French

Professors: Elisabeth Cardonne-Arlyckb, Cynthia B. Kerrb, Christine Reno (Chair); Associate Professors: Mark Andrewsab, Patricia-Pia Célérier; Assistant Professors: Dalila Hannouche, Kathleen Hart;Visiting Assistant Professor: Susan Hiner.

All courses are conducted in French.

Requirements for Concentration: 11 units including at least 3 units at the 300-level. No courses in French elected after the declaration of the major may be taken NRO.

Senior Year Requirements: 3 units of French at the 300-level.

Teaching Certification: Students who wish to obtain Secondary Certification must complete the program of study outlined by the education department.

Advisers: The department.

Study Abroad: Vassar College and Wesleyan University sponsor jointly a program of study in Paris. Majors in French are expected to participate in this program for one or two semesters during their junior year. Students electing a correlate sequence in French are also encouraged to participate in the program. Students concentrating in other fields for whom study in Paris is advisable are accepted, within the regulations of their respective departments and the Office of the Dean of Studies. Courses offered in the Paris program are included below. Students of French who are unable to study abroad during the academic year are strongly encouraged to attend the summer program at Middlebury College French School, or other summer programs in France or French-speaking countries.

Correlate Sequence in French: Students majoring in other programs may complement their study by electing a correlate sequence in French. Course selection should be made in consultation with the chair or other advisers in the department.

Requirements: 6 units, at least 5 of which must be taken above the 100-level. At least 1 but preferably 2 units must be taken at the 300-level. No French courses elected after declaration of the correlate sequence may be taken NRO.

Study Away and summer courses may be substituted in the correlate sequence, with departmental approval. A majority of units in the correlate sequence must be taken at Vassar.


I. Introductory

105a-106b. Elementary French (1)

Fundamentals of the language. Students learn to understand spoken French, to express simple ideas both orally and in writing, and to read French of average difficulty. The department.

Not open to students who have previously studied French.

Three 50-minute class periods, 2 hours of drill and oral practice.


II. Intermediate

205a or b. Intermediate French I (1)

Fast-paced review of the main points of basic grammar. Includes practice in speaking, listening, reading, and writing, through written exercises, short texts and compositions, and work with the audiovisual resources of the language laboratory. The department.

Prerequisite: French 105-106 or two years of French in high school.

Three 50-minute or two 75-minute periods; one hour of scheduled oral practice.

206a or b. Intermediate French II (1)

Expanded grammar study with an emphasis on more complex linguistic structures such as relative pronouns and the subjunctive. Reading, writing, and speaking skills are developed through discussion of cultural and literary texts and use of audiovisual material. This course prepares students linguistically for cultural and literary study at the intermediate level. The department.

Prerequisite: French 205 or three years of French in high school. French 105-106 by permission of instructor.

Three 50-minute or two 75-minute periods; one hour of scheduled oral practice.

212a or b. Reading French Literature and Film (1)

Introduction to the analysis of literature and film and to basic modes of interpretation through the study and discussion of short texts (poems, short stories, films, plays, essays). The department.

Prerequisite: French 206 or four years of French in high school.

213a or b. France Through Her Media (1)

An introductory study of France through current newspapers, magazines, television programs, films and the web. A strong emphasis is placed on the expansion of vocabulary and on oral and written expression. Some grammar review. The department.

Prerequisite: French 206 or four years of French in high school.

[228a. Tellers and Tales] (1)

Study of short stories taken from several periods of French literature. Introduction to the study of narrative forms and critical writing. Mr. Andrews.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

Not offered in 2000/01.

[230b. Medieval and Early Modern Times] (1)

A study of aristocratic and popular literature and culture, from medieval legends and Renaissance love poetry to the splendors and decadence of Versailles, the comic world of Moliere, and the tragic allegories of Racine.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

Not offered in 2000/01.

231a. Revolutionary France and Its Legacies (1)

Studies in French literature, history, and culture in relation to the French Revolution during the Enlightenment and the Romantic period.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

232b. The Modern Age (1)

The course explores literary, artistic, social, or political manifestations of modern French society and its relation to the French-speaking world from the Napoleonic Empire to the present.

