French and Francophone Studies (FREN)
The French and Francophone Studies Department sees language as fundamental to the study of literatures and cultures. Committed to helping students attain proficiency in the language sequence (FREN 101-204), the Department strives at all levels to introduce students to the rich and complex endeavors of literary and cultural analysis. Operating study abroad programs in Mali and Paris, we provide opportunities for using and enhancing these skills in situ, broadening horizons while also training students in one of the world’s major languages. Our programs in literary and cultural studies are appropriate for students wishing to do advanced work in French or who hope to use French language or important critical skills in future careers or studies.
Requirements for an Arts and Literature Track
The Arts and Literature Track consists of intensive work in language, and literature, and may include courses in film or other arts. All courses in the Arts and Literature Track are conducted in French.
Sixty-nine credits beyond French 204 including:
1. Core courses: French 309, Beyond Words: The Fine Art of Writing in French, preferably taken in the sophomore or junior year; and Literary and Cultural Studies 245, Introduction to Critical Methods: Structure, Gender, Culture, (usually taken in the junior year)
2. Fifty-four credits in departmental electives. Students should generally begin with courses at the 200-level (French 206, 240, 241, 243, etc.), but at least thirty credits in addition to French 309 must be taken at the 300-level. (400 does not count in this category).
All courses conducted in French on the Paris and Mali programs may be applied to this category, as long as the requisite number of 300-level credits is attained.
3. Integrative Exercise (3 credits): During their senior year students will expand and deepen an essay in French from one of their advanced courses in the major. Normally, but not always, the director for this project will be the professor from that course. This essay may be completed during any term, but must be finished by the end of winter term. In the spring term, students will deliver an oral presentation (in English) of their work.
Requirements for a Cultural Studies Track
The Cultural Studies Track is interdisciplinary in nature: students will take courses in French and Francophone literature and other media, but also in such fields as history, art history, political science, and anthropology. Courses outside the department will generally not be taught in French.
Sixty-nine credits beyond French 204 including the following (please note that any given course will not count in more than one category):
1. Core courses: French 309, Beyond Words: The Fine Art of Writing in French, preferably taken in the sophomore or junior year; and the capstone seminar (normally French 395).
2. Literature and language: At least twenty-four credits in French language or literature, in addition to the core courses, twelve credits of which must be at the 300-level.
3. At least six credits in cultural studies such as: 243, Topics in Cultural Studies; 249/349,the Paris Program Seminar; 250, Mali Program; Film and Society in Mali.
4. At least six credits in history or methodology such as: LCST 245, Introduction to Critical Methods: Structure, Gender Culture, FREN 251, Mali Program: Negotiating the Past: The Challenges of Nation-building in Mali; HIST 237, The Enlightenment; HIST 298, Junior Year History Colloquium
5. Elective courses: 18 credits, in French or in other departments or programs (see pre-approved courses under the concentration in French and Francophone Studies), with director’s approval.
6. The Integrative Exercise (3 credits): During their senior year students will expand and deepen an essay in French from one of their advanced courses in the major. Normally, but not always, the director for this project will be the professor from that course. This essay may be completed during any term, but must be finished by the end of winter term. In the spring, students will deliver an oral presentation (in English) of their work
Concentration: See separate section for French and Francophone Studies Concentration.
Programs Abroad: Participation in a Carleton or in another approved foreign study program is highly recommended for students majoring or concentrating in the above areas. The department operates programs in Paris and in Mali, but non-Carleton programs are available, too. Students interested in study abroad should consult the section on international off-campus programs, and discuss alternatives with faculty in French and with the Director of Off-Campus Studies.
Certificate of Advanced Study in Foreign Language and Literature: In order to receive the Certificate of Advanced Study in French, students must fulfill the general requirements (refer to Academic Regulations) in the following course distribution: 36 credits completed with a grade of C- or better in French beyond 103, including at least two upper-level literature courses (300-395). Although courses for the certificate may be taken on a S/CR/NC basis, "D" or "CR" level work will not be sufficient to satisfy course requirements. No more than 12 credits from non-Carleton off-campus studies programs may be applied toward the certificate.
Language House: Students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language by living in the Language House. The Associate is a native speaker, and students organize and participate in numerous cultural activities in the Language House.
