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French and French Studies

Students may complete a major or minor in French and Francophone Studies. Within the major, student may complete the requirements for secondary education certification. Students may complete an M.A. in the combined A.B./M.A. program.


Lynn Anderson, Lecturer
Grace M. Armstrong, Professor of French and Major Adviser, Acting Chair
Benjamin Cherel, Lecturer
Catherine Dana, Visiting Assistant Professor
Florence Echtman, Instructor at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges
Francis Higginson, Associate Professor (on leave semester II)
Brigitte Mahuzier, Associate Professor, Director of the Avignon Institute (on leave 2007-08)
Agnès Peysson-Zeiss, Lecturer
Nancy J. Vickers, Professor

At Haverford:

Koffi Anyinéfa, Professor at Haverford College
Joanna Augustyn, Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College
Duane Kight, Assistant Professor at Haverford College
David L. Sedley, Associate Professor and Chair at Haverford College (on leave 2007-08)

The Departments of French at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges offer a variety of courses and two options for the major. The purpose of the major in French is to lay the foundation for an understanding and appreciation of French and Francophone culture through its literature and language, the history of its arts, its thought and its institutions. Course offerings are intended to serve both those students with particular interest in French and Francophone literature, literary theory and criticism (Literary option), as well as those with particular interest in French and French-speaking countries from an interdisciplinary perspective (Interdisciplinary Studies in French). A thorough knowledge of French is a common goal for both options, and texts and discussion in French are central to the program.

In the 100-level courses, students are introduced to the study of French and Francophone literatures and cultures, and special attention is given to the speaking and writing of French. Courses at the 200 level treat French literature and civilisation from the beginning to the present day. Two 200-level courses are devoted to advanced language training and one to the study of theory. Advanced (300-level) courses offer detailed study either of individual authors, genres and movements or of particular periods, themes and problems in French and Francophone culture. In both options, students are admitted to advanced courses after satisfactory completion of two semesters of 200-level courses in French.

All students who wish to pursue their study of French must take a placement examination upon entrance at Bryn Mawr and Haverford. Those students who begin French have two options: intensive study of the language in the intensive sections offered (the sequence 001-002 Intensive Elementary; 005 Intensive Intermediate and 102 Introduction à l'analyse littéraire et culturelle II or 005 and 105 Directions de la France contemporaine), or non-intensive study of the language in the non-intensive sequence (001-002; 003-004; 101-102 or 101-105). In either case, students who pursue French to the 200 level often find it useful to take as their first 200-level course either 212 Grammaire avancée or 260 Stylistique et traduction. Although it is possible to major in French using either of the two sequences, students who are considering doing so and have been placed at the 001 level are encouraged to take the intensive option.

The Department of French also cooperates with the Departments of Italian and Spanish in the Romance Languages major (see page 283).

College Foreign Language Requirement

The College's foreign language requirement may be satisfied by completing FREN 001-002 and 005 (intensive) with a grade of 2.0, or by completing FREN 003 and 004 (non-intensive) with an average grade of at least 2.0 or with a grade of 2.0 or better in FREN 004.

Major Requirements

Requirements in the major subject are:

  1. French and Francophone Literature: FREN 005-102 or 005-105 or 101-102 or 101-105; FREN 212 or 260; four semesters of 200-level literature courses, three semesters of 300-level literature courses, one semester Senior Conference (Fall semester). Thesis writers take two 300-level courses, the fall semester Senior Conference and a thesis (semester II) in French.
  2. Interdisciplinary Studies in French: FREN 005-102 or 005-105 or 101-102 or 101-105; FREN 212 or 260; two 200-level courses within the department: e.g., FREN 255, 291 or 299; two 200-level courses to be chosen by the student outside the French departments (at BMC/HC or JYA) which contribute coherently to her independent program of study; FREN 326 Etudes avancées de civilisation plus two 300-level courses outside the departments; thesis of one semester in French or English. Students interested in this option must present the rationale and the projected content of their program for departmental approval during their sophomore year; they should have excellent records in French and the other subjects involved in their proposed program.
  3. Both concentrations: all French majors are expected to have acquired fluency in the French language, both written and oral. Unless specifically exempted by the department, they are required to take FREN 212 or 260. Students may wish to continue from 212 to 260 to hone their skills further. Students placed at the 200 level by departmental examinations are exempted from the 100-level requirements. Occasionally, students may be admitted to seminars in the graduate school.


