French Graduate Courses

Fall 2022 French Courses

FREN 7230 : Desire, Knowledge, and Response in Medieval French Literature

Instructor: Morton, Jonathan

This course has several components: primarily it involves the study of key tradition of medieval literature: erotic or romantic fiction, specifically the first-person tradition of lyric, from troubadour and trouvère love-lyric to the allegorical mode of dream poetry. It will also incorporate the study of Old French language and manuscripts the better to enable the study of literature. This is a secondary aim—the course is one of literary analysis rather than of language acquisition—but a certain amount of time will regularly be dedicated to the mastery of Old French as part of seminars. Another key aspect is more theoretical and concerns response: what does it mean to respond to something? To a person? To a text? How does the idea of response help us to think about intersubjectivity in literature, especially medieval literature, and the relationship between performed, oral texts and written texts, potentially also performed? Alongside the idea of response will be the question of knowledge and how it is represented, constituted, or troubled in literary works that foreground the erotic.

Day(s) Time Building Classroom
W 3:00 PM–5:30 PM Newcomb Hall 446

FRENCH 4510/6510 : L’homme artificiel

Instructor: Falaky, Fayçal

Notre cours se propose de retracer la genèse littéraire de l’homme fabriqué. Nous analyserons successivement les figures littéraires de la créature artificielle, allant des légendes du golem ou de l’homoncule à l’androïde contemporain et en passant bien sûr par les fameux automates du dix-septième et dix-huitième siècle. Le but de cette recherche sera d’explorer les raisons qui poussent l’homme à s’arroger un pouvoir qui n’appartient à priori qu’au Créateur, et d’essayer de comprendre ce que ce simulacre de la Genèse nous dit sur comment l’homme se conçoit dans le monde et dans l’existence.

Day(s) Time Building Classroom
TR 9:30 AM–10:45 AM Newcomb Hall 21

FREN 4810-01/6810-01: Algerian Wars

Instructor: Tamalet Talbayev, Edwige

This course presents an overview of the Algerian War of Independence in the context of its literary and cultural production. We will study the mid-20th century conflict in relation to the 1830 Conquest of Algeria, the 1990s Black Decade (or “Algerian civil war”) and the recent Hirak protest movement. While we will consider the historical circumstances that led to the demise of the French colonial regime in its most prized colony, we will especially focus on the representation of recurring conflict by French and Maghrebi authors from the 1950s to the present. We will also interrogate the ways in which the war’s repressed trauma has informed debates on national identity both in France and in the Maghreb. Topics of interest will include the role of women in the insurgency; the construction of an Algerian national identity; the issue of political commitment for intellectuals; debates on terrorism and the use of torture. In French.

Day(s) Time Building Classroom
M 3:30 PM–5:55 PM Newcomb Hall 21


Instructor: Sojic, Annette

Translation Theory and Practice is a seminar and practicum course designed for undergraduate and graduate students who already have a good command of French, but need to refine their writing skills and perform at an advanced level. The course will provide the students with numerous and diverse opportunities to achieve this goal, through an approach combining the methodology and practice of the art of translation – from the sentence to the discourse level and from basic translation units to complex textual structures.

Day(s) Time Building Classroom
TR 2:00 PM–3:15 PM Newcomb Hall 202

Past Courses in French


Instructor: Mignot, Charles.

“Teaching French” is a seminar and practicum course providing teaching assistants with an understanding of the underlying principles of learning and teaching a second language, as well as opportunities to acquire practical skills to apply when teaching French. Topics include classroom management, organization of subject matter, detailed lesson planning, development of formative and summative assessment, and the use of technology in the French classroom. Course activities include micro-teaching experiences within the seminar, observation in college classrooms, teaching experience in a lower-level French class, discussion, review of pedagogical techniques and evaluation of textbooks.


Instructor: Thomas Klingler.

This course introduces students to the field of linguistics as applied to French. Taking a broad approach, we will examine the major structural components of the language—phonological, morphosyntactic, and lexical—as well as sociolinguistic matters such as variation in the language (based on region, social group, style, or other factors), French speakers’ attitudes towards their language, and the question of a linguistic norm in French. No prior study of linguistics is required for this course.


