- Why Colby?
- Request Information
- College Profile
- Student Perspectives
- Alumni Success
- For Counselors
- Contact Admissions
Browse the Course Catalogue by
French Course Descriptions
COURSE OFFERINGSKey to Course Descriptions »
FR125fs French I First in a sequence that develops communication skills in a careful progression over three semesters. In addition to working on the four traditional skills of language acquisition—speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing—students will be introduced to the cultural contexts of the Francophone world. Use of audio and videotaped material is an integral and required part of classwork. Students are placed in the appropriate level by their score on the College Board French SAT Subject test, a placement test during fall orientation, or through consultation with a member of the faculty in French. Four credit hours. PALIYENKO, PONNOU-DELAFFON
FR126fs French II Strengthens and expands the four language skills introduced and practiced in French 125 by offering a learning environment conducive to the practice and development of writing, reading, listening, and oral performance. As language practice is closely tied to cultural understanding, features a number of authentic texts and contexts that foster linguistic competence while highlighting the diversified cultural contribution of the French and Francophone world. Develops critical thinking vis-a-vis language and culture through listening, reading, speaking, and writing, while attaining an appropriate level of fluency in all four skills and improving cultural literacy. Four credit hours. DIONNE, MAUGUIERE
FR127fs French III The last of the required language sequence (French 125-127) that develops communication skills in a careful progression over three semesters. In addition to working on the four traditional skills of speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing, students are encouraged to build their personal and cultural knowledge and to develop their critical-thinking skills through language learning. Students are placed in the appropriate level by their score on the College Board French SAT Subject test, a placement test during fall orientation, or through consultation with a member of the French faculty. Four credit hours. GREENSPAN, NIANG, PONNOU-DELAFFON
FR127Jj French III (Paris) The last of the required language sequence (French 125-127) that develops communication skills in a careful progression over three semesters. In addition to working on the four traditional skills of speaking, comprehension, reading, and writing, students are encouraged to build their personal and cultural knowledge and to develop their critical-thinking skills through language learning. As students move towards greater fluency in French, they begin to do analytical work in the language. Students are also expected to adapt to an immersion environment. Estimated cost: $3,030. Prerequisite: French 126 or equivalent. Three credit hours. DAVIES
FR128fs French IV: Reading in Cultural Contexts Builds reading skills and broadens cultural background through a wide variety of readings in French. Emphasis is on the texts and contexts of culture, whether in France, Quebec, or other Francophone areas such as Africa and the Caribbean. Continuing work in improving oral and written skills. Prerequisite: French 127. Four credit hours. L. DIONNE, MAUGUIERE, NIANG, PALIYENKO
FR131s Conversation and Composition Designed specifically for students wishing to develop oral skills and to acquire an extensive modern vocabulary, with additional practice in writing short, weekly compositions. Preparation for further study of French. It will also improve their reading skills while fostering students' understanding of French culture and society. Through the exploration of a French contemporary novel and of French films, students acquire the skills to critique and interpret while engaging them in active thinking. Prerequisite: French 127 or a score of 60 on the College Board French SAT Subject Test or its equivalent on the placement test. Four credit hours. NIANG
FR198s Translation Workshop Introduction to translation from French into English (version) and from English into French (thème), using literary texts selected from 20th-century and contemporary Francophone authors. Along with the opportunity to discover new writers, students will improve their reading, speaking, and writing skills through close examination of the differences between English and French. Nongraded. Prerequisite: French 231. One credit hour. SPIERS
[FR223] French Theater Workshop Designed to develop oral skills and in-depth knowledge of a French play that will be interpreted and performed as a final project. In addition to working on traditional language skills—speaking, comprehension, and reading—students will be introduced to French theater. Weekly sessions include drama performance, pronunciation, and oral practice. Conducted entirely in French. Prerequisite: French 128 or French 131. Two credit hours.
FR231fs Advanced Grammar and Composition Provides a comprehensive overview of French grammar through presentations of the overall structure and frequent practice in writing. Required of majors and open to others wishing to improve their written expression in French. Prerequisite: French 128 or 131. Four credit hours. GREENSPAN
FR232s Cultural History of France Examination of the major events and movements in the cultural history of France from its origins in prehistory to the Dreyfus Affair, with emphasis on written documents such as laws, manifestos, letters, and decrees and on such visual documents as maps, monuments, paintings, symbols, film, and photography. Continued development of the ability to read, speak, and write in French, while also enhancing analytical skills. Required for French studies majors and recommended for global studies students. Prerequisite: French 128 or 131. Four credit hours. H. DIONNE
[FR233] Contemporary France Explores different aspects of contemporary French culture and current issues and debates taking place in France today. Looks at notions of French cultural identity and national citizenship, and France's relations with its European neighbors and the rest of the world. Provides background information on various aspects of France, including political and social institutions, the economy, international relations, education, immigration, family, and daily life. French readings (texts and articles), audio and video materials, and student presentations will provide the context for discussion. Engages students in active thinking through forums and debates and will develop both their critical and analytical skills. Prerequisite: French 128 or 131. Four credit hours.
