French (2018 - 2020)
Placement in French Language Courses
Refer to the department's website for information on placement in French language courses.
Fulfillment of the College Core Curriculum Language Requirement
The language requirement in French may be fulfilled either by an intensive sequence of two 6-point courses (FREN-UA 10 and FREN-UA 20) for a total of 12 points, or by an extensive sequence of four 4-point courses (FREN-UA 1, FREN-UA 2, FREN-UA 11, and FREN-UA 12) for a total of 16 points. A student may also follow a plan of study combining two 4-point courses with one 6-point course (FREN-UA 1, FREN-UA 2, FREN-UA 20; or FREN-UA 10, FREN-UA 11, FREN-UA 12) for a total of 14 points. Students planning to continue their study of French beyond the College Core Curriculum requirement are advised to follow the intensive sequence, since this permits completion through the intermediate level in two semesters.
Introductory Language Courses
Elementary French I
FREN-UA 1 Open to students with no previous training in French. Not equivalent to FREN-UA 10. Only by following FREN-UA 1 with FREN-UA 2 can a student complete the equivalent of FREN-UA 10 and then continue on to the intermediate level. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Elementary French II
FREN-UA 2 Continuation of FREN-UA 1. To continue on to the intermediate level, a student must complete both FREN-UA 1 and FREN-UA 2. This two-semester sequence is equivalent to FREN-UA 10. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intensive Elementary French
FREN-UA 10 Open to students with no previous training in French. Completes the equivalent of a year's elementary level in one semester. Offered every semester. 6 points.
Intermediate French I
FREN-UA 11 Prerequisites: Elementary French II (FREN-UA 2) or Intensive Elementary French (FREN-UA 10). Open to students who have completed the equivalent of a year's elementary level and to others on assignment by placement test. Not equivalent to FREN-UA 20. Only by following FREN-UA 11 with FREN-UA 12 can a student complete the equivalent of FREN-UA 20 and then continue on to the postintermediate level. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intermediate French II
FREN-UA 12 Continuation of FREN-UA 11. To fulfill the College Core Curriculum requirement and continue on to the post-intermediate level, a student must complete both FREN-UA 11 and FREN-UA 12. This two-semester sequence is equivalent to FREN-UA 20. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Intensive Intermediate French
FREN-UA 20 Prerequisites: Elementary French II (FREN-UA 2) or Intensive Elementary French (FREN-UA 10). Open to students who have completed the equivalent of a year's elementary level and to others on assignment by placement test. Completes the equivalent of a year's intermediate level in one semester. Offered every semester. 6 points.
Unless otherwise noted, the following courses are open to students who have successfully completed French Grammar and Composition (FREN-UA 30), are assigned by placement test, or have the permission of the director of undergraduate studies
From Cocodrie to CODOFIL: A Francophone Louisiana Immersion Program
FREN-UA 26 Prerequisite: Intermediate French II (FREN-UA 12) or Intensive Intermediate French (FREN-UA 20). Conducted in French. 2 points.
Combines classroom study in New York with a study and service week (in coordination with the Alternative Spring Break program) spent in several cities in Louisiana. Introduces students to the linguistic, historical, and cultural contexts of French-speaking Louisiana with an emphasis on the history and sociological reality of Louisiana (Cajun) French. Traditional community service as well as conducting oral history interviews.
Living in French in North America
FREN-UA 27 Prerequisite: Intermediate French II (FREN-UA 12) or Intensive Intermediate French (FREN-UA 20). Conducted in French. 2 points.
Combines classroom study in New York and a study and service week (in coordination with the Alternative Spring Break program) in locations in New England and Canada. Introduces students to the linguistic and cultural diversity of the Francophone presence in North America, promoting the discussion of Francophone cultures and issues of migration, integration, and cultural diversity. Traditional community service as well as conducting oral history interviews.
French Grammar and Composition
FREN-UA 30 Prerequisite: Intermediate French II (FREN-UA 12) or Intensive Intermediate French (FREN-UA 20), or placement exam. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Systematizes and reinforces the language skills presented in earlier-level courses through an intensive review of grammar, written exercises, an introduction to composition, lexical enrichment, and literary analysis.