Instructor: Thomas Klingler.

A hands-on introduction to linguistic fieldwork using Francophone Louisiana as a laboratory. Students travel to Louisiana’s Francophone communities to interview native speakers of Louisiana French and Louisiana Creole. They then transcribe and analyze the recordings in an effort to document these endangered languages and to better understand the rich complexity of Louisiana’s linguistic landscape. This is a service-learning course in which students contribute to the communities in which they conduct fieldwork. In recent years this contribution has taken the form of a documentary video of local Francophone culture, the latest of which is Le bijou sur leBayou Teche.


Instructor: Vaheed Ramazani.

We shall explore some of the linguistic, anthropological, sociological, psychoanalytic, and philosophical concepts informing the structuralist and poststructuralist study of literary and cultural texts. Under consideration will be problems of signification and reference; power and ideology; gender and the subject; agency, materiality, and historiography.


Instructor: Annette Sojic.

Translation Theory and Practice is a seminar and practicum course designed for undergraduate and graduate students who already have a good command of French, but need to refine their writing skills and perform at an advanced level. The course will provide the students with numerous and diverse opportunities to achieve this goal, through an approach combining the methodology and practice of the art of translation – from the sentence to the discourse level and from basic translation units to complex textual structures.


Instructor: Charles Mignot.

This course retraces the history of the French language from its Indo-European roots to its contemporary varieties across the world. It focuses both on the external history of the French language, that is, on the historical circumstances that have influenced the evolution of the language, and as on the internal history of the language, that is, on the evolution of its linguistic features. This course also serves as an introduction to Old French, providing students with the fundamental linguistic characteristics of Old French as well as practice in reading and interpreting texts written in Old French.


Instructor: Toby Wikström.

In the 1600s both lawyers in the courtroom and actors on the stage used rhetoric, dramatic gestures and ceremonial clothing to present the story of a transgression before an assembly. This course allows students to explore the profound connections between the theater and the juridical domain during the seventeenth century, a major period of French drama. Students discuss the staging of legal themes such as crime and punishment, the juridical status of women, the exercise of royal power and early modern international law in plays by Corneille, Molière, Racine, Chrétien, Montfleury, and others. Critical perspectives are afforded by psychoanalytical theory, the philosophy of law and performance theory.


Instructor: Fayçal Falaky.

This course seeks to trace the literary genesis of the android. From the legends of the golem and the homunculus to the popular automata of the eighteenth century and the robot culture of contemporary society, we shall analyze the different literary manifestations of artificial creatures. The purpose of this course is to explore the reasons that push man to assume a power belonging a priori to the Creator, and to try to understand what this simulacrum of Genesis tells us about how man perceives and conceives himself in the world and in life.


Instructor: Vaheed Ramazani.

Paris as spectacular mise-en-scène; Paris as allegory of modernity; Paris as sensation and sensationalism; Paris as sublime cliché: this course explores the central role of the myth of Paris in the late nineteenth- century visual and literary construction of the French national imaginary. We consider an array of cultural artifacts and practices, including boulevards, flânerie, and early forms of mass spectatorship, and we seek to understand the emergence of film in the context of pre-cinematic techniques and technologies. We look as well at some classic and contemporary films that either perpetuate or problematize the idea of Paris as France’s privileged symbol of identity and power.


Instructor: Jean Bidima.

FREN 6810-01: LA Scène Nationale

While the theater text belongs to the archive, live performance maintains a big audience, an active repertory, and commands significant funding from the French state, a major cultural producer.

This course explores the theoretical concepts of performance, the archive and the repertory, the changing technologies of live performance, the negotiation between elite and popular culture, the role of history on stage, gender and minority identity in performance and other trans-historical topics. In written work for the course, students will be able to focus on a period of choice, mobilizing performance theory as well as cultural history of the mise en scène, reception and afterlife of theatrical and other kinds of texts on the national stages with international reach.

Instructor: Felicia McCarren.


Instructor: Felicia McCarren.

French Cultural Studies students will become familiar with the definition and history of Cultural Studies, from its origins in the UK and application across humanities departments in US universities to the current range of French/Francophone cultural studies research in French and in English. Readings on cultural history and practices, elite and popular culture, culture dominante and the state (la politique culturelle, l’exception culturelle), cultural encounter, notions of cultural identity, performance and resistance, and French debates around multiculturalism.


