Think internationally and across cultures

French Studies is conceived and designed to support and strengthen students’ abilities to think, read, and write in French and about French literature, culture, and the Francophone world.

Majors

Students will begin the French Studies major according to prior experience and continue through advanced courses devoted to French literature, culture, and contemporary society. As part of their program of study, students may spend one semester at a French-speaking university after finishing FRE 300, or complete a series of French courses in related disciplines; students will complete a capstone seminar in French Studies. Students who do not study in a French-speaking university will be encouraged to complete at least one travel course to France or the French-speaking world.

View Requirements

French Studies

The ability to think internationally and across cultures is the core mission of the University. With this in mind, French Studies is conceived and designed to support and strengthen students’ abilities to think, read, and write in French and about French literature, culture, and the Francophone world. Students will begin the French sequence according to prior experience and continue through advanced courses devoted to French literature, culture, and contemporary society. As part of their program of study, students may spend one semester at a French-speaking university after finishing FRE 300, or complete a series of courses in related disciplines; students will complete a capstone seminar in French Studies. Students who do not study in a French-speaking university will be encouraged to complete at least one travel course to France or the French-speaking world.

Major Requirements (51 Credits)

Required courses (or equivalent proficiency) (18 Credits)
FRE 100 Introductory French, Part I

This course provides an introduction to the essentials of French grammar, vocabulary, and culture. The acquisition of aural/oral skills are stressed right from the beginning, and as such, the predominant language of instruction is French. In this course, students will acquire basic knowledge of written and spoken structures so that they will be able to read and comprehend short passages in French and write simple compositions and dialogues.

FRE 101 Introductory French, Part II

This course is designed for students who have completed one semester of French Language study. This course builds on FRE 100 and provides an introduction to the essentials of French grammar, vocabulary, and culture. The acquisition of aural/oral skills are stressed, and as such, the predominant language of instruction is French. In this course, students will acquire basic knowledge of written and spoken structures so that they will be able to read and comprehend short passages in French and write simple compositions and dialogues.

FRE 200 Intermediate French, Part I

This course is designed for students who have completed one year of French language study. It reviews and expands on grammar, vocabulary, and culture acquired in FRE 100 and FRE 101. The acquisition of aural/oral skills are stressed, and as such, the predominant language of instruction is French. By the end of the course, students are expected to be proficient in the written and spoken usage of intermediate linguistic structures. Further, students are introduced to short literary texts, inviting conversation and some initial literary analysis.

FRE 201 Intermediate French, Part II

This course is designed for students who have completed three semesters of French language study. It reviews and expands on grammar, vocabulary, and culture acquired over the previous semesters of language study. The acquisition of aural/oral skills are stressed, and as such, the predominant language of instruction is French. By the end of the course, students are expected to be proficient in the written and spoken usage of intermediate linguistic structures. Further, students are introduced to literary texts, inviting conversation and some initial literary analysis.

FRE 300 Advanced French, Part I

For students who have completed at least two years of college-level language studies or the equivalent. This course reinforces and expands on grammar, vocabulary, and culture learnt in previous years of French language study. It introduces students to different literary and cinematic genres reflecting the contemporary scene of the Francophone world. Development of techniques of expression are accomplished through oral and written exercises.

FRE 301 Advanced French, Part II

For students who have completed at least two years of college-level language studies or the equivalent. This course reinforces and expands on grammar, vocabulary, and culture learnt in previous years of French language study. It introduces students to different literary and cinematic genres reflecting the contemporary scene of the Francophone world. Development of techniques of expression are accomplished through oral and written exercises. By the end of this course, students are expected to achieve proficiency at the B2 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Four of the following (12 Credits)
FRE 302 Advanced French Conversation

This course uses techniques of oral expression to develop greater conversational fluency and accuracy. Conversational practice uses outstanding French films as springboards for classroom French-language discussion and instruction in the full range of language proficiencies in an array of different contexts and situations. Movies will be partially watched outside of class.

