French and Francophone Studies 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 (VWPP). Majors in French and Francophone Studies are encouraged 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 and for whom study in Paris is advisable are accepted, within the regulations of their respective departments and the Office of the Dean of Studies. 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.

All courses are conducted in French except FREN 186, unless otherwise indicated.

Programs

Major

Correlate Sequence in French and Francophone Studies

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.

French and Francophone Studies: I. Introductory

105a. 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.

Yearlong course 105-FREN 106.

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

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. Students should go on to FREN 205 after successful completion of 106.

Yearlong course FREN 105-106.

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

109b. Basic French Review (1)

For students who have had some French but who are not yet ready for an intermediate course. 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. Placement test required. Students must successfully complete the proficiency exam at the end of the semester in order to satisfy the foreign language requirement with this course.

Not offered in 2014/15.

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

186a. Meeting Places: Bars, Streets, Cafés (1)

"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine." This bitter observation, made by the owner of "Rick's Café" in the 1942 American-made film Casablanca, is often misquoted as, "she had to walk into mine." Indeed, the unexpected encounter with a past acquaintance or stranger is a necessary catalyst that sets in motion the plot of many a novel or film. This course looks at literary or cinematic chance meetings that occur in three kinds of locales: the bar, the street, and the café. While studying bars, streets, or cafés as narrative meeting places, we simultaneously consider France's relation to the larger "place," or geographical region, in which each story of a chance meeting unfolds. After viewing Michael Curtiz's film Casablanca, set in French-occupied Morocco, our explorations take us to the city of Paris in André Breton's Nadja, to Amsterdam in Albert Camus' The Fall, to French Indochina in Marguerite Duras' The Lover, and then back to France with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain. Finally, we return to the film Casablanca, better equipped to understand why, if all roads lead to Casablanca, then all roads in Casablanca "must" lead to Rick's Café. The course is taught in English. All works are read in translation. Ms. Hart.

Open only to Freshmen. Satisfies the college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Two 75-minute periods.

French and Francophone Studies: II. Intermediate

The intermediate level comprises a third-semester level (FREN 205), a fourth-semester level (FREN 206), a fifth-semester level (FREN 210), and a sixth-semester level (200-level courses numbered above 210). Prerequisite for all sixth-semester courses: completion of FREN 210 or the equivalent. Students desiring an introduction to the study of literature and culture may begin by electing FREN 212. Rotating topics courses may be taken more than once.

205a. Intermediate French I (1)

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

Prerequisite: FREN 105-FREN 106, or permission of the instructor. Not open to students who have taken a course at or above the FREN 206 level.

Enrollment limited by class. Placement test required.

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.

Prerequisite: FREN 205 or permission of the instructor. Not open to students who have taken a course at or above the FREN 210 level.

Enrollment limited by class. Placement test required.

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

210a and b. The Francophone World Through Text, Sound, and Image (1)

Introduction to the Francophone world and to basic modes of interpretation and analysis through the study and discussion of short texts (print or online magazine or newspaper articles, short stories, essays), films, and other visual or recorded media. The course includes a grammar workshop, vocabulary building, essay writing, image analysis, and "explication de texte." Review and expansion of more complex linguistic structures and proficiency skills serve as preparation for upper 200-level courses. The department.

Prerequisite: FREN 206 or equivalent.

Enrollment limited by class. Placement test required.

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

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

Introductory study of French and Francophone literature and cinema through the analysis and discussion of poetry, short fiction, theater, the essay, and film. Biographical information, cultural context, historical background, critical theory, and the evolution of genre are explored. The department.

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or equivalent.

Enrollment limited by class. Placement test required.

228a and b. Tellers and Tales (1)

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

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2014/15.

230a and b. Medieval and Early Modern Times (1)

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

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2014/15.

231a and b. 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: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two-75 minute periods.