Spoken Contemporary French
FREN-UA 101 Assumes a mastery of the fundamental structures of French. Offered every semester. 4 points.
Helps the student to develop vocabulary, improve pronunciation, and learn new idiomatic expressions. Introduction to corrective phonetics and emphasis on understanding contemporary French through a study of such authentic documents as radio and television interviews, advertisements, and spontaneous oral productions.
FREN-UA 103 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Provides advanced French language students with the opportunity to improve their pronunciation through a detailed analysis of the sound systems of both French and English.
Written Contemporary French
FREN-UA 105 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Designed to improve the student's written French and to provide advanced training in French and comparative grammar. Students are trained to express themselves in a variety of written genres (for example, diaries, transcriptions, narrations, letters). Focuses on the distinction between spoken and written styles and the problem of contrastive grammar. Emphasis on accuracy and fluency of usage.
FREN-UA 107 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Practice of translation through French and English texts taken from a variety of sources to present a range of contrasting grammatical and stylistic problems. Also stresses acquisition of vocabulary.
French: Advanced Techniques of Translation
FREN-UA 108 Prerequisite: French Translation (FREN-UA 107). Offered every year. 4 points.
Provides intensive practice in translating. Every week is devoted to a different genre of writing (such as poetry, prose, journalism, or subtitling) or a different set of issues related to translating (such as cultural, grammatical and sentential, phonic/graphic and prosodic, or language variety).
FREN-UA 109 Offered every year. 4 points.
Use of dramatic situations and readings to help students overcome inhibitions in their spoken French. The graduated series of exercises and activities improves pronunciation, intonation, expression, and body language, via phonetic practice, poetry recitation, skits, improvisation, and memorization of dramatic texts. Reading, discussion, and performance of scenes from plays by renowned dramatists. Extensive use of audio and video material.
FREN-UA 110 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Emphasis on oral and written communication, as well as the acquisition of a business and commercial vocabulary dealing with the varied activities of a commercial firm (for example, advertising, transportation, banking). Stresses group work in simulated business situations and exposure to authentic spoken materials.
Creative Writing in French
FREN-UA 111 Prerequisite: Written Contemporary French (FREN-UA 105). 4 points.
Students with a solid grasp of French have the opportunity to refine their knowledge of the language through a variety of workshop-based activities. Divided between reading and discussing short texts in a variety of genres (as models, points of inspiration, etc.) and creative writing proper. Students write in genres ranging from autobiographical to experimental.
Approaches to French Language
FREN-UA 115 Prerequisite: French Grammar and Composition (FREN-UA 30). Offered periodically. 4 points.
Approaches the French language as it is used both in and outside of France through an exploration of some of the principal domains of linguistic study: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, the external history of French, and sociolinguistic and regional variation. Emphasizes the internal workings of the French language as well as the place and roles of French throughout the Francophone world.
Readings in French Literature I: From the Middle Ages to the French Revolution
FREN-UA 120 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Introduction to central works in medieval and early modern French literature. By analyzing plays, chronicles, poems, and novels, students explore the role and status of literature within the era's larger intellectual, political, and social framework. Critical study of key themes, genres, and styles; focuses on analytical writing and literary analysis. Authors studied may include Marie de France, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Montaigne, Corneille, Diderot, and Voltaire.
Readings in French Literature II: From 1800 to the Present
FREN-UA 121 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Introduction to central works in modern French literature. By analyzing plays, chronicles, poems, and novels, students explore the role and status of literature within the era's larger intellectual, political, and social framework. Critical study of key themes, genres, and styles; focuses on analytical writing and literary analysis. Follows but does not require completion of Readings in French Literature I. Authors studied may include Flaubert, Maupassant, Zola, Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, Kateb Yacine, Georges Perec, and Marguerite Yourcenar.
French: Approaches to Francophone Literature
FREN-UA 145 Offered every year. 4 points.
Examines literature from a network of French-speaking countries that form a Francophone space. Addresses the colonial past, as well as the anticolonial and postcolonial situations in which French colonialism is replaced by more complex relationships and ideologies. Special attention is paid to language and the role of the writer in elaborating a postcolonial national identity. Writers studied may include Edouard Glissant and Patrick Chamoiseau of Martinique, Jacques Roumain of Haiti, Ahmadou Kourouma of the Ivory Coast, and Assia Djebar of Algeria.