FRE 303 French Translation

This course first aims at showing students how translation studies are very much concerned with interpretative categories such as gender, race, and class. It is then designed to reinforce student knowledge and understanding of different linguistic systems. It finally results in sharpening an awareness of the distinctive characteristics of both French and English cultures and languages through the translation of literary and non-literary texts.

FRE 310 Paris and the 19th Century

This course presents a thorough introduction to the literature and culture of the city, and particularly Paris, in the nineteenth century. This class will focus on the historical and cultural factors that contributed to the rise of the city as well as on the literature that shapes our understanding of this period. Close attention will be paid to issues such as social class, gender, mobility, and space.

FRE 312 Travel Writing: France and French-speaking Switzerland

This course explores the genre of travel writing in France and French-speaking Switzerland in the 20th and 21st centuries. In particular, this class will propose travel writing as a useful literary trope with which to reconsider our understandings of national literatures. Special attention will be paid to the notion of the journey, both literal and figurative, and to the traveler's gaze. Students will consider the historical and social implications of gender, race, ethnicity and social class in the various texts presented.

FRE 320 Writing the Self: French Autobiography and Autofiction

In the mid-70s, while the literary critic Philippe Lejeune was trying to define the autobiographical genre, several writers were, through their writing practices, questioning that very same genre, offering new ways to write (about) the self. Since then, the word autobiography has been replaced by autofiction, a genre that has become so popular in France that it has lost the meaning his initiator, Serge Doubrovsky, had theorized shortly after his first autofiction was published. This course explores the evolution of the auto- biographical genre since the mid-70s and tries to answer questions such as how one writes about oneself, what it means to write about oneself, the (im)possibility to write the self through the study of writers such as Georges Perec, Serge Doubrovsky, Annie Ernaux, Camille Laurens.

FRE 324 From Beur to Post-Beur Literature: Exile, Margins, and Re-Territorialization

This course focuses on fictional works written by authors whose identities straddle the Mediterranean. Whether they immigrated from Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco to France or were born in France to immigrant parents, these writers have found an outlet for the expression of their personal experience in writing. These fictions gives rise to a number of issues such as the important role French people of Maghreb origins have played in the cultural shaping of France since the independence of the countries mentioned above, the subsequent interior colonialism they were and are still subject to, the topographical and social divides that separate the different ethnic strata of French society, the gender issues that have developed since the ''regroupement familial'' in 1974. As a complement to the readings, students will see different documentaries and / or films that will sociologically, historically and culturally frame these issues.

FRE 325 Representation of the Shoah in French Literature and Cinema

In L'écriture ou la vie, Georges Semprun wondered how survivors could tell their stories, readers could imagine the Shoah, an event that 70 years after it took place constitutes an epistemological and ontological caesura in the sense that it brings forth the fundamental issue of representation and its limits, the (im)possibility of language and images to convey it, the expression of our (in)humanity. Through diverse books and films, this course examines the relation between words, images on the one hand and things / reality on the other, between text and hors texte, and explore how some writers have not so much tried to represent the Shoah as reflect on the way the Shoah can be written and filmed.

FRE 350 French Civilization

This course focuses on parts of French history, French geography, French politics and French culture in order to have students understand twentieth- and twenty-first century France.

FRE 372 Distinction in French Literature: From the 17th to the 21st Century

Throughout the centuries, writers have imagined and created characters who strive to distinguish themselves. Origins, education, social milieu, gender, and ability are just some of the ways that literary characters determine how they establish, assert, and distinguish themselves from others. Starting with Molière in the 17th century and ending with Philippe Vilain in the 21st century, this course will examine how distinction is expressed and represented in different literary genres including comedy, the philosophical tale, novels, and autofiction. This course offers a critical perspective on the notion of distinction in modern French literature through the exploration of primary texts. Taught in French.

FRE 374 Introduction to French Cinema

The course examines French films from Jean Vigo's Zero de conduite (1933) to Robert Bresson's Un condamne a mort s'est echappe (1956). It explores the art of cinematography while considering the aesthetics, historical, political, sociological, and psychoanalytical frames within which each movie was realized. It furthermore provides students with analytical tools to enable them to develop their own personal approach when viewing, discussing, and writing about a film.

