Graduate Courses

Advanced undergraduate students may enroll in graduate level courses with instructor permission.

FREN 5100/8510 – Medieval Literature in Modern French I: Poetry in Motion: Circulation of Medieval Poetry

Founded on the notion that art is neither produced in a vacuum nor received by passive participants, this course will examine collaborative authorship,  poetic competition, and textual appropriation through rewriting, (re)publishing, or repudiating past texts. Poetry will be studied over time and space, considering the responses of later audiences, poetic exchanges among writers, and the passage of books across national boundaries and centuries.

R 3:30 – 6:00 (McGrady)

FREN 5560/8560 – Topics in Nineteenth-Century: The Smelly Nineteenth Century

In nineteenth-century France, doctors, public officials and health reformers battled the insalubrious odors of Paris’s public spaces, while the private individual attended to the scent of home and body. It took decades and a convergence of ideas (scientific discoveries, a shift in political thinking toward Republican positivism, increased secularization, France’s mission to “civilize” the peasantry and colonies) to discredit persistent folk etiologies of miasmic contagion (the spread of disease via contaminated, smelly air), in favor of germ theory. This heightened interest in eliminating, masking, and improving odors corresponds to an uneasy relationship between humans and their primitive past. After all, bipedal creatures rely on visual horizons, not scent trails, for safety. Quadrupeds sniff the ground; humans read poetry. Ironically, it is difficult to write about olfactory perception without turning to poetic devices such as metaphor and simile. To write about scent is to join a mode of communication unique to humans, with a sense considered by many to be an evolutionary throwback.

The suggestion of odors has long contributed to the narrative, poetics, and cultural resonance of French literature. This is especially true in the nineteenth-century, at the height of what Alain Corbin called the golden age of osphresiology. The attentiveness to smell evident in scientific and medical writing of the time parallels a proliferation of novels and poetry featuring fragrant materials and odor perception, despite a much lamented scarcity of words adequate for communicating about smell. Passages rich in aroma express in various ways (depending on the author, the work, the aesthetic inclination) a convergence of mind, body, language, and culture, concentrated in evocations of smelly matter and olfaction. Fragrances seduce, linger, betray and forebode. They twist plots, stir memories, blur borders and signal social status. At the same time, representations of odor (there is no word for olfactive ekphrasis) stylistic innovation.

Primary readings include selected poems, short stories, essays, novels, medical treatises, hygiene reports, etiquette books (excerpts) and newspaper articles.

Secondary readings will be assigned weekly. Students will be active in the selection of these materials.

  • Open to graduate students with reading knowledge of French
  • Course conducted in French and English (depending on students’ background)
  • Most readings in French

Course components (subject to slight revision depending on class size):

FREN 5560

  • Reflective essays (3)
  • Final Exam (MA exam format; take-home essay)
  • Presentation/discussion of a passage (revised after presentation and submitted as a written commentary)
  • Preparation and contribution to discussion.

FREN 8560

  • Reflective essays (3)
  • Final paper (written as a journal article)
  • Presentation/discussion of an article
  • Presentation/discussion of a passage
  • Preparation and contribution to discussion

W 3:30 – 6:00 (Krueger)

FREN 5581/8581 – Topics in African Literature: Francophone African Literature

This course is a survey of 20th century Francophone literature of Africa. Colonial literature and Assimilation; Negritude, Nationalism and Identity; Postcolonial literature; Feminism; Literature and Censorship; Language and Literature; Theatre and ritual performance; and Oral literature as a major intertext will all be examined through novels, poems, and plays by contemporary African writers in French

T 3:30 – 6:00 (Dramé)

FREN 7040 – Theories & Methods of Language Teaching

An introduction to pedagogical approaches currently practiced in second-language courses at the university level. Students will examine critically the theories behind various methodologies and the relation of those theories to their own teaching experience and goals. Assignments include readings and case studies on the teaching of French; development and critique of pedagogical materials; peer observation and analysis; and a portfolio projet for collecting, sharing, and reflecting on teaching methods.

Required for all GTAs teaching French at UVa for the first time. Restricted to Graduate Teaching Assistants in French. 3 credits. Students will register for the graded (letter grade) option in the SIS. Graduate exchange instructors will take the course as auditors.

M 3:30 – 6:00  (James)