Topic for 2000/01: The Romantic Imagination. A study of poetry, theater, and short prose works representative of the "romantic imagination." Topics include melancholy or the "mal du siècle," exile, the fantastic, passion, incest, the cult of the individual, utopian socialism, romantic feminism and literary reactions against romanticism. Authors such as Balzac, Constant, Chateaubriand, Dumas, Hugo, Rostand. Ms. Hart.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

235b. Contemporary France (1)

A study of French society and culture from WWII to the present. Starting with the 1939 German occupation and its enduring marks on the French, the course draws on a variety of texts (historical documents, novels and short stories, special issues of selected French magazines and journals, movies and documentaries) to examine the impact on society and culture of the major historical events that have shaped France. Attention is given to Metropolitan France, its colonies and its Départements d'Outre-Mer (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guiana, and Reunion). Ms. Hannouche.

Prerequisite: two years of college French or four years of French in high school.

240a. Study of French Grammar (1)

In-depth study of major aspects of French grammar. Grammar exercises, compositions, and oral practice. Ms. Cardone-Arlyck.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

241b. Composition and Conversation (1)

A course designed to improve written and oral expression, through the study and practice of various forms of writing, and the discussion of readings on contemporary issues.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

242a. Studies in Genre I (1)

Study of narrative and prose forms including the novel, autobiography, and the essay.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

Topic for 2000/01: Young Contemporary French Writers. A study of contemporary French novels and short stories addressing social change and emerging cultural trends seen through the lives of ordinary French people. Thematic concerns include life and death in the age of AIDS; new gender roles and relations; the unemployment generation; love , crime and survival; identity crises; urban mazes and underworlds.

Among the writers to be studies are Marie Darrieussec, Yves Simon, Emmanuele Bernheim, Herve Guibert, and Marie Desplechin.

[243a. Studies in Genre II] (1)

Study of dramatic and lyric forms including theater, poetry, and song.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

Not offered in 2000/01.

[244a. Studies in French Film](1)

The course focuses on the evolution of narrative forms in French film, from the silent era to the present. Ms. Cardonne-Arlyck.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or by permission.

246a. French-Speaking Cultures and Literatures of Africa and the (1)
Caribbean

Topic for 2000/01: Between Two Continents: Contemporary African and Caribbean Writers. In this course, we study the current literary production of Francophone writers of African origin who live or have lived in France. We come to an understanding of how their narrative worlds conjure up an artistic and cultural duality that translates into a complex understanding of our times. We read works by Jean-Luc Raharimanana (Madagascar), Gisèle Pineau (Guadeloupe), Mongo Béti (Cameroon), Fatou Keïta (Ivory Coast), and Daniel Biyaoula (Congo-Brazzaville). Ms. Célérier.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

[247a. Constructions of Identity] (1)

Focusing on events, institutions, or movements, on expressions of "high" or "low" culture, on important figures, or on issues of class, gender, race, or religious differences, this course explores the changing conceptions of what constitutes identity in France or the French-speaking world.

Prerequisite: another 200-level course above French 206 or equivalent.

Not offered 2000/01.

280a. Multiculturalism in France (1)

Beginning with the history of immigration in France, the course examines the political, social and cultural changes that ethnicity is bringing about in today's France. The course focuses on the creation of new ethnic groups and considers the current arguments based on alternative concepts of cultural and national identity, as well as the conflicts generated by issues related to minority cultures. Major topics include the impact of Islam in France, the affirmation of cultural difference, citizenship, racism and antiracism, and the renewed debates on integration and multiculturalism.

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Permission required.


III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 1 unit of 200-level work above French 236, or Study Abroad in France or in a French-speaking country, or by permission.

300a. Senior Thesis (1)

Open only to majors. The department.

Permission required.

301a or b. Senior Translation (1/2 or 1)

Open only to majors. One unit of credit given in exceptional cases only and by permission of the Chair. The department.

332a. Literature and Society in Pre-Revolutionary France (1)

Topic for 2000/01: France on Trial. Courtroom battles and celebrated "affaires" that shaped French consciousness from Joan of Arc to Marie-Antoinette. The seminar examines major turning points in the development of French politics and culture through close analysis of certain showcase trials and scandals leading up to the fall of the Ancien Régime. Historical figures studied include Saint Joan, Fouquet, Voltaire, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Ms. Kerr.

[348a. Modernism and Its Discontent] (1)

Not offered in 2000/01.

355a. Cross-Currents in French Culture (1)

Topic for 2000/01: Early French Feminism in Fact and Fiction. The French Revolution of 1789 instituted the Universal Rights of Man. But when Olympe de Gouges proposed a "Declaration of the Rights of Woman," she was guillotined. The severe repression of women in subsequent years paradoxically helped to awaken feminist consciousness. In this course we examine various works of literaturenovels, a play, a travel narrative, and polemical essaysagainst the backdrop of the emergence and evolution of French feminism from the late-eighteenth to the late-nineteenth century. Historical readings and literary texts authored by Laclos, Sand, Tristan, Zola. Ms. Hart.

