The Honors Program provides qualified students the opportunity to complete a two-semester, six-credit research project under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Each Honors project culminates in a thesis and oral defense.
Completing an Honors project can be one of the most academically rewarding experiences of your undergraduate career. You can learn more about Honors projects if you visit the Charles Center's website.
An Honors Thesis in French and Francophone Studies offers the superior student an opportunity to work independently, to acquire knowledge in depth of a specific subject, to carry through to completion a substantial piece of research in literary and/or cultural studies or in linguistics, and to acquire a sense of scholarly discipline . The Honors essay should exhibit the candidate's knowledge of the subject, and scholarly and critical judgment. It should not merely collect and present the conclusions of others, but should also show that the student grasped and explored the subject independently and has independent conclusions about it.
The research for an honors thesis should start ideally in the summer preceding the senior year :
possibilities of scholarships through the Charles Center for the summer (i.e. "Batten scholarships" for example)
students could be expected to come back in September with a paper which could be part of a chapter/or with a bibliography. The student has then developed a better idea of what s/he wants to do. With a paper in hand, the writing process is de-dramatized. To de-dramatize the writing process even more, I compare a thesis with a series of long papers (each chapter could function as a paper with a well-constructed argument).
The work for an honors thesis should correspond to the work of two 3-credit classes in French and Francophone Studies at the 300/400 level, plus independent research to do a bibliography.
The thesis will normally be written in French and should run to a length of about 50 double-spaced pages. Quality rather than quantity is the important criterion.
Students should meet with all three readers during the second semester before turning in the final thesis.
The student must have achieved a 3.0 cumulative quality point average or a 3.0 quality point average for the junior year alone. A 3.3 QPA in French and Francophone Studies is also required.
The proposal must be made in the spring preceding the senior year.
Examining committee: 3 people, 2 from the French and Francophone Studies section and one outside reader. In the event of co-directorship, the committee could include another colleague in French and Francophone Studies.
If the thesis is unacceptable, the committee always has the possibility of calling off the defense, or at least of preparing the student for a final result less than honors.
- How did the student come up with the topic ?
- How did s/he conduct his/her research ?
- Ask the student to present the main thesis, and to defend the arguments.
- What could be changed if s/he could work further on the topic ?
- What makes this thesis a work in literature/cultural studies/linguistics/history ?
- How did the student select the books with which s/he worked ?
- Check the student's familiarity with contemporary discussions on the topic and familiarity with methods and resources in literary research/or research in linguistics, cultural studies, etc
- Honors: clear, well structured argument, awareness of relevant scholarship, acceptable/good written expression, demonstration of independence of thought
- High Honors: depth of scholarship, student worked independently, ability to follow through an argument, clarity of presentation that surpasses the requirement for Honors
- Highest Honors: original and exceptional
When a student is awarded honors or above, an A is awarded for FR 495 and FR 496.
- Unsuccessful Honors Thesis: the grade for FR 495 or FR 496 COULD be an A IF the student made all meetings with the director, turned in work in a timely manner.
Here are some recent honors projects in French and Francophone Studies:
Emily Eyestone, "Blurred Lines: Exploring (Musical) Subjectivity in Debussy and Verlaine" (Highest Honors)
Robert St. Clair + Sergio Ferrarese, Charles Palermo, and Brian Hulse
Elena Santini, "The Scandal and Allure of Otherness" (Highest Honors)
Robert St. Clair + Magali Compan, James Armstrong
- Daniel Hodges, "The French in Congo/Zaire: a History of Convoitise" (High Honors)
- Michael Leruth + Nicolas Médevielle, John Froitzheim
- Bridget Carr, "Franco-Senegalese Relations through the Lens of Development Aid (1895-2012)." (Highest Honors)
- Nicolas Médevielle + Michael Leruth, Dennis Smith
- Stephanie Kumah, "Le Front oublié: une analyse de la représentation de la guerre par l'auteur francophone." (High Honors)
- Magali Compan + Robert St Clair, Jonathan Glasser
- Philippe Halbert, " 'Heretofore Considered Legendary': The Harpy of 1784 and the Making of Monsters in Eighteenth-Century France." (High Honors)
- Giulia Pacini + Nicolas Medevielle, Gail Bossenga
- Macs Smith, "Le Déracinement de l'Utopie: Haussmannization and the Disciplining of the Revolutionary Imagination" (Highest Honors)
- Giulia Pacini + Michael Leruth, Suzanne Rait
- Eve Grice, "What She Said:Gender, Race, and Discourses on Difference at the Cité nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration" (Highest Honors)
- Maryse Fauvel + Nicolas Medevielle, Suzanne Raitt
- Kathryn Hansen, "Dancing for Distinction: Pierre Beauchamps and the Social Dynamics of Seventeenth-Century France" (Honors)
- Giulia Pacini + Margaret McColley, Ronald Schechter
- Giulia Pacini + Margaret McColley, Ronald Schechter
- Laura Frances Wagstaff , "Instrument of Enlightenment: A Cultural History of the Pipe Organ in Pre-Revolutionary Eighteenth-Century France" (High Honors)
- Maryse Fauvel + Michael Leruth, Thomas Payne
- Kelsey Anne Green, "Women Defining Politics: Women and Government in Revolutionary France" (High Honors)
- Giulia Pacini + Michael Leruth, Leisa Meyer
- Kristina Leigh Walton, "Privatized Public Space and the Construction of Bourgeois Identity in the Nineteenth-Century French Shopping Arcade" (High Honors)
- Michael Leruth + Margaret McColley, Ronald Schechter
- Mary Cashell, "Cross-Currents of Culture: Exoticism and Identity in an Occidental Setting" (Honors)
- Ron St. Onge + Margaret McColley, Tim Barnard
- Shannon Daily, "'We are all Americans': French Perceptions of the United States in the Post 9/11 Era" (Honors)
Katherine Spatz, "Logique et Crise Identitaires: Alterité et Identité Dans La Littérature Francophone" (Highest Honors)
- Michael Leruth + Ron St. Onge, Ron Schechter
- Magali Compan + Michael Leruth, Ron Schechter
- Katherine Leach-Kemon, "Prostitutes in Eighteenth-Century France" (High Honors)
- Giulia Pacini + Leisa Meyer