2020 Spring Course Descriptions

Undergraduate Courses
Graduate Courses

The following writing requirements apply to courses in which the authorized enrollments do not exceed 20 (French 3031 and 3032) or 25 (literature and civilization courses beyond French 3032): FREN 3031 and 3032: 10-15 pages, typically divided among 4 to 5 papers. Peer editing is introduced during class and may be practiced outside. 3000-level literature and civilization courses: 10-15 pages, typically divided among 2 to 4 papers. The content is relatively less sophisticated than at the 4000-level. Peer editing outside of class may be offered to students as an option or it may be required. 4000-level literature and civilization courses: 15-20 pages, typically divided among 2 to 4 papers. The content is relatively more sophisticated than at the 3000-level. Peer editing outside of class may be offered to students as an option or it may be required. In all courses, the quality of students' written French (that is, the degree to which their use of grammar and vocabulary is correct and appropriate) affects the grades they receive on their papers, since it affects how comprehensible, persuasive, and impressive their writing is. As students move from 3000- to 4000- level courses, they are expected to show greater sophistication in sentence structure, grammar, and use of idioms.

French in Translation Course

FRTR 2580 Topics in French and Francophone Culture –– The Women in Islam, the right to History

This course is an attempt to understand the complexity of feminism and Islam in France and its former colonies. We will discuss important texts by pioneers of Arab feminism such as Fatima Mernissi’s Beyond the Veil and Nawal al Sa’dawi’s The Hidden Face of Eve. We will analyze how sexuality, feminism, and politics are closely related in Arab feminist discourse and how its roots are deeply grounded in French literature and culture. At the same time, we will address the question of the emergence of a singular experience of feminism in Islam. Indeed, Feminism, as a philosophical approach and as a practice, is no longer a Western discourse. Each historical, sociological, and cultural situation produces a specific feminist discourse. We will describe the specificity of Women in Islam and its dialogue with European and American Feminism throughout the history of the 20th century.

Course conducted entirely in English 

No knowledge of French required

TR 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (Boutaghou)

FRTR 3584 Topics in French Cinema –– Masterpieces of French Cinema

An introduction to great works of French cinema, 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, 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 and film reviews, 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 knowledge of French required 

MW 3:30 PM – 4:45 PM (Blatt)

FRTR 3814/WGS 3814 Gender/Sexuality/Identity in Premodern France

If you imagine the Middle Ages as a far-off land occupied by only “knights in shining armor and damsels in distress,” think again. This course will open your eyes to controversial figures of early society, including werewolves and monstrous women, knights in distress and women in shining armor, all of whom openly challenged social norms. Their adventures – recorded in fiction, scientific works, legal cases, sermons, and conduct books –became the testing ground to explore questions that continue to preoccupy us today: What is the relationship between nature and nurture in shaping identity? What role should gender play in defining social and intimate roles? Can the law regulate sexuality and desire?

Course taught in English.

Can be used to fulfill second writing requirement

MW 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (McGrady)

Advanced Courses in French

FREN 3030 Phonetics: The Sounds of French

FREN 3030 is an introductory course in French phonetics. It provides basic concepts in articulatory phonetics and phonological theory, and offers students techniques for improving their own pronunciation. The course will cover the physical characteristics of individual French sounds, the relationship between French sounds and their written representation (orthography), 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 ‘la musique du français’, i.e., prosodic phenomena (le rythme, l’accent, l’intonation, la syllabation). Practical exercises in 'ear-training' (the perception of sounds) and 'phonetic transcription' (using IPA) are also essential components of this dynamic course. Taught in French.

Counts for major/minor credit in French and in Linguistics.  Prerequisite: FREN 2020 (or equivalent).

Taught in French 

Counts for major/minor credit in French and in Linguistics

TR  9:30 am – 10:45 am (Saunders)
TR  12:30 pm – 1:45 pm (Saunders)

FREN 3031 Finding Your Voice in French

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.

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 nearly all undergraduate French courses at a higher level.

TR          9:30 am – 10:45 am  (Lombart)
MWF    10:00 am – 10:50 am   (James)
MWF    11:00 am – 11:50 am  (James)
TR          2:00 pm – 3:15 pm    (Krueger)

FREN 3032 Text, Image, Culture

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.

Prerequisite: FREN 3031. FREN 3032 is a prerequisite for nearly all French undergraduate courses on a higher level.

