Fall 2012

Undergraduate Courses

FREN 3030 – Phonetics: The Sounds of French

FREN 3030 is an introductory course in French phonetics, intended to present basic concepts in phonetic theory and teach students techniques for improving their own pronunciation. It includes an examination of the physical characteristics of individual French sounds; the relationship between these sounds and their written representation (spelling); the rules governing the pronunciation of "standard French"; the most salient phonological features of selected French varieties; phonetic differences between French and English sounds; and much more. Practical exercises in 'ear-training' and 'phonetic transcription' (using IPA) are also essential elements in this dynamic course.

Taught in French. Counts for major credit in French and in Linguistics.

FREN 3031 - Intensive Grammar and Composition

Prerequisite: Completion of FREN 2020 or 2320; exemption from FREN 2020 by the UVA (F-Cape) Placement Test; a score of 3 on the AP French Language Exam; or a score of at least 660 on the SAT exam. FREN 3031 is a prerequisite for all subsequent French courses except FREN 3010.

This course offers an introduction to narrative writing in French. Emphasis is placed on writing, revision, and an intensive review of grammar rules as they apply to oral and written communication. The variety of assessment formats includes compositions, presentations, short quizzes, dictations, and a mid-term and/or final exam. Preparation and active participation are essential to improve reading, writing, and speaking skills. The course is conducted in French.

FREN 3032 - The Writing and Reading of Texts

This course will prepare students for upper-level French courses by introducing them to the skills necessary to analyze literature and to express ideas in written and oral form. Specifically, students will read literary texts from a variety of periods; they will learn to identify the elements that authors use to construct these texts; and they will learn the technical terms used to discuss poetry, prose, and theater. Grading will largely depend on the student's development of an analytical perspective on literature and on the student's ability to compose well-structured papers in correct French. The minimum writing requirement is a total of 10-15 pages for the semester, with at least one paper assignment of 5 pages. In addition, students will be expected to participate actively in order to advance their speaking skills in French. All discussion, readings, and assignments will be in French.

FREN 3034 - Advanced Oral and Written Expression in French

FREN 3034, which counts for major/minor credit, is an intensive course designed to improve the oral and written language skills of more advanced students. Assignments include discussions on topics of current interest, presentations, translations, and compositions. All materials are French- or Francophone-related. The course focuses on language development in a Francophone cultural context, so students can become familiar with French and Francophone cultures and comfortable expressing their viewpoints in French. Of course, consistent attendance and active participation are essential.

FREN 3041 – Literature of the Middle Ages & 16th Century: Sinners, Saints, and Storytellers

Knights rescuing damsels in distress.  Damsels rescuing knights in distress.  Quests for adventure, God, love, truth.  Bawdy ballads and soulful sonnets.  The first five hundred years of French literature provide endless entertainment and often unnerving perspectives on the world and its history.  The authors of this time are responsible for the ideas, stories and literary genres that determine our "modern" assumptions about subjects such as romantic love, common courtesy, gender, literary conventions, virtue and heroism, sport and entertainment, and truth.  Readings are in modern French translation and include the foundation text of modern Frenchness, La Chanson de Roland; the provocative Vie de saint Alexis; Arthurian tales of chivalry by Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France;  Christine de Pisan's feminist Cité des dames; Michel de Montaigne's essays on cannibals and friendship; and a selection of lyric poetry from each century.  

FREN 3043 - Literature of the 19th, 20th, & 21st Centuries: Great Books

Rather than focus on any single theme, movement, motif, or overarching problem, this seminar will examine a few of the most admired and influential novels in the history of modern and contemporary French literature: from Honoré de Balzac’s tale of a young law student driven to make it in the big city (Le Père Goriot, 1835) and Gustave Flaubert’s portrait of the original desperate housewife (Madame Bovary, 1856), to a short (but sweet!) morsel of Marcel Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu (1913), Albert Camus' atmospheric L'Etranger (1942) and Alain Robbe-Grillet’s scandalously puzzling La Jalousie (1957).  Annie Ernaux’s most recent autofictional tale will round out the corpus and introduce students to one of the most talked-about writers of the last few decades.

Required work to include: active participation in class discussions, weekly Collab discussion board posts, an oral presentation, 2 longer papers (4-5 pages), and a final exam. Course conducted in French.

