To become a French Studies major all students must have completed the Intermediate level of study or its equivalent. The usual entry course is FRS 301-302 (Advanced French: Composition and Advanced French: Conversation). It may at times be more appropriate for a student to enter directly into FRS 303-304, the Introduction to French Literature sequence. A member of the French faculty can advise you as to the best course with which to begin your major studies.
A total of eight courses at the 300 or 400 level in French are required to complete the major. Students are strongly encouraged, however, to continue to take courses in the language throughout the period up to graduation. Students may also occasionally take a French course offered in English translation for major credit if s/he does all written work in French.
All majors are required to complete a semester of overseas study in a French-speaking country. A summer program of appropriate length and content may be substituted. Majors are strongly encouraged to study abroad for a full year. The French program includes the courses listed below. These are offered, however, on a rotating basis, usually with no more than two 400-level courses being offered in any given semester. If you have an interest in or need for a particular course, you might want to discuss that with a member of the French faculty. While we cannot guarantee that any one course will be available when you would like it, we do take student input into account as we plan semester schedules. FRS 303/304 (Introduction to French Literature) or permission of the instructor are required to be admitted into any 400-level course in French.
All majors must complete a project during their senior year. Students have several options to fulfill this requirement. They may take comprehensive examinations, consisting of both written and oral sections. Those students with a GPA in the major of at least 3.4 or with permission of the departmental faculty may choose to do a thesis on a literary or cultural topic or a translation of a work into English with an introductory essay written in French. Performances or exhibits with appropriate written documentation, as well as pedagogical or computer-related projects may also be considered in consultation with the faculty.
French Studies Alumni Career Panel Highlights
Alana Wase ‘06:
101, 102. Elementary French
Designed for beginning students and aimed at developing skill in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in French. Emphasis on communication through intensive aural/oral practice and awareness of cultural context. Three class meetings and one or two laboratory sessions per week at the discretion of the instructor.
201, 202. Intermediate French
Continued emphasis on the four basic skills. Intensive aural/oral practice. Review of grammar, expansion of vocabulary, and their application in writing. Development of effective reading strategies in response to both expository and literary texts. Familiarization of the student with French life and the francophone world. Three class meetings and one laboratory session per week. Prerequisite: French 102, appropriate placement score, or permission of the instructor.
301, 302. Advanced French
A sequence designed to deepen the student’s skills reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Journalistic, cultural, and literary readings about contemporary French life serve to develop the student’s ability to analyze texts and to write clearly and persuasively in varied forms, such as the résumé, analysis, commentary, description, and short narrative. Class discussion aims at stimulating fluent and spontaneous use of spoken French. The course includes instruction in phonetics as a guide to correct pronunciation as well as multimedia cultural activities intended to improve the student’s linguistic and cultural knowledge. The course prepares the student for upper-level literature and civilization courses and for study abroad in a Francophone country.
303, 304. Introduction to French and Francophone Literature and Culture
A course designed to help students answer the questions, “How does one talk and write about literature?” and “What does it mean to read and give a reading to a text?” An exploration of selected works representing different genres both in relation to other literary movements and their historical contexts. Prerequisite: French 301 or 302 or permission of the instructor.
311. Contemporary France
Taught in English, this course provides an introductory historical and cultural study of contemporary France. Students will be provided tools for cultural interpretation via critical texts and the analysis of French films and their American remakes; they will then apply them to the cultural history of France. We will explore the impact of World War II, of the student protests of May ‘68, and of women’s emancipation movements. We will examine France’s position in the world—its past as a colonizing nation, its present post-colonial actions, and its multicultural identity enriched by different waves of immigration. We will study the political and economic roles of women, their place in the family, health concerns, and struggles for autonomy through works by women. This course counts toward the French major and minor if the journal entries, mid-term exam, and final paper are written in French.
312. The Contemporary Francophone World
Taught in English, this course provides an introductory historical and cultural study of the contemporary Francophone world. Designed as a survey of the non-European Francophone world, the course will offer for study both literary and cultural documents from the Caribbean, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Canada. Initially they will be provided tools for cultural interpretation via critical texts, media analysis (including print and internet sources) and the analysis of Francophone films; they will then apply them to the cultural history of the Francophone world. We will explore French colonization, the process of decolonization, and subsequent independence movements. We will examine social, political, and economic roles of both women and men, changing gender roles, and contemporary divisions of labor. Finally, we will reflect on the political, historical, and socio-cultural situations of post-colonial Francophone nations.