TR       9:30 am – 10:45 am   (Ogden)
TR       11:00 am – 12:15 pm  (Lombart)
MW     2:00 pm – 3:15 pm      (Lyons)
MW     3:30 pm – 4:45 pm      (McGrady)

FREN 3035 Business French

In this course, you will develop a linguistic and cultural skill set adapted to the contemporary francophone business world. You will learn the proper etiquette for oral and written professional communication, and you will use it, in order to accomplish a variety of business-specific tasks. You will explore the major industries of the francophone world, study their organization structure, and apply for a job. If you are looking for a career in the francophone world, start here.

Prerequisite: FREN 3031 and FREN 3032

TR 11:00 am -12:15 pm   (Simotas)

FREN 3043 The French Speaking World III: Modernities –– Tradition et innovation: comment (se) transformer à travers le temps, l'espace et la culture?

Ce cours vous invite à réfléchir sur les questions essentielles qui se trouvent au cœur de toute entreprise humaine qui tente de créer une œuvre artistique et/ou intellectuelle: comment faire surgir le nouveau de l'ancien, l'originalité de l'imitation, le singulier du conformisme? Ainsi, nous explorerons la relation entre la tradition et l'innovation à travers les écrivains, les artistes et les penseurs modernes qui ont façonné leurs œuvres en dialogue explicit avec le passé et la voix des autres. Que pouvons-nous apprendre, par exemple, de l'écrivain franco-chinois Cheng qui, élu à l'Académie française, écrit en un français qui est traversé par la langue et la pensée chinoises?; ou de la philosophe belge Despret qui reprend la thèse cartésienne du 17ème siècle sur la supériorité des hommes sur les animaux et la resitue dans le contexte éthique, féministe et écologique de nos jours?; ou du musicien belgo-rwandais Stromae qui transpose en performance du 21ème siècle (vidéo/youtube et concert) la chanson de l'opéra de Bizet qui, à son tour, puise dans la nouvelle de Mérimée du 19ème siècle?

Prerequisite: FREN 3031 and FREN 3032

MW 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm  (Lyu)

FREN 3050 History and Civilization of France: Middle Ages to Revolution

You love France and are intrigued by its long and rich history? This course offers you the opportunity to explore your interests and deepen your knowledge of the major events, political figures, and the artistic, cultural, and intellectual movements, prior to the Revolution, that have shaped France as we know it and whose legacy is seen and felt to this day. Setting the stage with a survey of prehistoric and Roman Gaul, we will focus on the thousand-year period known as the Middle Ages, followed by the Renaissance, the Classical Age, and the Enlightenment. Subjects will be discussed both in terms of their original historical context and their evolving significance, sometimes contested, to later and present generations. Films, visual images, and primary documents will supplement readings from secondary historical texts. Assignments will include group projects, in-class presentations, written papers, and quizzes.

Prerequisite: FREN 3031 and FREN 3032

TR   2:00 pm – 3:15 pm  (Ferguson)

FREN 3570 Topics in Francophone African Studies –– African Literatures and Culture

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 impact on all other art forms; key issues in French colonial policy and its legacy in Africa: language, politics, and 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 and sculptors like Cheri Samba (Zaire), Iba NDiaye, Ousmane Sow (Senegal), Werewere Liking (Cameroun), 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 (Zaire), Salif Keita (Mali), and Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde); from

Mande, Peul, and Kabyle oral literature in French translation; from filmmakers D.D. Mambety, Moussa Sene Absa, and Ngangura Mweze. The final grade will be based on contributions to discussions, a mid-term, and 2 papers.

Prerequisite:  FREN 3031 and FREN 3032

TR 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm  (Dramé)

FREN 3585 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 11:00 am – 11:50 am  (Hall)

FREN 4035 Tools and Techniques of Translation

« On ne s’improvise pas traducteur » selon les mots d’André Gide. En effet, on ne peut traduire que si l’on comprend un texte. Dans le cours « Tools and Techniques of Translation », les étudiants apprendront, à travers des textes variés, à découper une phrase en unités de traduction, à trouver le mot juste, à éviter les faux-amis, à reconnaitre les structures de la langue française, et découvriront les techniques de traduction nécessaires afin de rester fidèles à la langue de départ, l’anglais.