FREN 3043 - Literature of the 19th, 20th, & 21st Centuries: Passion Disorders

Ce cours est centré sur l’étude des représentations des désordres de la passion, plus précisément les manifestations de la jalousie dans les grandes œuvres du XIXe et du XXe siècles. Nous analyserons les causes et les effets de la jalousie et nous nous interrogerons sur la transcription de la jalousie dans le texte littéraire (existe-t-il des caractéristiques stylistiques propre à l’expression de la jalousie ?). Nous complèterons l’analyse des textes par quelques films français pour comparer le traitement de la jalousie au cinéma et dans la littérature.

Auteurs au programme : Hugo, Maupassant, Mérimée, Proust, Robbe-Grillet, Ernaux

FREN 3046 – African Literatures & Cultures

This course will explore aspects of African literatures and cultures. It will focus on selected issues of special resonance in contemporary African life. Oral literature and its continuing impact on all other art forms. Key issues in French colonial policy and its legacy in Africa: language, politics, education. The course will examine the image of the postcolonial state and society as found in contemporary arts, paintings, sculpture, music, and cinema. Selections from painters like Cheri Samba (Democratic Republic of Congo), Werewere Liking (Cameroun) and sculptors like Ousmane Sow, including such popular icons as Mamy Wata and forms such as Souwere glass painting; from musicians like Youssou Ndour (Senegal), Cheb Khaled (Algeria), Seigneur Rochereau, Tshala Muana (DRC), Salif Keita (Mali), and Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde); from Mande, Peul, and Kabyle oral literatures in French translation; from filmmakers D.D. Mambety, Moussa Sene Absa, and Ngangura Mweze. Visit to National Museum of African Arts depending on availability of funding. The final grade will be based on contributions to discussions, a mid-term exam, 2 papers, and a final exam.

Selections from the following texts will feature among the required reading list: Wéréwéré Liking - Statues colons; A. Sow - La Femme, la Vache, la Foi; D.T. Niane - Soundjata ou l'épopée mandingue; Amadou Hampaté Ba - Koumen.

FREN 3585 - Topics in Cultural Studies: Digital Story Telling Workshop

Students will investigate digital media from the dual perspective of a scholar-practitioner. They will be active readers, critics, and creators of digital audiovisual projects; read widely in the field of digital humanities; reflect, speak and write about how their scholarly and creative works shape and inform one another. No prior technical or visual skills required; high level of motivation and French ability preferred.

FREN 3753 – L’immigration en France

L'immigration est un sujet de premier plan dans l'actualité quotidienne en Europe et en France en particulier ; c'est aussi un sujet de polémique au cœur du débat politique et social. Le fait que la majorité de l'immigration récente vienne d'Afrique (du Nord et Subsaharienne) et se revendique de l'Islam entraîne des interrogations sur l'identité nationale et sur les principes fondateurs de la République comme celui de la Laïcité. En abordant le thème de l'immigration, on traite divers domaines qui facilitent la compréhension de la France d'aujourd'hui l'histoire à laquelle l'immigration est liée, ses conséquences sociales, culturelles, économiques, politiques et parfois humanitaires. Des œuvres littéraires, des articles de presse et des films illustreront le cours.

Livres : Pascal Blanchard, La fracture coloniale ; Claire Etcherelli, Elise ou la vraie vie ; Jean-Marie Le Clesio, Poisson d'Or; Jean-Marie LeClesio Dese.

FREN 4031 – Grammaire et Style

Prerequisites: B+ average in FREN 3031 and 3032.

In this grammar review course, students are expected to learn how best to structure the French language and how to express themselves with concision and clarity. Taught in French. 

FREN 4560 – Advanced Topics in 19th Century Literature: Romanticism

Prerequisite: FREN 3032 and at least one FREN course numbered 3041 to 3043 (or instructor permission).

Ce cours vous présente une sélection de textes littéraires de la période romantique française du 19ème siècle. A travers une lecture approfondie des textes variés, nous examinerons la théorie esthétique, l'idéal, et la sensibilité du movement romantique. Nous étudierons, entre autres, la mélancolie et la passion dont s'imprègne l'état d'âme romantique, l'esprit de la révolte, ainsi que la fascination devant la nature, le rêve, la folie, et la mort. Nous essayerons de dégager le concept du "moi" et du "héros romantique" et d'articuler le rôle de l'écrivain et de l'écriture qui en ressort. La manière dont le romantisme se détache et se libère du classicisme et annonce les autres movements littéraires du 19ème siècle sera également examinée.