FRE 376 French Cinema: The New Wave

The French New Wave was a major turning-point in the history of French Cinema. It gave birth to a new way of approaching cinematography as a whole. This course centers on New Wave film directors Chabrol, Truffaut, Resnais, Godard and Varda, and examine closely their cinematographic creed, theoretical preoccupations, similarities and differences. Movies will be partially watched outside of class.

FYS 399 Academic Mentoring

This course is for students selected as Academic Mentors in the context of the First Year Experience. Academic Mentors are assigned to individual first-year seminars and work as a group on academic leadership and research. Using the content and classroom of the first year seminars as a context, this 300-level course provides students with the opportunity to learn and practice advanced academic leadership skills including: research, writing, teaching, and tutoring skills. Student will be expected to complete course readings over the summer, before the course begins. During the semester, students will participate actively in class and typically organize and evaluate the final public presentation. Academic Mentors will meet periodically as a group outside of their individual seminars.

Major Electives (15 Credits)

One semester abroad in the French-speaking world (9 credits towards the major plus 6 elective credits); or

LC 100 The Stories We Live By

Stories are everywhere. We use them, consciously or unconsciously, to make sense of identities, experiences, and desires. And, at the same time, we are shaped by the stories that we absorb and interpret. This course explores how storytelling both reflects and shapes our lives. It introduces students to keywords and terms for reading and reflecting upon stories, both in the pages of books and in everyday life. The course considers a variety of narrative forms, including short stories, novels, fairy tales, self-help manuals, comics, films, podcasts, and political discourse. The course introduces students to fundamental questions about the nature of storytelling, while developing the vocabulary and critical skills for analysing and discussing stories. This is a writing intensive course in which students read as they learn to write. Students practice applying a critical vocabulary to textual forms as well as becoming familiar with the skills of drafting and editing. The course also introduces students to some of the professional pathways open to writers and storytellers.

LC 110 Reading Cultures: Approaches to Cultural Studies

This course has two primary goals: to introduce students to the history and theoretical writings of various strands of cultural studies, and to acquaint them with some of the intersecting axes - race, class and gender - that energize the field. Close attention will be paid to issues such as the shaping of identity, forms of representation, the production, consumption and distribution of cultural goods, and the construction of knowledge and power in a host of cultural practices and cultural institutions.

Three of the following:

Courses are to be selected in consultation with the student’s academic advisor and the department chair.

AHT 216 Introduction to the History of Photography

This course offers an introduction to the history of photography from its inception in the early 19th century to the present day. It considers the specific historical development of the photographic medium through the evolution of both its technical possibilities during the period and the range of its applications. The course will question past and present readings of photographs, while reflecting on the peculiar modes of representation implied by the use of the daguerreotype, the calotype and the negative-positive photographic process, the commercialization of photographic equipment in the early 20th century, the introduction of the Kodacolour film in 1942, and the changes in the late 20th century with the introduction of the digital camera. It will consider a set of different objects favored by the medium, such as the landscape, the city, the portrait, the body, taking into account the historical socio-political contexts in which these various photographic practices developed. It will consider the history of genres within photography: documentary photography, photography as fine art, photography in advertising and media, fashion photography, as well as its archival and historical documentation. Finally, the course will emphasize the question of the impact and influence of photography on other artistic mediums, such as painting and literature, as well as on the modern and contemporary experience of the world.

AHT 234 Painting in France in the 19th Century: Reality, Impressions, Simultaneity

This course sets out to chart and discuss the development of painting in France from the emergence of Romanticism in the early 19th Century to the critical recognition of post-impressionist practices at the turn of the 20th Century. It looks at the changing relations to reality that were developed by the impressionist group, leading to the emergence of a new visual understanding of the world in cubists practices that resolutely abandoned the aesthetics space inherited from the Renaissance. The course considers both the continuous evolution of a classical tradition sustained by state institutions and its progressive superseding by an avant-garde relying on the growth of the private commercial sector. Throughout this course, the relationship between the visual arts and other forms of cultural expression will be highlighted.

