Undergraduate course descriptions

FREN UN3131
THIRD YEAR CONVERSATION
Activities include oral presentations, debates, role-playing, pronunciation exercises, discussion of current events, articles, films, etc.  Students’ interests form the basis for the syllabus.

FREN UN3240
FREN LANG, SOC, CULTURE THRU FILM
Heidi Holst-Knudsen
Socio-political issues and language through the prism of film. Especially designed for non-majors wishing to further develop their French language skills and learn about French culture. Each module includes assignments targeting the four language competencies: reading, writing, speaking and oral comprehension, as well as cultural understanding. Note: this course does not count toward the French major or concentration

FREN UN3333
INTRO TO LITERARY STUDIES I
Raphaelle Burns
Major literary works from the XIIth Century to 1700. The goal of this course is to train students in literary analysis, and to make them comfortable speaking and writing on literary topics. Authors include Chretien de Troyes, Rabelais, Moliere, Corneille, Madame de Lafayette.

FREN UN3334
INTRO TO LITERARY STUDIES II
Caio Moraes Ferreira
Major literary works since 1700. The goal of this course is to train students in literary analysis, and to make them comfortable speaking and writing on literary topics. Authors include Montesquieu, Rousseau, Chateaubriand, Balzac, Baudelaire, Proust, Sarraute.

FREN UN3405
THIRD-YEAR GRAMMAR & COMPOSITION
Prerequisites: Satisfaction of the Columbia University language requirement or the permission of the Director of undergraduate studies. W3405 helps students to improve their grammar and perfect their writing and reading skills, especially as a preparation for taking literature or civilization courses, or spending a semester in a francophone country.

Introduction to French and Francophone Studies I-II (FREN 3420 and 3421) is a two-semester introduction to the history and culture of France and the Francophone world. Through readings and lectures students are introduced to key concepts and debates relating to identity, diversity, nation and empire in the French colonial and postcolonial context. Designed as core courses for the interdisciplinary French and Francophone studies major, 3420 and 3421 also satisfy the 'francophone literature' requirement of the French major, and are open to qualified non-majors. If you are a French major, or a non-major, it is not necessary to take both semesters. 

FREN UN3420
INTRO TO FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES I
Aline Rogg
Examines conceptions of culture and civilization in France from the Enlightenment to the Exposition Coloniale of 1931, with an emphasis on the historical development and ideological foundations of French colonialism. Authors and texts include: the Encycloplédie; the Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen; the Code noir; Diderot; Chateaubriand; Tocqueville; Claire de Duras; Renan; Gobineau; Gauguin; Drumont.

CLFR UN3716
FRANCOPHONE ROMANCE, LOVE, SEX, INTIMACY IN THE FRENCH COLONIAL WORLD
Madeleine Dobie
As recent scholarship on empire has shown, colonial domination and violence have often been accompanied by various forms of intimacy. In this course we consider the different ways in which love, desire and household and family relationships have emerged as questions in the French colonial context from the age of plantation slavery to the era of decolonization. The material spans the history and geography of the French empire. We consider works from the Caribbean, Louisiana, Vietnam and the Maghreb, considering both the transmission of categories and practices across colonial contexts and historical and regional specificities. Our primary lens is that of literature, but we also draw on other sources and on insights from history, sociology, law and other disciplines.

CLFR UN3617 (crossed listed with IRWGS)
WRITING WOMEN IN MEDIEVAL FRANCE AND ENGLAND
Eliza Zingesser
This course is an introduction both to the works of women who either lived in France or adopted French as a literary language in the Middle Ages, as well as to works commenting on the role of women, often from an antifeminist viewpoint. Our explorations will take us across a wide range of genres, from poetry to legal documents to mystical treatises to romances.

FREN UN3766
TRANSCRIBING/WRITING TALES IN AFRICA
Bachir Diagne
Transcribing, adapting, rewriting, reinventing in the French language African oral tales is an important literary genre in African francophone literature. The works of authors such as Amadou Hampâté Bâ from Mali, Bernard Dadié from Côte d'Ivoire and Birago Diop from Senegal are among the classics of that genre. The course is a study of a certain number of "tales" written with talent and humor by Bâ, Dadié and Diop;

FREN UN3817
CONTEMPORARY FRENCH LITERATURE
Elisabeth Ladenson
This course is designed as a general introduction to major trends and authors in French literature from the mid-90s to the present and the place of literature in contemporary French culture.  We will read and discuss representative works by authors such as Christine Angot, Marie Darrieussecq, Virginie Despentes, Michel Houellebecq, Edouard Louis, Patrick Modiano, and Marie N’Diaye.  

FREN UN3995
SENIOR SEMINAR
Pierre Force
This seminar is required for all French and French & Francophone Studies majors, who usually take it during their senior year. Students have the opportunity to collaboratively create their own syllabus of literary and critical readings.

FREN UN3132
THIRD YEAR CONVERSATION
Activities include oral presentations, debates, role-playing, pronunciation exercises, discussion of current events, articles, films, etc.  Students’ interests form the basis for the syllabus.

FREN UN3333
INTRO TO LITERARY STUDIES I
Major literary works from the XIIth Century to 1700. The goal of this course is to train students in literary analysis, and to make them comfortable speaking and writing on literary topics. Authors include Chretien de Troyes, Rabelais, Moliere, Corneille, Madame de Lafayette.