FR234fs Intensive Spoken French Exclusively for French majors or students preparing for study in a French-speaking country. Weekly practice in oral French conducted by the French language assistant under the direction of a faculty member. May be repeated once for credit. Nongraded. Prerequisite: Acceptance in a study-abroad program in a French-speaking country. One credit hour. SPIERS
FR236f Introduction to the Francophone World: The Americas The colonial and postcolonial French cultural legacy as it spread across North America among ethno-cultural groups in Quebec, Acadia, Maine, Manitoba, Ontario, and Louisiana. The cultural connection between Louisiana, Haïti, French Guiana and contemporary Francophone migrant literature is also examined. The course focuses on issues of cultural encounter, the concept of emerging literature, oral culture, linguistic identity and cultural survival, nationalism, history and mythology, race, gender, and diasporic cultural development. Prerequisite: French 128 or 131. Four credit hours. I. MAUGUIERE
[FR238] Introduction to the Francophone World: Africa What does the term "Francophone" mean? Is it free from polemics? What is its history? Introduction to Africa from the 19th to the 21st century surveys many of the multifaceted cultural identities and histories of the former French-speaking colonies on the continent. Topics include colonization, politics, gender, language, the fight for independence, modernity and tradition, and the major literary movements in Francophone Africa. Course materials will include film, music, art, folktales, poetry, maps, newspaper articles, literary works, excerpts from scholarly texts, and films. Prerequisite: French 128 or 131. Four credit hours. I.
[FR239] Paris: The Contemporary Novel and Ideas of Frenchness In the 20th and 21st centuries, immigration plays an important role in the elaboration of French identity. Novelists who are themselves immigrants or children of immigrants have varied and often divergent engagements with the idea of Frenchness and the role of cultural differences. We will consider what their and our own interrogation of cultural identities might tell us about Frenchness, integration, and alterity in contemporary French society. Estimated cost: $2,800. Prerequisite: French 127 or equivalent. Three credit hours. I.
FR252s Provocative Texts: Engaging the World Centering on major themes in culture, an analysis of the ways in which different kinds of texts endeavor to set into play important issues and conflicting values. Significant writing and analysis of the means by which written and visual texts—including short stories and novels, theater, poetry, essays, and film—"speak." Prerequisite: French 128 or 131. Four credit hours. L, I. PALIYENKO
FR332f Voices of Dissent in Early Modern France An introduction to free-thinkers, libertines, and also the "Querelle des femmes." We shall consider great thinkers and provocative writers like Montaigne, Molière, Diderot, and Sade, who challenged religious and social norms in search of a more just society. Through close reading of texts, and discussion of their historical and cultural context, from the wars of religion to the French revolution, we will study how the writers dissimulate their controversial opinions, while advocating liberté de pensée in the face of fanaticism and dogmatic thinking. Concludes with Laclos's great book Dangerous Liaisons. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L. DIONNE
[FR351] French-Canadian Literature and Society Analysis of important literary works from Quebec, focusing on problems of cultural identity, language, and the French-English conflict as seen in contemporary fiction, poetry, theater, and film. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L, I.
FR354s Parisian Encounters: Great Loves, Grand Passions An examination of the legacies of famous couples in 19th-century French history, privileging male genius in a fashion that reveals the sexual and racial selection of genius and exposes the weight of prejudice against creative women in French cultural history. We shall consider the impact of "great" couples during the long 19th century (1789-1914) and in our day, mapping and interrogating their legacies across a broad sweep of (colonial) history, the arts, letters, and science. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. H, I. PALIYENKO
[FR356] Public and Private Life in 19th-Century France Competing artistic and literary representations of public and private life in 19th-century France provide the framework for a retrospective exploration of the century as it was portrayed, and at the same time challenged, by the creative minds it produced. Through interdisciplinary works on collective memory, students study in depth the richly textured 19th century and gain skills in cultural analysis. Topics range from the mal du siècle to the fin-de-siècle, the sacred to the profane, the domestic to the commercial, the personal to the political, and the native to the foreign. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L, I.
[FR358] Passionate Discontent: The 19th-Century Epidemic Troubled by epidemic revolution and social instability, the 19th century in France generated a culture of malaise and a fascinating exchange of ideas among medicine, art, and literature. Our study of celebrated figures of disease—the anxious René, deluded Emma Bovary, and degenerate Thérèse Raquin among them—reveals how passionate discontent, which was traditionally associated with the genius of male Romantics, became a "female" malady and in turn a sign of racial degeneration. Topics include the gendering of diseases (such as neurasthenia and hysteria), class differences, and the "disease" of race. Non-French majors may write papers and examinations in English. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L.
[FR361] Francophone Cultures and Literatures of the Indian Ocean Explores the diversity of Indian Ocean island cultures and literatures written in French through selected writings from Mauritius, Madagascar, Reunion, the Seychelles, and the Comoros. Emphasis is on how issues of cultural hybridity, "metissage," "coolitude," space (especially insularity), myths, and history are reflected in literary texts and their role in the development of colonial and postcolonial identities and subjectivities. Readings include Ananda Devi, Natacha Appanah, Michele Rakotoson, Jacques Rabemananjara, Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, Malcom de Chazal, Axel Gauvin, and Monique Agenor among others. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. I.
