French and Francophone Studies Department

Professors: Elisabeth Cardonne-Arlyck, Cynthia B. Kerr, Christine RenoaAssociate Professors: Mark Andrews, Patricia Célérierab, Kathleen Hart (Chair), Susan Hiner; Assistant Professor: Vinay SwamybVisiting Assistant Professor: Thomas Parker; Adjunct Instructor: Paul Fenouillet.

All courses are conducted in French except French 183.

Requirements for Concentration: 11 units, including at least 3 units at the 300-level. One of these three seminars should be French 332, 348, 355, 366 or 380. Students may count no more than one Senior Translation (French 301) or Senior Independent (French 399) towards the major. No courses in French elected after the declaration of the major may be taken NRO.

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: Study abroad is the most effective way to achieve linguistic and cultural fluency. Vassar College and Wesleyan University jointly sponsor a program of study in Paris. Majors in French and Francophone Studies are expected to participate in this program for one or two semesters during their junior year. Students electing a correlate sequence in French and Francophone Studies 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 and Francophone Studies 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: Students majoring in other programs may complement their study by electing a correlate sequence in French and Francophone Studies. Those interested in completing a correlate sequence should consult as soon as possible with a member of the department to plan their course of studies.

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. This unit should be French 332, 348, 355, 366, 370 or 380. 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.

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. While enhancing their communicative skills, students acquire knowledge of France and the Francophone world. The department.

Enrollment limited by class.

Open to seniors by permission of the instructor.

Not open to students who have previously studied French.

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

183a. Fashion and Modernity(1)

In this Freshman Seminar we consider the intersection of fashion and modernity in France in a historical and cultural context from the end of the Old Regime to the early twentieth century. While the term fashion often implies surface, frivolity, and deception, in this course we analyze fashion in relation to some of the most important themes of modernity—social mobility, colonialism, industrialization, consumerism, and mass culture, for example—and place the discourses of fashion in a social context. By reading literature in conjunction with a study of historical documents and objects, fashion plates and other illustrations, and classic works of fashion theory, we explore how fashion can be used as a crucial prism through which to understand French culture. The course is taught in English. All works are read in translation. Ms. Hiner.

Open only to Freshmen.

Satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

II. Intermediate

205a. Intermediate French I(1)

Basic grammar and vocabulary acquisition. Oral and written practice using short texts, audiovisual and on-line resources. Enrollment limited by class. The department.

Prerequisite: Two years of French in high school. French 105-106 by permission of the instructor. Not open to students who have taken a course at or above the 206 level.

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

206a and b. Intermediate French II(1)

Emphasis on more complex linguistic structures. Reading, writing, and speaking skills are developed through discussion of cultural and literary texts and use of audiovisual material. The course prepares students linguistically for cultural and literary study at the intermediate level. The department.

Enrollments limited by class.

Prerequisite: French 106, French 205 or three years of French in high school. Not open to students who have taken a course at or above the 212/213 level.

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

Reading French Literature and Film

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 and b. Media and Society(1)

An introductory study of France through current newspapers, magazines, television programs, films and the web. The department.

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

228a. Tellers and Tales(1)

Study of narrative fiction using short stories taken from several periods of French literature.

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

230a. Medieval and Early Modern Times(1)

Studies in French literature, history, and culture from the Medieval to the Classical period.

Topic for 2009/10: The Politics of Seduction. Introduction to the literature and culture of France, with a special focus on woman as subject and object of desire. Readings include Tristan et Iseut, the love poetry of Pierre de Ronsard and Louise Labé, La Princesse de Clèves, a story of illicit passion by France's first prominent female novelist, and classical theater's greatest masterpieces of love and deception authored by Corneille, Racine, and Molière. The course concludes with Denis Diderot's daring and celebrated narrative, La Religieuse, about a young woman's struggle for emancipation in pre-Revolutionary France. Ms. Kerr.

231b. 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.

