Languages, Literatures and Cultures

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French and Francophone Studies

French video

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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.

FRN 301 Communication and Cultural Understanding
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 understanding the nuances of advanced French grammar, stylistic expressions, and conversational strategies. Students learn strategies for cultural understanding that will allow them to explore and adapt to modern Francophone cultures. Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II.

FRN 304 Approaches to Textual Analysis
This course emphasizes formal writing skills necessary for advanced courses in French, including critical analysis, information literacy and research techniques. Advanced grammar study, translation, and vocabulary building are additional aspects of this course, since many of the errors that students at this level make in their speaking / writing stem from inaccurate translations from English. Throughout the semester, students will be reading and discussing authentic French and Francophone cultural texts in order to improve upon their ability to engage with and meaningfully respond to the different writing genres studied in the course. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II.

FRN 310 French for the Professions
Using applications from the real world, this course introduces students to professional uses of French 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 area (such as working for companies with international offices, working with global health agencies, providing translation services, working in international law, and so forth). Moreover students will apply the strategies they learned in their French studies to a service-learning project with the Allentown community. This course focuses on acquiring the proper writing, analytical, and oral presentational skills necessary to succeed in a career using French. In addition to linguistic training, students create an on-line portfolio that will prepare for their future career. Offered in alternate spring semesters. Taught in French. Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II.

FRN 313 French Theater of Resistance.  
The French hold dear the notion that in times of trouble they have always summoned up the courage to resist the oppressor. That resistance may take many forms: resisting tyranny, social conformity, one's own destructive impulses, the uncertainty of our existence in the universe. French playwrights such as Corneille, Racine, Marivaux, Beaumarchais, Hugo, Jarry, Sartre, Beckett, and more recently, Yasmina Reza, have captured the dramatic force of this resistance in their theatre. The course surveys major moments in the history of French theatre and emphasizes literary analysis of the plays. Taught in English. Meets general academic requirement L and effective Fall 2013 HU.

FRN 330 Introduction to Francophone Studies
This course introduces students to the diverse cultures of the Francophone world and their relationship to France (as the former colonizer) and to each other. Each unit explores the history, culture, and prevailing societal structures of a particular Francophone region (North Africa, the French-speaking Caribbean, Sub-Saharan Africa), while highlighting its importance within today's globalized world. In addition to short historical texts, students will also read literature, newspaper articles, listen to music, and watch films that underscore the linguistic, economic, political, and cultural complexities of the French-speaking postcolonial world. Taught in French. Pre-requisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II. Meets general academic requirements HU and DE.

FRN 333 France and Asia
In this course, we will focus on cultural encounters between France and Asia.  In particular, we will study French and Francophone authors, directors, musicians, manga artists, etc. who have explored in their work the complex relationship between France and Asian countries such as India, China, Japan, and Vietnam from a cultural and political perspective.  We will address questions of colonialism, identity formation, gender, and language and will try to situate Franco-Asian cultural exchanges within the larger context of the colonial, postcolonial, and transnational conditions.  Taught in English.  Meets general academic requirements HU and DE.

FRN 335 The Francophone Arab World
In this course, we will study the cultures, histories, religions and arts of the francophone Arab world. We will study the history of both the Maghreb (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) and the francophone Mashreq (Lebanon) before, during, and after colonization. Our focus will be on cultural production in the French language and the questions it raises about the multilingual and multicultural realities of the francophone Arab world today. We will build our discussions around the following themes: negotiating plural identities (linguistic, religious, political and other); situating one’s self within the economic and political complexities of a globalized world; redefining the francophone Arab countries’ relationship with France; war and terrorism; the Arab Spring. Taught in English. Meets general academic requirements HU and DE.

FRN 337 The French Revolutionary Spirit (Cluster course)
French history has long been marked by revolutions of various kinds, the most famous of course being the French Revolution of 1789. What is it about the French political and cultural spirit that has sparked these revolutions? In this course, we will investigate this revolutionary spirit across the centuries, beginning in the 18th century and traveling through time into May 1968 and the current strikes and protests that continually appear in the news. We will analyze in particular the cultural medium in which these revolutions occur, such as theatrical presentations, novels, manifestos, pamphlets, newspapers, films, and art. Course may count as 300-level course for French major or minor if students read texts in French (where applicable) and write all papers in French. Taught in English. Meets general academic requirement HU.

FRN 341 French and Francophone Cinema
In this course, we will explore cinema as an artistic expression of international culture.  As we trace the history of French film, arriving at current French and Francophone cinema, we will analyze the historical and cultural context of these films while examining the formal and stylistic elements of this visual art – in other words, we’ll be exploring content and form. We will view films (subtitled in English) from France, Africa, North America, and Western Europe, presenting new voices and perspectives of the Francophone world through film. All film viewings will take place outside of class. No previous training in Film studies is required. Taught in French. Prerequisite FRN 204.

FRN 343 Family, Sexuality and Gender in the Francophone World
This course will trace the evolution of family formations in France, Québec, francophone Africa, and the French Caribbean from the 1950s to the present day through the study of French-language films. In particular, we will be looking at the definition of what a family is as intricately linked to the larger socio-historical context within which distinct gender and sexual identities are articulated and performed.  We will be reading a number of authentic cultural documents (newspaper articles, excerpts from memoirs, interviews, poetry, narrative, essays etc.) that will help us better contextualize our understanding of the films viewed.  Taught in French. Prerequisite FRN 204. Meets general academic requirement HU.