FREN 4583 – Seminar for Majors: Flânerie

Prerequisite: One 4000-level French literature or culture course The course is conducted in French. Some readings in English.

Books to buy: Any complete French edition of Baudelaire's Spleen de Paris , also called Petits poèmes en prose.

All other readings will be available online or in PDF.This course is conducted in French. Readings in French and in English. 

In this course, twenty-first-century digital rovers will meet nineteenth-century urban strollers, or flâneurs. Flânerie (walking, strolling, loitering, meandering, sauntering), becomes a key feature of city life in a spectrum of modern French literature. This practice was defined and theorized, both during the nineteenth century and in subsequent social histories, as a symptom of modernity and urban expansion. While the term predates French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), flânerie as we know it today originated in the essay “The Painter of Modern Life” (1859 and 1863), in which Baudelaire discusses Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Man of the Crowd” (1840). Social historian Walter Benjamin’s subsequent analysis of these works established the figure of the flâneur as an individual in the throng, subjected to sensory overload and navigating the daily shock and alienation of fast-paced urban life. Benjamin’s focus on phantasmagoria, panorama, and the specular nature of commodification has set the stage for conceptualizing flânerie as a practice linked to vision, mobility, and progress. Yet Baudelaire’s version of flânerie extends beyond the iconic act of strolling, public elbow-rubbing and observation, to a more complex, non-linear process comprising thought, social interaction, decision-making, multi-sensorial perception, silence, and artistic production. The acceleration of urban life evoked in flâneur literature also highlights ethical quandaries brought about by a rapidly changing social, spatial and temporal environment.

Early in the semester, Poe’s “The Man of Crowd” and Baudelaire’s “Painter of Modern Life” will provide an introduction to the modern flâneur. Students will progress to Baudelaire’s collection of fifty prose poems, Le Spleen de Paris, and related essays and works of fiction. So many flâneur motifs are dramatized in Spleen de Paris, that its relationship to “Painter of Modern Life” resembles the empirical paradigm of testing theory through fieldwork, with the prose poems providing examples or cases related to the concept of flânerie. On the streets of Second-Empire Paris, the flâneur encounters a host of characters: counterfeiters and gullible victims; seekers of luxury and hungry families; marginalized immigrants and world-travelers. The theme of drifting into chance meetings is reinforced by the volume’s unusual structural and narrative dynamics, which create an overall sense of nonlinear perambulation in the navigation from poem to poem: a sort of readers’ flânerie. 

The course is conceptualized on the premise that flâneur poetics have something in common with the cognitive processes honed in a generation raised with digital media, surrounded and jostled not by crowded streets, but by information highways. Like a Second-Empire flâneur navigating the city throng, the net-generation student may appear to be a peripatetic, distracted, over-stimulated and under-focused wanderer. However, recent research suggests that the Internet and easily accessible digital resources have changed (even enhanced) the way that people encounter, process and manipulate information. It is less a question of format per se (digital vs. analog, screen vs. page), than a flexible mode of thinking and engagement that resonates with the reader-centered, customizable, associative and mobile poetics of flânerie. What instructors sometimes interpret as ennui, or a shallow engagement with course materials, may instead be a student’s difficulty adapting to hierarchical, linear modes of learning. The pedagogical experiment that I envision advocates an alternative to the “plotted course.” Students will perform the sorts of tasks and projects I include in a traditional course syllabus: a research paper; a creative project; individual presentations; collaborative problem-solving; on-line posting and discussion; regular reading and reaction writing. However, while we will spend the first several sessions on pre-selected flâneur readings, the rest of the reading syllabus will be student-generated. Students will sequence the reading of Baudelaire’s prose poems, and steer the selection of secondary readings and materials for the class on a bi-weekly basis. The readings from which the course is launched connect naturally to problems of the environment, urban planning, social class, foreignness, immigration, psychology, consumer culture, cultural history and aesthetics (to name only a few). Students will blaze trails using recommended digital resources (Gallica, Project Gutenberg, the MLA Database, etc.), and they will examine these sources alongside more popular digital spaces and social networks.

The primary goals of this pedagogical project are to promote intellectual curiosity, interdisciplinarity, active learning, and collaboration by fostering the experience of digression, discovery, surprises and breakthroughs available through scholarly flânerie. Students will be able to follow these new paths to a deeper engagement with reading, writing, and contemplation, and a thoughtful consideration of how literary and cultural studies relate to their own lives and social interactions, online or on the streets.