Topic for 2009/10: Philosophical Fictions. Ever since Plato banished the poets from the Republic for creating fallacious representations of truth, there has been tension between philosophy and literature. This, however, does not mean that the two practices go forever their separate ways. Focusing on the period from the Enlightenment to 1848, this course examines how the French literary imagination provides a litmus test for abstract realities and disconnected "truths," developing philosophical concepts in a fictional context. The ideas we explore include Materialism, Stoicism, Utopianism, Libertinage and the transformations of aesthetic theory in fictional works of authors ranging from Voltaire, Diderot, Laclos and Beaumarchais to Chateaubriand and Stendhal. Analyzing the search for the perfect society, the mechanical force of passions, the beauty of imperfection, the lust of unfaithful lovers, and the unquenchable thirst for glory, we trace in the years immediately leading up to and following the French Revolution how authors explore truths through the optic of fiction. Mr. Parker.

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

[ 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.

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

Not offered in 2009/10.

235a. Contemporary France(1)

This course offers a study of French society as it has been shaped by the major historical and cultural events since WWII. The main themes include Vichy France, de Gaulle's regime, the wars of French decolonization, the Mitterrand years, immigration, and the religious issues facing France today. The course draws on a variety of texts and documents including articles from the press and movies. Mr. Swamy.

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

Study of French Grammar

In-depth study of major aspects of French grammar. Grammar exercises, compositions, and oral practice. Ms. Cardonne-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. Enrollment limited by class. Mr. Andrews.

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

242b. Studies in Genre I(1)

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

Topic for 2009/10: Le Merveilleux. This course examines the fantastic tradition in French short fiction from seventeenth- and eighteenth-century fairy tales to twentieth-century surrealist and magical realist short fiction. From its origins in folklore and fairy tales, the fantastic flourished after the terror of the guillotine, which ushered in a new fascination for the macabre and took on deepening psychological dimensions over the course of the nineteenth century. We investigate further instances of the uncanny in early twentieth-century Surrealist fiction. Finally, in more contemporary literature we contemplate to what extent different cultural contexts and historical moments present unique practices of the literary supernatural. Authors may include: Perrault, Villeneuve, D'Aulnoy, Nodier, Gautier, Dumas, Mérimée, Verne, Villiers, Maupassant, Breton, Depestre. Ms. Hiner.

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

[ 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 2009/10.

[ 244a. French Cinema ](1)

Since WWI, French cinema has defined itself as national: not only as an industry requiring protection, but as a cultural institution bearing French identity. Through the study of individual films ranging from the silent era to the present, we examine the interaction between the French and their cinema in terms of historical circumstances, economic constraints, aesthetic ambitions, and self-representation.

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

Two 75-minute periods plus evening film screenings.

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 246b. French-Speaking Cultures and Literatures of Africa and the Caribbean ](1)

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

Not offered in 2009/10.

287b. Crime Stories in French Cinema(1)

From Louis Feuillade's Les Vampires (1917) to Guillaume Canet's Ne le dis à personne (2008) crime has thrived in French cinema. It governs several overlapping genres, particularly "film policier" and film noir. Both genres are rooted in the French tradition (Feuillade's heroes were masters of crime, "Poetic Realism" in the thirties had many "noir" characteristics), even though they have since been indebted to American crime novels and films. In this course, we focus on the historical development of the French "film policier", with an eye to its connections with Hollywood cinema and an emphasis on contemporary films. We observe how recurrent moral or philosophical dichotomies, such as solidarity and betrayal, control and chance, move the story. We also consider transformations in stock characters (criminal, "flic", femme fatale), as well as in urban or suburban settings, and discuss their connections to political contexts and social changes. Readings in film history, criticism, and aesthetics. No prior knowledge of film is necessary. Ms. Cardonne-Arlyck.

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

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

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

III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 1 unit of 200-level work above French 212 or French 213, or Study Abroad in France or in a French-speaking country, or by permission of the department.

