Course Offerings for Spring 2014 


If you are currently in French 202 or 206, take French 210 or 212 next.
If you are currently in French 210 or 212, take French 303, 304, 305, or 306 next. If you don't feel ready to move up, you can take French 212 or 210.
If your most recent course was French 290, take 304, 305, or 306 next.

If you are currently in French 303, take 304, 305, or 306 next.

If you are currently in French 305, take French 304, 306, 314 or 315 next. You should not take any more 200-level courses.
After you have taken 314 or 315, you may take any course above 305 in any order, regardless of specific course numbers. IMPORTANT: there is no difference in level between, say, 321 and 392.

The senior seminar French 450 is usually only offered in the spring. And yes: you may take a 300-level course after having taken 450.

Here follow course descriptions for this spring's topics courses (please consult the W&M course catalog for all other descriptions):


Prof. Kulick

This course is designed especially for students who would like to improve their pronunciation in French, but have not yet had the opportunity to spend a semester or year in a Francophone country.  The course is both theoretical and practical.  Topics include: articulatory phonetics (the vowel and consonant systems in French) and suprasegmental features of French (intonation, stress patterns, liaisons, etc).  Time permitting:  regional and socio-economic language variations within France.   Prerequisites:  FREN 210,  or FREN  212, or FREN  303

Prof. Pacini

What can literature do? What has French literature done? This course will trace a history of reading, writing, and publication practices from the early modern period to the present. Topics of discussion will include: theories and practices of writing and authority; different forms censorship; the history of intellectual property; the process of canon formation; the many functions of literature. In other words, rather than doing a traditional survey of French literature (which might focus on texts’ most important themes, formal traits, genres, and genealogies of influence), we will examine the material, social, legal, economic, and ideological forces that shaped and often destabilized France’s literary culture, while also raising questions about the ways in which this literature and specific reading, writing, and publication practices affected individuals and society as a whole. Course taught exclusively in French.


Prof. Pacini

This seminar will examine the staging of power at Versailles under Louis XIV. We will trace a political, economic, social, and cultural history of the Sun King’s reign, and analyze the mythical dimensions of his “Grand Siècle.” Topics of discussion will include: reason of state, divine-right kingship, and justifications of absolutism, as well as theories of power, performance, and representation, as expressed in the construction of the palace and gardens at Versailles, and through the fêtes and diplomatic tours that took place in these spaces. Readings will include excerpts from political documents and memoirs of this period, as well as contemporary fables, fairy tales, and plays by Molière and Corneille. Course taught in French.


Prof. Fauvel

Quelles sont les stratégies littéraires et cinématographiques adoptées par des femmes francophones pour surmonter les préjugés sexuels et les stéréotypes sur les femmes ? Nous analyserons une variété de textes littéraires et de films du XXe et du XXIe siècle pour y expliquer des discours féministes, le concept d’écriture féminine, la poétique du silence et de la révolte, le bouleversement de codes, etc.

Films de Raja Amari, Moufida Tlatli, Benguigui, Varda, Rouan, Sciamma et romans et textes théoriques par Cixous, Kristeva, Duras, Ernaux, Sebbar entre autres. En français. 


Prof. Compan

The island has figured into western fantasies and fears of both paradise and isolation. The island is also a space that fosters the identity and writing of its native inhabitants. In this course we will consider the role the island plays as myth, trope, ideal, problem, literary inspiration, and geographic reality in the creation of francophone literature and culture. We will examine novels, plays, poems, short stories, songs, and movies that reflect upon the role of the island in the formation of Caribbean and Indian Ocean Identities.  Thematic questions we will consider include: How do island natives write the space of the island and write themselves within that space? How does the island get transfigured from a colonial space to a space of resistance through the medium of francophone literature?


Prof. St.Clair

The human body seems at first glance like a simple thing. On closer inspection, the body reveals itself to be a crucial location where what it means to be a subject is articulated and complicated; where our links to the world and to others, and to our own unavoidable otherness (our age, our class, our gender, our ethnicity, our vulnerability and finitude) are situated. This senior seminar proposes a critical study of theories and representations of the body in the poetry, prose, and visual texts of late nineteenth-century France – that is, an era of crises and revolutions, of the death of God and the birth of biopower, when the corps comes to the fore– in order to think about the sorts of claims we can make about (our) lazy, laboring, impoverished, suffering, criminal, intoxicated, monstrous, revolting and revolutionary bodies and the sorts of claims they make upon us.

Readings from poetry, visual texts, prose, from Romanticism to the Decadent movement include:  Rimbaud, Verlaine, Baudelaire; excerpts of Victor Hugo, Gustave Flaubert; shorts stories and a novel by Balzac, Zola, Rachilde, and Maupassant. Visual texts: Manet, Courbet, Caillebotte, political caricature circa 1793-1871. Critical readings from Marx, Freud, Judith Butler, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Giorgio Agamben, Michel Foucault, Jacques Rancière, Peter Brooks, Michelle Perrot, Alain Corbin, Jean-Luc Nancy.


Prof. M. Leruth

This course will focus on four areas. First, it will examine different faith communities in France today and their impact on public and private identities. Second, it will consider how these communities and the broader highly secularized society relate to the principle of laïcité, which is not only the French concept of the separation of Church and State but is core belief of a faith tradition in its own right: la foi républicaine. Third, it will look at some of the new ways in which spirituality is being expressed in French culture. Fourth, it will introduce students to what some of France’s most original contemporary thinkers have been writing about religion and belief. Examples may include Michel de Certeau, Jean-Luc Marion, Jean-Luc Nancy, René Girard, Marcel Gauchet, Régis Debray, and Danièle Hervieu-Léger. The course will use articles from the French press, scholarly texts, online materials, and a number of French films. Taught in French.