French and Francophone Studies Courses
FREN 101. Elementary French This course introduces the basic structures of the French language and everyday vocabulary in the context of common cultural situations. Students are exposed to all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). Taught five days a week in French. Prerequisite: none (Placement score for students with previous experience in French). 6 cr., ND; NE, FallStaff
FREN 102. Elementary French Building on the material covered in French 101, this course introduces complex sentences and additional verb tenses. Students apply the tools of narration in context through the reading of short literary and cultural texts. The focus of the course is on all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). Taught five days a week in French. Prerequisite: French 101 or placement score. 6 cr., ND; NE, WinterStaff
FREN 103. Intermediate French This course continues the study of complex sentence patterns and reviews basic patterns in greater depth, partly through the discussion of authentic short stories and cultural topics. Throughout the course, students practice all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). Taught five days a week in French. Prerequisite: French 102 or placement score. 6 cr., ND; NE, Fall,SpringStaff
FREN 204. Intermediate French Through discussion of book-length literary and cultural texts (film, etc.), and including in-depth grammar review, this course aims to help students acquire greater skill and confidence in both oral and written expression. Taught three days a week in French. Prerequisite: French 103 or placement score. 6 cr., ND; NE, Fall,WinterStaff
FREN 206. Contemporary Francophone Culture This course focuses on developing students’ skills in French conversation and composition through the discussion of contemporary Francophone culture: current political and social issues, film, and music. Prerequisite: French 204 or the equivalent. 6 cr., ND; NE, IS, WinterC. Keïta
FREN 208. Paris Program: Cultural Themes Focusing on topics of current interest in French society, this course is designed to help students gain ease and proficiency in spoken and written French. While providing some focused work on language skills, emphasis will be placed on cultural issues, often drawing on current events. Work will include regular writing, discussion, and short presentations. Prerequisite: French 204 or equivalent. 6 cr., AL; HI, IS, SpringS. Carpenter
FREN 210. Coffee and News Keep up your French while learning about current issues in France, as well as world issues from a French perspective. Class meets once a week for an hour. Requirements include reading specific sections of leading French newspapers, (Le Monde, Libération, etc.) on the internet, and then meeting once a week to exchange ideas over coffee with a small group of students. Prerequisite: French 204 or permission of the instructor. 2 cr., S/CR/NC, ND; HI, Fall,Winter,SpringC. Keïta
FREN 235. Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean Reading and discussion of literary works, with analysis of social, historical and political issues. Conducted in English. 6 cr., AL, RAD; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 240. The Seven Deadly Sins The Seven Deadly Sins (the source of all vices) captured the medieval western imagination and continue to inspire diverse writers, artists and filmmakers to the present day. From La Fontaine’s fables to the African tales of Amadou Koumba, from Maupassant’s Carmen (and Bizet’s eponymous opera) to Camus’s The Stranger, this course will explore literary and filmic representations of such vices as pride, envy and lust. It will also interrogate the presence and power of these categories in contemporary culture. An introduction to the study of French and Francophone literatures, the course develops students’ skills in analysis and discussion in French. Prerequisite: French 204 or the equivalent. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, FallC. Yandell
FREN 241. Journeys of Self-Discovery What initiates the process of self-discovery? How does one's environment nurture or hinder this journey? What are the repercussions of being introspective? How do new discoveries about the self inform life choices? Such questions will animate this survey course, which proposes to examine a variety of paths towards self-knowledge through the prism of French and Francophone literature, music, and the visual arts. From ravishing fairy tale fugitives and intrepid travelers to lucid prisoners and uprooted exiles, we will explore the richly diverse literary landscape of the French-speaking world with special attention given to developing analytical and communicative skills. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 204 or equivalent. 6 cr., AL, RAD; LA, IS, SpringÉ. Pósfay
FREN 243. Topics in Cultural Studies: Cultural Reading of Food "Tell me what you eat, I will tell you who you are." Brillat-Savarin. Through the thematic lens of food, we will study enduring and variable characteristics of French society and compare it to American and other societies when appropriate. We will analyze various cultural texts and artifacts (fiction, non-fiction, print, film, and objects) from medieval times to the present with a pinch of theory and a dash of statistics. Course may be repeated if the topic is different. Prerequisite: French 204 or equivalent. 6 cr., AL, WR; HI, WR2, IS, QRE, WinterC. Lac
