Chair: Professor Cathy Yandell
Professors: Scott D. Carpenter, Chérif Keïta, Éva Pósfay, Dana J. Strand, Cathy Yandell
Visiting Assistant Professor: Stephanie M. Cox
Visiting Lecturer: Annick Fritz-Smead
Senior Lecturers: Christine Lac, Cynthia Luck Shearer
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.
Language courses 101, 102, 103, 204 are a sequential series of courses designed to prepare the student in the basic language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) through the study of grammar, literature, and culture, and/or to provide the foundation for pursuing advanced work in language and literature. French 206 and 309 are designed to develop the student's spoken and written mastery of the language through compositions and intensive oral work based on cultural and literary topics. Admission to these courses is determined either by appropriate high school CEEB or Carleton placement test scores, or by completion of the previous course in the sequence with a grade of C- or better.
We examine literary works for both their aesthetic and human values. Our literature courses have a number of goals: to refine and expand students' linguistic ability, to broaden their cultural understanding, to improve their ability to engage in literary analysis, to enhance their knowledge of literary history and criticism, and to help students better understand themselves and the human condition. In our discussions, we address universal themes and concerns, but we also try to uncover what is peculiarly French or Francophone about the works.
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
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-six credits at the 300-level (French 309 and French 400 do 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: 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. The integrative exercise counts for three credits.
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, etc. 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. Literature and language: At least five French language or literature courses, four of which must be at the 300-level, and one of which must be French 309, Beyond Words: The Fine Art of Writing in French
2. At least one course in cultural studies such as: 243, Topics in Cultural Studies; 249/349, Paris Program: European Identities: Paris and Geneva; 250, Mali Program; Film and Society in Mali
3. At least one course 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
4. Elective courses: Up to three additional courses in FREN or from other departments or programs (see pre-approved courses under the concentration in French and Francophone Studies), with director’s approval.
5. Capstone seminar: This senior seminar (usually, but not always, French 395) is an advanced interdisciplinary seminar focused on a particular topic and the methodology used for its study.
6. The 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. Although the initial paper may have been written in English, the essay for the integrative exercise will be in French. The integrative exercise counts for three credits.
A special major in Romance Languages (a combination of French and Spanish language and literature) is available by petition through the Academic Standing Committee. The integrative exercise counts for three credits.
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.
FREN 101. Elementary French
This course introduces the basic structures of the French language, everyday vocabulary and cultural situations. Students practice all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) in French. 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
This course introduces complex sentences and various tenses through short literary and cultural texts. Students practice all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) in French. Taught five days a week in French. Prerequisite: French 101 or placement score. 6 cr., ND; NE, WinterStaff
FREN 103. Intermediate French
This course reviews basic and complex sentence patterns in greater depth through the discussion of authentic short stories. Students practice all four skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) in French. 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. Yandell
FREN 208. Paris Program: Conversation and Composition
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. The course will be taught and supervised by local instructors. Conducted in French. 6 cr., AL; HI, SpringNon-Carleton Faculty
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,SpringS. Cox
FREN 233. The French Cinema
In this overview of the major trends in French cinema, we will consider the intersections of the political, social, cultural, and artistic dimensions of films by a number of different French directors. Discussions will focus on such questions as the following: In what ways has French cinema mobilized (or undermined) national myths? What role has film played in mediating the French historical memory? How have French films dealt with the nation's (colonial) others? Course materials will incorporate critical theory and cultural readings. Taught in English with all films subtitled. 6 cr., AL; LA, Not offered in 2010-2011.
