French Studies
About the Department
Francophone Residential Community
The Major
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Awards & Prizes
News & Events
What Alumnae Have Done with French
French Studies


News & Events

Congratulations to David Ball, Professor Emeritus!

The 28th French-American Foundation Translation Prize for 2015 was awarded to David Ball for his translation of Diary of the Dark Years 1940-1944 (non-fiction.) The prize is supported by the Florence Gould Foundation. For more information on this year's prizes, click here. To learn more about the book, click here.


French Placement Test

The Department of French Studies offers an online placement examination to test students' proficiency in understanding spoken French as well as in reading and writing. The online placement examination is accessible on Moodle until August 30, 2015.

Students who have taken at least one year of French but who have not taken the ETS French Achievement or Advanced Placement tests should take this exam. Students who have taken the ETS Achievement and/or Advanced Placement tests will find among the materials provided to their advisers recommended placement in language or literature courses based on their scores. EVEN IF YOU HAVE TAKEN THESE TESTS, WE ENCOURAGE ALL STUDENTS TO TAKE OUR PLACEMENT TEST, AS IT WILL HELP THE DEPARTMENT TO ADVISE STUDENTS ABOUT COURSE SELECTION. Click here for detailed instructions.


Congratulations, TAPIF Participants!

Again, as in past years, Smith students have a great record of being chosen for the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). We are proud to announce our 7 winners for 2015-2016:

Oriane Morriet's Scriptwriting Class Featured on Grécourt Gate

In Spring 2015, Oriane Morriet's class wrote a screenplay in French, translated it into English and produced a 15-minute short film. For more information on this ambitious, wide-ranging project, click here to visit the Grécourt Gate's article.


Smith's International Poetry Reading Day Mentioned in the Haitian Press

Click here to read a feature from Haiti's Le Nouvelliste about Smith's International Poetry Reading day, featuring students reading poems in and translations from French, Italian, Turkish, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese and Spanish.

Interested in Teaching French Stateside?
Come Join Michelle Fournier ('92) for a Lunchtime Conversation!

Monday, April 20, 12:00 pm
Duckett Dining Hall B

Michelle Fournier ('92) has been teaching French and Spanish at Westbrook High in Maine since she graduated from Smith. In 2006-2007, she taught in Bayeux, France as part of a Fulbright exchange program. She kept a blog that year full of insights she gleaned from comparing the French and US educational systems. Take this opportunity to meet an alumna who was once in your shoes and learn about teaching French at the high school level. This informal conversation may also interest those about to go abroad, and seniors returning from France and Switzerland looking for ways of continuing with French.

Girl in Dior: a Conversation with Annie Goetzinger

Wednesday, April 15, 4:00 pm
Campus Center 103/104

Annie Goetzinger, of considerable fame in France, is a best-selling graphic novelist , published in "Circus", "L'Écho des Savanes", "Fluide Glacial", "Métal Hurlant" and "Pilote" among other places. Her latest graphic novel, Girl In Dior, is the sweepingly beautiful docudrama of the life of Christian Dior, starting with the launch of his brand.

French Animation Film Festival

Sunday, April 19
4:00-6:00 pm
Seelye 106


A selection of nine short animated films, each an illustration of today's ills, from the renowned Annecy International Animated Film Festival (France). Running time: 66'. Open to the public. All films are in English or have English subtitles. The screening will be followed by a discussion in English. Viewers' discretion advised (some nudity and sexual content).


La "Sécurisation des Frontières" dans les enclaves de Ceuta et Melilla: impact sur l'immigration subsaharienne et implications pour la nouvelle politique d'immigration au Maroc



Wednesday, April 1, 12 pm

Lewis Global Studies Center


The Lewis Global Studies Center welcomes Mustapha Machrafi, Fulbright scholar and Professor at the African Studies Institute, University of Mohamed V- Souissi--Rabati. His Fulbright project is entitled "Governance of Immigration: A Comparative Study of the American and Moroccan Immigration Policies". His lecture will discuss the immigration and movement of Sub-Saharan Africans in the Melilla and Ceuta Enclaves and its impact on immigration politics in Morocco. The lecture will be held in French.




Spring 2015 French Film Series

Our Spring 2015 film series features a wide variety of French-language films and meets at 7:00 pm most Wednesdays in McConnell B15. The films will be subtitled in English; non-French speakers are encouraged to attend!


The schedule is as follows: Feb. 25, Les garçons et Guillame, à table!; March 4, Bambi; March 11, Amélie Poulain (in McConnell 103); Mar 25, Ratatouille; April 1, La Haine; April 8, Le Dîner de Cons


Neilson Professor Lecture Series: Sahar Amer

Monday, Feb. 16 *NEW DATE*

Carroll Room, Campus Center, 5 pm
"The Arab Spring and Rainbow Hopes: LGBTIQ Rights in Transitional Societies"


This lecture will assess the situation of LGBTIQ rights in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.


Monday, March 9
Neilson Browsing Room, 5 pm
"Muslim Women, Veiling, and Human Rights"

This lecture will discuss lesser known aspects of veiling in order to highlight some of the human rights violations that veiled Muslim women continue to experience around the world, including veiling and feminism, Islamic fashion, beauty pageants, and Muslim dolls.