Instructor: Felicia McCarren.

What is Nature? What nature, and what science, make it to the stage? What roles does the stage in turn offer to the various actors of nature, not only human actors? This course explores historical stagings of nature and natural history, human and biodiversity, considering the stage not only as a place for timeless reflection on nature, but also as a timely, opinion-shaping arena, and performance as a site for creation and experimentation with bodies.

Students will learn to think about the cultural history of performance, and the natural history of diversity and bio-diversity that accompanied it, and engage in current debates around the performativity of race and gender.


Instructor: Jean-Godefroy Bidima.

The death penalty is a major issue in philosophy and in law. The stakes of this issue could be summarized in terms of these questions: does the transgression of law justify the suppression of life? How and why do our postmodern societies, with their rhetoric of the rule of law and the preservation of the environment, accept the death penalty? Is there any alternative to the death penalty? How do our societies, with their democratic views, still act within the framework of vengeance? In order to answer these political, sociological, and legal questions, we call upon various theorists, including the Italian philosopher Beccaria, the scientist Arthur Koestler, the novelist Albert Camus, the poet Victor Hugo, and the philosopher Michel Foucault. This course raises ethical and political questions regarding this important and challenging issue.


Instructor: Oana Sabo.

This course explores some of the ways in which literature and photography have influenced each other from the 19th century to the present. We will examine how Francophone writers have incorporated or rejected photography in their texts, and how the ubiquity of photography has prompted literature to redefine its forms and functions.


Instructor: Edwige Tamalet.

This course explores representations of trauma and processes of memorialization in postcolonial Algeria. Through a study of literary, cinematic, and cultural texts, we will examine multiple challenges to FLN- sponsored readings of national history and the myth of the national liberation struggle. What roles do literature and culture play in the elaboration of collective memory? How do reimaginings of the past on the mythical or historical modes foster a political praxis of the present? Drawing from the corpus of Memory Studies, Trauma Studies, and Postcolonial Theory, as well as theoretical texts on post- Freudian concepts of melancholia, we will investigate issues of allegory, amnesia, testimony, myth, utopia, and deterritorialization. Representative authors include Kateb, Farès, Camus, Daoud, Bachi, Mokeddem, Djebar.


Instructor: Edwige Tamalet.

An introduction to contemporary culture and literature written in French in the three countries of the Maghreb (Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco) from the eve of independence to our global, transnational era. Themes include exile and cosmopolitanism, language, nationalism, memory, the relation to France, feminism, trauma and amnesia, terrorism. In French.


Instructor: Oana Sabo.

This course explores “migrant” literary texts written in French by late 20th and 21st-century authors who have immigrated to France and Québec. Migrant literature will be studied as an emergent genre of contemporary literature that destabilizes neat linguistic and national categorizations, proposing transnational frameworks for the writing and reading of literature today. To understand how migration affects literary culture in a global age, political contexts as well as radical changes in the publishing industry and shifting definitions of authorship will be thoroughly considered. Students will read literary texts written by a variety of migrant authors such as Vassilis Alexakis, Ying Chen, Dai Sijie, Milan Kundera, Dany Laferrière, Anna Moï, and Gisèle Pineau, but also crucial theoretical texts in order to determine the distinctiveness of this genre.


Instructor: Kathryn Edwards.

What does it mean to be French? And who can become French? Immigration, integration, and national identity have become increasingly prominent subjects of debate since the early 20th c. This seminar engages with these debates through a range of case studies, including the experiences of colonial soldiers during WWI, the post-WWII immigration boom, the impact of decolonization, the rise of the far-right National Front, minority activism, and the controversial ban on the hijab in French public schools.


Development in the Francophone World, taught in the French language, focuses on political, economic, and social aspects of development in francophone developing countries, especially in Africa. Topics of discussion include: historical and political heritage; French and European development practices with a focus on trade, investment, and aid; and the impact of globalization and migration on the regions in question. We will examine development programs in the areas of poverty, food security, education, human rights and gender equity, health, and the environment.