FRN 345 French and Francophone Media
This course will use various forms of French and Francophone media as its content, focusing on contemporary politics and cultural issues in the Francophone world. By reading various newspapers such as Le Monde, Le Figaro, Le Soleil, Le Devoir, Jeune Afrique and others, we will discuss current issues in France and in particular France's relationship with the U.S. and the Francophone world. We will also explore the impact of communication through social media, including Twitter, texting in French, Facebook, and email. Taught in French. Prerequisite FRN 204. 

FRN 417 Negotiating Identity in Contemporary France
This course examines the situation of French residents, especially youth, whose family immigrated to France from North and Sub-Saharan Africa, the French-speaking Caribbean and Asia. They frequently find that they are caught between two worlds, struggling to be accepted as fully French but wanting to understand their African, Caribbean or Asian 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 and the principles and values of the French Republic. Through an examination of novels by contemporary authors (Azouz Begag, Gisèle Pineau, Kim Lefèvre), several sociological studies, bande dessinée and films, students will come to understand the complexities involved in defining what it means to be “French” in France today. Taught in French. Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirements HU and DE.

FRN 418 Francophone Communities in North America
This course will examine the evolution of French-speaking communities in North America, beginning with the founding of Québec in 1608 and following with the subsequent migrations into New England, Louisiana, and the Midwest. By studying historical documents as well as literary texts, music, folktales, and films, students will analyze how the French have helped shape the United States and Canada. Students will also explore personal connections to the Francophone communities in New England, allowing them to better understand the importance of personal narrative within larger literary and cultural traditions. Taught in French. Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirement HU.

FRN 420 Myth and Memory in Quebec
In this course students will explore the founding and development of Quebec, focusing particularly on the themes of memory and myth in the creation of Quebec's identity.  Quebec's motto, "Je me souviens" (I remember) clearly establishes this pattern of relying on memory - and the myths that evolve from those memories - in order to distinguish the Québécois cultural identity from the surrounding anglophone majority.  Students will explore political speeches, cultural artifacts, literary texts, films, and media within their historical and cultural context, arriving at an understanding of today's culturally vibrant and diverse Quebec.  Taught in French.  Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirement HU.

FRN 422 Popular Literature and Culture in the Francophone World
In this course we will read current best-selling novels in France or another Francophone country (focus will alternate with each rotation of the course), exploring the cultural, historical and sociological issues manifested in each author's perception of his or her society.  Where available, we will compare the film adaptations of these novels with the written form, analyzing the implications of the cinematic choices made by the directors. Individual research and theoretical discussions will help students arrive at a deeper understanding of the cultural practices and perspectives of modern French or Francophone societies. Taught in French. Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirement HU.

FRN 424 Francophone Women Writers of Africa & the Caribbean
This course examines texts written by French-speaking women writers from Africa and the Caribbean, exploring ways in which these writers seek to identify themselves in relation to their male counterparts as well as to the predominantly European literary models available to them. The degree to which these writers choose to accept or reject these literary traditions suggests certain cultural perspectives unique to the post-colonial Francophone world. Our analyses will include historical and cultural overviews of each region, and reflect upon the representation of contemporary gender issues in these literary works. Taught in French. Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirements HU and DE.

FRN 426 The Myth of Paris
This course will explore the mythic icon of Paris throughout the ages, beginning from its foundation and continuing to contemporary society. Through various media including novels, poetry, theater, film, and music, we will analyze the cultural and political importance of Paris in French society. Discussions and readings will also include Paris's relationship with the global Francophone world, investigating its role within a post-colonial context. Taught in French. Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirement HU.

FRN 428 Globalization and the Legacy of Empire in the Francophone World
In this course, we will study the rise, fall and legacy of the French Empire from the middle of the nineteenth century through the decolonization era to the postcolonial financial, political and cultural institutions that govern France’s relationship with francophone countries in today’s globalized world.  Through the study of historical, anthropological, sociological and literary texts, film, music and the arts we will explore the following themes: the economic and political pressures that made the imperial project viable in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; the rise of anti-Semitism in France and its relevance to larger debates on Empire and race; the military, social and cultural role French colonies played in both World Wars; post-World War II independence movements within the context of the Cold War; and, finally, the specific challenges with which the processes of globalization have presented different areas of the francophone world in the last thirty years (debt, civil war, migrations, women’s rights issues, etc.). Taught in French. Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirement HU.

FRN 430 Strangers, Foreigners, and Others
The theme of the class is representations of Otherness, Strangeness and Alterity in the French-speaking world from the Middle Ages to the present day. We will be looking at figures of the “Other” not only as stranger, outsider or outcast but also as the articulation of difference within ourselves as individuals or members of a community. This course will invite students to think of otherness, foreignness and alienation in culturally and historically defined ways.  It will also encourage them to think critically about rhetorical and thematic specificities as we consider otherness in texts belonging to different genres.  Taught in French. Prerequisites FRN 301 and 304. Meets general academic requirement HU.

 

Muhlenberg College - Languages, Literatures and Cultures