Monday, April 6
Neilson Browsing Room, 5 pm
"Bad Girls and Gender Trouble in the Thirteenth-Century Mediterranean"

This lecture will focus on the life and legacy of Shajarrat al-Durr, the first woman sultan of Egypt, and the ruler responsible for the defeat of Saint Louis during the 7th crusade.


WHAW: Challenging French Identity: "I am Charlie? I am Ahmed?"

Tuesday, February 3, 4 p.m.
Campus Center 103/104

The Lewis Global Studies Center presents WHAW (What's Happening Around the World). Professors Ibtissam Bouachrine, Mlada Bukovansky, Mehammed Mack, and Oriane Morriet, will consider the following questions: Why did the tragic events of January 7 shake the French Republic and its values of freedom of expression and laïcité to the core? What does the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo, stand for in France? What have been the reactions in the Muslim community in France and elsewhere? How has the tragedy affected the political climate in France and Europe? What are the consequences for freedom of expression?

David Ball, Professor Emeritus of French and Comparative Literature at Smith College, discusses his acclaimed translation and annotation of Jean Guéhenno's Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944 (Oxford University Press, 2014), at the Lewis Global Studies Center at Smith College. Ball’s is the first ever English translation of this incredible look into life in occupied France.

Postcolonial Migrants Lost in Absence of Translation: The Metro as Labyrinth

Mireille Rosello, University of Amsterdam
Friday, November 7, 7:00 pm
Neilson Browsing Room
How do we know that we have "arrived" or that we "belong"? What kind of social, political and cultural methodologies do we mobilize when we say that we live in Paris or that we are travelling to Paris? These are just a couple of the questions Rosello will explore in her talk about Boudjedra's novel Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée, the story of an illiterate Berber migrant lost in the Metro.

A Conversation with Lola Lafon, French Singer and Novelist

Wed. Oct 15, 4:15 p.m.
Lewis Global Studies Center
Meet Lola Lafon, a young politically engaged French author, whose novels, which tackle such ideologies as feminism, capitalism, and anti-fascism, have won critical acclaim and several awards. She will discuss her recently translated novel We Are the Birds of the Coming Storm, the first of her novels to be translated from French to English. As well as discussing this novel - which follows the story of two young women, soul mates, and both survivors of sexual assault, who are trying to survive under an oppressive regime - she will read in French from her latest novel, La Petite Communiste qui ne souriait jamais. Cider, tea, and cookies will be served. For a quick look at Lafon's unique style, check out this video of her in concert, performing passages from We are the Birds of the Coming Storm.

Pioneers: Three Women in Film
Alice Guy-Blaché, Maya Deren, Agnès Varda

Sunday, October 19, 2014 , 3:00 pm
The Fast Forward Film Series at Historic Northampton presents three films by Guy-Blaché, Deren, and Varda. For more information, visit Historic Northampton's website.

Traditional Music and Dance from Québec

Friday, October 3, 3:00 p.m.
Campus Center 103/104
Performed by Keith Murphy and Becky Tracy. For more information, please visit





Open House: Tea with the Cutter Francophone Residential Community

To celebrate the Francophone Residential Community's new home in Cutter House, we are holding a tea in the Cutter House living room at 4 pm on Friday, September 26. All are welcome to learn more about living in Francophone housing and enjoy some special French treats!

La Table française: Join us!

Every Monday, beginning 8 September 2014, noon-1:00 p.m. Duckett House Dining Room (Room A or B on alternating weeks) Non-board guests must sign the log in the room they're using. Smith students who are on the Board plan should swipe their cards at the check-in desk.

Global Books

Thursday, September 25, 4:00-5:00 pm
Lewis Global Studies Center

David Ball, Professor Emeritus of French and Comparative Literature at Smith College, will discuss his acclaimed translation and annotation of Jean Guéhenno's Diary of the Dark Years, (Oxford Press, 2014). Guéhenno's diary reflects on his efforts to resist both the French collaborationist government as well as the Nazi-controlled publishing industry in wartime France.

Placement Test

All students considering a French course should take the French placement exam, to be offered on Monday 1 September in McConnell B15. There will be two sessions, at 1:00-2:00 PM and at 2:00-3:00 PM.

If you studied French in high school, we will pre-place you in one of our courses according to your Achievement and/or Advanced Placement test scores. We strongly encourage you to take our own French placement test administered during orientation, as it will let us place you more accurately than the standardized tests.


Monday 1 September, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

New Student Welcome Reception

Friday 29 August, 4:00-5:30 PM
Seelye Lawn (rain location, Campus Center)


We offer congratulations to four French majors who were awarded Fulbright Fellowships for 2014-2015:

Nora Nadire '14
Germany: English Teaching Assistantship

"Pepper" Alexandra Neff '14
Turkey: English Teaching Assistantship

Maya Potter '14
India: Anthropology
"Documenting the Negotiated Use of Public Space by Women Street Vendors in Ahmedabad"

Lisa Saladin '13
Ireland: Language and Literature
"Fresh Feminine Voices: Transfiguring Irish-Language Poetry in the Postmodern Era"

Jacobson Center French Tutors

Clementine Hamelin, Naomi Sinnathamby, Grace Kim
By appointment:, ext. 3056

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