French Courses - Spring 2021

Language Courses

FRE 1-3 - Elementary French
FRE 21-23 - Intermediate French
See Placement Guide or Catalog Descriptions

Undergraduate Courses

FRE 50 - French Film
Prof. Jeff Fort

FRE 100 - Composition in French
Prof. Toby Warner

Required course for major/minor

The primary goal at this level is to introduce students to the study of literature in French, which consists of two related introductions: to literature written in French and also to the critical study of literature. This is where French class becomes a literature class (i.e., the focus will be on literature and thus its language, but not on the foreignness of the language). Together we will read and discuss a variety of works, including novels, poetry, comics, essays and films. Students will develop interpretative and analytical skills with broad applicability and practice writing in French in a clear and persuasive manner. We will encounter a variety of expository and analytical writing styles, and emphasize organization, correct syntax, and vocabulary building.

Prerequisite: FRE 23 or the permission of the instructor

FRE 128 Topics in French Culture: Decolonization
Prof. Toby Warner

In 1939, over 100 million people (about five percent of all humans then living) were citizens or subjects of the French empire which at that time covered about ten percent of the planet, stretching from the Caribbean across Africa to East and South Asia and the Pacific. By the mid-1960s, a majority of those who had been French imperial subjects were citizens of newly independent nations, while many others were French citizens living in overseas Departments. In this course we will study the history, culture and politics of decolonization in the francophone world. This will include a survey of francophone decolonial thought from the 1930s-60s, as well as forays into literature, film and visual art. While carefully situating each movement and thinker in their historical context(s), we will also strive to understand decolonization as an ongoing struggle and grasp its relevance and urgency in the present.

Prerequisite: FRE 100 or the permission of the instructor
GE credit: AH, WC, WE.

FRE 141 Topics in Literature
Prof. Jeff Fort


Graduate Courses

FRE 201 History of French 
Prof. Eric Russell

This seminar is intended to frame two scholarly moments: one, an exploration of the social history of the French language, especially focusing on the emergence and cohesion of this as an anthropological and epistemological ideation; and two, an unraveling of the socio-cultural forces that served to construct this episteme and to promote this cohesion, frequently at the expense of other language communities and their cultures/practices. We will interrogate how French emerged and came to take its cultural, political, and linguistic form, and how this trajectory can help us understand contemporary issues surrounding language in society, more broadly.

Rather than only concentrate on dates and events in the history of French (we will also do this, if only as a type of baseline), we will interrogate historical pathways and outcomes as intrinsically bound up in extra-linguistic power structures and cultural institutions. The readings of this class reflect our dual objectives: Lodge will serve as a reference and jumping off point for the discussion of historical moments, allowing us to describe language within and across historical moments with appropriate terminology and concepts; Heller & McElhinney will frame our examination and re-examination of how such moments and the forces contributing to them can be critically interrogated and the power structures contributing to them made clearer.

A tertiary, but equally important objective is the development of disciplinary writing practices. All students will be expected to contribute a term paper in which they delimit a question of sociolinguistic historic significance: this requires them to present basic diachronic facts, articulate a critical argument within the scope of the seminar and readings, frame a cogent argument pertaining to the political and social significance of the moment/moments in question, as well as relevant actors and forces, and engage with this in a way that reflects appropriate disciplinary postures. This is intended to give students practical experience with the type of scholarship undertaken in the course, while also providing a chance to hone writing skills and develop solid scholarly habits.

FRE 210 Study/Narrative Fiction
Prof. Julia Simon

This course will use the most important works of Gustave Flaubert as an occasion to work on formalist criticism. Through close readings and analysis of Flaubert’s Trois contes, Madame Bovary and L’éducation sentimentale, we will delve into narratology, structuralism and other varieties of formalist criticism. While the main focus will be form and narrative, we will not neglect historical context as a contributing factor to both the form and content of Flaubert’s masterpieces.

Work for the course will include: 2 presentations of close readings or theoretical texts to the class, 2 short written analyses of texts (3-5 pages) and one more extended and developed close reading (8-10 pages). Preparation for each class session will include both theoretical and literary readings.