French Civilization in the Making: From the Gauls to the Revolution
FREN-UA 163 Offered every semester. 4 points.
Retrospective and introspective view of French civilization from the early to the modern period through the interrelation of history, literature, fine arts, music, and philosophy. Study of major historical forces, ideas, and tensions; the formation of collective identities (territorial, religious, political); France's diversity and formative conflicts; France and the outer world; and the relationship between state, nation, and citizenry. Primary sources and documents such as chroniques, mémoires, journaux, revues, and correspondances.
French: Contemporary France
FREN-UA 164 Offered every semester. 4 points.
An introduction to French history, politics, and social relations from the Revolution to the present. Attention is paid to the successive crises that challenged France's stature, its national identity, and its republican model. Topics include the French political and social systems; France's "exceptionalism" and relationships with Europe, the United States, and globalization; colonialism, immigration, and postcolonialism; and gender and class relations.
The following courses, which build on the linguistic and cultural skills built in foundations courses, are focused on specific aspects of the literature, thought, and culture of the French-speaking world. Unless otherwise noted, courses taught in French are open to students who have successfully completed French Advanced Grammar and Composition (FREN UA 30), are assigned by placement test, or have the permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Courses in this category taught in English carry no prerequisites and are open to all students. When taking courses conducted in English, French majors may reach an agreement with the instructor to complete the written assignments and as many reading assignments as possible in French, if they so choose.
French: Versailles - Life as Art in the Age of Grandeur
FREN-UA 150 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 850. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Fabulous Versailles, the synthesis of baroque and classical aesthetics and the cult of kingship, serves as an introduction to the study of major aspects of 17th- and 18th-century culture and French influence on European civilization. Approaches the intellectual, artistic, and social complexities of the period through the works of contemporary philosophers, dramatists, artists, memoirists, and field trips, and multimedia presentations of music and art.
French: La Belle Époque - Modes of Artistic Expression and Life
FREN-UA 166 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 866. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Focuses on the dazzling cultural life of turn-of-thecentury Paris. Explores the ascent of symbolism, postimpressionism, art nouveau, cubism, futurism, and other creative concepts. Views the social, intellectual, and artistic aspects of the period through the works of contemporary writers, dramatists, and artists such as Zola, Huysmans, Maupassant, Proust, Colette, Apollinaire, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Picasso, Debussy, Diaghilev, Sarah Bernhardt, and Gertrude Stein. Extensive use of audio and video material.
Race in France: Literature, Film, Theory
FREN-UA 190 Taught in French; in English: FREN-UA 890. Prerequisite: French Grammar and Composition (FREN-UA 30); no prerequisite when taught in English. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Traditionally, France has relied on a universalist ideal of color-blindness that does not recognize the existence of race and rejects its use in public discourse and political action. Today, however, a growing number of activists and intellectuals contend that the traditional republican ban on race has not only failed to prevent racism but makes it impossible to fully measure racial discrimination. Investigates how French and francophone writers, intellectuals, artists, and filmmakers have engaged with these issues.
French Novel: The 18th-Century
FREN-UA 532 Offered periodically. 4 points.
The novel comes into its own during the 18th century. It fought for recognition as a "worthy genre." The development of the novel as an aesthetic form and the social and moral preoccupations it reveals are studied in a variety of authors, such as Marivaux, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Laclos, and Sade.
French Thought from Montaigne to Sartre
FREN-UA 562 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Deals with the various currents of ideas and the transformations in values, taste, and feeling that constitute French intellectual history from the early modern period and Enlightenment to the 20th century. Pays particular attention to the personality, writings, and influence of Montaigne, Descartes, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, and Sartre.
French Novel and Society: The 19th-Century
FREN-UA 632 Offered periodically. 4 points.
Study of Balzac, Stendhal, Flaubert, and Zola as a means of identifying the individual's changing relationship to the environment and the social, political, and intellectual contexts of his or her epoch. Problems of the 19th-century novel, narrative structure, point of view, invention, and observation.
French Novel: The 20th Century
FREN-UA 731 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 831. Offered periodically. 4 points.
