Undergraduate course descriptions

French UN3240
Heidi Holst-Knudsen
Prerequisites: FREN UN2102 French 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.

French UN3244
Samuel Skippon
The course will offer students an understanding of fundamental underlying concepts that structure French society and that are necessary to grasp if one wants to follow current events in France. This course could be of interest not only to CC students but also to students enrolled at SIPA or Teacher’s College. Moreover, this course would allow for a comparative approach to how same events are covered in US, or other foreign media, and in France. Given that this course will deal with current events, the readings will depend entirely on how the news unfolds. Students will be given an introduction to the various media outlets available to them: the press, television and online sources. As the course unfolds, I will adapt the choice of sources that best follow events as they happen. 2022 for example, will be the year France assumes the presidency of the European Union. It will also be the year of the presidential elections. For such events, I will propose specific institutional sources. On the other hand, events that could not be anticipated will require some form of guidance in terms of sources. In spite of the obvious unpredictability of the specific content of this course, certain key concepts necessary to understand current events in France will be presented. These may vary slightly from one semester to another, but would include, without being limited to: the structure of government and public institutions, political parties, unions and “associations”, social benefits and “the welfare state”, public vs. private sector, “Paris is France”, universalism, secularism and “laïcité”, cultural exceptionalism, the figure of the intellectual, national identity, immigration, geography of France and demographics, relation to Europe, geopolitics, globalization and sovereignty. Of course, the choice of themes and concepts in a given semester would be influenced by dominant topics in the Frenc

French UN3405
Alexandra Borer, Pascale Crepon
Prerequisites: FREN UN3405 must be taken before FREN UN3333/4 unless the student has an AP score of 5 or the director of undergraduate studies permission. The goal of FREN UN3405 is to help students 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. Through the study of two full-length works of literature and a number of short texts representative of different genres, periods, and styles, they will become more aware of stylistic nuances, and will be introduced to the vocabulary and methods of literary analysis. Working on the advanced grammar points covered in this course will further strengthen their mastery of French syntax. They will also be practicing writing through a variety of exercises, including pastiches and creative pieces, as well as typically French forms of academic writing such as “résumé,” “explication de texte,” and “dissertation.

French UN3409
Emmanuelle Saada
This class provides an introduction to the history of France and of the francophone world since the Middle Ages. It initiates students to the major events and themes that have shaped politics, society, and culture in France and its former colonies, paying special attention to questions of identity and diversity in a national and imperial context. Modules include a combination of lecture and seminar-style discussion of documents (in French). This course is part of a two-course sequence and is a core requirement the French and Francophone Studies major.

French UN3410
Joanna R Stalnaker
This class offers a survey of major works of French and francophone literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Emphasis will be placed on formal and stylistic elements of the works read and on developing the critical skills necessary for literary analysis. Works will be placed in their historical context.

CLFR W3500
Elisabeth Ladenson
This course will examine the genealogy of 19th- and 20th-century realism and modernism through readings of three French novels: Balzac’s Lost Illusions, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, and Proust’s Swann’s Way.  Readings and discussion in English.

French and American Writers on Contemporary Art, from 1850 to Today
Benjamin Olivennes
This course tracks the relationship between writers, especially in France and in the US, and the visual arts of their time - from an original support of modern art in the 19th century and early 20th century, to the satire of contemporary art in  recent years. We will read novels, plays, articles and philosophical texts by Baudelaire, Balzac, Zola, Virginia Woolf, Heidegger, Walter Benjamin, Tom Wolfe, Michel Houellebecq and Yasmina Reza. This course will also include a visit to the Edward Hopper exhibition at the Whitney Museum.

French UN3995
Antoine Compagnon
Prerequisites: completion of either FREN UN3333-FREN UN3334 or FREN UN3420-FREN UN3421, and FREN UN3405, or the director of undergraduate studies' or the instructor's permission. Required of all French and French & Francophone Studies majors and concentrators. Usually taken by majors during the fall term of their senior year. Critical discussion of a few major literary works along with some classic commentaries on those works. Students critically assess and practice diverse methods of literary analysis.

French UN3996
Prerequisites: the director of undergraduate studies permission. Required for majors wishing to be considered for departmental honors. This course may also be taken at Reid Hall. Recommended for seniors majoring or concentrating in French and open to other qualified students. Preparation of a senior essay. In consultation with a staff member designated by the director of undergraduate studies, the student develops a topic withing the areas of French language, literature, or intellectual history.

French GU4321
Madeleine Dobie
This course explores the production of culture in the contemporary Maghreb. We consider how important dimensions of social and political life are explored in literature and film and, correspondingly, the role that these and other media play in shaping social and political dynamics. The focus is on Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, but these nations are also situated in broader regional and global contexts. Former French colonies, these three nations have in common a multilingual cultural environment in which French coexists with Arabic and Amazigh languages. The course begins in roughly 1990, a time of disenchantment when the political regimes established at Independence were challenged and in some cases replaced. We explore the dynamics of Algeria’s ‘Black Decade’ and Morocco’s emergence from the ‘Years of lead,’ then turn to more recent social and political dynamics, notably the ‘Arab spring’ of 2011-2012 and the ongoing Algerian hirak. Throughout the course we consider how the arts have responded to and contributed to change while also revisiting the past and reframing national narratives. The course is interdisciplinary, combining historical, sociological and anthropological approaches with close reading of texts and films. The syllabus is organized both historically and thematically. We explore questions including the representation and memory of violence, the geographies and sociology of migration and globalization, and the changing landscape of media and publication. Several sessions explore the meaning of ‘modernity’ in conjunction with explorations of subjectivity and spirituality, gender and sexuality.

French GU4800
Souleymane Bachir Diagne
The seminar, which is in French, will deal with the question: what makes a “classic” of African francophone Literature a classic? That question will be examined through the reading of five “classics” in connection with the discussion of Claire Ducournau’s La fabrique des classiques africains. Ecrivains d’Afrique subsaharienne francophone (1960-2012).  The 5 works of fiction are the following: L’aventure ambiguë (C.H. Kane), Une si longue lettre (Mariama Ba), Les Soleils des indépendances (Ahmadou Kourouma), Le devoir de violence (Yambo Ouologuem), La vie et demie (Sony Labou Tansi), L’ombre d’Imana (Veronique Tadjo).