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

MWF 12:00 pm – 12:50  (Zunz)

FREN 4560 Advanced Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature ––  Le Romantisme français: la quête du soi et la recherche du bonheur

Ce cours vous invite à explorer deux soucis majeurs de la jeune génération romantique en France au 19ème siècle: la quête du soi et la recherche du bonheur. A travers une lecture approfondie des textes (poèmes, nouvelle, roman, réflexions théoriques), nous examinerons l'idéal, la sensibilité, la mélancolie, et le goût de la révolte et de la passion dont s'imprègne l'état d'âme romantique pour interroger comment les héros et les héroïnes romantiques conçoivent le soi et poursuivent le bonheur. Quelle relation y a-t-il entre la quête du soi, d'un côté; et la recherche du bonheur, de l'autre? Y a-t-il harmonie ou opposition? Quel rôle le genre y joue-t-il? Quelle est la part de l'amour et de la mort? Tout au long du semestre, nous essayerons de dégager la signifiance de la double quête romantique française du 19ème siècle pour notre époque contemporaine qui est tout aussi préoccupée par le soi (ou son image) et le bonheur (ou le succès). 

PrerequisiteUn cours sur la littérature, la culture, ou le cinéma français au-delà de FREN 3032 (ou l’accord du professeur).

MW 3 :30 pm – 4 :45 pm (Lyu)

FREN 4585 Advanced Topics Cultural Studies –– Getting Medieval on the Movies

Why isn’t Jamie Foxx cast as Robin Hood, or Zoe Saldana as Lancelot, or Michelle Yeoh as Merlin? When we’re dealing in myths, why do some ideas of “historical realism” seem to matter... and how sure are we that we know what medieval European society really looked like?  When we imagine the world of over a thousand years ago, why do 1950s (or even 21st-century) race and gender dynamics so often structure it?  Why does it matter how we retell important myths in popular culture anyway?

Writers and artists of the Middle Ages often didn’t share our worries about historical accuracy in representation and gave us the lasting legacies of a white Jesus and a pink-cheeked Virgin Mary—even if regional alternatives in fact existed with various degrees of cultural (in)sensitivity. What legacies are we passing down to future generations in our retellings of stories about Robin Hood, the Holy Grail, and Lancelot’s illicit love for Guenevere?  Who benefits from perpetuating a singular image of the Middle Ages?  Is there a future for different ways of using these stories, as in the work of French rapper Black M or American artist S. Ross Browne?

This class will look at such stories as told in medieval French texts (in modern French translation) and modern stage and screen adaptations, such as the 2012 musical Robin des Bois and classics like Rohmer’s 1964 Perceval.  For cultural contrast, we’ll also examine a few Anglo adaptations (like Monty Python and the Holy Grail / Spamalot, Black Knight, and the 2018 Robin Hood). There will be an optional field trip to see the 2020 release of the live-action Mulan in March. As a final project, students will make a short film based on a medieval legend. No previous study of film required.

Prerequisite: FREN 3032

TR 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm  (Ogden)

FREN 4744 Occupation and After

While in 2014 the French spent a year commemorating the centenary of the start of the “Great War” (“la Der des Ders,” the so called “war to end all wars”), in the summer of 2015 the nation marked another important anniversary: namely, seventy years since the Liberation of Paris during World War II.  The German occupation of France, which lasted from 1940 until 1945, was one of the most consequential periods in the nation’s history, one that left an indelible mark on the French national psyche that continues to rouse the country’s collective memory to this day. After an initial examination of the political and social conditions in France under the Nazi regime, this seminar proposes to explore the enduring legacy of those “Dark Years” by investigating how the complex (and traumatic) history of the Occupation has impacted French culture during the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty first. Discussions will focus on a variety of documentary and artistic sources—novels and films, mostly, though we will also explore photographs and graphic novels—that attest to what historians refer to as contemporary France’s collective “obsession” with the past.

Readings and films may include (but are not limited to) work by Némirovsky, Vercors, Perec, Duras, Modiano, Salvayre, Daeninckx, Claudel, Sartre, Clouzot, Melville, Resnais, Ophüls, Berri, Malle, Chabrol, and Audiard.  Course conducted in French.

Prerequisite: At least one 3000-level FREN course above 3032.

MW 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm  (Blatt)

FREN 4811 Francophone African Literature

This course is an introduction to the Francophone literature of Africa, a survey with special emphasis on the post-World War II poets, novelists, and playwrights of Africa. The role of cultural and literary reviews (Légitime Défense, L'Etudiant noir, and Présence Africaine) in the historical and ideological development of this literature will be examined. Special reference will be made to Caribbean writers of the Negritude movement. Documentary videos on African history and cultures will be shown and important audio recordings will be played from time to time. Supplementary texts will be assigned occasionally. Students will be expected to present occasional response papers.

