Department of French and Italian

College of Letters & Science

Courses in French

For a complete listing of sections and times, consult the Schedule of Classes.

Note: Honors option is available at almost all levels. For introductory and intermediate language courses (101, 102, 203, 204, 227 & 228), odd numbered courses offer a dedicated honors section in the Fall, and even numbered courses offer a dedicated honors section in the Spring. Honors sections in 101-228 offer smaller enrollments (16 instead of 24 max) and, by demanding a more concerted and independent effort on the part of the students, class sessions allow for greater expansion of activities and more in-class communication.

Semester: Fall 2018

French 590: Advanced Phonetics

Credits: 3 Contact: Martine Debaisieux

Advanced study of French sounds, phonetic transcription, practice in pronunciation; required of teaching majors.

French 820: College Teaching of French

Credits: 3 Contact: Heather Willis Allen

Pre-Reqs: Graduate or professional standing


College Teaching of French/Italian


Intended for instructors of elementary- and intermediate-level collegiate French and Italian courses, the goal of FRE 820 is to help you understand key concepts of communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching and related techniques for classroom instruction. This course will provide the foundation for success in teaching lower-level French or Italian courses, but to deepen your understanding of teaching language, literature, and cultural studies at more advanced levels, I encourage you to consider enrolling in another course such as FRE 821 or a seminar offered by the Second Language Acquisition doctoral program later in your graduate studies. Participants in this seminar will demonstrate:

  1. Understanding of key concepts of communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching
  2. Understanding of classroom techniques for communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching
  3. Ability to apply key concepts related to communicative, literacy-oriented language teaching to designing French or Italian instructional materials, lessons, and assessment tools
  4. Increasing engagement in pedagogical discourse on collegiate foreign language teaching and learning

French 642: Culture et Sociétés Dans le Monde Francophone

Credits: 3 Contact: Névine El Nossery

Graduate survey of major socio-political, cultural, and economic developments in the major French-speaking regions of the world. Taught in three modules (Europe, Africa, and Canada), the course is required for students in the Professional French Masters Program.

Pre-Reqs: None


“Migration in Francophone Literary and Cinematic Narratives”


Please note that lectures will be in French, readings and discussions will be in both French and English.


Migration has always been a human predicament for any era from Antiquity to the present, but it has intersected more than often with slavery, colonialization, imperialism, capitalism, and more broadly globalization which has intensified the global movements of people, goods, ideas, cultural practices to epic proportions. By examining theoretical reflections, novels and movies, this seminar will engage with critical concepts such as postcolonialism, Francophonie and World literature, while tackling various discourses and practices related to migration, through these main questions:

-          How Francophone narratives deconstruct and create alternative ones to the dominant national discourse?

-          How does migration transform subjects and subjectivities by negotiating their in-between location?

-          Viewed as an important marker of integration, the language functions as an ambivalent site where subjectivities and trajectories are remodeled. What are the politics of language related to migration?

-          To what extent questions of diffusion, circulation, and reception are relevant to cultural productions on and of migration?

-          At different levels, either aesthetically, ontologically, socially or ideologically, what is lost and what is gained with migration?


The last two weeks of the seminar, we will expand our field of investigation by examining the most recent dominant discourses on migration, boarders, refugees, multiculturalism and integration/segregation, which are crucial to our understanding of the place, role and impact of Francophone literature and culture in the re-making of World Literature.


Here are SOME of the works we will be reading and watching:


We will read:

-          Fatou Diome, Le ventre de l’Atlantique, LGF, 2005

-          Leïla Sebbar, Je ne parle pas la langue de mon père, Julliard, 2003.

-          Maryse Condé, Désirada, Pocket, 1999.

-          Jaques Poulin, Volkswagen Blues, Actes Sud, 1999.


We will also read:

-          Homi Bhabha (1999) “The Third Space: Interview with Home Bhabha.” In Identity: Community, Culture, Difference.

-          James Clifford (1994) “Diasporas.” Cultural Anthropology 9.3.

-          Hafid Gafaiti (2006). Migrances, diasporas et transculturalités Francophones. (excerpts)

-          Stuart Hall (1990). “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” in Identity: Community, Culture, Difference.

-          Jean-Marc Moura (1999). Littératures francophones et théorie postcoloniale. (excerpts)

-          Salman Rushdie (1991). Imaginary Homelands. (excerpts)


We will watch:

-          Ousmane Sembène, La Noire de... (1966).

-          Yamina Benguigui, Mémoires d’immigrés : L’Héritage maghrébin (1997).

-          Moussa Touré, La Pirogue (2012).

French 615: Grammaire avancée

Credits: 3 Contact: Martine Debaisieux

Advanced course in French grammar and style, with a special focus on various critical and professional applications. For students in the Professional French Masters Program.

Full course description

French 647: Le Roman Francais au XXe Siècle

Credits: 3 Contact: Joshua Armstrong

In this semester's French 647, subtitled "How to Consume a 20th-Century Literary Masterpiece," we will read canonical 20th-century novels alongside more recent novels that explicitly dialogue with, deconstruct, or otherwise engage with them. Albert Camus's L'étranger (1942) will be followed by Kamel Daoud's, Meursault, contre-enquête (2015), a novel whose narrator is the brother of the unnamed 'Arabe' murdered by Camus's protagonist. Marcel Proust's, Du côté de chez Swann (1913, MA reading list) will be followed by Anne Garréta's, La décomposition (1999), a dark novel that employs a perverse Oulipo-inspired logic to murder the characters from Proust's novel as a way of consuming Proust once and for all. Marguerite Duras's, Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein (1964) gets a strange makeover with Jean Rolin's, Le ravissement de Britney Spears (2013, MA reading list). Finally, we will explore the life of things and how they are consumed, reading Francis Ponge's Le parti pris des choses (1942, MA reading list) with Maylis de Kerangal's Naissance d'un pont (2010). The course will be conducted in French. We will spend roughly two weeks on each novel, and excerpts of theoretical texts will be supplied to complement the readings.

