Program Description

Foreign language study not only teaches students much about their native tongue, but also introduces them to another people's language, literature, and customs. This awareness of cultural and linguistic relativity is one of the hallmarks of a liberal arts education.

Introductory and Intermediate French courses develop students' skills in spoken and written French and acquaint them with the literature and culture of the French- speaking world. Advanced language study allows the student to reach the higher level of mastery in French required in more specialized study and usage.

In the more advanced literature, film and civilization courses, students study French writing and culture in greater depth, thereby gaining considerable knowledge of and insight into France's past and present achievements in all fields of endeavor. Students at all levels of French are encouraged to study abroad, either in the College-sponsored program at the Institute of IES in Nantes or Paris, or in another approved program, as an inestimable enhancement to their understanding of the country, its people, and its language. When students choose the College-sponsored course of study in Nantes or Paris, both credits and grades are transferred and financial aid may be applied to participation in the program.

Students specializing in French will find that their major studies, in addition to their humanistic value, afford sound preparation for graduate study and for careers in teaching or interpreting. A knowledge of French will also be invaluable to them in the fields of international business and government, as well as social work. All courses offered in the department are conducted in French.

Goals for Introductory through Advanced-Level Language Courses

  • Students will be able to understand and produce written and spoken French at an appropriate degree of proficiency.
  • Students will be able to appreciate French and Francophone literary and cultural production within the context of an increasingly interconnected world.

Goals for Literature and Film Courses

  • Students will be able to understand with depth and nuance the literary and aesthetic concepts of French and Francophone texts and films from a variety of genres.
  • Students will be able to grasp the specificities of targeted Francophone cultures.
  • Students will be able to think critically and creatively when faced with an abstract question.

Goals for Culture and Society Courses

  • Students will be able to understand with depth and nuance French history, culture, society, and politics.
  • Students will be able to grasp the specificities of targeted Francophone cultures.
  • Students will be able to think critically and creatively when faced with an abstract question.

Program Requirements

Major Requirements
The French major, which includes a minimum of ten courses at or above the 300 level, is made up of two sequences:

1) A group of four required courses, three of which-300 first, then 305 and 310-should be taken before further progress in the major program unless there is a valid reason for exception. (305 or 310 may be taken simultaneously with 300 with permission of the department chair.) French 400 must be taken in the spring semester of the senior year.

2) A set of six electives chosen from the other departmental offerings at the 300 level.

All French majors are required to spend at least one semester studying abroad in a program approved by the department. The number of courses taken abroad for credit toward the major is limited to three.

Students planning on certification in secondary education must include both a history/geography/civilization course, a phonetics course and a linguistic component in their program of study. These requirements can be met by completing French 351 and Education 304 or by taking the equivalent courses in a program of study abroad.

Individualized study may be taken only once as part of the minimum requirements for the major. All majors must take at least one course within the department during their senior year. These requirements may be waived in special cases at the discretion of the department.

Minor Requirements
Six courses are required for a minor in French. For students who begin in the 101-102 or 201-202 sequences, 202 will count toward the minor. In addition, students must take 300 and 305 and three additional courses above 305.

Students who begin on the 300 level must take 300 and 305 and four additional courses above 305. As with the major, courses taken abroad may be counted toward a minor, subject to the approval of the department chair. The number of courses taken abroad for credit toward the minor is limited to two. Courses taken S/U may not count toward the minor.

Students contemplating a minor in French should register with the department chairperson.

French 305 is a prerequisite for majors and minors for all literature courses. Students who have completed the language requirement and who wish to continue in French, but do not contemplate either a major or minor, may take 300 or 305. Permission of the department chairperson is required for entry into all other courses.

Study Abroad for Majors
Juniors and first-semester seniors who have completed French 300 or its equivalent may study for one or two semesters at the College's affiliated program in Paris or Nantes, France. Both credits and grades from this program will be transferred, and Financial Aid may be applied to participation. Students live with French families.

Study Abroad for Minors
Students pursuing a minor in French may study for a semester at the College's affiliated program in Paris or Nantes. Both credits and grades from these programs will be transferred, and Financial Aid may be applied to participation. Students live with French families.

Beginning and Intermediate Program Abroad
Students may complete the second language requirement in French by studying for a semester in Aix-en-Provence. The department's Beginning and Intermediate Program is offered every semester and includes two required courses in French language, plus three elective courses from areas such as political science, history, art, psychology, etc., which may satisfy other major or minor requirements. Students live with French families.

Course Listing

Course level:
100 | 200 | 300 | 400
FREN-101 French for Beginners
Elements of speaking, reading, and writing French. Enrollment limited to those who have not studied French previously. A student may not receive credit for both 101 and 103.


FREN-102 French for Beginners
Elements of speaking, reading, and writing French. Enrollment limited to those who have not studied French previously. Successful completion of 101 is a prerequisite for entry into 102. A student may not receive credit for both 102 and 104.