Undergraduates who have excelled in French by maintaining a minimum grade of 3.7 may, if invited by the department, write a thesis during the second semester of their senior year. However, the invitation and the subsequent writing of such a thesis do not guarantee the award. Departmental honors may also be awarded for excellence in the oral comprehensive examinations at the end of the senior year.

Minor Requirements

Requirements for a French minor are FREN 005-102 or 005-105, or 101-102 or 101-105; FREN 212 or 260; and four 200-level or 300-level courses. At least one course must be at the 300 level.

Teacher Certification

The Department of French offers a certification program in secondary teacher education. For more information, see the description of the Education Program.

A.B./M.A. Program

Particularly well-qualified students may undertake work toward the joint A.B./M.A. degree in French. Such a program may be completed in four or five years and is undertaken with the approval of the department, the Undergraduate Council and the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Study Abroad

Students majoring in French may, by a joint recommendation of the deans of the Colleges and the Departments of French, be allowed to spend their junior year in France or Francophone countries under one of the junior year plans approved by their respective college: some programs are approved by both Bryn Mawr and Haverford; other programs are accepted separately by Bryn Mawr and Haverford.

Students wishing to enroll in a summer program may apply for admission to the Institut d'Etudes Françaises d'Avignon, held under the auspices of Bryn Mawr. The institute is designed for selected undergraduates with a serious interest in French and Francophone literatures and cultures, most particularly for those who anticipate professional careers requiring a knowledge of the language and civilization of France and French-speaking countries. The curriculum includes general and advanced courses in French language, literature, social sciences, history, art and economics (including the possibility of internships in Avignon ). The program is open to students of high academic achievement who have completed a course in French at the third-year level or the equivalent.

FREN B001, B002 Elementary French

The speaking and understanding of French are emphasized particularly during the first semester. The work includes regular use of the Language Learning Center and is supplemented by intensive oral practice sessions. The course meets in intensive (nine hours a week) and nonintensive (five hours a week) sections. This is a year-long course; both semesters are required for credit. (Anderson, Cherel, Peysson-Zeiss)

FREN B003, B004 Intermediate French

The emphasis on speaking and understanding French is continued; texts from French literature and cultural media are read; and short papers are written in French. Students use the Language Learning Center regularly and attend supplementary oral practice sessions. The course meets in nonintensive (three hours a week) sections that are supplemented by an extra hour per week with an assistant. This is a year-long course; both semesters are required for credit. (Anderson, Cherel, Echtman)

FREN B005 Intensive Intermediate French

The emphasis on speaking and understanding French is continued; literary and cultural texts are read and increasingly longer papers are written in French. In addition to three class meetings a week, students develop their skills in group sessions with the professors and in oral practice hours with assistants. Students use the Language Learning Center regularly. This course prepares students to take 102 or 105 in semester II. Open only to graduates of Intensive Elementary French or to students placed by the department. Students who are not graduates of Intensive Elementary French must take either 102 or 105 to receive credit. (Armstrong, Peysson-Zeiss)

FREN B101 Introduction à l'analyse littéraire et culturelle I

Presentation of essential problems in literary and cultural analysis by close reading of works selected from various periods and genres and by analysis of voice and image in French writing and film. Participation in discussion and practice in written and oral expression are emphasized, as are grammar review and laboratory exercises. (Anderson, Peysson-Zeiss, Division III)