In the 20th century Proust and Gide developed a first-person-singular narrative with the reader as participant; Breton used the novel for a surrealist exploration; and with Céline and Malraux the novel of violent action mirrored the human condition in a chaotic time and led to the existentialist work of Sartre and Camus, beyond which lay Beckett's sparse, complex narratives and Robbe-Grillet's "new" novels. Works are studied with respect to structure, technique, themes, and language.
French Thought: Existentialism and the Absurd
FREN-UA 767 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 867. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Studies Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus, including their commitment to political and social affairs of the times. Examines absurdist literature since the 1950s in the "theatre of the absurd," in fiction, and in critical work of other contemporary French writers. Covers Ionesco, Beckett, Genet, Robbe-Grillet, and Barthes; precursors of the absurd such as Kafka and Céline; and practitioners of the absurd outside of France (such as Pinter, Albee, and Barthelme).
The French Canon: Proust
FREN-UA 771 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 871. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Reading of Remembrance of Things Past. Major topics include the novel as confession, the unconscious and creation, perception and language, sexuality, decadence, the artistic climate in Europe and France from the end of the 19th century through World War I, and the hero as artist.
The French Canon: Beckett
FREN-UA 774 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 874. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Study of Samuel Beckett's diverse output and two complementary components of the human condition as he treats it: the impossibility of existence and the need to voice that impossibility. Works include Molloy, The Unnamable, Waiting for Godot, Endgame, Cascando, Not I, How It Is, Krapp's Last Tape, and First Love.
History of French Cinema
FREN-UA 778 Identical to CINE-UT 239. When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 878. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Discusses formal issues in the context of French civilization and history. Topics: the Lumiere brothers' realism versus Mélies's transformation of reality; the international avant-garde of the 1920s; poetic realism (Vigo, Renoir); the New Wave (Truffaut, Godard); political modernism in the context of May 1968; the advent of the "Cinéma du Look"; and postmodernity (Besson, Beineix).
Metaphors of Modern Theatre
FREN-UA 822 Identical to DRLIT-UA 267. Conducted in English. Offered periodically. 2 points.
A close reading of the classics of contemporary theatre, with emphasis on their use of vivid metaphors of the human condition and on the theatre as both metaphor and artistic process. Views each play as a highlight of nonrealistic theatre and as a brilliant example of the sensibilities of European artists and thinkers from the period just after World War I (Pirandello) to World War II (Sartre) to the post-Hiroshima generation (Beckett).
How to Doubt Everything: Montaigne’s Essais
FREN-UA 825 Conducted in English. When conducted in French, numbered FREN-UA 925. 4 points.
Why is it important to doubt? How do we doubt? And if we doubt what we think and what we should do, then how can we know ourselves? How much can/should we doubt and when (if at all) should we stop? These questions are central to Montaigne’s Essais (1580-92), in which the author tries out (essaie) his mind on topics large and small, from the meaning of thumbs to the culture of Native Americans.
Haiti: History, Society, and Culture
FREN-UA 833 Identical to SCA-UA 168. Conducted in English. Offered every three years. 4 points.
The past two hundred years have taken Haiti from pariah state to failed state. Haiti is loved or despised because it is seen as absolutely different. Haiti is indeed different, but its difference is historical and not inherent. Its revolutionary origins so challenged the prejudices of its time that Haiti has been conspicuously consigned to the margins of modern history. Includes an overview of the political changes that have made a relatively isolated, national culture increasingly diasporic and transnational.
French Fashion, Taste, and Style
FREN-UA 902 Identical to SCA-UA 721. When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 802. Seminar. Offered every other year. 4 points.
Explores theories of dress and French “taste” and “style” more broadly from aesthetic, sociological, and historical points of view. Examines a broad array of literary and visual works. Students gain a critical vocabulary for discussing literary and cinematic style, paying special attention to the implications of fashion for the production and rescripting of gender norms. Investigates how taste is learned and incorporated, whether the fashion system subverts or consolidates social norms, and what it means to become the artist of one’s own life.
French News, with Coffee
FREN-UA 904 Conducted in French. 2 points.