FREN 4585 – Advanced Topics in Cultural Studies: The Frogs and the Eagle: (Mis)representations of America in French Literature

While France and America historically stood as allies from the very birth of the United States, anti-Americanism also has a long tradition in France, shaped and nurtured by generations of intellectuals and writers. As early as the 18th century, prominent French philosophers and scientists such as Buffon dwelled upon America's «weaknesses» as a continent, prompting Thomas Jefferson's counter-attack in his Notes on the State of Virginia. In the course of the 19th century, anti-Americanism moved to new topics, ranging from the lack of cultural life to economic greed and military imperialism. From Baudelaire, who coined the French word "américanisation" in the 1850s to Jean Baudrillard, who in 1986 described America as a non-entity, French poets, novelists and writers played a decisive part in the elaboration and diffusion of anti-American stereotypes.

The seminar will explore this tradition, which accounts for a great number of French attitudes towards the US today. The first four weeks will be devoted to a presentation of the most salient features of French anti-Americanism, in connection with specific historical periods (from the 18th to the 21st century): «L'Amérique invivable», «L'Amérique inculte», «L'Amérique impériale» et «L'Amérique introuvable». The second half of the seminar will be organized thematically, each week being devoted to a selected, significant topic : «La ville», «La violence», «La voracité», «Le vice et la vertu».

Readings will include an array of sources, ranging from natural history and philosophy to poetry and from short story to political pamphlet. We will discuss pages or chapters in Buffon, De Pauw, Jefferson, Baudelaire, André Siegfried, Luc Durtain, Georges Duhamel, Céline, Sartre, Marcel Aymé, Jean Baudrillard, Bernard-Henri Lévy. We will also have a look at representations of the US in French popular culture : serialized fiction (La Conspiration des milliardaires), comic books (Tintin en Amérique), cartoons (Plantu).

Students will be expected to participate in discussions on the readings; possibly give an oral presentation (in French or in English) in the second half of the seminar; define a research topic and write a paper (10-15 pages) due at the end of the semester. THIS COURSE IS CONDUCTED IN FRENCH.

Since Professor Roger is not on grounds for the entire semester, this class will meet 4 hours week from the beginning of the term until he leaves in early November.

FREN 4743 – Africa in Cinema

This course is a study of the representation of Africa in American, Western European and African films. It deals with the representations of African cultures by filmmakers from different cultural backgrounds and studies the ways in which their perspectives on Africa are often informed by their own social and ideological positions as well as the demands of exoticism. It also examines the constructions of the African as the "other" and the kinds of responses such constructions have elicited from Africa's filmmakers. These filmic inventions@are analyzed through a selection of French, British, American, and African films by such directors as John Huston, S. Pollack, J-J Annaud, M. Radford, Ngangura Mweze, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Souleymane Cisse, Gaston Kabore, Amadou Seck, Dani Kouyate, Brian Tilley, Jean-Marie Teno on a variety of subjects relative to the image of Africa in cinema. The final grade will be based on one mid-semester paper (select a film by an African filmmaker and provide a sequential reconstruction of the story based on the methods of P. S. Vieyra and of F.Boughédir), a final paper (7-10 pages), an oral presentation and contributions to discussions. Each oral presentation should contribute to the mid-semester paper and to the final research paper. The final paper should be analytical, well documented and written in clear, grammatical French using correct film terminology.

FRTR 4540 – The International Enlightenment

As one of the most important movements in Western intellectual history, the Enlightenment laid the foundations for our current conceptions of democratic government, religious toleration, freedom of speech, and the scientific method. Its proponents defied the monarchy and the church in order to bring their countries into a new era and, inadvertently, to spark the French and American Revolutions. The readings for this course will focus principally on works by British and French Enlightenment figures, such as John Locke, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Works by American, Italian, and German writers such as Thomas Jefferson, Cesare Beccaria, and Immanuel Kant will also be included. We will particularly focus on strategies, such as humor and fictional narratives, used by the authors to hide their provocative ideas from government censors.

Finally, we will consider texts by modern theorists such as Theodor Adorno and Michel Foucault and discuss to what extent their critiques of the Enlightenment were justified.

Requirements for the course will include a 5-page midterm paper and a 10-15 page final research paper.

FRTR 4540, which is also cross-listed as CPLT 4559, is taught in English and can be used to fulfull the second writing requirement.