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COURSE OFFERINGS

Please check the course catalog for up-to-date information.

All classes and exams are conducted in French with the exception of cross-listed courses, unless otherwise indicated.

With Digital Mapmaking, Scholars "See" a New Virtual Landscape of Paris

How can scholars and their students visualize the complex and multilayered urban space of Paris-and experience its topography, landmarks and rich artistic and literary milieu-without touring firsthand the famous city? In a new pedagogical/research project, "Mapping Paris, a Cultural Capital," Hélène Visentin, associate professor of French studies, is using a multimedia environment with Geographic Information Systems technology to explore and study the historical layers of Paris. For more about this course, click here.

Innovative ways to integrate culture into the teaching of French

In Intermediate French, students practice their written, oral and aural skills (as well as their creativity) by creating a video clip. This exercise improves linguistic skills and fosters a comfortable social environment in the classroom.

Global French: The Language of Business and International Trade

The Department of French Studies at Smith College is an accredited testing center for the Diplôme de français professionnel (Affaires B2) granted by the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris. Students in FRN 385, Global French: The Language of Business and International Trade, prepare for the qualifying exam, which is administered locally each May.

 

Language Courses

FRN 101 Accelerated Elementary French
An accelerated introduction to French for real beginners based on the video method French in Action. Development of the ability to communicate confidently with an emphasis on the acquisition of listening, speaking, and writing skills, as well as cultural awareness. Four class meetings per week plus required daily video and audio work. Students completing the course normally enter FRN 102 or 103. Students must complete both FRN 101 and 102 or 103 to fulfill the Latin honors distribution requirement for a foreign language. Enrollment limited to 18 per section. No spring pre-registration allowed. Credits: 5
Ann Leone, Eglal Doss-Quinby, Hélène Visentin
Offered Fall 2014

FRN 102 Accelerated Intermediate French
Emphasis on the development of oral proficiency, with special attention to reading and writing skills, using authentic materials such as poems and short stories. Students completing the course normally enter FRN 220. Prerequisite: FRN 101. Enrollment limited to 18 per section. Priority will be given to first-year students. {F} Credits: 5
Dawn Fulton, Jonathan Gosnell
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 103 Intensive Intermediate French
This course uses the same textbooks as FRN 102, at a faster pace and with additional work on reading, writing, and oral skills; special attention to composition and building vocabulary. Additional materials include websites, podcasts, works by Colette, Maupassant, Sartre, and others. Prerequisite: FRN 101. Students completing this course may be eligible to enter FRN 230. Students who take FRN 102 may not take FRN 103. Admission only by permission of the instructor. {F} Credits: 5
Ann Leone
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 120 Intermediate French
An intermediate language course designed for students with two or three years of high school French. Its main objective is to develop cultural awareness and the ability to speak and write in French through exposure to a variety of media (literary texts, newspaper articles, ads, clips, films, videos, etc.). Students completing the course normally enter FRN 220. Enrollment limited to 18 per section. {F} Credits: 4
Martine Gantrel-Ford, Christiane Métral
Offered Fall 2014

FRN 220 High Intermediate French
Review of communicative skills through writing and class discussion. Materials include a movie, a comic book, a play, and a novel. Prerequisite: three or four years of high school French, FRN 102, 103 or 120, or permission of the instructor. Students completing the course normally enter FRN 230. Enrollment limited to 18 per section. {F} Credits: 4
Christiane Métral, Oriane Morriet, Fall 2014
Mehammed Mack, Oriane Morriet, Spring 2015
Offered Fall 2014, Spring 2015

FRN 235j
Speaking (Like the) French: Conversing, Discussing, Debating, Arguing

A total immersion course in French oral expression using authentic cultural materials—French films and televised versions of round table discussions, formal interviews, intellectual exchanges and documentary reporting. Students will learn how the French converse, argue, persuade, disagree and agree with one another. Intensive practice of interactive multimedia exercises, role-playing, debating, presenting formal exposés, and correcting and improving pronunciation. Prerequisite: FRN230 or permission of the instructor. Registration: required attendance at meeting on November 18, 5pm, Hatfield 106. Admission by permission only. {F} Credits: 4
Christiane Métral
Offered Interterm 2015

FRN 300 Language and Identity
A course in advanced composition for students who wish to improve their mastery of some of the more difficult points of French grammar, syntax, and usage, as they reflect on the role of language in shaping individual and national identity, from the sixteenth century to the present day. Readings and discussions on topics such as linguistic policy and cultural politics, the feminization of the French language, and defending against the invasion of English by legislating the use of French within France and Quebec. Prerequisite: normally, one course in French at the 250 level or permission of the instructor. {F} Credits: 4
Eglal Doss-Quinby
Offered Fall 2014

Intermediate Courses in French Studies

FRN 230 Colloquia in French Studies
A gateway to more advanced courses. These colloquia develop skills in expository writing and critical thinking in French. Materials include novels, films, essays, and cultural documents. Students may receive credit for only one section of FRN 230. Enrollment limited to 16. Basis for the major. Prerequisite: FRN 220 or permission of the instructor.