FREN-103 Elementary French
Fundamentals of French grammar, composition and pronunciation. Emphasis on oral comprehension, verbal communication, reading and writing in the broader context of French and Francophone culture. Classroom interaction stresses oral-aural method of language learning. Enrollment limited to those with previous study of French or according to achievement on the Departmental Placement Examination. A student may not receive credit for both 101 and 103.


FREN-104 Elementary French
Fundamentals of French grammar, composition and pronunciation. Emphasis on oral comprehension, verbal communication, reading and writing in the broader context of French and Francophone culture. Classroom interaction stresses oral-aural method of language learning. Enrollment limited to those with previous study of French. Successful completion of 103 is a prerequisite for entry into 104 unless a student is placed in 104 according to the Departmental Placement Examination. A student may not receive credit for both 102 and 104.


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FREN-201 Intermediate French
Grammar review and practice in oral French, with stress on reading and written expression in the spring. Contact with French culture is maintained throughout. Enrollment limited to those who have previously studied French and who have completed 101-102, or who are enrolled according to achievement on the Departmental Placement Examination. Successful completion of 201 is a prerequisite for entry into 202, unless student is placed there according to the placement examination.


FREN-202 Intermediate French
Grammar review and practice in oral French in the fall semester, with stress on reading and written expression in the spring. Contact with French culture is maintained throughout. Enrollment limited to those who have previously studied French and who have completed 101-102, or who are enrolled according to achievement on the Departmental Placement Examination. Successful completion of 201 is a prerequisite for entry into 202, unless student is placed there according to the placement examination.


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FREN-300 Practice in Communication
Oral, aural, and written practices of French structures. Collaborative writing, group discussions, individual compositions, and presentations. Recent French films serve as text. Course is a prerequisite for all 300-level courses. Offered every semester.


FREN-305 Approach to Literary Analysis
Reading and analysis, in their entirety, of representative selections of prose, poetry, and theatre. Course aims to introduce students to interpretive strategies, and to make them more aware of and competent in the art of reading. Prerequisite: French 300. Required of all majors and minors. Course is a prerequisite for all literature courses at the 300-level for both majors and minors. Offered every semester.


FREN-310 French Revolutions: Political,Social & Cultural Upheaval Since 1789
Overview of the various literal and figurative revolutions in France following the Revolution of 1789. Course examines the many political changes from the rise of the French Republic to the political, social, demographic, economic, intellectual and artistic developments in the multicultural France of the 21st century, including its place and role in the expanding European Union. Required of all majors. Offered every semester.


FREN-315 Exploring French Foodways
Study of the relationship between food and national identity in the French context. Through close readings of historical, sociological, and anthropological texts, as well as analysis of debates surrounding recent food controversies (rising obesity rates, genetically modified foods, regionally certified “authentic” foods), this course aims to develop students’ understanding of important anthropological theory in the study of food (taste, consumption, gifts), while building their awareness of the role food plays in the construction and expression of individual and group identity. Prerequisite: FREN 310. FREN 315 and ANTH 217 are cross-listed.


FREN-317 Famous French Femmes Fatales
Women today are attempting to demystify the feminine condition, for, as the late Simone de Beauvoir observed, the "mythe de la femme" is a male invention. Literary images of women have been a major focus of this investigation, and this course examines some famous French women, from the Princess of Cleves to Emma Bovary, and scrutinizes them from the perspective of feminist criticism.


FREN-326 19th Century Prose Fiction
Reading and analysis, through lecture and discussion, of nineteenth-century novels and short stories of such major authors as Constant, Hugo, Sand, Stendhal, Balzac, Flaubert, Maupassant, and Zola. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-331 Francophone Identities
Study of literary texts from the Francophone world (French-speaking countries in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Quebec, and Vietnam). In addition to their intrinsic literary worth, the selections bring to light the changing identities of formerly colonized people in a post-colonial world. Major emphasis placed on the study of the literary texts, but the historical and cultural context is also covered. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-332 The French New Wave
Study of selected major French films from the French New Wave. An introduction to the study of the techniques and theories of film as an art form, this course also situates the emergence of the New Wave as a break from Classical French cinema in the socio-historical context the 1950s-1970s.


FREN-334 Diversity in French Cinema Since the 1980s
Study of French films that present the perspectives and situations of groups or individuals who are marginalized or who find themselves excluded from the mainstream society. Since the 1980s, in France and in Europe, an increasing number of film directors have developed specific artistic techniques in order to emphasize social issues. In this course, techniques and language systems pertaining to each artistic expression are identified and debated. Concepts of exile, exclusion, identity, and questions of languages and cultures are examined as perceived in the films and also against today’s French socio-political backdrop. The old debate about the role of art in society and in its relationship with reality is revisited.