FREN UN3334
INTRO TO LITERARY STUDIES II
Tommaso Manfredini
Major literary works since 1700. The goal of this course is to train students in literary analysis, and to make them comfortable speaking and writing on literary topics. Authors include Montesquieu, Rousseau, Chateaubriand, Balzac, Baudelaire, Proust, Sarraute.

FREN UN3405
THIRD-YEAR GRAMMAR & COMPOSITION
Prerequisites: Satisfaction of the Columbia University language requirement or the permission of the Director of undergraduate studies. W3405 helps students to improve their grammar and perfect their writing and reading skills, especially as a preparation for taking literature or civilization courses, or spending a semester in a francophone country.

FREN UN3421
INTRO TO FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES II
Anais Maurer
In this course, students return to an exploration of the general concepts introduced in “Introduction to French and Francophone Studies I” and evaluate the significance of these ideas in the particular context of French-speaking communities in the postcolonial world. Re-examining such notions as universalism and relativism, tradition and modernity, integration and exclusion, etc., students consider the extent to which challenges and questionings of 18th and 19th century ideology have affected French imperialism and brought about changes in contemporary constructions of cultural and national identity. We examine and discuss France’s historical and cultural sense of itself with respect to its former colonies, along with that of the francophone world with respect to metropolitan France. Moving between sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, the Caribbean, and France, we reflect on the socio-political phenomena of decolonization, nationalism, and immigration – from the early 1930s into the 21st century. 

Readings, films, class discussions, writing assignments, and exams are all in French. (3421 can be taken independently or before 3420)

FREN UN3600
FRANCE PAST AND PRESENT: AN INTRODUCTION TO FRENCH CIVILIZATION 
Raphaelle Burns
Based on readings of short historical sources, the course will provide an overview of French political and cultural history since 1700. Course taught in French.

FREN UN3818
FRENCH WAR IMAGINARIES
Thomas Dodman
This course looks at how the French have lived through and imagined war from the age of Enlightenment to contemporary postcolonial times. Rather than focusing on operational military history, it explores war “imaginaries,” that is experiences, representations, and sensibilities of armed conflict (both conscious and not), as mediated in ego-documents, wartime prose and poetry, or artwork, photography, and film. Straddling the porous boundary between history and fiction, these sources help reconstruct the memory (and forgetting) of armed conflicts, pointing to how Napoleonic legend, trench warfare, Vichy, and Algerian decolonization (among others) have shaped French culture and society.  Course taught in French.

FREN UN3503
ENLIGHTENMENT/COUNTER-ENLIGHTENMENT
Joanna Stalnaker
Taking modern definitions and critiques of Enlightenment as its starting point, this course will look at how the Enlightenment defined itself as a philosophical, cultural and literary movement, practiced self-criticism from within, and responded to dissension and critique from without. Authors will include Adorno, Horkheimer, Foucault and Israel for the modern critical context, and Voltaire, Diderot, Buffon, Rousseau, Sade and Kant for the eighteenth century material. The course will be given in French, but non-majors may write papers in English. This course fulfills the French Major requirement for a course on literature before 1800. Course taught in French.

ENFR UN3800
The Writer in Nineteenth-Century British and French Fiction
Elisabeth Ladenson, Nicholas Dames
A study of what it meant to write -- or to be a writer -- at the moment when the novel began to stake its claim to be a major or high art form, seen through the lens of British and French realist novels that tell the story of a writer's personal and career development. At the center of the seminar will be the question of the novel and its relation to the worlds of journalism and art, and how novels negotiated (through the figure of the writer) their overlap with the newspapers and the lyric poem, or exterior and interior worlds. Class to be conducted in English, with readings from Balzac, Dickens, Maupassant and Gissing, and possibly other examples. Course taught in English.

HIST GU4110
French America, 1534-1804
Pierre Force
A study of the French Atlantic World from the exploration of Canada to the Louisiana Purchase and Haitian Independence, with a focus on the relationship between war and trade, forms of intercultural negotiation, the economics of slavery, and the changing meaning of race. The course is designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Course taught in English.

FREN GU4418
Eloquent Animals in Medieval Literature
Eliza Zingesser
Medieval literature, like contemporary literature, sometimes features talking animals. But medieval grammatical treatises describe non-human animal utterances as meaningless and (usually) as untranscribable in writing. Some human utterances also fall into this category—a fact that grammatical treatises acknowledge—, rendering language alone an inadequate means of shoring up the species boundary. When authors liken their own language to that of a non-human animal, such as the myriad medieval poets who profess to "sing like the birds," is this a serious claim, leading to experimental poetics? When non-human animals "speak" in medieval fiction, do they speak differently from their human counterparts? This seminar surveys texts in which animals communicate—via language or via other symbolic systems. How, if at all, did medieval authors attempt to draw the line between human and non-human animals? Our reading will include lyric poetry by the troubadours and trouvères, Chrétien de Troyes' Yvain, Philomena, selected lais by Marie de France, the Novas del papagai (The Story of the Parrot), the Roman de Renart, and Gaston Phébus's Le livre de chasse. Alongside these texts, we will read theoretical reflections on language and sound, both medieval and modern, including medieval catalogs of animal "noises" and grammatical treatises on voice. Contemporary reflections by Derrida, Jean-Christophe Bailly, Mladen Dolar and others. Course taught in English.