FREN B102 Introduction à l'analyse littéraire et culturelle II

Continued development of students' expertise in literary and cultural analysis by emphasizing close reading as well as oral and written analyses of increasingly complex works chosen from various genres and periods of French and Francophone works in their written and visual modes. Readings begin with comic theater of the 17th and 18th centuries and build to increasingly complex nouvelles, poetry and novels of the 19th and 20th centuries. Participation in guided discussion and practice in oral/written expression continue to be emphasized, as is grammar review. Prerequisite: FREN 005 or 101. (Armstrong, Division III)

FREN B105 Directions de la France contemporaine

An examination of contemporary society in France and Francophone cultures as portrayed in recent documents and film. Emphasizing the tension in contemporary French-speaking societies between tradition and change, the course focuses on subjects such as family structures and the changing role of women, cultural and linguistic identity, an increasingly multiracial society, the individual and institutions (religious, political, educational), and les loisirs. In addition to the basic text and review of grammar, readings are chosen from newspapers, contemporary literary texts and magazines, complemented by video materials. Prerequisite: FREN 005 or 101. (Cherel, Division III)

FREN B201 Le Chevalier, la dame et le prêtre: littérature et publics du Moyen Age

Using literary texts, historical documents and letters as a mirror of the social classes that they address, this interdisciplinary course studies the principal preoccupations of secular and religious men and women in France from the Carolingian period through 1500. Selected works from epic, lai, roman courtois, fabliau, theater, letters and contemporary biography are read in modern French translation. (Armstrong, Division III)

FREN H204 Le Siècle des Lumières

Representative texts of the Enlightment and the Pre-Romantic movement, with emphasis on the development of liberal thought as illustrated in the Encyclopédie and the works of Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau. (Augustyn)

FREN B205 Le Temps des prophètes: de Chateaubriand à Baudelaire

From Chateaubriand and Romanticism to Baudelaire, a study of selected poems, novels and plays. (Mahuzier, Division III) Not offered in 2007-08.

FREN B206 Le Temps des virtuoses: Symbolisme, Naturalisme et leur progéniture

A study of selected works by Claudel, Gide, Proust, Rimbaud, Valéry, Verlaine and Zola. (Anderson, Division III)

FREN B207 Missionnaires et cannibales: Maîtres de l'époque moderne

A study of selected works illustrating the principal literary movements from 1930 to the present. (Anderson, Division III)

FREN H212 Grammaire avancée: composition et conversation

A general review of the most common difficulties of the French language. Practice in composition, translation, and conversation. (Anyinéfa)

FREN H213 Qu'est-ce que la théorie?

This course provides exposure to influential 20th-century French and Francophone theorists (e.g., Bourdieu, Cixous, Derrida, Fanon, Foucault, Lévi-Strauss) while bringing these thinkers to bear on appropriate texts. While expanding the student's knowledge of French and Francophone intellectual history, the explicitly critical aspect of the course will also serve them throughout their coursework, regardless of field. (Augustyn). Beginning with the class of 2009, this course will be required for both options in the major.

FREN B231 De la page à l'écran: Romans français et adaptations cinématographiques

This course proposes to examine different genres of French novels and their cinematographic adaptations. Its purpose is to expose students to different types of narratives, constructed through a wide range of literary and cinematographic techniques. (Anderson, Division III) Not offered in 2007-08.

FREN H250 Introduction à la Littérature Francophone

A study of male and female writers of Black Africa, Arab North Africa and the Caribbean . (Anyinéfa)

FREN B251 La Mosaïque France

A study that opposes the discourse of exclusion, xenophobia, racism and the existence of a mythical, unique French identity by examining 20th-century French people and culture in their richness and variety, based on factors such as gender, class, region, colonization and decolonization, immigration and ethnic background. Films and texts by Begag, Beauvoir, Cardinal, Carles, Duras, Ernaux, Jakez Helias, Modiano and Zobel. (Dana, Division III)

FREN B258 L'espace réinventé

The cityscape is a dominant figure in the 19th and 20th century, influencing and even structuring beliefs. Urban theory and cultural criticism will supplement literary analysis as we consider how poets Apollinaire, Baudelaire, Breton, Claudel, Ben Jelloun, Reda and Rimbaud have sought to restore immediacy and depth through lyric voice. (Anderson, Division III; cross-listed as CITY B258) Not offered in 2007-08.

