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Institut d'études Françaises d'Avignon
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899

Phone: (610) 526-5984
FAX: (610) 526-7479

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Curriculum 2014

The Institut's curriculum includes general and advanced courses in French language, literature, history and economics. The plan of study is designed to accomplish two main purposes. The first is to provide work in French language of such a nature that each student will make appreciable progress in fluency, comprehension and writing. The second is to provide courses covering material pertinent to the understanding of modern France and the appreciation of French culture. Students also attend a series of lectures given by visiting speakers and are expected to participate in supplementary discussions. Individual drill in French phonetics is available for students who need to do remedial work in French pronunciation. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the listening and recording equipment available at the Médiathèque Ceccano.

Each student must enroll in two courses, for a total of two units of academic credit. Attendance at all class meetings is required. Courses are organized so as to include student participation in classroom discussion.
The student who wishes transfer credits should make the necessary arrangements with the appropriate officer of his/her own college or university.

Undergraduate Courses

French S 201


In this course, students will develop their grammar, composition, and conversation skills through a review of the most common difficulties of the French language. Students will keep track of their progress through daily journal writings. (K. Corbin)

French S 202
A non-credit course open to all students wishing to explore the peculiarities of French society and to feel more comfortable in expressing themselves orally in French. (M. Giraud)

French S 204


In this writing-intensive course, we will study letters from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Letters were used to convey love, to subvert political or religious authority, and to promote human rights. We will analyze famous letters to teach students how to identify the stylistic structure of a text. Students will become aware of rhetorical tools and craft their own epistolary style. Authors include Pascal, Sévigné, Rousseau, Laclos, and Zola. (J. Tamas)

French S 208


A study of major visions and techniques in modern theater. We will explore different practices (contemporary staging, major francophone playwrights, acting theories), and read contemporary French drama theorists (Renaude, Vinaver, de Vos, Valletti, etc.). This course is designed as a workshop with training in voice projection, diction, memorization, staging and acting. A contemporary play will be staged and presented to the public. (A. Pellois)

French S 251


What does it mean to write one’s life? This course examines the ongoing debates about the status of autobiography – and its recent developments – in 20th and 21st Century French literature and literary criticism. We will first consider the problem of confession, and appraise the invention of new genres – such as “autofiction” – by which “the language of an adventure” – or a life – is entrusted to “the adventure of language” (Doubrovsky). Authors include Breton, Ernaux, Leiris, Perec, Perros, Sarraute, and Sartre. (E. Trudel)

French S 271


How do films and novels impact our “vision” of France under German Occupation during World War II? What do they tell us about the way France considers her recent past? This seminar-style course offers to explore the effect of the “Dark Years” (1940-1944) on the national psyche. Students will participate in a discussion with former Resistance fighters. Authors include Vercors, Kessel, Deniau, J.-P. Melville, J. Audiard. (C. Corbin)


Graduate Courses

NOTE: Courses on the 500-level carry graduate credit. Qualified undergraduates may be admitted to these courses with the consent of the Director.

History/French S 371/571


Can we draw a clear-cut line between writing history and writing fiction? This course aims to study a wide range of authors that challenge the parting of the disciplines: fiction writers that mimic historical procedures, and historians that turn facts into fiction. We will ask ourselves whether the “truth” of the historian can be compared to the “truth” of the novelist. Authors include Saint-Réal, Saint-Simon, Haenel, Ginzburg, Ricœur. (G. Navaud) NB: this course is open to selected undergraduates. Undergraduate enrollment requires director’s approval.

French S 531


This interdisciplinary seminar challenges the notion that the French 17th century is defined by its de-emphasis of the material body. We will explore the onstage representation of physical violence, the social expression and repression of emotions, the sensual dimension of artistic experience, and the ways of depicting alterity. We will question the historical divide between “classicism” and “modernity.” In addition to minor and major playwrights, we will read tragic and gallant novels, travel literature and correspondence, treaties of manners and painting theory, as well as theoretical texts on vision. Authors include Corneille, Racine, Rotrou, Certeau, Foucault, Lyotard. (S. Guyot)

French S 561


In this seminar, we will study novels from Africa (North and South of Sahara) and the Caribbean as critical discourses, focusing on three axes: language, identity and alterity; history and memory; politics and violence. Related topics will also be considered, such as the function of literature in relation to writers/intellectuals in society, literature and ethics, and literature as a site for collective memory. Concepts of national literature and “littérature-monde” will as well be questioned. Authors include Condé, Memmi, Kane, Diop, Glissant, Lopes. (E. Mudimbe-Boyi)