French Islam
“Islam de France” is a survey of contemporary flashpoints in the debate surrounding the place of Islam in French society. Students analyze a wide variety of new media documents including internet resources, journalistic articles and blogs, advertising, music videos, documentaries, the “khutbas” of prominent imams, legal texts, political pamphlets and posters, slam poetry, talk shows, as well as photo and video art. The italicization of “de” in “Islam de France” reflects the extent to which the question of Islam’s possible roots in France has been contested: can a homegrown, European, even Republican Islamic tradition emerge in France? {F}{L}{S} Credits: 4
Mehammed Mack
Offered Fall 2014

Women Writers of Africa and the Caribbean
An introduction to works by contemporary women writers from Francophone Africa and the Caribbean. Topics to be studied include colonialism, exile, motherhood, and intersections between class and gender. Our study of these works and of the French language will be informed by attention to the historical, political, and cultural circumstances of writing as a woman in a former French colony. Texts will include works by Mariama Bâ, Maryse Condé, Yamina Benguigui, and Marie-Célie Agnant. {F}{L} Credits: 4
Dawn Fulton
Offered Fall 2014

Fantasy and Madness
A study of madness and its role in the literary tradition. The imagination, its powers and limits in the individual and society. Such authors as Maupassant, Flaubert, Myriam Warner-Vieyra, J.-P. Sartre, Marguerite Duras. {F}{L} Credits: 4
Oriane Morriet
Offered Spring 2015

Paris, a Multi-Layered City
An exploration of the cultural and urban development of Paris across time and in space with an emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. We will use an interactive digital platform to reconstruct the spaces, both real and imaginary, featured in novels, poetry, short stories, popular songs, visual documents, and maps that have portrayed the city throughout its history. Works by Corneille, Hugo, Maupassant, Baudelaire, Apollinaire, Desnos, Modiano, Vargas, Gavalda. {F}{H}{L} Credits: 4
Hélène Visentin
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 250 Skyping with the French - Cross-Cultural Connections
Using webcam and videoconferencing technology, students will have conversations in real time with French students in Paris. We will examine youth culture in France and explore fundamental cultural differences between Americans and the French. Topics include cultural attitudes and beliefs, social values and institutions as well as relevant socio-economic issues. Material: textbooks, cultural essays, surveys, articles, films and songs. Prerequisite: FRN 230 or higher or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 15. {F}{S} Credits: 4
Mehammed Mack
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 251 The French Press Online
A study of contemporary French social, economic, political and cultural issues through daily readings of French magazines and newspapers online such as Le Monde, Le Figaro, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur, L’Express. Prerequisite: FRN 230 or permission of the instructor. {F}{S} Credits: 4
Oriane Morriet
Offered Fall 2014

FRN 252 French Cinema
Topics course.

Cities of Light: Urban Spaces in Francophone Film
From Paris to Fort-de-France, Montreal to Dakar, we will study how various filmmakers from the Francophone world present urban spaces as sites of conflict, solidarity, alienation and self-discovery. How do these portraits confirm or challenge the distinction between urban and non-urban? How does the image of the city shift for “insiders” and “outsiders”? Other topics to be discussed include immigration, colonialism, and globalization. Works by Sembene Ousmane, Denys Arcand, Mweze Ngangura, and Euzhan Palcy. Offered in French. Prerequisite: FRN 230, or permission of the instructor. Weekly required screenings. FRN 252 may be repeated for credit with another topic. {A}{F}{L} Credits: 4
Dawn Fulton
Offered Fall 2014

FRN 262 After Algeria: Revolution, Republic and Race in Modern France
For the last two centuries, one could argue that it is the Franco-Algerian relationship that has been decisive in the construction of modern France. From the colonial conquest in the early nineteenth century through independence in 1962, Algeria has evoked passions on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, passions frequently resulting in violence that has not entirely subsided. Memory of a conflictual present and past has required continual mediation among involved actors. In the fifty years that have passed since Algerian independence, France and the French have increasingly confronted echoes of the colonial past as a result of pervasive debates around immigration, multiculturalism and national identity. We will explore a post-Algerian French society seemingly marked permanently by its Algerian experience through a variety of perspectives and readings. Can a late twentieth-century discourse of socio-economic, cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, all shaped by the Algerian episode, be reconciled with republican norms? To what extent has the experience in/of Algeria transformed contemporary French culture? In what ways can one speak of the Algerian experience in revolutionary terms? {F}{L}{S} Credits: 4
Jonathan Gosnell
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 265 Les Années Noires: Living through the Occupation, 1939-45
What was it like to live in Paris under the German occupation? What were the moral dilemmas and the political risks that Parisians faced as they struggled to survive? And how are we, today, to judge this historical period and those who lived through it? Students will experience this difficult period through a global simulation in which each will create a character with a specific identity and past—a secret collaborator, a Jewish immigrant, a resistance fighter, a closeted homosexual, an avant-garde artist, a reporter, the widow of a soldier who fought under Maréchal Pétain in WWI—and representing the diversity of the Parisian population at the time. Each student will write her character’s “memoirs” reacting to historical as well as personal events from her unique perspective. Readings range from historical documents, speeches, and testimonials to drama, fiction. Weekly films. Prerequisite: FRN 230. Enrollment limited to 16. WI (in French) {F}{H}{L}{WI} Credits: 4
Janie Vanpée
Offered Fall 2014

FRN 282 Topics in 19th- and 20th-Century French Studies
Topics course.