FREN-335 Women on Women in French Literature
Study of the female experience through the words of women themselves. As Annie Leclerc pointed out in Parole de femme, for too long men have co-opted language and assumed the task of telling women who they are. Course addresses such a presumption and examines, in both fiction and nonfiction, firsthand experience from childhood through aging. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-336 Immigrants and Young Ethnics: The French Paradox
Study of an emerging body of literature in France written by Beur authors as well as first generation of French African authors. The focus is on the experience of the protagonists who, when trying to mix their cultural heritage to the French culture, encounter a myriad of reactions. Major emphasis is placed on the study of literary texts, but the historical and cultural context is also covered as well as themes such as racism, post/colonialism, women, and religion. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-337 Plural France
Study of how social and cultural differences are understood, used, and managed in contemporary France. Through close readings of historical, anthropological, and sociological works, as well as analysis of literary, philosophical, and political texts, this course aims to shed light on recent polemics concerning headscarves, the banlieue, gay marriage, affirmative action, and the new Paris museums of immigration and “primitive” art. In the process, it invites reflection on the relativity of such notions as race, ethnicity, gender, and national identity. Prerequisite: French 310. Cross-listed with ANTH 233.


FREN-340 Masterpieces of French Literature
Reading and discussion of masterworks of French poetry, prose, and theater in their historical, artistic and social contexts. Works by such authors as Villon, Montaigne, Moliere, Mme de Lafayette, Voltaire, Balzac, Flaubert, Colette and Beckett are read in their entirety. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-341 French Heroes and Mythologies
Study of the concept of heroism and its place in the French culture and national ideal. This course explores various French heroic figures that have attained mythical status in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A small and accessible body of theoretical texts written by prominent French thinkers and historians who reflected on the question of heroes and nationalism supplements the texts of fiction.


FREN-342 Classical Greek Heroes on the French Stage
Reading and analysis of plays based on Greek myths by such authors as Corneille, Racine, Cocteau, Anouilh and Sartre. Comparison and contrast with the original myth and/or play helps elucidate "modern" responses to the eternal questions posed by classical Greece and its literary masters. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-343 Gender Perspectives in the Contemporary French Novel
Study of the conflicting male/female perspective in representative works by major twentieth-century French writers from Colette and Butor to Proust and Beauvoir. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-344 Moralists & Immoralists in French Literature
Study of topics in French literature over the centuries, examining works of prose whose thematics revolve around the question of morality. Course presents a survey of novels, short fiction, maxims, and fragments that either advance or reject the conventional moral system. Authors studied include La Bruyere, La Rochefoucauld, Pascal, Mme de Lafayette, de Bergerac, Sade, Diderot, Balzac, Flaubert, Huysmans, Gide, Duhamel, and Camus. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-345 Turmoil and Loss in Quebecois Literature by Women
Study of Quebecois identity through careful reading of major literary works by women authors from French Canada. Course focuses not only on the literal periods of unrest as well as on the losses suffered by the Quebecois people but also on the metaphorical turmoil and loss experienced by the characters in the chosen novels. Various aspects of the cultural background are presented (language, religion, music, and art) in an effort to understand the evolution of Quebec's literary tradition and its impact in today's society. A small and accessible body of theory supplements the works of fiction. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-346 The French Stage
Study of topics in French theater over the centuries, examining works of the stage whose thematics and use of the theatrical dynamic illustrate the tradition of the genre. The course presents a survey of plays which exploit the medium of the stage and display a broad thematic horizon. Authors to be studied include Rotrou, Corneille, Racine, Molière, Voltaire, Beaumarchais, Hugo, Musset, Giraudoux, Camus, Sartre, and Ionesco. Prerequisite: French 305 or equivalent.


FREN-350 Advanced Stylistics
Intensive practice in the refinement of writing skills directed toward a sophisticated and idiomatic use of the language. Coursework includes composition, translation, comparative stylistics, French for use in commercial and other correspondence, and work in the spoken language.


FREN-351 Phonetics and Diction
Phonetic theory, practice, and transcription. Intensive training in pronunciation and diction. Intended for majors/minors prior to foreign study.


FREN-352 Translation
Study and practice in translating from French to English and from English to French. Course develops the ability to render idiomatic French into idiomatic English, and vice-versa.


FREN-353 Business French
Study of economic and business practices in France and other French-speaking regions, with a focus on effective communication. Students will develop specialized vocabulary and gain cultural knowledge in preparation for working in an international environment. Previous coursework in business or economics is not required. Prerequisite: FREN 300


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FREN-400 Seminar
Intensive study of a particular aspect of French literature, civilization, or culture to be determined by the instructor. Past offerings include The Art of Emile Zola, The Image of Women in French Literature: A Feminist Perspective, The Gaze and Self-Image in French Film, 1959-89 and Postcolonial Immigrations in France. Course is for seniors (in the final semester) to complete undergraduate work in French. Prerequisites: Limited to seniors, except with permission of instructor and approval of department chairperson. Offered every spring.


FREN-450 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


FREN-451 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


FREN-452 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


FREN-453 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


FREN-460 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


FREN-461 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


FREN-462 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


FREN-463 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U


FREN-470 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


FREN-471 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


FREN-472 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


FREN-473 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


FREN-474 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


FREN-475 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office


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