Spring 2021 Course Descriptions

Undergraduate 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 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 3814/WGS 3814 Gender & Sexuality in 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 a far more complex conversation about sexuality and gender that resonates in surprising ways with contemporary views. We will read in tandem medieval religious writings, medical works, and conduct manuals that set the stage for distinguishing between men and women based on their biological and behavioral “predispositions” alongside works of fiction that challenged these official stances. Among our readings will be letters exchanged between one-time lovers, a church leader and abbess, that recount in real time their efforts to think through the different expectations placed on them as church figures. Poetry, romance, and travel narratives that treat the Christian West’s encounter with other religions, races, and ethnicities will further reveal the fault lines that destabilize rigid binary treatment of the sexes. The thirteenth-century romance of a young girl raised to adulthood as a boy will provide ample treatment of how our medieval counterparts struggled with the notion that “biology is destiny.” Finally, the work of the first feminist and professional writer of Europe, Christine de Pizan, who composed the first manifesto written by women in their defense, will help us fully appreciate the challenges faced then and now when breaking down gendered expectations. Through our reading of these fascinating works, it is hoped that students will acquire a thicker and more nuanced appreciation of the long history of gender, sexuality, and identity. Class discussions will introduce students both to medieval culture and to the basic tenets of gender theory. Graded work will include short critical engagement and creative responses to readings, class discussions and presentations, and written exams. There are no pre-requisites for this class. The second-writing requirement can be fulfilled with this course (requires instructor permission). Lectures and readings are in English.

No knowledge of French required

MW 3:30 PM – 4:45 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)

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       11:00 am – 12:15 pm              (Lombart)
MW       2:00 pm –  3:15 pm               (Boutaghou)
MWF   10:00 am – 10:50 am              (James)
TR         2:00 pm –  3:15 pm               (Lombart)

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.

MWF   9:00 am  -   9:50 am               (Geer)
TR       9:30 am – 10:45 am               (Ogden)
TR       2:00 pm -    3:15 pm              (Allen)
TR       12:30 pm -   1:45 pm              (Allen)

FREN 3034 Advanced Oral Expression in French

This course will allow students to learn and reflect on issues that are of concern to their French-speaking contemporaries.  It offers an excellent opportunity for students to practice their French speaking skills in a variety of communicative contexts.  Class resources will include French online newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Discussion topics will be based largely on student-driven interests, but likely topics will include education, family life, the arts, immigration, Franco-American relations, and business culture.  Students will be graded on their engaged involvement in class discussions, their in-class presentations (individual and group), an audio and/or video contribution to a class web-journal, and a final oral exam. 

FREN 3034 is the only course on offer to emphasize, exclusively, the skill of speaking French (spontaneously and fluently)

 (Pre-requisite:  FREN 3031 and either completion of FREN 3032 or concurrent enrollment in FREN 3032).  This course is not intended for students who are native speakers of French or whose secondary education was in French schools.

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

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

TR 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Lyu)

FREN 3559  French for Global Development

Designed for students seeking to develop advanced linguistic skills in oral and written French and cultural competence in preparation for careers related to global development. Readings, discussions, and assignments revolve around case studies and simulated work-related situations drawn from real-life global development initiatives, with a focus on French-speaking west African countries. Topics will include economic development, community health, and education.

Pre-Requisite:  FREN 3031 (this course is not intended for students who are native speaker of French).

MWF   11:00 am – 11:50 am (James)

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

MW     2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Dramé)

FREN 3585.001 Topics in Cultural Studies –– Contemporary France and Social Movements

If your social media feeds intersect with those from France, it is very likely that, in recent years, you have repeatedly scrolled past images resembling a war zone. Who's fighting whom? And why are these violent confrontations taking place? One thing is for certain: a multi-layered crisis has motivated citizens to take to the streets. Spontaneous movements of resistance have emerged such as "Nuit Debout," "Gillets Jaunes," and various "ZAD." While the fires are still smoldering, and the clouds of tear gas are far from settled, police violence has already left an indelible mark in many people's lives and bodies.

In this course, we will open and examine the file of an increasing number of documents that have already been piling up. We will read essays, chronicles, pamphlets, and fiction, and we will watch movies and documentaries all offering an insider's look or taking stock of the situation. In a spirit of collaborative investigation, we will discuss what's happening today in France, and we will make connections with social justice movements in other parts of the world.

Prerequisite: FREN 3031 and FREN 3032

MW     3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (Simotas)

FREN 3585.002 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 4580 Advanced Topics in Literature ––  Philosophes noirs/Black Philosophers in French

Since the 1950s, Black philosophers adopted an antiracist and anti-colonial perspective in French. They have questioned for decades aporias and blind spots of our past. Historically many of them are from the Caribbean. We will read together in French : Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, Edouard Glissant, Patrick Chamoiseau and see how they first paved the thinking of race and colonialism. We will analyze their system in light of the debate about race in the US and in France. The course will be entirely conducted in French. 