Students practice and improve their French skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking) via (1) daily exposure to French-language newspapers and TV news, (2) ongoing writing in French of a news journal or cahier du monde actuel, and (3) weekly group discussions, in French, with coffee (or other beverage).
Machines à Ecrire
FREN-UA 905 Conducted in French. 2 points.
Students not only read the work of, but also meet and discuss their reading with, contemporary French writers who speak at the Maison Française as part of the interview series “French Literature in the Making” organized by celebrated French journalist Olivier Barrot.
Money in French Culture
FREN-UA 910 Conducted in French. When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 810. 4 points.
Bridges the social sciences and the humanities. Topics: exchanges, gifts, the nation, speculation, growth, profit, frugality, social utopias, revolutions, and inequality.
History of the French Language
FREN-UA 920 Conducted in French. 4 points.
How French developed from a regional dialect of Vulgar Latin lacking prestige into a major international language of diplomacy, literature, and commerce spoken today on every continent. Examines the internal history of the language (phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic changes) as well as its external history (social, demographic, and political contexts). Does not require any prior knowledge of linguistics.
Theatre in the French Tradition
FREN-UA 929 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 829 and identical to COLIT-UA 866, DRLIT-UA 301 (specific section may vary), and THEA-UT 632. Offered periodically. 4 points.
Includes the golden-age playwrights (Corneille, Racine, Moliere), 18th-century irony and sentiment, and the 19th-century theatrical revolution. Topics include theories of comedy and tragedy, the development of stagecraft, and romanticism and realism. Also considers the theatre as a public genre, its relationship to taste and fashion, and its sociopolitical function.
French and Francophone Women Writers
FREN-UA 935 Identical to SCA-UA 740. When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 835. Offered every other year. 4 points.
How women's writing reveals its authors' individuality and their important social and cultural role in France from the 12th century to the present. Studies both changing sociohistorical contexts and the common problems and themes that constitute a female tradition. Writers include Marie de France, Christine de Pisan, Marguerite de Navarre, Madame de Sévigné, Germaine de Staël, George Sand, Colette, Simone de Beauvoir, Marguerite Duras and Assia Djebar.
Topics in French Culture
FREN-UA 965 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 865. Offered periodically. 4 points.
For specific courses, please consult the current class schedule. Recent topics include Acting medieval literature and Paris and the birth of modernism.
Topics in French Literature
FREN-UA 968 When conducted in English, numbered FREN-UA 868. Offered periodically. 4 points.
For specific courses, please consult the class schedule. Recent topics include French 17th-century masterpieces and the theatre of the absurd.
Internship in French
FREN-UA 980, 981 Prerequisite: permission of the department. Offered every semester. 2 or 4 points per term. Must be taken in conjunction with an Independent Study (FREN-UA 997, 998); may be taken in conjunction with a specific course with the permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Working closely with a sponsor and a faculty adviser, upper-level students pursue internships in such diverse areas as international trade, banking, publishing, and law. Interested students should apply to the department early in the semester before they wish to begin their internship.
FREN-UA 997, 998 Prerequisite: permission of the department. Offered every semester. 2 or 4 points per term.
FREN-UA 991, 992 Prerequisite: Written Contemporary French (FREN-UA 105) or permission of the department. 4 points.
All senior seminars require a research component. For the areas of inquiry offered in any one semester, please consult the class schedule.
French Research Lab
FREN-UA 995 Formerly Senior Honors Thesis Seminar. Prerequisite: French Grammar and Composition (FREN-UA 30). Corequisite: Independent Study (FREN-UA 997) for honors students; Senior Seminar (FREN-UA 991 or 992) recommended as corequisite for non-honors students. Seminar. Offered in the fall. 2 points.
Supports and guides students undertaking research in the broad field of French literature, thought, and culture. Honors students take it with the first semester of work on the senior thesis, but it is open to all majors in the department who wish to conduct research.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates
Courses in the Graduate School of Arts and Science are open to seniors with a 3.5 average in three 4-point courses (12 points) of advanced work in French. If these courses are offered toward the requirements for the baccalaureate degree, no advanced credit is allowed for them in the graduate school. Before registering for these courses, students must obtain the permission of the director of undergraduate studies. A complete list of graduate courses open to qualified seniors is available in the department each semester.