Spring 2022 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 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. 

Priority Boarding”  for French Majors and Minors: From Nov 1- 15th certain FREN courses at the 3000-4000 levels will be reserved for Priority Enrollment for Majors and Minors in French.

Not a Major or Minor in French? You will be added to the course waitlist during that initial 2-week period (Nov. 1- 15th).

You can also declare a major or a minor in French here

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about enrolling in a French class this semester. We want to hear from you!

French Translation Courses

FRTR 3584: Topics in French Cinema - Masterpieces of French Cinema (TAUGHT IN ENGLISH)

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. 

TR 11:00am – 12:15pm (Blatt)

Creo Courses

Creo 1020-001: Elementary Creole II


Creo 2020-001: Intermediate Creole II


Advanced Courses in French

FREN 3030: 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 these 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 to some extent, ‘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.

Pre-requisite: FREN 2020 (or equivalent). Course taught entirely in French; counts for major/minor credit in French and Linguistics

TR 2:00 PM – 3:15 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.

Pre-requisite: 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 Pre-requisite for all undergraduate French courses at a higher level.

MWF  11:00 am – 11:50 am (James)
TR      2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Ben Amor)
TR      11:00 pm – 12:15 pm (Hapgood)
TR      3:30 pm – 4:45 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.

Pre-requisite: French 3031. FREN 3032 is a Pre-requisite for all French undergraduate courses on a higher level.

TR       9:30 am – 10:45 am (Boutaghou)
MWF   9:00 am – 9:50 am (Geer)
TR       2:00 pm – 3:15 pm (Simotas)
MW     3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (McGrady) 

FREN 3034: Advanced Oral Expression in French

This advanced course in oral expression will allow students to learn and reflect on issues that are of concern to their French-speaking contemporaries. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to practice their French speaking skills in a variety of communicative contexts.  Discussion topics will be determined largely by student interests but will likely include education, family life, the arts, immigration, Franco-American relations, sports and business culture.  All class resources (including articles from French newspapers and magazines, journals, TV and radio) will be available online.  Students will be graded on their engaged involvement in class discussions, their in-class presentations (individual and group), a final oral reflective exam and an audio and/or video class project or contribution to a class web-journal.   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 3034: Advanced Oral Expression in French: Popular Music and Cultural identities in Contemporary France

What constitutes a “chanson française?” This course will explore the complexities of this question by interrogating the roots and current trends of popular music in contemporary France with an emphasis on its urgent intersections with language, history, culture, politics, and identity. Class resources will include music videos, live recordings, reviews, interviews, podcasts, radio, television, film clips, and excerpts from online newspaper and magazine articles. Thematic units centered around themes of love and relationships, gender and the body, race and social justice, and composition and community will facilitate student-driven discussion. The aim of this course is to improve oral expression and thus assessment prioritizes speaking. In addition to active participation in class, graded assignments include exploratory homework, collaborative podcasts, two round-table discussions, and a midterm and final that involve group presentations. 

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 (McGrady)

FREN 3037: French for Global Development and Humanitarian Action

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 and humanitarian action. Discussions and assignments revolve around case studies and simulated professional situations drawn from real-life global development and humanitarian aid initiatives, with a focus on francophone West African countries. Our cases and topics this semester will encompass community health, education, economic development, and advocacy for human rights and gender equity.

Course pre-requisites: FREN 3031 and FREN 3032 (or equivalent)

MWF 9:00 – 9:50 am (James)

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 writings of this era, from the canonical works of Corneille, Molière, Voltaire, and Diderot to lesser-known but significant works that grapple with issues of slavery, gender roles, atheism, and foreignness. We will examine how writers used wit, emotion, and logic to persuade readers to accept their controversial ideas.

MW 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (Tsien)

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 – 3:15pm (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.

TR 2:00-3:15pm (Ferguson)

FREN 3570 Topics in Francophone African Studies: 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 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. FREN 3032 is a prerequisite for all French undergraduate courses on a higher level.

TR 12:30 - 1:45pm (Dramé)

FREN 3585: Topics in Cultural Studies - Insanity: Women and Mental Health in French Literature

Who determines conventions of sanity and what does it mean not to be “sane” or “insane”? How do we define our selves and how does society define us? What are the consequences of naming women as insane, hysterical, mad, or odd? How do writers and filmmakers portray conditions of women’s mental illness? This course examines French/Francophone women’s works of literature and film that depict various states of women's mental health, including anxiety and depression, and the repercussions of these crises. Driving questions will include how we define sanity and insanity and the effects of isolation, povery, and oppression on self and identity. We will focus on women's literature of the 20th century, including autobiographical narratives, fictions, and films. Authors and directors to be studied will include Marguerite Duras, Amélie Nothomb, Maryse Condé, Anna Gavalda, Leïla Slimani, Anne Hébert, Marie-Claire Blais, Agnès Vardas, and Claire Denis. Students will engage actively, keep a reflection journal, write a midterm and final critical essay, and collaborate on a multimedia cultural studies research project. Course conducted in French.

MWF 1:00 – 1:50pm (Hall)

FREN 4410 - The Enlightenment 

The Enlightenment, or Les Lumières, was one of the most important movements in Western intellectual history. Its proponents fought against superstition and a corrupt monarchy with notoriously witty essays and with fictions that seemed, on the surface, to be about sentimentality, sex, or exotic lands. In this course, we will consider how famous philosophes such as Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau brought France into a new era and inadvertently inspired the American and then the French Revolutions. We will examine how their writings treated issues such as: slavery, women's sexuality, blasphemy, the conflict between religion and science, and moral relativism among various countries. We will also focus on strategies used by the authors to hide their provocative ideas from government censors.

MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm (Tsien)

FREN 4580 - Advanced Topics in Literatures - The Extreme Contemporary, or What the French are Reading Now

This course is designed as a survey of contemporary French literature. One might even call it an introduction to what has come to be known as “extremely contemporary” French literature (l’extrême contemporain), which is to say books that have been published within the last few years (including one or two that were published in 2021). After an initial consideration of some of the major trends to have emerged on the French literary scene since the turn of the twenty-first century, students will read a selection of texts (fictions, non-fictions, and works that fall somewhere in between) that have been hailed by critics and readers alike. While the course focuses on what kinds of books the French are reading today, we will also consider how they read, how they talk about what they are reading, and how they inform themselves further about what to read next by consulting a number of essential and readily available resources for enthusiasts of contemporary French writing, like magazines, radio programs, podcasts, websites, blogs, book reviews, and television programs (indeed, the French have a long tradition of producing quality “book tv”). Works by writers such as Jean Rolin, Jean Echenoz, Maylis de Kerangal, Vincent Almendros, Gael Faye, Maria Pourchet, Adeline Dieudonné, Marie Darrieusecq, and Tanguy Viel may find their way onto the syllabus. With any luck, students will have a few opportunities to discuss their reading (over zoom) with the writers themselves.

Requirements include regular reading and active participation in class discussion, an oral presentation on a particular aspect of the contemporary literary scene, a series of short commentaries and book reviews, and a final paper.

Prerequisites: FREN 3032 and at least one other course above FREN 3040. Course conducted in French.

TR 12:30 – 1:45pm (Blatt)

FREN 4580 - Advanced Topics in Literature - “Poètes philosophes noirs”/“Poets philosophers black in French"

Black philosophers from the Caribbean adopted a critical perspective in French. They have questioned for decades aporias and blind spots of our history. Historically many of them are from the Caribbean. We will read together in French texts by: Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), Edouard Glissant (1928-2011), Patrick Chamoiseau (1953-) and see how they paved thinking of race and colonialism. We will analyze their system in light of the debate about race in the US and in France.

TR 11:00 – 12:15pm (Boutaghou)

FREN 4585.001 Adv Topics Cultural Studies: Portraits

An exploration of human portraits in France from prehistoric cave art to the selfie. Students will examine a variety of genres and media including painting, drawing, film, photography, autobiography, autofiction, poetry, essays, and journals. We will focus in particular on narrative believability (in text and image), on the creation of self-image and public persona, and on the mediated self. Coursework includes a final autobiographical, auto-fictional, or biographical audio-visual project.

Pre-requisite: FREN 3031 and 3032 (or equivalent) and one literature or culture course at the 3000 level.

TR 2:00 – 3:15 PM (Krueger)

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, Fanta Regina Nacro, Ngangura  Mweze, Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Souleymane Cissé, Gaston Kaboré, Amadou Seck, Dani Kouyaté,  Jean-Marie Teno, A. Sissako on a variety of subjects relative to the image of Africa in cinema.

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

TR 3:30 - 4:45pm (Dramé)

FREN 5520/8520 - Masculine/Feminine: Gender, Sexuality, and Self in French Renaissance Literature

This course will examine texts from a variety of genres in which men and women of the sixteenth century write about themselves and each other, constructing similarities and differences, expressing love or hatred, admiration or rivalry, perplexity or a claim to know. What ideas of the body, sex, and gendered roles informed their thinking? In a period marked by new humanist models of learning, the perennial querelle des femmes, and the outbreak of civil war, sexual, social, political, and religious categories are at once circumscribed and fluid; the stakes of writing are high; the exploration of the self and the other in history is an undertaking at once urgent, tentative, and contested.

Tuesday 3:30 – 6:00pm (Ferguson)

FREN 5585/8585 - Thinking France in the World

What does it mean to think about “France in the world”? Starting from the controversy around the 2017 L’Histoire mondiale de la France (France in the World: A New Global History), we will explore France’s global interactions from the medieval to the post-WW2 periods, how these interactions have shaped France and its interlocutors, and how scholars understand this history today. Readings and discussions in English (with optional French readings and writing for FREN students). Advanced undergraduates may enroll with instructor permission.

This combined section course with HIEU5585/8585  will be offered by Professors Janet Horne (French) and Jennifer Sessions (History)

Thursday 3:30 – 6:00pm (Horne)

FREN 7500 - Literary Theory: Classic Thoughts, Modern Texts, Contemporary Debates

This course serves as an introduction to theoretical texts we encounter most frequently in the discourses of literary criticism. Our aim is to gain a deeper understanding of how literature has been thought and debated as well as how literary criticism has been practiced over time. In the first part of the course, we will read key texts of the critical tradition from antiquity to the early twentieth century. In the second part of the course, we will survey the major theoretical movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries such as formalism/ structuralism/ deconstruction, reader response theory, psychoanalysis, feminism/ gender studies/ queer theory, eco-criticism/ animal studies. (Due to time constraints, we will not cover post-colonial theory and its variations in the francophone context, given that several seminars in the department treat the subject.)

Monday 3:30 – 6:00pm (Lyu)

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