AHT 338 The City and Its Representation in the 20th Century

This course looks at the representation of the modern and postmodern city in the 20th century through a range of mediums, including the visual arts, poetry, literature, cinema and architecture. It aims to consider how artistic production has reflected the changing nature of urban environments, as well as contributed to shaping contemporary perceptions and experiences of the city over the course of the century. It examines both the historical construction of socio-political and economic urban textures, and the manner though which these have found themselves incorporated and translated into aesthetic propositions.

CLCS 200 Gender and Sexuality in a Global Context

This course presents an interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts in gender studies. Focusing on the way in which gender operates in different cultural domains, this class investigates the manner in which race, culture, ethnicity, and class intersect with gender. (This writing-intensive course counts towards the Academic Writing requirements).

CLCS 247T French Cultural Institutions: Power and Representation

Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French authors and artists were instrumental in shaping the imaginary of the ''Orient'', with a myriad of paintings and texts housed for public consumption in national cultural institutions. Students will use the French case to explore the politics of representation: the creation and objectification of an Oriental ''Other''. On-the-ground field study in museums, archives and galleries of Paris (the former colonial capital) and Marseille (the ''Gateway to North Africa'') will help students to investigate the ties that bind the visual arts and literature with the exercising of knowledge and power, and to read literary and artistic works as shaped by their cultural and historical circumstances. The strong Arab and Berber presence in both cities today, in particular from France's former colonies in North Africa, will provide the impetus to question how contemporary writers and artists explicitly and implicitly engage with and renegotiate these ''cultural artifacts'', and what broader significance this might have for questions of representation and identity, Self and Other, in the (not only French) present. Students will read contemporary texts by authors such as Leïla Sebbar and Assia Djébar and explore work by visual artists including Zineb Sedira and Zoulikha Bouabdellah, using their, and our own, ''encounters'' in the Louvre, the Pompidou Center, the Arab World Institute, MuCEM and smaller galleries to consider the significance of reappropriating the gaze and of the relationship between visual pleasure and politics, while questioning who art is ''for'' and where the ''representation business'' takes us. (The course may count toward the French Studies major in consultation with the coordinator of the French Studies program.)

CLCS 251T Reading Moroccan Culture

This course examines gender, ethnic, class, family, age, religious relationships within contemporary Morocco. It first provides students with a historical overview of Morocco since its independence in 1956, focusing on the monarchies of Hassan II and Mohammed VI the current king. It explores the power dynamics that exist in a society that is predominantly patrilinear and where gender roles are mostly divided along a binary system; it studies the place of the individual in a society where the collective ego prevails; it considers the place of Berber identity within Moroccan society and finally it explores Sufism as a counter-power to any form of Islamic rigorism. All the themes studied are substantiated with presentations by Moroccan scholars working in the fields of sociology, gender, ethnic, religious, and music studies. (Knowledge of French recommended.)

CLCS 300 Masculinities in Literature and Film

This course offers an overview of different masculinities as they have been represented in literature and film for the past couple decades. Students will first explore the recent developments in masculinity studies, particularly focusing on masculinity along intersectional lines. They will reflect upon the intricate ways of defining, theorizing and conceptualizing masculinity in an age that Zygmunt Bauman has defined as liquid. They will read novels such as Tomboy by French writer Nina Bouraoui, Salvation Army by Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa and watch films such as Death Proof by American film director Quentin Tarentino, Facing Mirrors by Iranian film director Negar Azarbayjani, Boys Don't Cry by American film director Kimberly Peirce.

CLCS 320 Culture, Class, Cuisine: Questions of Taste

Food carries social, symbolic, and political-economic meaning that differs across cultures, and hence cuisine represents a focal point for studying divergent cultural practices. In that sense, this class examines the sociological, anthropological, literary, and cultural dimensions of food. The class will explore people's relationship to food with regard to the environment, gender roles, and social hierarchy, from French haute cuisine to the fast food phenomenon.