232a. 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 2014/15a: Music and Text. From Bizet's opera Carmen, inspired by Prosper Mérimée's nineteenth-century novella, to modern cultural practices including rap, raï, slam, and environmentally focused sound recordings, the course examines literary language in relation to music. How does language "sing," and what does music "say?" If music performs a "socially prescribed task," as musicologist Richard Middleton proposes, then what do various combinations of music and language suggest about specific moments in French history? We address this question by considering music and literature both separately and together in relation to class, gender, ethnicity, and national identity. Readings include song lyrics, poetry by Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine, a play by Marguerite Duras, and fiction by Germaine de Staël and Jean-Paul Sartre. Required films are Edmond T. Gréville's Princesse Tam-Tam, Jaco van Dormael's Toto le héros, and Christophe Barratier's Les choristes. Ms. Hart.

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

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. Ms. Celerier.

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

240a and b. Grammar and Composition (1)

A course designed to improve written expression through the study and practice of various forms of writing, readings, and oral practice as well as an in-depth study of major aspects of French grammar. Mr. Swamy (a), Mr. Reyes (b).

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

241a and b. 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: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2014/15.

242a and b. Studies in Genre I (1)

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

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

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

243a and b. Studies in Genre II (1)

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

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Not offered in 2014/15.

Two 75-minute periods.

244b. French Cinema (1)

Topic for 2014/2015b: At the Turn of the Millennium: France and Film. The last few decades of the twentieth century ushered in many changes in the very fabric of French society. Focusing on films made in the last two decades, this course examines the various concerns of French society and its relationship with emerging "postcolonial" culture(s). By examining the representation of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race in these films, this course highlights the different processes by which the so-called "French" identity is constructed and can be (and is being) deconstructed. Mr. Swamy.

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods, plus evening film screenings.

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

(Same as AFRS 246) Topic for 2014/15b: What Does Comic Art Say? African comic art comes in a variety of styles, languages, and formats. From the comic strip, found in newspapers and magazines, to developmental and political cartoons, it interfaces with journalism, painting, advertising, television, film and music. Having placed comic art in its theoretical context, we analyze the production of francophone 'bédéistes' (cartoonists) from and on Africa, such as Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie's Aya de Yopougon, Edimo-Simon-Pierre Mbumbo's Malamine, un Africain à Paris, Pahé's La vie de Pahé, Serge Diantantu's Simon Kimbangu, Arnaud Floc'h's La compagnie des cochons and Stassen Les Enfants. We also examine how cartoon characters such as Camphy Combo and Gorgooloo, respectively in Gbich! and Le Cafard Libéré, represent the complexities of francophone African urban society at the turn of the century. Ms. Célérier.

Prerequisite: FREN 210 or FREN 212 or the equivalent.

Two 75-minute periods.

290b. Field Work (1/2to1)

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2to1)

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

French and Francophone Studies: III. Advanced

Prerequisite for all advanced courses: 1 unit of 200-level work above FREN 210 or FREN 212, or Study Abroad in France or in a French-speaking country, or by permission of the department. Open to freshman and sophomores only by permission of the instructor. Rotating topics courses may be taken more than once.

300a and b. Senior Thesis (1)

Open only to majors. The department.

Permission required.

301a or b. Senior Translation (1/2or1)

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

302a. Senior Project (1/2)

Senior Thesis Preparation. Course to be taken in conjunction with FREN 303. Only open to majors.

303b. Senior Project (1/2)

Senior Thesis. To be taken upon successful completion of FREN 302. Open only to majors.

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

Topic for 2014/15b: Sugar, Slaves, and the French Atlantic. This seminar explores the tension between purity and "mixture" in the French imagination, and inquires into how the evolution of this relationship led to successive framings of French colonies, slaves and the goods they produced. From pre-Revolutionary France, where this dialectic was at the center of a nexus of sugar, slavery, and empire, to the Enlightenment and an ever-greater ambivalence towards slavery, we explore the ethical problematics set in motion by French colonization and trade practices. By investigating paradigms as diverse as luxury, libertinage and monstrosity, we discover a literary culture grappling with material desires and fears of mixing. We crisscross the Atlantic with readings of texts from both metropolitan France and the new world, in particular, Haiti and Louisiana, where we find new literary and cultural iterations of this dialectic in the Creole language, métissage and material as mixed as Haitian vaudou and New Orleans gumbo. Authors include Descartes, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Claire de Duras, Doin, de Staël, paired with activists and ethnographers such as Toussaint Louverture and Charles-César Robin. Mr. Parker.