What's right? What's wrong? Stories about moral dilemmas
How do stories about moral dilemmas frame the question of what is right and what is wrong? What do these stories say about the values that are at stake? Do they provide answers and, if so, which ones? By investigating how stories revolving around moral conflicts reproduce social, cultural and political contradictions, as well as ethical ones, this course will allow students to reflect on some of the major issues that have shaped the moral debate in post-revolutionary France. Readings by Balzac, Hugo, Zola, Gide, Camus, Sartre and Benameur. Prerequisite: one course above FRN 230. {F}{L} Credits: 4
Martine Gantrel-Ford
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 295 French Translation in Practice
Practicum in French; must be taken concurrently with CLT 150. Students will read short texts in translation theory, study translation techniques and strategies, compare versions of translated texts, and produce their own translations of French texts. Readings and discussions conducted in French. Prerequisite: one course beyond FRN 230 or permission of the instructor. {F}{L} Credits: 2
Carolyn Shread
Offered Spring 2015

Advanced Courses in French Studies

Prerequisite: two courses in French Studies at the 260 level or permission of the instructor.

FRN 363 In the Name of Love: Romance and the Romantic Novel in 19th-Century France
One of the most ancient and universal feelings, love is also infinitely elusive and as much about the self as it is about anything else. In this course, intended for literary as well as non-literary students, we will examine what the Romantic imagination has made of the mystery, magic and travails of love and how it confronted some of the major cultural and social issues of its time: marriage and happiness, exoticism, class divide, love and death. Novels by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Chateaubriand, George Sand, Lamartine, Alexandre Dumas and Nerval. {F}{L} Credits: 4
Martine Gantrel-Ford
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 365 Francophone Literature and Culture
Topics course.

Scandals and Spin Control: Francophone Literature in the Media
How much control does or should a writer have over his or her public image? Should artists be held responsible for the political or social consequences of their work? How do such questions as censorship and plagiarism play out when racial, religious, or sexual difference is at stake? This course will examine literary texts and essays by some of the more controversial names in contemporary Francophone literature, to be studied alongside films, interviews, television appearances, and critical and popular reviews. Works by Calixthe Beyala, Rachid Bouchareb, Maryse Condé, and Dany Laferrière. {F}{L} Credits: 4
Dawn Fulton
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 380 Topics in French Cultural Studies
Topics course.

Travel Writing and Personal Discovery
A survey of francophone travel writing from the 16th to the 21st century. Students are exposed to a literary form that achieved popularity and cultural prestige early on, was then significantly challenged and diversified, and is presently enjoying a resurgence. We consider fictional and non-fictional accounts reflecting different geographies of travel and migration. While early voyagers tended to assert the relative superiority of French culture, subsequent generations of travelers abandoned discovery for self-discovery, and critiqued colonialism instead of indigenous cultures. Countries and regions surveyed include the Holy Land, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Central and West Africa, the United States, Iran, France, Indonesia, and Thailand. {F}{L} Credits: 4
Mehammed Mack
Offered Fall 2014

FRN 392 New Trends in French Cinema
In this seminar, we will examine how societal challenges in twenty-first century France have changed the way post-New Wave cinema is telling stories. Various cinematic genres will be examined, from Neo-Noir to animation movies. Weekly or bi-weekly film showings. Readings in film criticism and relevant fields. {A}{F} Credits: 4
Martine Gantrel-Ford
Offered Fall 2014

FRN 393 French Intellectuals: Observing and Contesting Social Order
We will study the figure of the intellectual from the 17th to the 21th century, as well as debates, polemics, and various types of intellectual activism in each period, concerning topics such as political power, intolerance, fanaticism, feminism, the death penalty, and the role of the media. We will discuss how these debates have transformed French society, intellectual life, and political thought. We will also examine the emergence of the public intellectual (“l’intellectuel engagé”) and the antecedents of this recent concept by analyzing controversial ideas expressed through satire, philosophical texts, and intellectual battles by authors such as La Bruyère, Molière, Voltaire, Hugo, Zola, Sartre, Halimi, and Bourdieu. {F}{H}{L} Credits: 4
Hélène Visentin
Offered Spring 2015

FRN 404 Special Studies
Admission by permission of the department; normally for junior and senior majors and for qualified juniors and seniors from other departments. Credits: 4
Instructor: TBA
Offered Fall 2014, Spring 2015

Cross-Listed Courses and Recommended Courses from Other Departments and Programs

FYS 141 Reading, Writing, and Placemaking: Landscape Studies
Ann Leone
Offered Fall 2014

CLT 100 Introduction to Comparative Literature: The Pleasures of Reading
Topic: Islands, Real and Imaginary
Janie Vanpée
Offered Spring 2015

CLT 288 Bitter Homes and Gardens; Domestic Space and Domestic Discord in Three Modern Women Novelists
Ann Leone
Offered Spring 2015