The French and Francophone Studies Program seamlessly articulates the acquisition of French linguistic skills with cultural and literary knowledge and sensitivity throughout our 4-year curriculum. We provide students with global competence in the Francophone world through an innovative curriculum that combines national and transnational Francophone literatures, cultures and histories, with an emphasis on modern and contemporary periods. Students build a cross-cultural understanding with the goal of participating in an increasingly interconnected world.
Starting with our French language courses (Fr 1 through 14), students are introduced to modern France and a variety of French-speaking countries such as Algeria, Belgium, Haiti and Senegal. In our advanced courses (Fr 40 and above), students develop an in-depth, critical and comparative understanding of the textual, filmic, and cultural productions of each of these regions. We aim to:
(A) Make students proficient in the four fundamental language competencies (listening, reading, speaking and writing), as well as develop a fifth, cultural competency, through explorations of culture and society in France and the Francophone World. This is a substantial element in achieving global competence as described above.
Fr 1 through Fr 14: In the intensive French language sequence (Fr 1 through 14), students develop an advanced proficiency in the five competencies delineated above. For further details on the language sequence, how it relates to internationally recognized standards, and proficiency as it relates to study abroad, contact the French section head.
Fr 15 W and Fr 16: These written and aural/oral competencies are further refined. Students develop a sensibility to literary, filmic, cultural, and socio-political questions in modern French and Francophone societies. They learn to produce coherent, logical and persuasive arguments from a variety of texts and films, and learn to adopt different formats for that purpose (explication de texte, rédaction, research paper, and opEd).
Fr 40 and above: Students demonstrate an extensive and intentional grappling with the topic of the course. They are further introduced to comparative methodologies and scholarly criticism, and learn to consistently articulate their reflection in persuasive ways and support their opinions through evidence.
Seminars Fr 100 and above: Students master critical thinking and demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the course topic through student-led discussions and research papers.
Capstone Fr 91 W: Majors and minors demonstrate an appropriate knowledge of the mechanics of scholarly research (develop a valid research question and a rigorous and coherent argument, craft an abstract, investigate secondary sources, develop a bibliographical apparatus). The goal of this competency includes the writing in French of an original, independent research paper of 20/30 pages on a topic chosen in discussion with the senior colloquium professor.
(B) Expand student’s knowledge of the diversity of French-speaking cultures by:
1. Developing an appreciation of literary value and filmic expression.
2. Developing an appreciation of how French and Francophone writers and artists continue a rich tradition, which has brought the world some of its most influential literary, philosophical, critical, and cinematographic works.
(C) Sharpen knowledge and understanding of the major historical, social, and political developments that have shaped France and other Francophone countries, thus providing an opportunity to understand the forces underlying these various cultures, literatures, and films.