French 630: Le Siècle des Lumières

Credits: 3 Contact: Anne Vila

Pre-Reqs: Grad st or cons inst


"Le siècle des Lumières: Les maux et les mots: La médecine et la culture de Molière à Mesmer"


Using the tools of both cultural history and close literary analysis, this course will survey the interactions between literature and medicine in the eighteenth century, the period commonly known as the Enlightenment.  Our class discussions will focus on such topics as the figures of the health-care provider and of the patient; the depiction of real or "invented" diseases; the theme of literature as a source or remedy for illness; the role of gender and social status in scenarios of pathology; representations of disabled groups; political metaphors of contagion and degeneration; and the period's therapeutic practices and methods for disseminating biomedical knowledge.  In addition to studying how literary authors and doctors wrote about health and illness during the French Enlightenment, students will have the opportunity to investigate patient documents, to reconstruct how particular individuals experienced illness and its treatment--and how they wrote about those experiences.

            FR 630 will be offered on a "meets-with" basis with FR464, an advanced-undergraduate topics course entitled "Literature and Medicine in French-Speaking Cultures."  Graduate students enrolled in FR630 will have supplementary reading assignments in each module, write a mid-term exam that simulates a portion of the French MA exam, and write a substantial research paper on a primary text or text of their choosing.  Work on this paper will be carried out in stages, and include a round-table discussion of final paper projects. Like their counterparts in FR464, FR630 will give a joint oral presentation on patient documents from this period.           


Representatitive primary works


Molière, Le Malade imaginaire [to help establish the context for invalid characters in 18th-c. literature]

Voltaire, Candide, the short story "Les Oreilles du comte de Chesterfield," excerpts from Les Lettres philosophiques, and selected personal letters

Diderot, Le Rêve de d'Alembert, excerpts from Pensées philosophiques & La Lettre sur les aveugles

Rousseau, excerpts from Les Confessions and La Nouvelle Héloïse; letters to Malesherbes & Tissot

Charrière, personal letters and Les Lettres de Mistriss Henley, à une amie


Selected articles on health and illness from the Encyclopédie

Tissot, excerpts from De l'Onanisme, De la santé des gens de lettres, and other works

Consultation letters sent to Dr. Samuel-Auguste Tissot, available in a searchable database at

Writings by l'abbé de l'Epée (an inventor of sign language); Dr. Tronchin (Voltaire's doctor); Mesmer and his disciples; Revolutionary-era doctors and socio-political theorists


Organization of semester (3-4 weeks will be devoted to each module)

Module 1: Doctors and Patients

Module 2: Real and Invented Diseases--including their literary adaptations

Module 3: The practice and circulation of biomedical knowledge /healing programs

Module 4: Metaphors and imaginaires of the body up to French Revolution

French 901: Seminar-Materials and Methods of Research

Credits: 1-3 Contact: Ritt Deitz

Pre-Reqs: Graduate or professional standing


For students in the Professional French Masters Program

Full course description

French 947: Seminar: Questions de Littérature

Credits: 3 Contact: Richard Goodkin

Pre-Reqs: Graduate or professional standing


Séminaire: La Quantification de la personnalité du XVIIe au XIX siècle en France


Dans ce séminaire, nous explorerons la montée de l’influence du quantitatif sur la représentation de l’être humain dans la littérature française du XVIIe au XIX siècle. Cette période correspond à la première formulation et au raffinement progressif de l’analyse en mathémathiques, et notamment du calcul infinitésimal, outil fondamental pour toutes les sciences naturelles et sociales et influence capitale sur les mentalités de la période. Nous passerons la première moitié du cours à étudier principalement des textes du XVIIe siècle, et quelques textes du XVIIIe siècle. La deuxième moitié du cours sera consacrée à des textes du XIXe siècle. Parmi les questions traitées: unités littéraires et unités mathématiques; la nature des catégories; temps et schématisation; logique binaire et logique spectrale; les deux infinis; la probabilité; la femme et l’homme moyens; naissance de la statistique.


Les œuvres au programme incluront des textes de Pascal, de Leibniz, de Molière, de La Bruyère, de La Rochefoucauld, de Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, de Laclos, de Balzac, de Zola, d’Hippolyte Taine, de Gabriel Tarde, d’Émile Durkheim, et de Roland Barthes.

French 616: Social Responsibility in Contemporary French-Language Professional Writing

Credits: 3 Contact: Ritt Deitz

Required for Professional French Masters Program students, this interdisciplinary course investigates discourses of social responsibility in the French-speaking professional world and across sectors, in the fields of international development, marketing, management, and administration. By studying how concepts of socially responsible practice are represented in business and professional writing in France, Quebec and Francophone Africa, students will consider how trends in their individual PFMP concentration areas relate to those of their classmates and future colleagues.

Pre-Reqs: Declared in French Studies masters program or the capstone certificate in French Studies

Full course description