Fall 2022 Courses


Conducted entirely in French

fren 110: elementary and intermediate french I 

Intensive training and practice in all the language skills, with an initial emphasis on listening and speaking. Emphasis on communicative proficiency, self-expression, and cultural insights. Extensive use of audio and video material. 

french 121: intermediate french 

Designed for initiated beginners, this course develops all the language skills with an emphasis on listening and speaking. Activities include role playing, self-expression, and discussion of cultural and literary texts. Emphasis on grammar review and acquisition of vocabulary. Frequent audio and video exercises.

french 125: intensive elementary french 

An accelerated course that covers in one term the material taught in FREN 110 and 120. Practice in all language skills, with emphasis on communicative proficiency. 

french 130:  intermediate and advanced french I 

The first half of a two-term sequence designed to develop students’ proficiency in the four language skill areas. Prepares students for further work in literary, language, and cultural studies, as well as for nonacademic use of French. Oral communication skills, writing practice, vocabulary expansion, and a comprehensive review of fundamental grammatical structures are integrated with the study of short stories, novels, and films. 

french 140: intermediate and advanced french II 

The second half of a two-term sequence designed to develop students’ proficiency in the four language skill areas. Introduction of more complex grammatical structures. Films and other authentic media accompany literary readings from throughout the francophone world, culminating with the reading of a longer novel and in-class presentation of student research projects. 

french 150: advanced language practice 

An advanced language course intended to improve students’ comprehension of spoken and written French as well as their speaking and writing skills. Modern fiction and nonfiction texts familiarize students with idiomatic French. Special attention to grammar review and vocabulary acquisition.


Gateway Courses

fren 160: advanced conversation through culture, film, and media (Lauren Pinzka)

Intensive oral practice designed to further skills in listening comprehension, speaking, and reading through the use of videos, films, fiction, and articles. Emphasis on contemporary French and francophone cultures. Prerequisites: FREN 150, or a satisfactory placement test score, or with permission of the course director. May be taken concurrently with or after FREN 170. Conducted in French.

fren 170:  introduction to the study of literature in french (maryam sanjabi)

Introduction to close reading and analysis of literary texts written in French. Works by authors such as Marie de France, Molière, Balzac, Hugo, Baudelaire, Duras, Proust, and Genet. Conducted in French.

Advanced Language Courses

fren 183: medical french: conversation and culture (léo tertrain)

An advanced language course emphasizing verbal communication and culture.  Designed to foster the acquisition of the linguistic and cultural skills required to evolve within a Francophone medical environment.  Discussions, in-class activities and group projects in simulated professional situations.  Topics such as the hospital, family physicians and nurse practitioners, medicine in Francophone Africa, humanitarian NGOs are explored through a medical textbook, articles, video clips, radio shows, films, documentaries, and excerpts from essays and literary texts.  Conducted in French.

fren 191: translation (Nichole Gleisner)

An introduction to the practice and theory of literary translation, conducted in workshop format. Stress on close reading, with emphasis initially on grammatical structures and vocabulary, subsequently on stylistics and aesthetics. Translation as a means to understand and communicate cultural difference in the case of French, African, Caribbean, and Québécois authors. Texts by Benjamin, Beckett, Borges, Steiner, and others. Conducted in English, readings in French.

General Fields Courses

fren 233: Novels of the Twenty-First Century (morgane cadieu)

Exploration of twenty-first-century novels by Bernheim, Bouraoui, Darrieussecq, Garréta, NDiaye, Modiano, Pireyre, Rolin, and Volodine. Emphasis on new literary movements and genres as well as on literary life (media, prizes, publishing houses, literary quarrels, digitalization). Topics of the novels include: description of urban and rural settings; memory, war, and migrations; queer and postcolonial subjectivities, ecology; global France and world-literature. Students will be invited to select and read a novel of their choice from the Fall 2021 list of new releases.

Special Topics Courses

fren 270: mad poets (thomas connolly)

A lecture course introducing undergraduates to the rich tradition of poetry written in French (and German) during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Each week is devoted to exploring the life and work of a poet whose ways of behaving, creating, and perceiving the world might be described as insane. There is, perhaps, no shortage of mad poets, but those whose life and work provide topics for discussion here include Hölderlin, Nerval, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine, Mallarmé, Lautréamont, Apollinaire, Breton, Artaud, and Celan. Students become familiar with the tools required to read, interpret, understand, and enjoy poetry, and develop an understanding of the poems’ broader literary historical, philosophical, and political significance. Regular references are made to other modes of expression, including painting, photography, film, music, dance, philosophy, theater, and architecture. 

Lectures in English. Sections in English or French. Readings available both in original language and in English translation.

fren 309: Fictions of Consumer Society (morgane cadieu) 

The seminar examines literary and cinematic versions of the consumer society—from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century—by discussing: the aesthetics of everyday life; the representation of stores, supermarkets, and malls in rural and urban settings; consumerism and colonization; mythologies, commodities, and gender norms; labor and waste; and the attention to objects (still life, window displays). Works by Danticat, Ernaux, Houellebecq, NDiaye, Perec, Reza, and Zola. Films by Demy, Godard, Tati, and Varda. Short theoretical excerpts by Baudrillard, Barthes, and Moudileno. No knowledge of French required.

fren 366 Writers and Artists in Paris, 1780–1914(marie-hélène girard)

Ways in which the transformation of Paris shaped the representation of artists who lived and worked in the French capital from the end of the Old Regime until the eve of World War I. The emergence of Paris as a cultural marker; the role played by the image of the bohemian or the artiste maudit. Authors and artists include David, Balzac, Delacroix, Baudelaire, Manet, Mallarmé, impressionist painters, and Picasso.

FREN 481: Racial Republic: African Diasporic Literature and Culture in Postcolonial France (Fadila Habchi)

This is an interdisciplinary seminar on French cultural history from the 1930s to the present. We focus on issues concerning race and gender in the context of colonialism, postcolonialism, and migration. The course investigates how the silencing of colonial history has been made possible culturally and ideologically, and how this silencing has in turn been central to the reorganizing of French culture and society from the period of decolonization to the present. We ask how racial regimes and spaces have been constructed in French colonial discourses and how these constructions have evolved in postcolonial France. We examine postcolonial African diasporic literary writings, films, and other cultural productions that have explored the complex relations between race, colonialism, historical silences, republican universalism, and color-blindness. Topics include the 1931 Colonial Exposition, Black Paris, decolonization, universalism, the Trente Glorieuses, the Paris massacre of 1961, anti-racist movements, the “beur” author, memory, the 2005 riots, and contemporary afro-feminist and decolonial movements.

First-Year Seminar