French Courses


Catherine DeneuveJosephine BakerGerard DepardieuEdith PiafAlain DelonBrigitte BardotSerge Gainsbourg


All courses are 3 credits and taught in the target language unless otherwise indicated.

FR 1100         Basic French I

This introductory course presumes no prior background in the language.  The course develops a beginning level of proficiency in the four areas of language skills—speaking, listening, writing, and reading—through interactive classroom work, laboratory exercises, and diverse oral and written assignments.  Students will also begin to gain an understanding and appreciation of the French and Francophone world.

FR 1110         Basic French II

This is a continuation of FR 1100 with emphasis on further developing proficiency skills through reading and discussion of short texts or contemporary articles of current cultural relevance.  There is continued emphasis on oral interaction in French.

Prerequisite: FR 1100 or equivalent

FR 2000         French Colonial Legacies (offered in English)

This course offers an introduction to the historical and cultural diversity of various- primarily non-European-French-speaking regions of the world. It discusses French colonialism and its distinct and complex legacies in different areas of sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, North America, Indo-China, the Caribbean, and France itself. Through historical, literary, and cultural readings and cinema, this course traces the effects of colonization on both the colonizer and the colonized, including its particular impact on women and children; thus grappling with issues of power and oppression, sexism, race and gender, enslavement and inequality, and justice and freedom. Serves UCC area 4 (Diversity and Justice).

FR 2100         Intermediate French I

This intermediate course presumes novice-high proficiency in French, focusing on all four areas of language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Reinforces competence and proficiency gained in Basic French with a thorough review and further development of grammar and vocabulary. Training to read literary and journalistic selections in French and to write short grammatically and stylistically correct French compositions.  Oral/aural practice through class discussions, presentations, and laboratory assignments. Enhances appreciation of the French and Francophone world through cultural readings and films.

Prerequisite: FR 1110 or placement test or permission of instructor

FR 2110         Intermediate French II

This is the second half of the intermediate course. It presumes intermediate-low proficiency in French, focusing on all four areas of language skills. The course develops skills gained in Intermediate I and offers further development of grammar and vocabulary. Guided readings of short texts in French, discussion of contemporary or historical events in the French-speaking world, continued practice with writing grammatically and stylistically correct French compositions. Oral/aural practice through class discussions, presentations, and laboratory assignments. Enhances appreciation of the French and Francophone world through cultural readings and films. Recommended for native speakers who need grammar review.

Prerequisite: FR 2100 or placement test or permission of instructor

FR 2220         Stylistics and Advanced Composition

Focusing primarily on two of the four areas of language skills—reading and writing—this course is addressed to students at the intermediate-high level who have a good grasp of grammar but need to improve and practice their written skills. The course further re-inforces and solidifies grammatical concepts.  It explores complexities and variations in written styles with a view to enabling the student to develop grammatically correct yet individually distinct written expression.

Prerequisite: FR 2100 or permission of instructor

FR 2400         Spoken French through Cultural Study

A course in conversational French through the comparative study of cultures, this course is designed for students at the intermediate-high level desiring to hone and practice their oral skills. The course concentrates on two of the four areas of language skills -- speaking and listening -- through interactive classroom work, diverse oral exercises, activities, and assignments, all focused around the varied and distinct cultures of the Francophone world

Prerequisite: FR 2100 or permission of instructor

FR 2500         Textual Analysis and Research Methods

An introduction to bibliographical research (with library and technological workshops) and basic literary analysis .Attention is paid to different genres, movements, and periods in French and Francophone literature.  Students interested in non-literary areas of French and Francophone Studies pursue different bibliographical projects, on film or cultural studies, for example.  May be taken simultaneously with FR 2400

Prerequisite: FR 2100 or permission of instructor

FR 3200         Approaches to Literary Studies

Designed to introduce students to various means of approaching literary texts and to provide analytic tools for advanced literary study.  The course reviews the traditional French “explication de texte,” offers a consideration of literary genres, and presents varied theoretical approaches to literature.  The course is balanced between readings in theory and application of their relevance for the study of literary works.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 3310         The Modern Novel in French

