||Course Offerings | French
Division of Humanities
Patrice Mothion (chair), Allison Connolly Ken Keffer, Marie Manheim; students: Graham Campbell, Laura Hansen, Sean Malarkey
When the Medici family sought a motto to express their optimism and humanism, they chose "Le Temps Revient," a French expression meaning "The Great Age Returns." Their choice of French was not accidental, for the study of this language offers a royal path to discovering the complexity of human experience from the Oaths of Strasbourg in the ninth century to the present. The French major and minor programs at Centre help students discover the will to be scholar-citizens informed about the literature, art, music, and history of France, curious about international affairs relating to Francophone countries, and desirous of communicating with French-speaking people here and abroad.
Recommended First-Year/Sophomore Preparation
Students considering a major in French are encouraged to plan their academic program to include as wide a distribution of courses as possible regardless of their professional or vocational objectives. Prospective majors should consider taking courses in literature, history, philosophy, and the fine arts.
Requirements for the Major
FRE 210, 220, 261and 271, or
Five FRE courses numbered 300 or higher;
One additional FRE course numbered 250 or higher;
Note: It is strongly recommended that majors and minors participate in
a term abroad in our Centre-in-Europe program in Strasbourg, France, as
an integral component of their French studies.
Requirements for the Minor
FRE 210, 220, 261 and 271, or
Two FRE courses numbered 300 or higher;
One additional FRE course numbered 250 or higher;
FRE 110, 120 Introduction
to French Language and Culture-I, II (four credit hours each)
An introduction to French language and culture. FRE 110 references
our abroad program in Strasbourg; FRE 120 references the Tour de France
bicycle race. Prerequisite: 110 for 120.
FRE 150 Fundamentals-IV
This course is designed for students in Strasbourg who have met the
minimum proficiency level in French but have not studied French since
entering Centre. The course uses materials comparable to FRE 110 but students
are given additional assignments dependent on their individual capabilities.
FRE 210, 220 Intermediate Workshop
A course in simple French emphasizing conversation and treating one
or more of the following topics: painting, history, cinema, song, or current
events. Prerequisite: FRE 120 or placement.
FRE 261 The Francophone World
An introduction to contemporary Francophone literary texts, articles and films in French-speaking regions of Quebec, Canada, Northern and Western Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean; consideration of the geography, history and politics in these societies. Prerequisite: FRE 220 or placement.
FRE 271 Group Conversation
A course on how three- and more-way conversation works in French; the course explores rules for entry, exit, interruption, confrontation and reconciliation in French group talk; it is based on free audio podcasts from state-owned France-Culture radio; all these conversations include three or more persons speaking and joking about urban life, books, politics, art, philosophy, education, society, tourism and current events. Prerequisite: FRE 220 or equivalent.
FRE 251/350 Contemporary French Culture
A systematic study of Modern France and its social institutions. Offered
in Strasbourg. Prerequisite: FRE 120 for 251; FRE 210 or placement for
FRE 305 French Linguistics
Linguistics, the study of language, can be divided into two major components: the study of language structure, i.e., grammar, and the study of meaning, i.e., semantics. This course focuses on the main specificities of the French language in syntax and morphology (language structure) as well as in phonetics and phonology (the study of sound and meaning encoded in spoken language). It features many drills to help students acquire a greater fluency, better pronunciation and a more advanced level in grammatical structures. Prerequisite: FRE 271 or equivalent.
FRE 310 Advanced French Grammar and Stylistics
This course offers a thorough review of basic French grammatical structures as well as an introduction to more sophisticated constructions. Its goal is to improve students' writing by focusing on the use of correct grammar and appropriate vocabulary in compositions, and by studying style using excerpts from some of the most celebrated French writers as examples. Prerequisite: FRE 261 or 271 or equivalent.
FRE 320 Introduction to French Thought & Art
An introduction to French culture based on three decisive turning points in the development its thought and art: the debate on skepticism and faith in Montaigne and Pascal; the optimism for Enlightenment autonomy in Voltaire and Rousseau; the sexual pessimism and hedonism of late 19th century painting and fiction (Impressionism and Proust). (Also listed as HUM 273.) Course discussion and readings in English; students receiving credit for French 320 write homework and essays in French. Prerequisite: None for HUM 273; FRE 261 or equivalent for FRE 320.
FRE 410 Food for Thought
A study of the different aspects of the French culinary tradition in literature,
from Renart's hunger in the Middle Ages to Astérix's banquets.
Prerequisite: FRE 261 or 271.
FRE 412 French for International Relations
Study of French with an emphasis on international trade. Students develop their linguistic skills while focusing on marketing, shipping, and import/export concepts. Students also study the role of the European Union in the current world economy. In this skills-based course, students also learn to use appropriate technical vocabulary for different business contexts, work on translation, write professional correspondence, and view/read about current events related to the world of business. Cross-cultural differences regarding the work place also is studied. Students summarize current articles on issues in the fields of commerce, finance, or economics. Prerequisite: FRE 260 or 261 or permission of the instructor.
FRE 420 The Theme of Love in Film and Literature
Great love stories of the French literary tradition from early Troubadour
love songs to New Wave cinema. Prerequisite: FRE 261 or 271.
FRE 430 The Molière Stage
A course using student improvisation of selected scenes from Molière's farces and bitter-sweet comedies as the chief means of understanding
17th-Century French classicism. Most classes are held in a ballroom setting where students are required to dress in loose-fitting clothing and to wear tennis shoes but the course meets from time to time in a traditional classroom setting for lectures, grammar study and exams. Prerequisite: one course higher than French 220.
FRE 440 Paris in French Literature
Study of the growth and development of the French capital from Lutetia
to the City of Lights as reflected in French literature; course includes
study of the representation of Paris in art and study of its architecture.
Prerequisite: FRE 261 or 271.
FRE 462 Balzac
Arguably, the two greatest French writers of the 19 th century are Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac. This course focuses on the latter's impact on French literature. From the study of Balzac's first novel and some of his most celebrated short stories, students are able to understand how a new genre in French literature (Realism) came into prominence in the first half of the 19 th century. Students learn how to appreciate the richness of Balzac's style as well as the depth of his imagination. Finally, his influence on other writers (Flaubert, for example) or movements (Naturalism) is also investigated. Prerequisite: FRE 271.
FRE 500 Senior Seminar (one credit hour)
Weekly meetings with French program faculty for discussion of topics
of mutual interest between faculty and senios. Offered on a pass/unsatisfactory
basis only. Prerequisite: Senior French major.
Special Topic Offered 2008-2009:
FRE 257/457 Fifteen French Paintings
A course in French, requiring no artistic skill, devoted to examining fifteen French paintings hanging in the collection of the Art Institute in Chicago; class includes discussion of the background, style and contents of the paintings as well as meetings to stretch canvas, do some rough copying of the paintings in acrylics for the purpose of mounting a small exhibit on campus; at course end, visit to the Art Institute in Chicago to examine the originals; painters include Poussin, Delacroix, Ingres, Manet, Morisot, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Kandinsky, Matisse, Chagall and Dubuffet from a period stretching (like canvas) from the 17 th century to the 20 th century; students in 457 do more advanced work and a longer term paper than students in 257. Prerequisite: FRE 210 for 257; 260/261 for 457.