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 2009/10: A Taste of French Terroir from the Renaissance to the Revolution. The uniquely French concept of "terroir" explains how the physiographic properties of the origin of a food or wine can be detected in its taste. Yet, although the French have "tasted the earth" through foods for more than 500 years, the idea remains problematic: some believe terroir to be more myth than science. This seminar queries the intersection between the science and myth of terroir, mapping the latter's evolution from the Renaissance to the French Revolution. Along the way, we discover what terroir can tell us of French political theory, aesthetic appreciation, and an Epicurean philosophical movement subverted but never extinguished by Cartesian dualism. Most of all, just as Proust used the flavors of the Madeleine to travel in time, we learn how the French use the psychogeographics of terroir to revisit forgotten places. Readings include: Virgil, Ronsard, Montaigne, Descartes, Cyrano de Bergerac, Montesquieu, Diderot and Rousseau. Tastings accompany texts as we savor the fine line between science and figments of the French imagination. Mr. Parker.

One 2-hour period.

[ 348b. Modernism and its Discontents ](1)

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2009/10.

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

Topic for 2009/10: Women in the Margins. This seminar explores the roles and identities available to women in nineteenth-century France and the ways in which women challenged the boundaries of those constraints. Through readings of literary and non-literary texts as well as paintings, drawings, caricatures and fashion plates, we consider such institutions and conditions as female education and conduct, marriage, motherhood and fertility, prostitution and its variants, sainthood, crime, rebellion, and creativity. Readings may include texts by authors such as Duras, Balzac, Barbey d'Aurevilly, Maupassant, Goncourt, Rachilde and lesser-known authors of journals, conduct manuals, newspaper articles and travelogues, as well as works of critical theorists and historians. Ms. Hiner.

One 2-hour period.

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

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2009/10.

370b. 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. Mr. Fenouillet.

380a. Special Seminar(1)

Topic for 2009/10: Auters Redux in Contemporary French Cinema. In the 1990s, critics hailed the arrival of new auteurs in French cinema. In this course, we study different trends gathered under this umbrella, as well as some of the filmmakers who may have helped shape these trends (Bresson, Godard, Rivette, Pialat): naturalism in the films of the Dardenne brothers and Laurent Cantet; a reworking of "French" propensity towards witty dialogue and psychological complexity by Arnaud Desplechin, Danièle Dubroux and Abdellatif Kechiche; a privileging of mood and form by Pascale Ferran and Claire Denis; a redefining of the "heritage" film by Patricia Mazuy and Olivier Assayas. Diverse as they may be, theirs films focus on characters at the edge of society, family life, or sanity, thereby summoning ideological or ethical considerations. Readings in film stylistics, auteur theory, and criticism are included. No prior knowledge of film is necessary. Ms. Cardonne-Arlyck.

One 2-hour period and screenings.

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

The program offers courses in French literature and language; cinema; social, political, and intellectual history; theater; art; government; anthropology; economics; psychology; biology; and other courses that are available in French universities during the academic year. These courses are taught both at Reid Hall, the Program headquarters, and at the Universities of Paris IV (several locations including La Sorbonne), Paris VII (Jussieu), Paris XII (Créteil). Courses are subject to change. For information, please consult the
department and its website.

Internships - Experiential Learning

Academic Internship(1/2)

Students serve as language teaching assistants in Parisian primary or secondary schools, or at Paris IX-Dauphine, working with teachers, conducting small conversation groups, or participating in the university language class. Internship involves a final written report. The Academic Internship can also be pursued on a non-credit basis if the student chooses not to do the written report, however it is very important that students be present at all sessions whether they pursue the internship on a credit or non-credit basis.

Other internships(1/2)

A few internships are available outside of the school system depending on availability; volunteering through the Centre du Bénévolat de Paris (meeting with the aged in French hospitals, after-school tutoring in community centers, a variety of tasks with other nonprofit or humanitarian organizations), working with a dance school, publishers, an art gallery, a business analyst and consultant, the World Wildlife Fund, a cheese shop. Internships last approximately 8-10 weeks and involve a final written report.

275b. IFE Internship(2)

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