One 2-hour period.

348a. Modernism and its Discontents (1)

Topic for 2014/15a: Modern Masterpieces. The course focuses on literary and artistic output in the twentieth century, taking Paris as its point of departure. We study a selection of works commonly viewed as masterpieces, and consider the evolution of a category both revered and repudiated as a window on the turbulent transformations of life and art during the period. Authors may include: Proust, Gide, Colette, Césaire, Camus, Sartre, Becket, Duras. Mr. Andrews.

One 2-hour period.

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

Not offered in 2014/15.

366a. Francophone Literature and Cultures (1)

Topic for 2014/15a: Education and Ideology in (Post)colonial Francophone Contexts. In this seminar, the theme of education in its various forms -- indigenous, colonial, republican, postcolonial, formal, informal -- serves as a focal point around which we can develop a discussion of the complex rapport that numerous cultures have built with the French language. In examining presentations of different modes in which children and young adults are nurtured in (post)colonial Francophone contexts, the course elaborates on the intricate relationship between ideology (colonial or other), culture (French/Francophone) and the nation. Mr. Swamy.

One 2-hour period.

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. Kerr

378a. Black Paris (1)

(Same as AFRS 378 and ENGL 378) This multidisciplinary course examines black cultural productions in Paris from the first Conference of Negro-African writers and artists in 1956 to the present. While considered a haven by African American artists, Paris, the metropolitan center of the French empire, was a more complex location for African and Afro-Caribbean intellectuals and artists. Yet, the city provided a key space for the development and negotiation of a black diasporic consciousness. This course examines the tensions born from expatriation and exile, and the ways they complicate understandings of racial, national and transnational identities. Using literature, film, music, and new media, we explore topics ranging from modernism, jazz, Négritude, Pan-Africanism, and the Présence Africaine group, to assess the meanings of blackness and race in contemporary Paris. Works by James Baldwin, Aime Césaire, Chester Himes, Claude McKay, the Nardal sisters, Richard Wright. Ousmane Sembène, Mongo Beti, among others, are studied. Ms. Célérier and Ms. Dunbar.

Not offered in 2014/15.

One 2-hour period.

380b. Special Seminar (1)

Topic for 2014/15b: Je me souviens: Imagining Québécois Nationalism in the 21st Century. This course analyzes multiple strands of contemporary Québécois nationalisms as they are represented and imagined in juridical, political, and cultural texts. We will examine the platforms of current-day political parties interested in separation from Canada, and revisit larger policy debates regarding the place of the French-language, immigrants, and religious accommodations in Québec as they played out in recent, province-wide controversies surrounding the use of the word "pasta" on a restaurant menu, a turban on a soccer field, and the place of Muslim women's headscarves among Québécois civil servants. In our analysis of the contested space of national identity we will draw upon important cultural representations of Québec from filmmakers such as Claude Jutra (Mon oncle Antoine) and Denys Arcand (Les invasions barbares); musicians from Gilles Vigneault (variété québécoise) to Loco Locass (contemporary hip-hop) and Les Cowboys Fringants (rock québécois); and literary works from Gaston Miron, Dany Laferrière and others. After completing this course, students will have acquired a solid foundation for contextualizing other cultural and political expressions of Québécois nationalism and will have acquired a nuanced, theoretical vocabulary for discussing the state of nationalism in the twenty-first century more broadly. No prior knowledge of Québec is assumed. Course conducted in French. Mr. Reyes.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2to1)

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