French Courses

Fall 2021

Beginner's French I
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: Johnny Laforêt
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 French
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 Jacques Piguet
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 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 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
French Theater Workshop
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
France Today: Culture, Politics, and Society
An intensive discussion-based seminar, designed to integrate linguistic and cultural learning. We will examine contemporary debates on important cultural, social and political issues, allowing you to gain enhanced cultural understanding and knowledge while honing your skills. Topics include the promises of the "Thirty Glorious Years", the social transformations of the sixties and seventies (family life, women's rights, etc.); as well as the challenges brought by the post-colonial period and globalization: immigration, social exclusion and inequalities, rise of the far-right nationalism, problems in the "banlieues" and debates on secularism.
Instructors: Christine M. Sagnier
The Rise of France: French Literature, Culture, and Society from the Beginnings to 1789
This course is designed to give a historical overview of Early Modern France while providing advanced language training. Studying period documents, as well as literary and artistic material, we will examine the complex four-century period known as "Ancien Régime", during which France experienced major changes in its social and political structure: a series of civil wars, the rise of a centralized government, deep shifts in social hierarchies, and the milestone event of the French Revolution. Topics include: courtly love, the Wars of Religion, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and terror.
Instructors: Flora Champy
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 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
France on Display: Shaping the Nation under the Third Republic, 1870-1940
This course is a metaphorical visit to Third Republic France (1870-1940) in which we will examine images and public spaces as a language communicating republican ideology. We will investigate how the Republic molded the new citizen in schools and townhalls; served as gatekeeper of culture and advocate of progress in museums and world fairs; and influenced the marketplace. We will consider how writers, artists, architects, and filmmakers contributed to the representation of France and how they critiqued its displays. The seminar will draw parallels with the U.S. at moments of its history when shaping a common sense of nationhood was paramount.
Instructors: Efthymia Rentzou
The Age of Enlightenment
What is the Enlightenment? This course investigates the era of change and radical thought that precipitated the French Revolution. Far from stereotypes about "Enlightenment ideology," we will explore how the Enlightenment opened up spaces for critique, generating new ideas and values that challenged the traditional authorities of the "Ancien Régime." Our readings will exemplify the richness of the moral, political, and philosophical debates that divided 18th-century France, focusing on the role of the philosopher, the place of science in society, rethinking social inequalities, sexual freedom, women's education, religion and atheism.
Instructors: Celia Leonore Orane Aita Abele, Flora Champy
Haiti: History, Literature, and Arts of the First Black Republic
The readings and discussions will consider how the literature and arts of Haiti affirm, contest, and bear witness to historical narratives concerning the world's first black republic. The course will sample an array of historical accounts, novels, Afro-Caribbean religion (Vodun), plays, music, film, and visual arts of this unique postcolonial nation.
Instructors: F. Nick Nesbitt
Race in French Theater
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
Junior Seminar: French and Francophone Studies Now
This interdisciplinary course explores the state of French and Francophone Studies today and offers students a variety of methodologies and theoretical frameworks they may apply to their own research projects. Students will receive practical training in digital humanities, archival research, close and far reading, and will study the ways critical race theory, environmental humanities, semiotics, media studies, psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality studies, poetics, and postcolonial studies have impacted the academic study of French-language literature and culture.
Instructors: Christy Nicole Wampole
Looking for the Beast: Animals as Spectacle in Literature, Film, and Culture
This course focuses on the ways literature, film, but also cultural events and spaces (circus, zoo, museum) present animals as objects of admiration and subjects of performance. We will consider the fascination that animals inspire in humans, which might lead to question the distinction between "us" and "them". What is at stake, what are the consequences, for us and for them, when animals are seen or shown as an elusive Other who still beckons a closer encounter? How do the poetic power of language, or the evocative nature of images, affect their agency and our empathy, and eventually our mutual relationship?
Instructors: André Benhaïm
Marx in the Caribbean
This class pursues a reading of Marx's critique of political economy, Capital, with special focus on 1. a reconstruction of Marx's analysis of the nature of capitalist slavery and 2. the reception of Marx and Marxism in Antillean anticolonial thought. The latter focuses on figures including Aimé and Suzanne Césaire, CLR James, Jacques Roumain, and Jacques Stephen Alexis.
Instructors: F. Nick Nesbitt
Essayism: Trajectory of a Genre
This course explores the thematically capacious genre of the essay, a compact prose form where science and poetry meet. Students learn the essay's history, explore various theories of the essay, and encounter prominent examples of essayistic writing from across the centuries. The essay, itself a hybrid form, seems always to reach beyond text toward other media: essay-film, photo-essay, desktop essay. The class invites students to analyze these new essayistic experiments and consider the implications the essay form might have for their own scholarly writing.
Instructors: Christy Nicole Wampole
Medieval Speech Acts
A seminar on medieval practices and theories of performative speech, from lies to oaths, promises, blessings, curses, deeds and sacraments. Readings are drawn from Old and Middle French poetry as well as earlier and later medieval grammar, logic and theology, where doctrines of "efficacious" signification and the force of words play major roles. To bring into focus the medieval treatments of speech acts, we also consider selected twentieth-century philosophical, linguistic and sociological accounts of performative speech (particularly by Austin, Benveniste and Goffman).
Instructors: Daniel Heller-Roazen
Seminar in Romance Linguistics and/or Literary Theory: Levinas
The seminar focuses on the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas from its origins in Husserlian phenomenology and Heidggerian ontology to the major articulations of Levinasian ethnics. It examines encounters between Levinas and such thinkers as Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-François Lyotard, and considers the implications of Levinas's thought for aesthetics, gender, and politics.
Instructors: Thomas Alan Trezise