In addition to the required reading material, 2 essays (60%), regular class attendance, and contribution to discussions (10%), and a final exam (30%) constitute the course requirements.

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

TR 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm  (Dramé)

FREN 4838 French Society and Civilization

French 4838 is designed to provide students with a background in social, cultural, political, and institutional aspects of contemporary French society in the context of recent history. We will examine the role of geography, history, education, and politics in shaping contemporary French attitudes, cultural practices, and institutions since the Second World War. We will also study important social questions facing contemporary France: changing family structures, the role of women, religion, immigration, and France’s place in the European Union. Course materials include readings from the French press and other published sources, films, music, and virtual media. The course strongly emphasizes oral participation and discussion, and students are expected to follow current events throughout the semester.

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

TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm   (Horne)

5000-Level Graduate Courses

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

FREN 5530/8530 Topics in Seventeenth-Century French Literature –– Baroque Culture

There are many ways of framing French culture in the period from the last quarter of the sixteenth century to the first quarter of the eighteenth century.  Sometimes called the “long seventeenth century,” or simply “early modernity,” this period reveals different aspects when considered in conjunction with the “Baroque,” a term about which French literary studies have exceptionally ambivalent.  Yet the term “Baroque” contextualizes the French experience within the European and the colonial culture of absolutism, of the Counter-Reformation, of heliocentrism and other disruptive scientific advances, and of growing controversies about Modernity (e.g. the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns).  In this seminar we will consider the hypothesis that the “Baroque” can be fruitfully understood not simply as a style but as a set of solutions to a crisis of organization in knowledge, belief, and politics.

W  3:30 pm – 6:00 pm (Lyons)

FREN 5560/8560 Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature –– Girls of the Nineteenth Century

In his 1884 novel Chérie, Edmond de Goncourt refers to his protagonist as “no longer a little girl, and not yet a woman.”  This in-between state serves as a general identifier of the jeune fille (literally young girl), a protagonist of countless nineteenth-century French novels and a target buyer for nineteenth-century manuals of beauty and etiquette. Yet the idea of the jeune fille is more complex and culturally dependent than a general biological time-frame would suggest. In a 1907 article, critic Remy de Goncourt explained that while jeunes filles have existed for a long time, the question of the jeune fille becomes particularly complicated at the turn of the century. One could argue, of course, that writers like Gourmont contributed to this precarious status through their analyses and fictional representations of young women. Gourmont, like others, further defines the jeune fille as both marriageable and wanting to marry, characteristics that distinguish the jeune fille from what she may become if she strays from her wholesome destiny: a vieille fille (old maid); a fille-mère (a pejorative term for single mother); or a fille publique (streetwalker).

In this course we will explore the constructs of the nineteenth-century jeune fille and her fallen sisters in poetry and prose fiction by writers such as Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Honoré de Balzac, Delphine de Girardin, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, Guy de Maupassant, J.-K. Huysmans, Emile Zola, Julia Daudet, Edmond de Goncourt, and Rachilde, and in essays and self-help books of the era.

Open to graduate students with reading knowledge of French
Course conducted in French and English (depending on students’ background)
Written work in French (for most French MA and Ph.D. students), or English
Primary readings in French; some secondary readings in English

T  3:30 pm – 6:00 pm  (Krueger)

FREN 5585/8585 Topics in Civ/Cultural Studies –– Global France: History, Education, Empire

This course has several related ambitions. First, to prepare students to think about France through a global lens and to familiarize them with important theoretical approaches--derived from history, anthropology, sociology and literature--to such an expansive object of study. In order to understand how scholars use theory, we will examine theoretical texts in tandem with scholarly works that exemplify them.

Then, to give focus to the broad objectives outlined above, our study will be anchored by three intersecting concerns: the writing of history, both national and global; the role of education, including schools, books, and reading; and the construction and deconstruction of empire.

This course will hopefully allow graduate students to fill any gaps they may have in their own understanding of modern French history and to think more deeply about how that history intersects with their own research and teaching agendas, particularly because they may one day be expected to teach an undergraduate course on French history and culture. Since students will enter this course with varying backgrounds and interests, I will want to meet with each student very early in the spring semester, or even now, during the fall semester. Please contact me to set up an appointment.

This course will be taught in French and occasionally in English. Seminar participants are expected to read, write, and discuss readings in both languages.

R  3:30 pm – 6:00 pm  (Horne)

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