Courses Offered: Spring 2018

FREN 150 Je suis Charlie: in English
This course will examine the causes, occurrence, aftermath, and competing interpretations of the January 2015 attacks in Paris involving the murder of members of the editorial staff of the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in apparent retaliation for the publication’s portrayal of Islam and the Prophet Mohammed in a series of irreverent cartoons and articles. Included among the themes to be considered from a variety of perspectives are French traditions of satire, free speech & censorship, republican secularism (laïcité), Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, immigration, and the social exclusion of minority groups.
French 303 Popular Activism in Contemporary France

Instructor: Antoine Constantin Caille
MW   3:30 - 4:50 p.m.

In the last few years, in Metropolitan France and other parts of the Francophone world, different forms of activism are on the rise. Through specific examples of gatherings, party formations, web publications, socially committed radio and TV shows, newspapers, films, festivals, cooperatives, associations, and intellectual criticism, we will cover a large spectrum of social movements and initiatives. We will work towards a better understanding of those various forms of expression by reading articles and excerpts of books, watching films and videos, writing short commentaries, answering small questionnaires, discussing themes, motives and social contexts. The general goal of this class is to broaden our knowledge of cultural events and deepen our understanding of current social issues in France and the Francophone world.

French 303 is a seminar open to advanced freshmen or older students who have not yet taken French 305. It is meant to develop students’ analytical and linguistic skills through intensive discussion. This course does not include any explicit grammatical review. 


French 304 French Phonetics and Diction

Instructor: Katherine Kulick
TR     8 - 9:20 a.m.

Prerequisites: French 210 or French 212.

French 304 can be taken before or after French 305, 314, 315, etc.

This course is designed especially for students who would like to improve their pronunciation in French, but have not yet spent a semester/year in a Francophone setting. Students will gain a better understanding of the French sound system in order to improve their accent in French. The course begins with an individual diagnostic evaluation of each student’s pronunciation in French. Students learn phonetic transcription, work to improve their accent through a variety of assignments, including poetry for performance & gain an overview of French language variations within France (regional & socio-linguistic), as well as French spoken in other parts of the Francophone world.

French 305 The Craft of Writing

Instructor: Brett Brehm
TR     12:30 - 1:50 p.m.

French 314 Introduction to French Cultural Studies

Instructor: Déborah Lee-Ferrand
TR     2 - 3:20 p.m. 

French 315 Provocative Texts: French and Francophone Literature in Context

Instructor: Giulia Pacini
TR     11 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

What can literature do? What has French literature done? This course will test the powers of fiction by studying provocative masterpieces of French & Francophone literature. We will consider the roles literature has played in the emergence of the individual subject and the development of discourses of rights. We will also trace a history of reading, writing, and publication practices from the early modern period to the present. Topics of discussion will therefore include: theories and practices of writing and authority; different forms censorship; the history of intellectual property; the process of canon formation. 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 have 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.

FREN 332 Scandalous Women

Instructor: Giulia Pacini
TR     12:30 - 1:50 p.m.
This course will examine representations of outrageous women in early modern French fiction. We will complement this study with an analysis of brief political texts, contemporary paintings, and caricatures in order to trace a history of women's lives, and to understand contemporary debates about proper behavior; the relative importance of nature and culture in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century discourse; and the gendering of the public sphere. Why was Marie Antoinette the Queen of all scandals?


French 392 Creative Writing


Instructor: Nathan Rabalais
MW   3:30 - 4:50 p.m.
How do you find your "voice" as a writer? Participants will develop their creative writing skills in a variety of forms and genres including poetry and short stories. We will also explore slam poetry and other literary movements in the francophone world. Course taught in French.

French 394 / COLL 200   Heroes

Instructor: Nathan Rabalais
MW 2 - 3:20 p.m.

Course taught in English. This course challenges students to question conventional perceptions of what constitutes a hero from a variety of disciplinary approaches and multiple viewpoints. Participants will study the social processes and justifications of creating heroes, whether they are rooted in history, myth or propaganda. Moreover, the fragile and sometimes illusory border between “hero” and “outlaw” will be examined in a wide array of temporal and cultural contexts including folklore, urban legend, literature, cinema, and current events. Students will question preconceived notions of heroic identity using a theoretical framework including foundational works by Joseph Campbell and Eric Hobsbawm, as well as more recent texts by Carl Lindahl and Graham Seal.

French 450 Senior seminar: Bohemians to Avant-Gardes 

Instructor: Brett Brehm
TR   11 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.

In this course, we will explore the bohemian artistic imagination in French society across representations in different media (particularly in painting, literature, music, opera, dance, and film). From the origins of the distinctive bohemian artistic culture that flourished in nineteenth-century France, to its legacy in avant-garde movements such as Dada and Surrealism, to contemporary manifestations and resonances of that bohemian legacy today, we will chart the shifting cultural, social, and aesthetic dimensions of Bohemia. Some key figures considered in the course include Arthur Rimbaud, Nina de Villard, Vincent Van Gogh, Erik Satie, Joyce Mansour, Django Reinhardt, and Agnès Varda.