FREN 245. Francophone Literature of Africa and the Caribbean Reading and discussion of literary works, with analysis of social, historical and political issues. Prerequisite: French 204 or equivalent 6 cr., AL, RAD; LA, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 246. Paris Program: Modern French Art Home of some of the finest and best known museums in the world, Paris has long been recognized as a center for artistic activity. In this course students will have the opportunity to study such movements as Impressionism, Expressionism, and Surrealism on site. In-class lectures and discussions will be complemented by guided visits to the unparalleled collections of the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Centre Pompidou, local art galleries, and other appropriate destinations. Special attention will be paid to the program theme. No previous Art History required. Prerequisite: French 204. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, SpringS. Carpenter
FREN 247. Paris Program: France and the European Union Originally an economic alliance, the European Union has developed structures and institutions far surpassing the goals of the original project. This course will examine the tensions between the nation-state and the Union, giving special attention to the entanglement of immigration, religion, and governance. This course will draw on the counterpoint example of Spain. Classes are supplemented by visits to relevant sites and by lectures by local experts. No previous political science coursework required. 6 cr., AL; SI, IS, SpringS. Carpenter
FREN 249. Paris Program: European Identities: Paris and Madrid Paris is a world capital, a crossroads of cultures, races, classes, and languages. This vibrancy is related to France’s central role in the European Union, the evolution of which has produced tremendous changes within its member nations. The transformation of Europe has strained national and regional identities, and this strain can be "read" in various forms of expression, including literature, art, monuments, and public events. Studying the particular cases of Paris and Madrid--a "field trip" to Madrid is planned--students will examine the ways in which France is (re)defining itself within the context of an evolving Europe. Prerequisite: French 204 or equivalent. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, SpringS. Carpenter
FREN 250. Mali Program: Film and Society in Mali This course will concentrate on the dynamics of traditional orality within the art of cinema in Mali. Feature films and documentaries by award-winning filmmakers such as Soulemane Cissé, Cheick Oumar Sissoko, Adama Drabo, Dany Kouyaté, and Abderrahmane Sissako will be screened and analyzed. Discussions with some of these filmmakers will introduce the student to the challenges and success of filmmaking in economically-challenged countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso. 6 cr., AL, RAD; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 251. Mali Program: Negotiating the Past: The Challenges of Nation-building in Mali This course will look at various issues in Malian history (ancient and modern) and the process of political and economic change. A component of this course will be an introduction to conversational Bambara, the lingua franca of Mali. 4 cr., AL, RAD; HI, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 252. Mali Program: Literature and Society in Mali This course will focus on the theme of social change in different genres of Malian literature, from the colonial period to the present. By studying oral and written works by traditional and modern poets, novelists, and playwrights such as Seydou Badian and Massa Makan Diabaté, Moussa Konaté, and Amadou Hampaté Bâ, the student will get an understanding of issues such as education, marriage, and traditional vs. modern political power in contemporary Malian society. Meeting will be arranged with many writers and oral performers. 6 cr., AL, RAD; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 308. France and the African Imagination This course will look at the presence of France and its capital Paris in the imaginary landscape of a number of prominent African writers, filmmakers and musicians such as Bernard Dadié ( Côte d’ Ivorie), Ousmane Sembène (Senegal), Calixthe Béyala (Cameroun), Alain Mabanckou (Congo-Brazzaville), Salif Keïta (Mali) and others. The history of Franco-African relations will be used as a background for our analysis of these works. Conducted in French. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, SpringC. Keïta
FREN 309. Beyond Words: The Fine Art of Writing in French In this course we analyze and use the many linguistic and rhetorical devices the French language offers us. To do so, we study, translate and emulate various types of texts and develop our sense of style in French. In order to contextualize language use, we work on functional projects, which may include subtitling of films, translating picture books, composing an academic paper, or creating a website. Overall, we will focus on developing a continued appreciation for words and language. Required for the major in French. Prerequisite: at least one course above French 204. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, SpringÉ. Pósfay
FREN 340. Arts of Brevity: Short Fiction The rise of newspapers and magazines in the nineteenth century promotes a variety of short genres that will remain popular to the present day: short stories, prose poetry, vignettes, theatrical scenes. In this short course (first five weeks of the term) we’ll study short works by such authors as Diderot, Sand, Balzac, Mérimée, Flaubert, Allais, Tardieu, Le Clézio. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 204; recommended preparation: French 206, 240, or 241. 3 cr., AL; LA, IS, WinterS. Carpenter
