, bandes dessinées, literature, art, and essays; the course is writing- and speaking-intensive.

Instructors
Göran Magnus Blix
Classics of French and Francophone Cinema (LA)
Subject associations
FRE 250

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
The 'Hidden Causes' of History: Integrating the Social and the Economic (HA or LA)
Subject associations
FRE 328 / COM 463 / HUM 301 / ECS 335

Our aim is to examine how the "social" and the "economic" become intertwined. From Enlightenment narratives about the origins of civilization, whether philosophical, ethnographic, or fictional, by Swift, Rousseau, or Graffigny, we also consider history-writing by Voltaire and Gibbon. We read early economic and sociological thought by Malthus, Saint-Simon, Balzac, and Smith, and delve into the crystallization of broadly Marxist approaches to society and culture in Engels, Benjamin, and, of course, Marx. While the category of "literature" will be an important lens for our thinking, archival and historical approaches will also be stressed.

Instructors
Celia L. Abele
Democracy and Education (HA)
Subject associations
FRE 348 / ECS 363 / HUM 358

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
Sex, Gender, and Desire in Francophone Africa (CD or LA)
Subject associations
FRE 355 / AFS 355 / GSS 304

This course examines the complex role of gender and sexuality in Francophone Africa's literature and visual cultures. Framed primarily by postcolonial criticism, we will explore how Francophone African writers, filmmakers, and artists treat historical and contemporary issues connected to women and marginal sexualities' experiences, and how they appropriate vernacular/conventional modes of writing and filmmaking in their works. By reading critical writings alongside the novels and films, we will explore questions such as: How stories shape our understanding of gender roles? From whose perspective are they told? What do they exclude/repress?

Instructors
André Benhaïm
Topics in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature and Culture: Albert Camus (LA)
Subject associations
FRE 367 / ECS 367

Albert Camus was one of the most acclaimed writers of the 20th century, and one of the most paradoxical. Reading his major narratives, plays, and essays, we will assess how the author found himself often at odds with his own thought and creativity, through his philosophy, politics, or the very act of writing. We will see how Camus, always in between, eternally on the move, can help us face (and revolt against) the nonsense of our world, from pandemics to terrorism, imperialism and totalitarianism, how we can question ourselves and relate to others, while still remembering to seek happiness and beauty.

Instructors
André Benhaïm
Race in French Theater (CD or LA)
Subject associations
FRE 390 / THR 390

Race in French Theater will investigate the question of race and diversity on the French stages. We will study efforts made in recent years to diversify representations both on stage and in the audience, and examine the concrete steps taken by major institutions, subsidized national theaters, festivals, drama schools, and commercial theaters. We will compare similar current undertakings in the world of dance and at the Paris Opera, and broaden the scope of our inquiries by looking at representation and inclusion in French cinema. Theater artists will join us from France and share their experience creating in and for the present times.

Instructors
Florent Masse
Topics in French Literature and Culture: Deconstruction (HA)
Subject associations
FRE 401

This course explores the history and legacy of deconstruction, the massively influential and notoriously difficult philosophical approach developed by Franco-Algerian philosopher Jacques Derrida. We trace the emergence of deconstruction in France in the 1960s, its adoption in America, and its evolution into a global phenomenon. While investigating the philosophical stakes of deconstruction, we will also reflect on its political, ethical, and institutional status, as well as the complex place of Algeria and the post-colonial. The class will make regular visits to Derrida's personal library in Firestone.

Instructors
Katie Chenoweth
Prose Translation (LA)
Subject associations
FRE 407 / TRA 407

A practical investigation of the issues affecting translation between English and French. Weekly exercises will offer experience of literary, technical, journalistic and other registers of language. Discussion will focus on the linguistic, cultural and intellectual lessons of translation seen as a practical discipline in its own right.

Instructors
David M. Bellos