411. Love in the Middle Ages
An investigation of the various modes of representation used to define love during the Middle Ages in France. Readings will include Ovid, Andreas Capellanus, the troubadours, Chretien de Troyes, Marie de France, and the letters of Heloise and Abelard. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
412. The Renaissance in France
Reading and discussion of works exemplifying the literary achievement of sixteenth-century France and its relation to the spread of printing, voyages of exploration, the rise of Humanism, the Reformation, and the Wars of Religion. Readings include works by Marot, Rabelais, Scève, Louise Labé, du Bellay, Ronsard, Marguerite de Navarre, and Montaigne. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
413. The “Grand Siècle”
A study of representative works of the “grand siècle,” in which France achieved cultural ascendancy in Europe. Exploration of the development of classicism and its relation to the emergence of a centralized, autocratic régime. Readings will include dramatic works by Corneille, Racine, and Molière and selected non-dramatic writings: the poetry of La Fontaine, Madame de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves, and selected writings of Descartes, Pascal, and La Bruyère. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
414. Les Lumières
A study of letters and the history of ideas from the Regency to the Revolution, with emphasis on the philosophers’ use of literature as a weapon to further their rationalistic, humanitarian ideas. The Pre-Romantic reaction to the Age of Reason as manifested in writing and painting. Readings include works by Prévost, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Beau-marchais, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, and de Staëul. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
415. Nineteenth-Century France: Romantics, Realists, Symbolists
An exploration of the nature of the different grands récits that shape this century and of how they relate to problems of colonialism, aestheticism, industrialization, class structures, feminism, publishing, and criticism. Examines as well the effects of the crise du roman. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
416. French and Francophone Poetry
An examination of major trends in French poetry from Romanticism to the present, this course is designed to increase the student’s awareness of and appreciation for poetry by close reading and explication in class of representative poems. Special attention will be paid to poetic forms and devices. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
417. Twentieth Century Evolutions and Revolutions: 1900-1945
Evolutions and revolutions in French literature in their necessary relation to other artistic, social, philosophical, and psychoanalytical developments, criticism, the impact of the two World Wars and the interwar period. Emphasis on narrative and genre. Readings will include works by Apollinaire, Barthes, Colette, Proust, Sartre, and Surrealist writers. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
418. Post-World War II France
What are the voices of the post-war period, feminism, and anticolonialism? What is the nature of identity and nationalism? What was the impact of the Algerian War and Mai ‘68? What is the nouveau roman? Who are some of the critics that have helped shape the visions of this century? Readings will be drawn from works by Beauvoir, Beckett, Césaire, Cixous, Duras, Fanon, Foucault, Ionesco, and Robbe-Grillet. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
419. Studies in Francophone Literature and Culture
This course will present the student with a number of aesthetic, cultural, historical, and political issues relevant to francophone literature. The particular national or regional focus will vary. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor.
451, 452. Senior Reading
The intensive study of an author or literary genre. Open to seniors; others by permission.
194, 294, 394, 494. Special Topics in French Studies
The intensive study of a selected author, movement, genre, or theme. Prerequisite: French 303, 304 or permission of the instructor for 394 and 494.
190, 290, 390, 490. Internship
195, 295, 395, 495. On-campus Research
196, 296, 396, 496. Off-campus Research
197, 297, 397, 497. Independent Study.
SCE. Senior Capstone Experiencein French Studies
The senior capstone seminar is required for graduation and is devoted to the completion of a thesis or other project or to preparation for a comprehensive examination in the field of French Studies. Senior French Studies majors register for this course in the last semester in which they have full-time status at the College. While much of the work is done by each student independently in consultation with a faculty advisor, there are occasional group meetings in which those students writing theses or developing other projects report on the progress of their work and in which students preparing for the comprehensive examination discuss the texts and other materials they are studying. All students will give a formal oral presentation in the target language before their peers and the faculty at the end of the seminar. Thesis students will present their research. Students who are taking the comprehensive examination will choose a topic for their presentation in consultation with the faculty advisor. The Senior capstone Experiencewill be graded Pass, Fail or Honors.