FREN 341. Madame Bovary and Her Avatars Decried as scandalous, heralded as the first "modern" novel, Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (published in 1857) sparked debate, spawned both detractors and followers, and became a permanent fixture in French culture and even the French language. In this five-week course we will read the novel, study its cultural context and impact, and see how it has been variously re-interpreted in film and other media. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 204; recommended preparation: French 206, 240, or 241. 3 cr., AL; LA, IS, WinterS. Carpenter
FREN 351. Love, War and Monsters in Early Modern France The French Renaissance continues to intrigue students and critics by its propensity for paradox, ambiguity, and contradiction. Just as literature and the arts reached new levels of aesthetic achievement, the bloodiest civil war in French history was taking shape. Lyric poetry, bawdy tales, essays and chronicles depict beautiful bodies and monsters, war and peace, hatred and love. Through such authors as Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Ronsard, Louise Labé and Montaigne, as well as artistic and musical works, we will investigate the multiple worlds of French renaissance culture. Recommended preparation: French 240-level course or the equivalent. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 352. The Court and its Dissenters Seventeenth-century France is often touted as the pinnacle of French grandeur. Under Louis XIV's absolutist rule, France supported an astounding number of normative measures--from founding academies to policing codes of behavior--designed to help the French nation to become a political, economic and cultural world power. But in the midst of all these pressures towards normativeness, could one express any dissent in the age of Versailles? To answer this question we will examine the creative (and irreverent) strategies used by a whole range of authors such as Molière, Racine, Lafayette, Fénelon, and many more. Conducted in French. Recommended preparation: French 240-level course or equivalent. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 354. Other Worlds What do Persians, Peruvians, Tartars, Tahitians and Eldoradans have in common? For one thing, they’re all present in eighteenth-century France’s heavily fantasized view of the world beyond its borders. By looking at texts and events of the long eighteenth century, including travel literature, voyages of discovery, and the Encyclopédie, we will examine the way the French used the outside world as a screen upon which to project its own imaginings. Authors may include Mme de Graffigny, Montesquieu, Bougainville, Diderot, Voltaire, Sade, Mme de Staël and Voltaire, among others. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: Prerequisite: French 204, recommended preparation: French 206, 240, or 241. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 359. Twentieth Century Literature: The Novel and Memory Marcel Proust’s quest to retrieve the past set the stage for future writers who have undertaken the challenging task of probing what bell hooks has called "the debris of history." In this course, we will study representative novels and films dealing with memory, paying particular attention to the high stakes involved in remembering (and forgetting) at the intersection of personal story and history. Prerequisite: 200-level French course or permission of instructor. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Offered in alternate years. FallD. Strand
FREN 360. Topics in French Studies: Algeria-France For the historian Benjamin Stora, the close and complex bond between France and Algeria can be compared to a forced marriage, doomed to a violent divorce the repercussions of which are still being felt on either side of the Mediterranean. In this interdisciplinary course we will explore the extended relationship between Algeria and France through a variety of literary and historical texts (as well as several relevant films). Taught in French. Prerequisite: 200-level French course or permission of instructor. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 361. Identity in Progress in Quebec In this course, we will examine the québécois quest for identity through novels, plays, films and folktales from the twentieth century. With the objective to understand Quebec’s contemporary culture, we will try to answer the following questions: How can bilingualism divide a country? Why did French-Canadians feel like second-class citizens in the 1950s? What happened to the indigenous populations in the debate of cultural distinctiveness? Why did Quebec’s women’s movement fare better than in France? Finally, we will discuss the impact of immigrant writings on the issue of identity. Conducted in French. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 362. Transnational Writers in Quebec In this course, we will examine those often viewed as the "outsiders" of Quebec literature: the immigrant writers, the Anglophone writers of Montreal and the First Nation writers. Because of Quebec’s unique place and history within North America, its literary production reflects a culture whose sense of self is defined and shifts according to the gaze of several Others, the Anglo-Canadian, the American or the French. Therefore, Quebec’s literature offers a natural hearth for transnational and transcultural authors. Readings will include authors who live or publish in Quebec but who are born outside of Canada. Conducted in French. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2012-2013.
FREN 400. Integrative Exercise During their senior year students will expand and deepen an essay in French from one of their advanced courses in the major. Normally, but not always, the director for this project will be the professor from that course. This essay may be completed during any term, but must be finished early in the spring term, when an oral presentation (in English) of the work will be presented. 3 cr., S/NC, ND, Fall,Winter,SpringÉ. Pósfay