[366a. Francophone Literature and Cultures] (1)

Not offered in 2000/01.

370a. Stylistics and Translation (1)

A study of different modes of writing and of the major problems encountered when translating from English to French, and vice versa. Practice with a broad range of both literary and nonliterary texts. Ms. Célérier.

380b. Special Seminar (1)

Topic for 2000/01: French Identity and European Integration

This course reviews France's role in postwar European construction. It focuses on France's national identity crisis, and examines a spectrum of French views towards European integration since 1950. Central concerns are the challenges to France's status as a nation-state, the loss of sovereignty and the weakening of the Jacobin tradition, debates over the "French exception," the adoption of a European single currency, the implications of the newly implemented European citizenship, and the European Union's restructuring of democracy for the 21st century.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

One unit of credit given only in exceptional cases and by permission of the Chair. The department.

Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris

Courses are subject to change. For information, please consult the French department.

250a. "Poète maudit": Birth and Death of the Myth (1)

How did the poet, a key figure at the Renaissance court, come to be considered by the end of the nineteenth century as a rebel, a literary outlaw? How does the modern poet define himself in this century and beyond under the shadow of this stereotype? After highlighting various milestones of poetry's liberation from the constraints of literary patronage (D'Aubigné's engaged epics, La Fontaine's contradictory verse, Hugo's Romanticism) the course focuses on the major "poètes maudits" of the post-Romantic period: Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine and Lautréamont. Ms. Garcia.

251a. Love and Tragedy in French Theater (1)

This course first studies the nature of seventeenth-century tragedy as transformed by Corneille and Racine, who grafted a love story onto the core of myth. We then move to the twentieth century's reshaping of the notion of the tragic through the influence of various philosophical currents. Questions of style (baroque and classical) and philosophy (existentialism and the absurd) are foregrounded, with emphasis both on the continuity of tragic literature and on formal variations from the seventeenth century to the present. Plays are chosen in light of the Paris theatrical season, so as to allow the analysis of a number of live performances. Mr. Clément.

[252a. Special Topics] (1)

This course is taught by the resident director. Topics vary each year.

Not offered in 2000/01.

253a. Contemporary French History (1)

This course focuses on French political history since 1958 and salient features of France's political institutions: strengths and weaknesses of the 1958 Constitution; the shared leadership of president and prime minister; the evolving role of the Assemblée Nationale and the constitutional and state councils. We analyze the strategies of the various political parties and the two recent major transformations in civil society: the urban crisis and the increasing visibility of women and minority groups (youths and immigrants) in the political arena. Franco-American relations and France's emerging role in the European Community are examined in depth. Ms. Sanson.

255b. France and the European Union (1)

This course examines the place of France in the European Union. It looks at the problems arising from economic restructuring, involving the lifting of trade barriers and the adoption of a common European currency. Finally, it analyzes the consequences of such changes for French national identity: shifts in educational policy, social and political disparities, the exacerbation of historical animosities. Ms. Balleix-Banerjee.

256b. Enlightenment Literature (1)

An introduction to the nature and spirit of the French Enlightenment through some of the major literary and philosophical works of the period. The course involves a historical presentation of the eighteenth century as well as a study of great individual works to which we still refer today in our thinking about art, science, politics, and love: Montesquieu's Lettres persanes; Rousseau's Discours; Diderot's Rêve de d'Alembert andPardoxe sur le Comédien; Voltaire's polemical writings. Mr. Chartier.

258b. Revolution and Totalitarianism in Europe; Fascist Italy, (1)
National Socialist Germany, Soviet Russia (1917-1939)

The totalitarian regimes of the 1930s in Europe resulted from the political, economic and social consequences of World War I. These authoritarian governments embody totalitarian ideologies which molded twentieth-century man. While Mussolini's fascist state, Hitler's Third Reich and Stalin's Soviet Union present important differences, all have in common interference through coercion at every leveleducation, culture, religion. This courses studies all aspects of these anti-democratic dictatorships. Mr. Ostenc.

259b. Social Classes and Political Parties in Contemporary France (1)

An in-depth study of France's ideological and political traditions and its economic, political and social structures. By tracing the historical development of these traditions since the Revolution and by comparing the French system with that of other European nations and the U.S., we come to understand the specificity of what many call "l'exception française" as well as the complexity of several major problems facing French institutions and society as France moves toward integration in the European Community. Ms. Berger.