FREN B260 Stylistique et traduction

Intensive practice in speaking and writing. Conversation, discussion, advanced training in grammar and stylistics, translation of literary and nonliterary texts, and original composition. (Cherel)

FREN B262 Débat, discussion, dialogue

Intensive oral practice intended to bring non-native French speakers to the highest level of proficiency through the development of debating and discussion skills. (staff) Not offered in 2007-08.

FREN B299 Littérature, histoire et société de la Révolution à la Première Guerre mondiale

A study of the language and political, social and ethical messages of literary texts whose authors were “engagés” in the conflicts, wars and revolutions that shook French society from the advent of the 1789 Revolution to World War I. Counts for either the literary or interdisciplinary track. (Mahuzier, Division III) Not offered in 2007-08.

FREN B302 Le printemps de la parole féminine: femmes écrivains des débuts

This study of selected women authors from the French Middle Ages, Renaissance and Classical periods — among them, Marie de France, Madame de Lafayette, Marguerite de Navarre, Christine de Pisan and the trobairitz — examines the way in which they appropriate and transform the male writing tradition and define themselves as self-conscious artists within or outside it. Particular attention will be paid to identifying recurring concerns and structures in their works, and to assessing their importance to female writing: among them, the poetics of silence, reproduction as a metaphor for artistic creation, and sociopolitical engagement. (Armstrong, Division III; cross-listed as COML B302) Not offered in 2007-08.

FREN H306 Libertinage et érotisme au XVIIIe siècle

A close study of works representative of the 18th-century French novel, with special attention to the memoir novel (Marivaux and Prévost), the philosophical novel (Diderot and Voltaire), and the epistolary novel. (Augustyn)

FREN H312 Advanced Topics

An in-depth study of a topic or movement in French/Francophone literature. Topic for 2007-08: Classiques africains. (Anyinéfa)

FREN B325 Etudes avancées de civilisation

An in-depth study of a particular topic, event or historical figure in French civilisation. The seminar topic for 2007-08: Algériennes en France. (Dana, Division III; cross-listed as COML B325)

FREN B326 Etudes avancées

An in-depth study of a particular topic, event or historical figure in French civilisation. The seminar topic rotates among many subjects: La Révolution française: histoire, littérature et culture; L'Environnement naturel dans la culture française; Mal et valeurs éthiques; Le Cinéma et la politique, 1940-1968; Le Nationalisme en France et dans les pays francophones; Etude socio-culturelle des arts du manger en France du Moyen Age à nos jours. (staff, Division III; cross-listed as COML B326)

FREN B350 Voix médiévales et échos modernes

A study of selected 19th- and 20th-century works inspired by medieval subjects, such as the Grail and Arthurian legends, and by medieval genres, such as the roman, saints' lives or the miracle play. Included are works by Anouilh, Bonnefoy, Claudel, Flaubert, Genevoix, Gracq, Hugo and Yourcenar. (Armstrong, Division III; cross-listed as COML B350) Not offered in 2007-08.

FREN B398 Senior Conference

A weekly seminar examining two major French and Francophone literary texts and the interpretive problems they raise. A third theoretical text will encourage students to think beyond traditional literary categories to interrogate issues such as cultural memory, political engagement , gendered space, etc. This course prepares students for the second semester of their senior experience, during which seniors not writing a thesis are expected to choose a 300-level course and write a long research paper that they will defend during an oral examination. Seniors writing a thesis in semester II will defend it during their final oral examination. (Higginson)

FREN B403 Supervised Work



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