Prerequisite: FREN 3032

MW     3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (Boutaghou)

FREN 4582 Avanced Topics in French Poetry –– Baudelaire et la modernité

Dans ce cours, nous lirons une sélection de textes de Baudelaire (Les Fleurs du mal, Les Petits poèmes en prose, Les Paradis artificiels, et les critiques d'art) pour apprécier l'ensemble de la production littéraire de l'un des poètes les plus célébrés dans la culture occidentale. Nous procèderons par des lectures et des analyses attentives pour examiner la sensibilité et l'esthétique baudelairiennes: le mal et l'éthique de la poésie, la structure et la déstructuration de la forme poétique, l’inspiration et la lucidité dans l'entreprise poétique. De façon plus générale, nous nous intéresserons à la nature et au pouvoir du langage poétique et réfléchirons sur la relation entre le langage poétique et le langage quotidiens ainsi que sur la fonction que peut avoir la poésie dans notre vie.

Pre-requisite:  Au moins un cours de littérature, culture, ou de cinéma au-delà de 3032.

TR       3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (Lyu)

FREN 4585.001 Advanced Topics in  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).  

No previous study of film required. 

TR       12:30 pm – 1:45 pm    (Ogden)

FREN 4585.002 Advanced Topics in Cultural Studies –– The Double

The theme of the double, known also as the Doppelgänger, has existed in the literature and in the  culture of many civilizations since antiquity.  This theme is often related to death and to the fear of a malevolent being who returns in the shape of someone who has not been properly buried.  French literature and film contain important examples of doubles, and the work of cultural anthropologist and literary critic René Girard has given renewed vigor to this concept.  This course will study doubles and doubling in some of the following novels, stories, plays, and films: Corneille, Le Menteur; Gautier, La Morte amoureuse; Green, Le Voyageur sur la terre; Grimonprez, Double Take; Kieslowski, La Double vie de Véronique; M.M. de Lafayette, Zayde, histoire espagnole; Molière, Amphytrion; Maupassant, Le Horla; Resnais, Hiroshima mon amour; Vigne, Le Retour de Martin Guerre.  For purposes of comparison, we may also consider Hoffmann, The Doppelgänger; Poe, William Wilson; Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; Wilde, The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

Three papers, short quizzes, active participation in discussion, and an oral presentation.

TR       2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Lyons)

FREN 4585.003 Advanced Topics in Cultural Studies –– Joan of Arc in History

Joan of Arc looms large in French cultural memory, but her status changes (often dramatically) according to place and time. According to who is telling her story, she can appear as warrior or victim, saint or heretic, trailblazer or follower, feminist or traditionalist, spiritually inspired or mentally unstable. No two accounts of Joan are alike. How are we to understand this diversity of opinion and the continued debate surrounding Joan’s story that places her among the top ten historical figures in world history most often treated by writers and artists? This course will examine Joan’s legendary status as it is developed in legal, artistic, historical, and religious works from medieval to modern times. Instead of seeking out the historical “truth” or artistic “faithfulness” of these accounts, we will examine how these works speak to their own cultural moment. To explore this issue, the first half of the semester will focus on contemporary writings that range from letters of Italian merchants, opinions of theologians, and poems of praise about Joan to multiple legal inquiries into her case, including the trial that culminated with her 1431 execution. Thereafter, we will explore key cultural moments when Joan’s story re-emerges in French society, beginning with the “epic failure” of early modern writers to make of her a heroic figure. We will then examine her troubled “life” as a national hero in post-Revolution France before closing with a study of her conflicting modern status as a saint (she was canonized in 1920), as a political mascot, and as an international feminist icon outside of France. Student work will include short essays, presentations on assigned topics, and for the most ambitious students, research projects that match their interests (possible research topics include legal history, medicine or theology; Joan’s depiction in painting, sculpture, cinema, theatre; her use in modern French politics or her role on the international stage).

Pre-requisite:  FREN 3032 and at least one additional course in French

MW     2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (McGrady)

FREN 4838 French Society & Civilization –– Contemporary France

Developing cultural literacy is an integral part of becoming an educated citizen of the world. The attainment of cultural literacy includes understanding social norms as well as politics and current events in a particular country. In France, cultural literacy is particularly valued in professional life, where the expectation is that you will be able to converse on a wide range of topics outside your field of specialization.

This course is designed to provide you with some tools for developing cultural literacy in the French context. Through an introduction to the politics, culture, and society of present-day France, you should come away from this class with a deeper understanding of social norms and institutional structures, as well as the ability to follow and understand French media coverage of events as they unfold in France. In your future travels in the US or abroad, you should feel comfortable discussing and debating social, political, and cultural issues and current events relating to France.

To achieve those goals, we will study the evolution of French society, politics, and culture from the end of the Second World War until the present. We will study major social problems facing contemporary France: the role of women, education, immigration, race, religion, public health as well as France's status in the European Union. Throughout the course, emphasis will be placed on readings from the French press, the televised news, and other visual sources.

Prerequisite: one 3000-level course beyond FREN 3032

TR 11:00 am – 12:15 pm (Horne)

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