[FR370] Gender, Body, Space: Postcolonial Space in Francophone Africa The transition from the colonial to the postcolonial in Francophone Africa changed how post-independence writers and filmmakers engage with space. These writers and filmmakers treat family and collective anthropological spaces in conjunction with the body and/or self. Through analysis of novels, short stories, essays, and films from the 20th and 21st centuries, along with postcolonial concepts of hybridity, resistance, and the subaltern, we examine the politics and praxis of the body in space as it relates to gender, age, identity, ritualized performance, and belief systems. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. I.
[FR372] France and Africa A comparison of the ways Africa is portrayed by French and African writers, artists, and filmmakers. Focusing on contemporary literature, but including discussions on film, video, and photography, explores how French artists and writers represent Africa in their works, and how Africans, in response, represent themselves. Given the history of colonization and cultural dominance south of the Sahara, how do native intellectuals articulate an African identity? Topics include otherness, exoticism, colonization, violence, identity, decolonization, and post-independence struggle. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L, I.
[FR373] Writing of Place: Migration, Nationalism, and Memory An exploration of themes of migration, nationalism, and memory through fictional works by authors from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Francophone Africa living on the continent or in France. Focus is on the migrant experience and its impact on the writing and perception of place, as well as the advent of the nation in the 1960s and the nationalist discourse that serves as its backbone. The narrative of place will be emphasized along with the recent memorializing of the Rwandan genocide. Readings supplemented by theoretical works and films. Students will expand their knowledge and practice of French as it relates to postcolonial Francophone Africa. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. H, I.
[FR374] Rewriting Contemporary France in French Literature and Cinema Explores the ways in which literary texts and films endeavor to criticize and reevaluate contemporary French society. How do Romain Gary, Annie Ernaux, Sarah Kofman, Rachid Djaïdani, Matthieu Kassovitz, Louis Malle, and many others challenge the idealistic image of France? A variety of materials—critical essays, documentaries, songs, films, and literary texts—provide the framework to understand such topics as immigration, racism, anti-Semitism and World War II, the place of women in society, the growing pains of childhood and adolescence, and the bourgeoisie. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L, I.
[FR376] Shadows of the Past: Remembering Vichy France and the Holocaust The Holocaust and the Nazi occupation left an indelible mark on the French national psyche. This interdisciplinary course explores how writers, filmmakers, and artists represent the Holocaust. Through discussions, presentations, and written assignments, students acquire the skills to critique and interpret historical documents, Holocaust memoirs, and films. They develop and improve their language skills while deepening their understanding of French history and culture. Meetings with Holocaust survivors and visits to Holocaust memorials complement the course material and engage students in active thinking. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L, I.
FR397f Evil in Modern Literature, Film, and Thought What is evil? How can fiction and film account for the forms it takes in the modern world? We explore how French-speaking artists and thinkers grapple with understanding evil and its corollary, suffering, in their philosophical, religious, and sociopolitical dimensions. We will consider the potential and limits of aesthetic representation; responsibility, both human and divine; justice and pardon; and traditional and contemporary theodicies and resistance thereto. Readings by Voltaire, Rousseau, Hugo, Camus, Mauriac, Wiesel, Moninembo, Germain, and others. Students will refine their grammar and hone their analytical and communicative skills. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. L. PONNOU-DELAFFON
FR398As Narratives of Identities The identity quest is a key thematic and aesthetic component in contemporary Francophone African literature and cinema. Many works of fiction and films provide a narrative of identity within the framework of African cultures, whether in sub-Saharan Africa or the Maghreb. We examine such works, the focus being communal and individual identities represented within the framework of ethnicity and/or tribalism. Students will engage with African identities through structured writing, oral presentations, captivating readings of texts, and film analysis. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. NIANG
FR398Bs Film and History: The Turbulent 1960s In the quarter century that followed the end of WWII, France was twice rocked by events that challenged the nation's values and led to mild forms of civil war: The War in Algeria (1954-1962) and the student "revolution" of May-June 1968. A look at the way events are portrayed in history books, narrative prose and film, with especial attention to the imperatives and constraints of each of these genres. Prerequisite: French 231 and at least one other 200-level course, preferably two. Four credit hours. GREENSPAN
FR483f, 484s Senior Honors Thesis The senior honors thesis counts as one of the 10 courses required for the major. The thesis, written in French, is to be a substantial study of a carefully defined topic, supported by critical sources. Prerequisite: A 3.5 or higher major average at the end of the junior year and permission of the department. Three credit hours. FACULTY
FR491f, 492s Independent Study Individual projects in areas where the student has demonstrated the interest and competence necessary for independent work. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Two to four credit hours. FACULTY
FR493f Transational Imaginary of J.M.G.Le Clézio This seminar will examine the transnational imaginary of Nobel Prize-winner Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, using transnational and transcultural literary criticism. We will study in particular the themes of displacement, loss, memory, and identity in his work. This approach will be contrasted with traditional representations of French littérature exotique. Prerequisite: Senior standing as a French studies major. Four credit hours. MAUGUIERE