Chair, 2014-15, Wendy Allen, 17th-century French literature, contemporary France, the Maghreb, content-based instruction
Faculty, 2014-15: Jolene Barjasteh, 19th-century French literature, autobiography; M. Amine Bekhechi, 20th-century French and Francophone literature; Mary Cisar, 18th-century French literature, feminist criticism, Franco-Manitoban studies; Lise Hoy, 19th-century literature, second language acquisition; Maria Vendetti, 20th and 21st-century French and Francophone literature
French is the sixth most widely spoken language (after Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic) in the world, and the second most widely learned language, after English. More than 220 million people around the world — in North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Afrdeica, the Middle East, the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and Indochina — speak French. French remains, with English, one of the two languages into which all United Nations documents must be translated. Thus, students considering careers in business, diplomacy, the church, or teaching are well advised to complete a major in French, sometimes along with another major.
By studying French and other Francophone cultures, civilizations, and literatures, students develop and enhance oral and written language skills, analytical thinking, and familiarity with diverse philosophies and perspectives, all of which are central to liberal arts education with a global perspective.
The French section of the Department of Romance Languages offers a variety of courses, on campus and abroad, in French language, Francophone cultures/civilizations, and literatures for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students, both majors and non-majors.
To expand students’ exposure to French beyond the classroom, the French program hosts a weekly French conversation table and film series and sponsors an honor house (Maison française).
OVERVIEW OF THE FRENCH MAJOR
In courses for the major, students gain understanding of Francophone literatures, civilizations, and contemporary cultures as they develop analytical and communication skills in the language.
Level II courses are divided into two sequences. In 250-level courses, students practice and refine their emerging language skills through textual analysis, writing, and discussion. In 270-level courses, students explore the diverse cultures and literatures of the Francophone world.
Level III courses build upon the interpretive skills and knowledge of the Francophone world acquired by students in 270-level courses. Level III courses examine a particular topic or genre as well as critical or theoretical issues associated with it through the analysis of representative works.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJORS
All French majors are urged to study in France or in another Francophone country. This is particularly important for French teaching majors.
Students who participate in an approved semester-long St. Olaf study abroad program normally receive credit for one French course toward the major and one credit for the required French/Francophone history course. Students who participate in an approved year-long St. Olaf study abroad program normally receive credit for two French courses toward the major and one credit for the required French/Francophone history course.
Requirements for the Graduation Major:
The graduation major consists of eight courses in French above French 232 plus a co-curricular requirement in French/Francophone history. Students must take:
- two 250-level courses;
- two 270-level courses, at least one of which must be taken on campus;
- two level III courses taken on campus;
- two French courses of the student’s choosing; and
- either History 226 or History 227 or an approved French/Francophone history course taken abroad.
Independent study or research may not be counted in lieu of any of the courses referred to above.
Requirements for a French Major with K-12 Teaching Licensure:
Students must take: eight courses in French above 232:
- one approved applied linguistics course (may be taken abroad);
- History 226 or 227 or an approved French/Francophone history course taken abroad; and
- Education 353 and all other requirements for the K-12 teaching licensure program in French (see EDUCATION).
The eight courses in French above 232 must include;
- one immersion course (French 235, 250, 275, or other approved immersion course),
- two 250-level courses,
- two 270-level courses, and
- two level III courses.
- Students not taking an approved course in applied linguistics abroad must take English 250.
Students who participate in an approved year-long St. Olaf study abroad program normally receive credit for two courses in French, plus one approved course in applied linguistics, and one in French/Francophone history toward the major. Independent study or research may not be counted in lieu of any of the courses referred to above. (Consult World Language Licensure Advisor.)
Additionally, students must attain a level of Intermediate High, or above, on the OPIC (Oral Proficiency Interview Computerized.)
French faculty lead January Interim courses in Paris and Morocco. St. Olaf is affiliated closely with semester and year-long study programs in France (Rennes and Paris) and Sénégal (Dakar). Eligible students should contact the program advisor for current information. French program faculty also participate in the Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum Program, collaborating with faculty in other departments to offer students the opportunity to use their foreign language skills in selected courses in other departments.
Students begin to learn French through listening, speaking, reading and writing about topics familiar to them. They study social and cultural notions inherent in the daily life of peoples in diverse Francophone communities and learn to think critically and make interdisciplinary connections and informed cross-cultural comparisons. Open to students with no prior background in French or placement.
Students expand their developing language skills by continuing to listen, speak, read and write on topics familiar to them. They continue their study of social and cultural notions inherent in the daily life of peoples in diverse Francophone communities and learn to think critically and make interdisciplinary connections and informed cross-cultural comparisons. Prerequisite: FREN 111 or placement. Offered each semester.
