Course Offerings - Catalog 2012-13

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Division of Humanities

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.


Allison Connolly (chair), Julie James, Ken Keffer, Patrice Mothion


Katie Smalley, Brittany Tucker

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 equivalent;
Five FRE courses numbered 300 or higher;
One additional FRE course numbered 250 or higher;
FRE 500

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 equivalent;
Two FRE courses numbered 300 or higher;
One additional FRE course numbered 250 or higher

French Courses

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 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 220 for 251; FRE 261 or 271 or placement for 350.

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 315 From Napo to Sarko
An introduction in French to French civilization, designed to increase language skills through active modes of learning and to introduce students to an upper-level study of France after the Revolution. Emphasis is placed on the political evolution of France (from the French Revolution and Napoleon’s Empire to Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency of the Fifth Republic), on France’s artistic contribution to the international community in the 19th and 20th centuries, and on its current role as a member of the European Union. Prerequisite: FRE 271.

FRE 320 Introduction to French Thought and 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 351 Epistolary Endeavors
This course will focus on the epistolary literary genre as it has developed since the 18th century in literatures of English and French expression.  Students will treat various topics, including love, gender relations, racism, travel, and exile, tracing the development of the genre across the centuries and between cultures. Prerequisite: FRE 261 or 271 or permission of the instructor. (Conducted in Strasbourg.)

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 411 World Literature in French
An introduction in French to “world literature,” that is, to literature in the age of globalization; the use of French translations provides proof of that language’s status as a world language and impels us to focus on elements of character, plot and setting that are shared across vastly different cultures; works studied include those by men and women having recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature—from Egypt (Mahfouz’ Adrift on the Nile), China (Xingjian’s Soul Mountain), Germany-Rumania (Herta Muller’s The Passport), Poland (Wislawa Szymborksy’s Nothing Twice), Turkey (Pamuk’s Snow), Peru (Vargas-Llosa’s Paradise is Elsewhere) and others.  Prerequisite: FRE 261 or equivalent.

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 425 Les Misérables
This course focuses on one novel, Les Misérables. The emphasis is on a thorough literary analysis of the novel itself, but the course will also cover Victor Hugo's role as an observer of French society in the 19th century, as an actor in the political arena of his time, and last but not least, as an admirer of Napoleon I. All classes and texts are in French; all presentations and written work for this class are in French as well. Prerequisite: FRE 271 or equivalent.

FRE 426 19th Century French Culture and Literature
This course examines nineteenth‐century French culture and literature from the French Revolution to the Dreyfus affair. We will study the major literary and artistic movements of the century: romanticism, realism, impressionism, and naturalism. Students will learn about the historical and social developments of French culture as they are reflected in various artistic and literary genres. Exploring the birth of an urban culture, students  increase their awareness about the relationship between literature, art, and the emergence of political and social concerns. Prerequisite: FRE 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 432 French Women of Letters
An introduction to a range of French women writers through a study of their poetry, prose, and correspondence. Students examine recurrent themes and forms in women's writing across the centuries, including the representation of identity, the concept of origins, and the intersection of class, race and gender. Prerequisite: FRE 261 and 271 or permission of the instructor.

FRE 433 Napoleon
The emphasis of this course will be placed on Napoléon Bonaparte to introduce students to an upper-level study of France after the Revolution, with a focus on the ideas and reforms of France's most emblematic historical figure and their lasting effect on French society. Prerequisite: FRE 271.

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 2011-2012

FRE 256/456  Growing up in the Francophone World
How are children portrayed in various French and Francophone contexts? How do young people perceive themselves? In this course, students study the representation of children and adolescents through literature, film, and in the media. In addition to examining the depiction of children in traditional nuclear families, we will also consider orphans, children attending boarding school, young people coming of age in a time of war, children living in exile, as well as today's technology savvy adolescents. As a final project for the course, students complete a creative work of fiction or non-fiction focusing on childhood. Prerequisite: FRE 210 for 256; 260/261 for 456.