Undergraduate Courses

French in Translation Courses

FRTR 3584 Topics in French Cinema:  Masterpieces of French Cinema

An introduction to a few of French cinema's greatest hits, from the earliest short films of the Lumière Brothers and George Meliès, to feature-length works by Jean Vigo, Jean Renoir, Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, Agnès Varda, Mathieu Kassovitz, Michael Haneke, François Ozon, Céline Sciamma and others. Students will study various film genres, movements, and trends (poetic realism, the new wave, cinema of the banlieue) in relation to larger social, cultural and aesthetic contexts. They will also spend time paying close attention to film form. Required work includes a series of short papers, a more substantial critical essay, regular contribution to group discussion, and the production, in small teams, of a short film inspired by one or more works on the syllabus. All films are in French with English subtitles. Course conducted entirely in English. No prior knowledge of French is required. 

TR       2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Blatt)

FRTR 3814 – Gender, Sexuality, Identity in Premodern France

Pre-modern society was as concerned about questions of identity as we are today: What is the relationship between nature and nurture in shaping identity? What role should gender play in fixing social and intimate roles? Can the law regulate sexuality? This course will explore religious, social, scientific and legal views on gender, sexuality and identity that may extend from medieval through early modern Europe with an emphasis on the French tradition. Readings will include literary texts (plays, short stories, romance) and cultural documents (sermons, philosophical and political tracts, trial records, conduct books and memoirs). Students will discover how society understood and was sometimes forced to change by figures such as werewolves, castrated men, transvestite women, submissive knights, women rulers, or when confronted with cases of homosexuality, intersexuality and sex change. 

This class can be taken for WGS credit toward major and minor.

TR       3:30  pm – 4:45 pm (McGrady)

Advanced Courses in French

FREN 3010 Oral & Written Expression in French –

** Prerequisite: Completion of FREN 2320 or equivalent. Permission of instructor for those having completed only FREN 2020. Students having completed French 3032 may not take this course.

Do you want to study, work, or travel in francophone countries?  Students in this course develop a better command of both present-day spoken and written French. Class discussion of news articles on current events (French and international), including but not limited to politics, economics, education, language, and entertainment, and including some articles which class members choose.  Practice with practical, current vocabulary.  Graded written or oral assignments include several one-two page papers, 1 oral and 1 written quiz, one guided short exposé, and a final exam. Consistent attendance and ACTIVE participation in a workshop-like approach constitute 30% of the semester grade.

Although this course does not count for the major or minor, students simultaneously enrolled in 3031 or 3032 have found it helps their success in the other course.  The course is designed for students who have not had an extended stay in a French-speaking country. Students who have participated in a summer or semester study-abroad program must confirm placement and transfer credit with the instructor to avoid duplication. Students who have studied in a francophone setting for a year should enroll in FREN 3034 or above.

MW     2:00 pm – 2:50 pm and 6:00 pm om TR (Stuart)

FREN 3030 – Phonetics: The Sounds of French

FREN 3030 is an introductory course in French phonetics, intended to present basic concepts in articulatory phonetics and phonology, 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"; phonetic differences between French and English sounds; the most salient phonological features of selected French varieties; 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/minor credit in French and in Linguistics.

MWF   12:00 pm – 12:50 pm (Saunders)

FREN 3031 – Finding Your Voice in French

** 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 undergraduate French courses at a higher level.

This course offers an opportunity for students to explore and develop their own “voice” in written and spoken French. Through reading and viewing a variety of cultural artifacts in French, and completing a series of individual and collaborative creative projects, students will have a chance to develop their own potential for self-expression. They will develop greater confidence in their communicative skills, command of grammar, and ability to revise and edit their own work. The course is conducted entirely in French.

TR       11:00 am – 12:15 pm (Krueger)
TR       12:30 pm –  1:45 pm  (Levine)
MWF   10:00 am – 10:50 am  (James)
MWF   11:00 am – 11:50 am (James)

FREN 3032 – Text, Image, Culture

** Prerequisite: French 3031. This course is a prerequisite for all French undergraduate courses on a higher level.

In this course, students will discover and engage critically with a broad sampling of French and Francophone cultural production representing a variety of periods, genres, approaches, and media. Students will learn how to become more sensitive observers of French and Francophone culture, attuned to the nuances of content and form. They will read, watch, write about, and discuss a range of works that may include poetry, painting, prose, music, theater, films, graphic novels, photographs, essays, and historical documents. They will also make significant progress in their oral and written comprehension and communication in French.  The course is conducted entirely in French.