260b. Studies in French Cinema. (1)

Topics vary each year.

261a. Paris Through its Monuments (1)

This course offers a panorama of the history of Paris art and architecture. Students visit monuments and sections of the city chosen to illustrate particular periods of its development. Oral reports, slide viewing, written work and readings on the periods under study are required of course participants. Ms. Pêcheur.

262b. Special Topics (1)

This course is taught by the resident director. Topics vary each year. Topic for 2000/01: The Nineteenth-Century French Novel. In this course we follow the transformation of a genre, from the effusive Romantic novel to the sometimes brutal chronicles created by proponents of the Realist and Naturalist movements. At issue in this class is how stylistic concerns echo (or contradict?) evolving attitudes regarding the complexities and inequities of French nineteenth-century society. Works in this class include Chateaubriand's Atala, Stendhal's Le Rouge et le noir , Hugo's Quatre-vingt-treize, Sand's Indiana, Flaubert'sEducation sentimentale, Zola's Germinal, and Balzac's Illusions perdues. Mr. Curran.

264b. Medieval Art (1)

An introduction to Romanesque and Gothic architecture and medieval painting and sculpture. Guided visits to Saint-German-des-Prés, the Musée de Cluny, Notre-Dame, the basilica of Saint-Denis, the Conciergerie, the Sainte-Chapelle, the Louvre, Saint-Séverin, Saint-Etienne-du-Mont and the Sainte-Geneviève area complement scholarly readings on French medieval art and study of notable medieval monuments outside of Paris. Ms Pêcheur.

265a,b. Franco-African Relations (1)

Beginning with a survey of precolonial kingdoms in Africa and the implantation of Islam, the course proceeds to an analysis of European intervention and of the structure of European colonial administration. Various phases of the African independence movement are highlighted: the formation of an African elite, the spread of African nationalisms, Panafricanism, and "Négritude." Finally, we examine French policies in the post-colonial period and the U.S.'s emerging role in African affairs. Mr. Amégan.

267a, 268b. History of Art (1)

This course focuses, each semester, on a different period in the history of French art, with special emphasis on the works of one or several of the major artists of the period, or of one school of art. Class visits to the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Orangerie, the Picasso Museum, or other museums containing works by artists under study are an integral part of the course.

Topic for Fall 2000: Modernism: Approaches to Twentieth-Century Art. This course presents the wide array and the profusion of styles, forms, practices and agendas found in art of the twentieth century. Questions of tradition and modernity are explored in depth. Visits to permanent art collections and galleries allow students to observe and analyze contemporary art work, its presentation, the transformation of space, and new techniques and experiments. Ms. Kraguly.

Topic for Spring 2001: From Object to Work of Art. Our twentieth-century world has become increasingly object-centered, and the proliferation of objects has led to corresponding economic and cultural changes. Many modern artists attempt to break down barriers between life and art and take a dynamic stance vis-à-vis objects, which they lift from their everyday framework in a dynamic of alineation. The course examines several key artistic movements notable for their innovations with objects: Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, New Realism as well as recent works by Manzoni, Broodthaers, Beuys, Raynaud, Lavel, and Oldenburg. Visits to Beaubourg, the Louvre, the Musée Picasso, the Grand Palais, the Jeu de Paume, and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris form an essential part of the program. Ms. Kraguly.

269a. From Notre Dame to IRCAM: A Survey of Musical Culture (1)
in France (1300-2000)

This course attempts to identify the contributions of French composers to the history of Western music by placing their achievements in the context of other disciplines (literature and the applied arts), and in comparison with other cultures. It follows French music from chant and early polyphony in the thirteenth century through the birth and development of French opera and revolutionary songs, and explores the relationship between music and symbolist poetry, and French drama and music in the twentieth century. Lectures are accompanied by audio and visual aids and field trips to conservatories, libraries, opera houses, salons and concert halls. Mr. Memed.

272a or b. Writing Workshop (1/2)

This half-credit course is required of all students. Those attending the Vassar-Wesleyan Program for the full year take the workshop during the first semester only. The course prepares students to write papers for their classes. It covers common problems encountered in writing French and introduces students to the organization and style of written assignments in France. Students meet individually with a tutor once a week for an additional half-hour.

273a, 274b. Special Topics: University of Paris (1)

Students in the Paris Program have the opportunity to enroll in French university courses under the supervision of the resident director and receive Vassar credit.

275a, b. Internship (2)

Internship in a French governmental, civic or volunteer organization through cooperation with the Internships in Francophone Europe program. Special application procedure.