A study of the modern novel in French, with attention to such authors as Proust, Gide, Sartre, Camus, Duras, Robbe-Grillet, Djebar, Condé, and to different schools and literary concerns.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 3330         Modern French and Francophone Theater

Major dramatists and movements in modern French-language theater. Focus on French symbolist theater, existentialist theater, theater of the absurd, with an introduction to theatrical theory.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 3360         French Poetry

Studies French poetic traditions and major poetic works from the medieval period to postsurrealism.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 3370         Topics in Francophone Literature

Introduces major poets, novelists, and dramatists of the French-speaking world, including study of their literary, critical, and political works.  Focus varies.  Topics might include the following: the different literary movements of the Caribbean and its main twentieth-century writers, such as Césaire, Condé, Glissant; contemporary Québec culture and literature, its historical and artistic considerations, political concerns, and relations to language through the works of such writers as as Broussard, Micone, Roy, and Théoret; major writers in French from Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, such as Ben Jelloun, Boudjedra, Djebar, Mimouni, Yacine, including additional consideration of Beur writers in France; the major writers and literary movements in French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa within a historical and sociological context, considering work by Bâ, Beyala, Kourouma, Laye, Ousmane, or Senghor.

Prerequisites: FR 2000 and FR 2500

FR 3410         Approaches to Cultural Studies

An introduction to the field of Cultural Studies, this course transcends distinct disciplines to study the shift in focus in French and Francophone Studies toward a broader range of cultural forms. The course uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine France and the French-speaking world through different types of cultural production: ideas, images, and narratives. Examples of topics studied might include cinema, television, journalism, contemporary fiction, recent French politics, comic books, etc.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 3500         Sounds and Structures of French

The course provides students with a thorough understanding of the way French sounds are produced and how they behave according to general linguistic principles. It also presents a comprehensive examination of the word and sentence structures of the French language. 

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 3700         French Cinema

This course offers an introduction to French cinema from its historical beginnings through its mid-century crises and the New Wave innovations to the diversity of its present-day perspective; cinematic techniques and innovations, diverse schools, the va-et-vient between American and French cinema.  A secondary aim is to offer a cultural study of the films’ contexts— the cultural, political, and philosophical upheavals of twentieth-century France, the two World Wars, the Fifth Republic, the end of colonialism, and a shifting relation to other European countries and to the United States. Class discussion in English with an additional discussion section in French; majors do work in French.

Prerequisite:  FR 2500, or COMM 2340, or ENG 2290 or permission of the chairperson

FR 3710         Francophone Cinema

Consideration of the development of Francophone cinema, its relation to French and American cinemas, its major concerns.  Discussion of cinematographic innovations. Class discussion in English with an additional discussion section in French; majors do work in French.

Prerequisite: FR 2500, or COMM 2340, or ENG 2290 or permission of the chairperson

FR 3990         Selected Topics

A topic not covered by an existing course is offered as recommended by the department and approved by the dean.

Prerequisite: Permission of the department chairperson.

1-6 credits

FR 4000         Seminar in French and Francophone Cultural Studies

Topic varies.  An examination of a significant period or theme in French or Francophone society (revolution, World War II, Algerian Revolution, Surrealism, colonialism, religion, etc.) and its impact on political, literary, media, artistic, social concerns or productions.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

May be repeated for credit if different topic offered.

FR 4320         Nineteenth-Century French Narrative Prose

The course provides a survey of major texts of narrative prose through close reading of several novels and short stories. The course sketches a general picture of 19th-century France: historical events, artistic and cultural themes, major literary movements. Special attention is given to fictional techniques and to innovation of literary form in the work of Hugo, Balzac, Mérimée, Stendhal, Flaubert, Nerval, Maupassant, Zola, Barbey d’Aurevilly.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 4520         Translation Theory and Practice

This course is in the art and practice of translating from English to French and from French to English, with primary emphasis on the latter. Includes theoretical readings.  Practice in translating diverse texts (literary, business, media), structural comparison, analysis of different translations of a given text, comparative stylistic study.

Prerequisite: FR 2500

FR 4990         Independent Study

As approved and to be arranged.

1-6 credits by permission of the dean.

Guillaume ApollinaireAntonin ArtaudAndre GideOctave MirbeauJules VerneAnatole FranceHenri de Toulouse-Lautrec