HIS 202T History of Switzerland

Switzerland can be seen as a striking exception to the idea of a modern Western nation state: one of the oldest republics, with four official languages, neutral by tradition with at the same time a strong military tradition, a direct democracy and nevertheless one of the most stable states in the world. Hence, it has convincingly been called a ''country of minorities'' or just ''an exception''. This course analyzes the political, economic, social, and cultural development of Switzerland as a coherent and significant part of the history of medieval and modern Europe, with visits to places such as Bern, Basel, Schwyz, St. Gallen, and Zurich. Key themes covered include the founding of the Swiss Confederation in the thirteenth century, the initiation of the Swiss Reformation by Ulrich Zwingli in the sixteenth century, the introduction of the federal government in the nineteenth century, and the present day polemics of immigration and direct democracy. Local day trips to the medieval Ticinese towns of Riva San Vitale and Mendrisio round out the course.

HIS 271 History of Modern France

From absolute monarchy to the Fifth Republic, from the Enlightenment to existentialism, France has been central to European affairs in revolution, war and peace. Covering the late eighteenth century to the present, this course analyzes the political, social, and cultural history of modern France with special attention to the often violent struggles between order and tradition on the one hand and liberty and modernization on the other; the role of anti-Semitism from the Dreyfuss Affair to Vichy; and, the conquest and dissolution of France’s overseas empire.

LIT 254 Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures and Theories

This course is designed as an introduction to the field of postcolonial studies. Readings will familiarise students with a diversity of ''world literature'' and grant an understanding of key debates in postcolonial studies. As postcolonialism is not a unified field of study, the course engages with different theoretical understandings of the term and queries what it even means to be ''postcolonial.'' When exactly does the postcolonial begin? What are the implications of using such a broad umbrella term to designate writings from around the world? Students will explore depictions of the colonial encounter and decolonisation, question the links between colonialism and globalisation, and examine constructions of East and West, Global North and Global South. Central to the course will be the themes of: power and violence; economics and class; land and nation; authenticity and development; gender and sexuality; history and memory; the politics of literature; and the politics of print culture. Students will read a diverse and broad historical selection of texts from a variety of geographical locations including, India, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Jamaica. Literary texts will be paired with theoretical readings from such critics as Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ann McLintock, Benita Parry, Franz Fanon, and Edward Said. Although the main focus of study is literature, the course will adopt an interdisciplinary approach, understanding literary works as products of cultural, historical, social, and political circumstances. Throughout the course, students will explore how colonial power has shaped—and continues to shape—the world in which we live.

POL 224 Politics and Society in Switzerland

Switzerland boasts one of the oldest and most stable democracies in the world. Political and other social scientists have studied the Swiss system extensively and tried to address what is sometimes referred to as ''the mystery of Swiss identity''. This course will take a systematic approach to the study of Swiss political and social institutions, with particular attention to the federal structures and electoral system. Readings and lectures will also review some of the economic, historical, social and cultural dimensions that underpin Swiss politics. Assignments will allow students to explore specific issues in the context of their own majors.

Senior Capstone Requirement (6 Credits)
FRE 497 Senior Seminar in French Studies

The Senior Seminar in the French Studies major represents a culmination of the multicultural experience at Franklin University. The seminar will create a forum for the research and presentation of an original senior project in French. This capstone seminar will not only bring together work done in other courses in the French Studies major, but will offer a chance to reflect on and integrate academic travel courses and study abroad into their final product. Possible final projects include a thesis, a performance, a video essay, or a portfolio of creative work. Projects will be designed and completed in consultation with the instructor and the student's major advisor.

One of the following:
FRE 498 Internship in French Studies

Internship experiences are to be coordinated with the Department Chair.

FRE 499 Thesis in French Studies

Senior Thesis proposals are to be coordinated with the Department Chair.

Faculty

Vice President and Dean of Academic AffairsProfessor, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies

Ph.D. Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USAB.A. Bates College, Maine, USA

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, North Campus, ground floor
Phone: +41 91 986 36 52
ssteinertborella@fus.edu

Sara Steinert Borella

Professor, French

Ph.D. New York University, USAM.A. University of Oregon, USAMaîtrise d’anglais Université Jean Moulin, Lyon, France

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, North Campus, Office 3 
Phone: +41 91 986 36 33
psaveau@fus.edu

Patrick Saveau

THIS PROGRAMIS ORGANIZED BY