MW     3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (Lyons) 
MWF   1:00 pm – 1:50 pm (Groff)
TR     12:30 pm – 1:45 pm (Boutaghou)
TR     11:00 am – 12:15 pm (Ogden)

FREN 3042 – French-Speaking World II

During the Classical Era, Louis XIV built Versailles, France colonized Canada and the Caribbean, philosophers dared to challenge the Catholic Church, and in the end, the Revolution changed France forever. In view of this tumultuous historical background, this course will provide an overview of the literature of this era, from the canonical works of Corneille, Molière, Voltaire, and Diderot to lesser-known but significant works.  We will pay particular attention to the idea of “nature” which radically changed meaning in this period.

** Prerequisite: FREN 3032

MW     2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Lyons)

FREN 3043 – French-Speaking World III:  Modernities

Ce cours vous présente une sélection de textes littéraires français de 19ème, 20ème et 21ème siècles. Nous procèderons par des lectures et analyses attentives et examinerons, entre autre, la sensibilité et l'esthétique de la modernité (Baudelaire), la foi et la croyance à l'époque moderne (Flaubert), la mémoire et l'expression féminine (Colette), la relation entre les mots et les choses (Ponge, Jaccottet), et entre les animaux et les êtres humains (Bailly). 

** Prerequisite: FREN 3032

TR       2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Lyu) French House, Room 102

FREN 3570 – Topics in Francophone: 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 also examine the image of the post-colonial state and society as found in contemporary arts: painting, sculpture, music, and cinema.

** Prerequisite: 3032 **

MW     5:00 pm – 6:15 pm (Dramé)

FREN 3585.001 – Topics in Cultural Studies:  Beasts and Beauties

Werewolves, vampires, phantoms, and femmes fatales: these are some the eerie creatures who inhabit French fiction. In fables, legends, fairy tales, short stories, novels and film, outer beauty is associated with both virtue and inner monstrosity. We will study the presence of menacing fictional creatures in relation to physical and moral beauty, animality, and evocations of good, evil, comfort, fear, kindness and familiarity

TR       12:30 pm -  1:45 pm (Krueger)

FREN 3585.002 – Topics in Cultural Studies:  Digital Storytelling Workshop

Students will have the opportunity to work intensively on their advanced French language skills through an investigation of digital storytelling forms that combine still and moving images with text and sound. The course is organized as a workshop, asking students to adopt the dual perspective of a scholar-practitioner. In an active learning classroom environment, students will read widely in digital humanities; read, discuss and analyze digital audiovisual projects; write and produce an original digital story; comment on their peers’ written and visual work; reflect, speak and write about how their scholarly and creative works shape and inform one another. Students should be willing to work in teams, have an interest in improving their oral, written, and visual communication skills, and be open to active engagement in class discussion, individual and group homework, peer critique, and workshop activities. No prior technical or visual skills are required. For questions, contact the instructor. alevine@virginia.edu

** Prerequisites:  FREN 3031; FREN 3032

TR       9:30 am – 10:45 am (Levine)

FREN 3585.003 Topics in Cultural Studies:  Women’s Work:  Women, Literature, and Society

Simone de Beauvoir famously wrote that, “On ne naît pas femme: on le devient.” What does it mean to be a woman? How do women define, defy, and redefine their place in society? This course considers French and Francophone women’s works of literature and film through the examination of the domestic sphere and conventions that have traditionally defined women’s places and roles. We will study autobiographical and fictional accounts of women's lives, conventions, transgressions (of gender, sexuality, language, morality, norms), and debates on/about women, women’s space, the feminine, the domestic, and feminism. Course texts will include essays, films, short stories, and novels from a variety of time periods and French and Francophone cultures. Students will participate actively in class discussion, collaborate on a group research presentation, write short reaction papers, a midterm and a final paper. Course conducted in French.

** Prerequisite:  FREN 3032

MWF   1:00 pm – 1:50 pm (Hall)

FREN 4035 – Tools & Techniques of Translation

Survey of the main tools and techniques of translation. Written and oral translation exercises to and from the target language. Selection of texts will vary. Taught in French.    

