Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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101 & 102. Elementary French I & II 1 course unit each
An introduction to basic grammar and vocabulary of, as well as communication skills in French within its cultural contexts. Students will use a variety of authentic text and media resources to acquire and enhance linguistic skills. The first semester is designed for students with no knowledge of, or with a weak background in French, the second—for students with limited, but residual previous exposure to French. Assignment by placement test. Four class hours per week plus Language Learning Center assignments.

203 & 204. Intermediate French I & II 1 course unit each
An accelerated review of basic French grammar through speaking, reading, writing and other linguistically appropriate activities. The introduction of more advance grammatical structures and a variety of authentic text and multimedia resources will enhance the students’ linguistic skills and sociocultural awareness of the French speaking world. The development of functional skills and communicative ability is emphasized. Students also acquire the linguistic tools needed to continue learning French as it pertains to their fields of interest. Assignment by placement test. Three class hours per week plus Language Learning Center assignments.

301, 302. French Conversation & Composition
This course provides intensive practice in conversational French, centered on cultural aspects of the French-speaking world. French and francophone movies serve as the thematic backdrop for in-class discussions, oral presentations, and papers emphasizing correct usage of French linguistic and grammatical structures. This course also focuses on building vocabulary and idiomatic expressions, improving research techniques, including proper dictionary use, and expanding students’ conversational strategies and variety of expression in conversational and written modes. Offered fall semester.
Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 302.

303, 304. Advanced French Conversation & Composition
A continuation of FRN 301, 302 French Conversation & Composition, but with more emphasis on formal writing skills: description, narration, opinion, analysis. Through the study of examples of each genre, students learn the stylistic and linguistic devices appropriate to each before writing their own essays. Advanced grammar study, translation and vocabulary building are additional aspects of this course, since many of the errors students at this level make in their speaking/writing stem from inaccurate translations from English. During the second half of the course, students will read and discuss a contemporary novel dealing with family and social issues in contemporary France for conversational practice as well as an examination of the previously studied genres in the first half of the course.
Prerequisite: FRN 301, 302 French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 304.

305. Topics in France & the Francophone World
This course examines a topic of interest today in France and other countries where French is spoken. The topic varies according to the interests of the instructor and emphasizes increased acquisition of reading and speaking skills. Focusing on social and cultural contexts, the course uses texts such as newspaper and magazine articles, websites, films, literature, and other cultural texts. Rotating topics include nature and the environment, education, Franco-American relations, marriage and the family, and arts and popular culture. Assignments typically include keeping a journal, quizzes on content and vocabulary, short papers, and class presentations. Taught entirely in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II. May be repeated for credit when topic changes.

310. French for the Professions
Using real-life cases and scenarios, this course introduces students to business practices in France and the francophone world. Contacts with local professionals, both inside and outside of the classroom, allow students to explore the numerous possibilities of using their French linguistic and cultural knowledge beyond the academic arena (such as working for companies with international offices, volunteering with health organizations in French-speaking countries, providing translation services, and so forth). This course focuses on acquiring the proper writing, analytical, and oral presentational skills necessary to succeed in such careers. In addition to linguistic training, students learn techniques for cross-cultural analysis vital to conducting business in France or in other countries around the world. Offered in alternate spring semesters.
Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II

320, 321. French Civilization
Beginning with the prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux and ending with the present Fifth Republic, this course traces the major periods in the civilization of France through a survey of its geographical, historical, social, literary and artistic heritage. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 301, 302 French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement H (and W which applies to 321 only).

330, 331. Francophone Cultures of Africa & the Caribbean An introduction to the diverse cultures of the francophone world, specifically of the French-speaking African and Caribbean countries. Beginning with the period of French colonization, students will explore the development of various historical, social, political and artistic aspects of contemporary francophone culture through film, literature, magazines, the internet, and other multi-media materials. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 301, 302 French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement C (and W which applies to 331 only).

410. Origins of Love in Medieval & Renaissance France
In this course we will consider how love was “invented” in Europe beginning with the 11th century. We will consider how nascent views of love influenced gender relations as well as how they intersected with the institution of marriage and social attitudes about marriage. We will learn how our ideas about love are not universal but rather an historical product. We will also be able to see where some of our ideas about relationships between the sexes come from and wonder about how it is they have endured. We will primarily look at literary texts such as courtly love lyric, the courtly romance and the later fabliaux and farces that introduce a much “earthier” element into the question of love. We will also study some historical events and consider conduct manuals or theological treatises bearing on social institutions such as marriage. Along the way, we will consider the relationship between historical and literary documents as well as what it meant to be a medieval “author.” Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 303, 304 Advanced French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement L.

411. Images of Grandeur in Seventeenth-century France
In this course we will look at the important developments occurring in art, history, literature, music, and society in late sixteenth and seventeenth century France. Through the study of the great writers, artists, and moralists of this period, we will examine the influences of politics and culture that made this century the “grand siècle” of French literature. Questions of human nature as philosophized by tragic and comedic theatre, fables, folktales, and novelists will focus the readings and discussions of this momentous period in French history. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 303 or 304 Advanced French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement L.

412. Wit and Reason: A Breeding Ground for Revolution
This course examines the themes of wit and reason in literary works from seventeenth and eighteenth century France. Through the study of theatrical, philosophical, scientific, and fictional texts, we will investigate the roles of comedy and satire both in conjunction and in contrast with the growth of enlightenment, “le siècle des lumières,” in pre- and post-revolutionary France. In particular, we will examine the ways in which authors such as Molière, Corneille, Racine, Beaumarchais, Voltaire, and Rousseau employ both wit and reason to stimulate social and political change within a tumultuous society. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 303 or 304 Advanced French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement L.

413. From Nature’s Charms to Urban Ennui: 19th Century French Literature
In reaction to the eighteenth century emphasis of the Enlightenment on scientific progress for the good of humanity, nineteenth century Romanticism emphasized the individual and the mal de siècle. Political unrest following the French Revolution and changing regimes and republics led writers to champion politics and social causes in their works, reflecting the Realist tradition as they documented the industrial era, the ascendancy of the bourgeoisie, and the plight of the worker. Readings include works by Balzac, Flaubert, Maupassant, Zola, and Baudelaire. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 303 or 304 Advanced French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement L.

414. Literary Reflections of Crises & Cataclysms in 20th Century France
Twentieth century France saw one crisis after another: the Dreyfus affair, two world wars, the dissolution of her colonial empire and new patterns of immigration, and the women’s liberation movement. This course looks at the changing face of France in modern times as it is reflected in the literary movements and works that were spawned by these different crises and cataclysms. Readings may include works by Proust, Colette, the Surrealists, Camus, Sartre, Beckett, Ionesco, Ernaux, among others. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 303 or 304 Advanced French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement L.

415. Immigration & Identity in Contemporary French Literature
This course examines the situation of residents of France, especially youth, whose parents are immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean. They frequently find that they are caught between two worlds, struggling to be accepted as fully French but wanting to understand their African or Caribbean cultural heritage. Often not considered French, despite their French citizenship, they suffer from racial prejudice, whether on the streets, in the workplace, or in the education system. In addition to these difficulties are the clashes between the culture of their parents’ native countries (particularly as concerns the place of women) and French culture. Through an examination of texts from the 1980s and 1990s (novels by Begag, Charef, and Sow Fall, several sociological studies, newspaper articles, films, and music), students will come to understand the complexities involved in defining what it means to be “French” in France today. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: FRN 303 or 304 Advanced French Conversation & Composition
Meets general academic requirement L or D.

Muhlenberg College - Languages, Literatures and Cultures