Through study, discussion and analysis of a wide variety of texts, students explore specific social and cultural topics relevant to French culture yesterday and today (e.g., stereotypes, the family, education, immigration) and develop and expand their ability to listen, speak, read and write in French while also learning specific listening and reading strategies. Explicit focus on cross-cultural comparison/contrast and analysis. Prerequisite: FREN 112 or placement. Offered each semester.
Students explore questions of identity in the wider Francophone world through reading, discussing, and analyzing a wide variety of texts, including cultural documents, short biographical pieces, literary texts, and films. They consolidate their language skills and continue to develop their ability to analyze and communicate in French by engaging in interactive group activities, making oral presentations, and writing essays. They also work to expand their vocabulary and to review the French verb system and other key grammatical structures. Prerequisite: FREN 231 or placement. Offered each semester.
Students study French language and Moroccan culture in the imperial city of Fes. An immersion experience that includes home stays with local French-speaking families, the course focuses on Moroccan culture past and present, emphasizing the multicultural aspects of Morocco and facilitating student interaction with the local population. Field trips to various sites in and around Fes, day-long visits to Meknčs and Moulay Idriss, and a longer excursion to Marrakech and Casablanca. Review of second-year French grammar is integrated into the reading and discussion of texts pertaining to Morocco's history and culture and their relation to present-day Morocco. Taught in French. Prerequisite: FREN 231 or placement in FREN 232. Offered during Interim. Open to first-year students.
This course provides an on-campus immersion experience for students interested in improving their oral language proficiency. Students engage in small and large group discussion, give individual and group oral presentations, and review grammar and registers of language. They also explore the notions of communicative competence and oral proficiency in order to become more effective speakers. Taught in French. Prerequisite: FREN 232 or FREN 235, or equivalent. Offered during Interim. Counts toward film studies concentration.
Students engage in intensive practice in various types of writing in French (e.g., summary, extended description, narration, and professional correspondence). Literary and non-literary texts provide topics and models. The course involves discussion, writing, and revision, and stresses advanced grammar review. Taught in French. Prerequisite: FREN 232 or FREN 235, or equivalent.
Students read a variety of French literary texts. The course focuses on aspects of literary analysis, terminology, methodology, and literary history. Students develop critical skills through discussion and analytical writing. Taught in French. Prerequisite: FREN 232 or FREN 235, or equivalent.
Students explore French-speaking regions of the world outside France through the close reading, discussion, and analysis of literary and non-literary texts as well as other cultural artifacts. Readings, discussions, viewings, and written and oral assignments are organized around the exploration of specific topics or themes. May be repeated if geographical region is different. Taught in French. Prerequisite: minimum of one 250-level course (two recommended). Counts towards Africa and the Americas concentration when topic is Francophone Africa.
Students are introduced to contemporary French political, economic and social institutions and/or issues through close textual analysis of articles from the contemporary French press and other media (e.g., the internet, cinema). Students read, analyze, discuss and write in French on a wide variety of non-literary topics. Taught in French. Prerequisite: minimum of one 250-level course (two recommended).
Students explore a particular period or century through examination of selected literary and non-literary works within their socio-historical and cultural contexts. Coursework includes discussion, analysis, and interpretation of representative works. Sample topics: "19th-Century French Literature," "La Belle Epoque," and "20th-Century French Literature." May be repeated if period is different. Taught in French. Prerequisite: minimum of one 250-level course (two recommended).
Students delve into advanced language work and on-the-spot investigation of French culture, past and present, including theater, film, visual arts, the French court, and the medieval cathedral through background readings and visits to important monuments. Students read, discuss, see, and critique plays ranging from the classical to the contemporary. Taught in French. Prerequisite: One French 250-level course (two recommended). Offered during Interim.
298 Independent Study
Students explore a specified topic or theme in language, in literature, or in culture/civilization, or in a combination of these, through close reading, discussion, analysis, and interpretation of selected literary and/or non-literary works. Sample topics include "Madness and the Romantic Dream," "Female Identity in Post-Colonial North Africa," and "Global Francophone Identities." May be repeated if topics are different. Taught in French. Prerequisite: minimum of one 270-level course.
Students study a particular genre or medium (e.g., novel, play, poetry, short story, film) from a variety of periods and authors, with particular emphasis on form. Coursework includes close reading, discussion, in-depth analysis and interpretation of works. Sample topics: "The Short Story," "Autobiography," and "The African Novel." May be repeated if genre is different. Taught in French. Prerequisite: minimum of one 270-level course.
This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Prerequisite: Determined by individual instructor. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
398 Independent Research
In an integrative seminar, students examine specific issues and conceptual notions central to the understanding of the French language and/or Francophone literatures and cultures. Coursework includes readings, critical analysis, research methods, student reports, and substantive projects. May be repeated if topic is different. Taught in French. Prerequisite: minimum of one level III course.