** Prerequisites: B+ average in FREN 3031, 3032, and 4031 or instructor’s permission.

MWF 10 :00 – 10 :50 (Zunz)
MW     5:00 pm – 6:15 pm (Michelot)

FREN 4509 Seminar in French Linguistics:  The Wonders of French Pronunciation

« Pourquoi la prononciation du français est-elle si compliquée ?   D’où vient cette prononciation ? Comment a-t-elle changé à travers le temps ?  Comment varie-t-elle aujourd’hui ?  Où va-t-elle (peut-on prédire la direction du changement phonétique) ?  Pourquoi la liaison, les voyelles nasales et le schwa français (ce phonème énigmatique !) continuent-ils à attirer l’attention des chercheurs ?  Tant de questions, vous dites !  Et comment y répondre ?   Eh bien, en suivant ce cours . . . »

This seminar sets out to find answers to these and other thorny questions seldom treated in depth in a single course.  Our aim is to gain a deeper understanding of how French pronunciation has evolved over time; and how it continues to function today, in the era of globalization when English is all pervasive, and when new changes are underway.   The seminar is intended for students who are fascinated by the complexities of French pronunciation and who are interested in expanding their knowledge of the subject beyond the confines of ‘wikipedia’.  Assignments will include the reading of specialized articles (in French and in English), projects involving the use of data from the PFC (Corpus du français contemporain, en ligne), TV5monde, and other spoken sources (e.g., early and current French audio recordings, oral interviews with French speakers, online (“pseudo-“) phonological analyses), and of course daily class participation.  The course is taught in French.  

**Prerequisite:  FREN 3030 (or LING 3250).   

MWF      11:00 am – 11:50 am (Saunders)

FREN 4585.001 Advanced Topics Cultural Studies: Joan of Arc from Medieval to Modern Times

Does the past matter in modern France? To what extent does history shape contemporary culture? This course will turn to the medieval heroine Joan of Arc and her role in French society to tease out these questions. Consider the following: she is the subject of well over 2000 creative works, ranging from poetry and painting to cinema and drama; she has served as the mascot for two of the most controversial political movements in modern France, including the Front national; more than two thousand statues of Joan are scattered throughout the world; and she enjoys her own secret “national” holiday while also being considered one of the most troubling figures in French history. Her role in France can appear as a mystery to the outsider:

What is the deep cultural significance of former French president Sarkozy’s announcement that Joan was his patron saint? How can we square France’s dedication to laïcité with the state’s instrumental role in having Joan officially recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church? How is it that Joan so often becomes the subject of some of the most controversial artistic creations – whether speaking of Voltaire’s sexualized Joan, mystical poetic revolutions, cinema’s most haunting imagery, or contemporary fiction’s preoccupation with the grotesque? Understanding modern France means knowing more than the language, it demands familiarity with a past that maintains a physical, intellectual and spiritual presence. This course promises not only to help students navigate Joan’s role in constructing the French nation and identity from her 1431 legal trial through 600 years of creative and political representation, but to provide students with the tools for reading beyond the contemporary to get the full story on what the past means to the France of today.

** Prerequisite:  FREN 3032

TR       12:30 pm – 1:45 pm (McGrady)

FREN 4585.002 Topics in Cultural Studies:  Visions of the Mediterranean

Language use is often linked to a landscape. In this course, we will see how the mixture of French and other languages can be connected to the Mediterranean landscape. Capitals of the Maghreb and the Mashrek are still visibly Francophone, as we can see in the street of Algiers, Tunis, Cairo or Beirut. French in the Maghreb and the Mashrek can be considered a mixture, an encounter between several civilizations.

** Prerequisite:  FREN 3032

TR       11:00 am – 12:15 pm (Boutaghou)

FREN 4743 Africa in Cinema

** Prerequisite: FREN 3032 and FREN 3584 or another 3000-level literature, culture, or film course in French.

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 Cissé, Gaston Kaboré, Amadou Seck, Dani Kouyaté, Brian Tilley,  Jean-Marie Teno, A. Sissako on a variety of subjects relative to the image of Africa in cinema. 

MW     2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Dramé)

FREN 4838: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, Laïcité: The Broken Political Grammar of the French

** Prerequisite: successful completion of at least one 3000-level course in literature or cultural studies beyond 3032.

Republican Contract," examines how France, in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, has embarked on a complex process of redefining its core values, reassessing their meaning and translating them into public policy. This effort impacts education, the separation of Church and State, employment strategies, social mobility, city planning and governance, and social welfare. This class attempts to deconstruct the concepts and dynamics of this political and ideological soul-searching and puts it in a comparative--European and American--perspective.

Course taught in French by Prof. Vincent Michelot (Sciences Po-Lyon)

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