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, WinterC. Keïta
FREN 241. The Lyric and Other Seductions
French lyric poetry occupies a privileged position in the literary landscape of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. However, it also shares a common heritage with less literary siblings, such as popular music and even advertising. Starting with the study of such poets as Lamartine, Desbordes-Valmore, Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Valéry, and Bonnefoy, we will also investigate poetic techniques in popular songs and contemporary ads. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 204. 6 cr., AL; LA, WinterS. Carpenter
FREN 243. Cultural Reading
We will analyze various very recent novels, films or popular songs as cultural texts reflecting current concerns in French society. We will study authors such as Gavalda or Barbery and directors Berri, Klapisch, Boon or Kechiche to gather insights about integration and marginalization, aging boomers and the younger crowd, cities, suburbs, Paris, regions, food and lodging in today’s French culture. Course may be repeated if the topic is different. Prerequisite: French 204. 6 cr., AL; HI, SpringC. 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. 6 cr., AL, RAD; LA, Not offered in 2010-2011.
FREN 246. French Studies Seminar in Paris: City of Wonders: Paris in the Arts
Home of some of the finest and best-known museums in the world, Paris has long been recognized as a center for artistic activity. Students will have the opportunity to study French art of the last two centuries onsite: 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. Conducted in French. Prerequisite: French 204. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, SpringÉ. Pósfay
FREN 249. French Studies Seminar in Paris: European Identities: Paris and Geneva
How does place shape and mirror cultural identity? How does it express cultural belonging (or alienation)? How does it manifest its distinctiveness? Paris will serve as our hands-on laboratory as we explore (re)definitions of French identity in a continually evolving European Union. Through readings and on-site visits, we will study a variety of "places" in Paris, from iconic public monuments to idealized gardens to (sub)urban non-places. Examples from another European site, Geneva, and a trip to this "smallest metropolis in the world" nestled between the Alps and the Jura, will both further our understanding of the french experience and shed light on facets of Swiss Francophone identity. Prerequisite: French 204. 6 cr., AL, RAD; HI, IS, SpringÉ. Pósfay
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 2010-2011.
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 2010-2011.
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 2010-2011.
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, Not offered in 2010-2011.
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, SpringC. Keïta
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, FallS. 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, FallS. Carpenter
FREN 349. French Studies Seminar in Paris: European Identities: Paris and Geneva
How does place shape and mirror cultural identity? How does it express cultural belonging (or alienation)? How does it manifest its distinctiveness? Paris will serve as our hands-on laboratory as we explore (re)definitions of French identity in a continually evolving European Union. Through readings and on-site visits, we will study a variety of "places" in Paris, from iconic public monuments to idealized gardens to (sub)urban non-places. Examples from another European site, Geneva, and a trip to this "smallest metropolis in the world" nestled between the Alps and the Jura, will both further our understanding of the french experience and shed light on facets of Swiss Francophone identity. Prerequisite: French 204. Students will be expected to read more and write longer papers if they register for French 349. 6 cr., AL, RAD; HI, IS, SpringÉ. Pósfay
FREN 351. Topics in Sixteenth Century Literature: Metamorphoses: 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 2010-2011.
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, Fènelon, and many more. Conducted in French. Recommended preparation: French 240-level course or equivalent. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2010-2011.
FREN 360. Topics in French Studies: Algeria-France
For the historian Benjamin Stora, the close and complex bond between France and Algeria is like a marriage, plagued by inequality and betrayal, and 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 175-year relationship between Algeria and France through literary and historical texts and film. The course syllabus may include works by Assia Djebar, Albert Camus, Brigitte Rouan, Benjamin Stora, Tahar Djaout, Gillo Pontecorvo, Frantz Fanon, and Jacques Derrida. Taught in French. Prerequisites: 200-level French literature course or equivalent. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, Not offered in 2010-2011.
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 2010-2011.
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. (Taught in French) 6 cr., AL; LA, SpringS. Cox
FREN 395. Cultures of Autobiography
The genre of autobiography raises questions of identity, ethnicity, politics, race, and sexuality. Despite its apparent focus on the self, autobiography inevitably reveals much about the culture from which it emerges, and this class will focus particularly on those cultural revelations and intersections. Readings will include such classic French authors as Montaigne, Rousseau, and Sartre, as well as texts from Africa, the Caribbean, and contemporary France. Throughout the course, students will also engage in an autobiographical project of their own. Prerequisite: French 240-level or equivalent. 6 cr., AL; LA, IS, WinterC. Yandell
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,SpringStaff