French

Jennifer Bothun,Tomson 331
507-786-3230

wp.stolaf.edu/french

French (Romance Languages)

“So ask the travelled inhabitant of any nation, In what country on earth would you rather live?--Certainly in my own, where are all my friends, my relations, and the earliest & sweetest affections and recollections of my life. Which would be your second choice? France.”

--Thomas Jefferson, The Autobiography, 1821.

More than 220 million people around the world — in North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Pacific and Indian Oceans — speak French. It is an official language in 25 countries, and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie estimates that by 2050, over 700 million people (80% of whom will live in Africa) will speak French, and that by 2025, French will be the most common native language in Europe.

French is one of the official languages of governing institutions in diverse domains: diplomacy; international trade and economics; healthcare and science; and sports. For centuries, it has been one of the languages most associated with art, music, film, literature, cuisine, and fashion. The French language’s far-reaching geographical and cultural influence helps to explain why it remains the second-most-taught language in the United States.

Indeed, connections between the United States and the French-speaking world run deep. In the late 18th century, Thomas Jefferson recommended that those studying “Mathematics, Natural philosophy, Natural history, &c.” learn French (Letter to Peter Carr, 19 Aug., 1785). Much more recently, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote of his relationship with the French language and France as both a personal project, and as part of a long history of African Americans relocating to Paris: “It occurred to me … that France was not a thought experiment but an actual place filled with actual people whose traditions were different, whose lives really were different, whose sense of beauty was different” (Between the World and Me, 2015).

A major in French complements any other St. Olaf major and extends students’ liberal arts education and multicultural competence. By studying the French language and Francophone cultures, civilizations, and literatures, students develop and enhance their oral and written language skills, analytical thinking, and familiarity with diverse perspectives sought by employers and graduate schools today.

The French section of the Department of Romance Languages offers a variety of courses, on campus and abroad, 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, culture table, and film series and sponsors an honor house (Maison française). St. Olaf benefits annually from the presence of a number of international students from Europe and Africa whose first language is French.

Overview of the French Major

In courses for the major, students refine their oral and written French, gain intercultural competence, and develop analytical skills through the study of Francophone contemporary cultures, civilizations, and literatures.

Level II courses are divided into three sequences:

  • French 231, 232, and 235 are topically organized content-based courses, with lexical and grammatical work grafted onto and integrated into the study and discussion of a wide range of texts. French 231 focuses on intercultural comparison of French and American institutions such as the family, school, and immigration. In French 232, students explore the question of identity in the French-speaking world outside France. French 235, an Interim immersion course offered in Morocco, examines Moroccan culture yesterday and today; it may be taken in lieu of French 232.
  • In 250-level courses, students hone 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 while continuing to refine their French language skills.

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 literary and non-literary works

Intended Learning Outcomes of the Major

Distinction

See Academic Honors

Special Programs

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 Senegal (Dakar). Eligible students should contact the program advisor for current information.

All French majors are urged to study in France or in another Francophone country. This is particularly important for French teaching majors.

All course credit from study abroad is subject to department review and approval.

  • Students who participate in an approved semester-long St. Olaf study abroad program in a French-speaking country receive credit for up to two department-approved French courses toward the major.
  • Students who participate in an approved year-long St. Olaf study abroad program in a French-speaking country receive credit for up to four department-approved French courses toward the major.
  • Students who participate in an approved semester- or year-long St. Olaf study abroad program in a non-French-speaking country may receive credit for one course that is not taught in French but that has a significant French or Francophone focus, subject to department review and approval. Such a course would be one of the “two additional relevant courses of the student's choosing” toward the major; see requirements for the graduation major, below and the one course allowed to count from a department outside of French.
  • The total number of courses counted toward the French major from St. Olaf study abroad programs spanning two semesters or more may not exceed four. Course credits from non-St. Olaf study abroad programs must be reviewed and approved by the department for major credit in advance. All course credit from study abroad applied to the French major must meet department standards for course level and content.

Foreign Languages Across the Curriculum (FLAC)

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.

Requirements for the Graduation Major

The graduation major consists of a minimum of eight (8) courses in French above FREN 112, as follows:  

Two 250-level courses, at least one of which must be taught by a St. Olaf instructor2.00
Two 270-level courses, at least one of which must be taught by a St. Olaf instructor2.00
Two 300-level courses taken on-campus and taught by a St. Olaf instructor2.00
Two additional relevant courses of the student's choosing (may include: FREN 231; FREN 232 or FREN 235; a maximum of one course with a significant French/Francopone focus from another department or program on campus.) 2.00
Sample Courses include:
Art 1776-1880, Revolutionary Art
Art 1880-1945 "The Shock of the New
Medieval Art
Gothic Art
Major Seminar: European History
Modern France
French Revolution and Napoleon.
Music Of The Classical And Romantic Eras
History of Modern Philosophy
History of Modern Political Thought
European Social Democracy
History of Theater up to 1700
Total Credits8

Independent study or research may not be counted in lieu of any of the courses referred to above.  Transfer credit must be approved in advance by the Department chair.  

Requirements for a French Major with K-12 Teaching Licensure

Eight courses in French above FREN 112 (two 250-level; two 270-level; two 300-level French courses)8.00
Of the eight courses, one must be an immersion course of the following:
FREN 235 French Language and Moroccan Culture in Fes (abroad)
FREN 250 Speaking (of) French
FREN 275 Interdisciplinary French Studies in Paris (abroad)
Other approved immersion course
One approved applied linguistics course (LNGST 250: English Language and Linguistics, or other approved course, which may be taken abroad)1.00
One course in French/Francophone history1.00
EDUC 353Teaching of World Languages, K-121.00
All other requirements for the K-12 teaching licensure program in French 1
Attainment of Intermediate High, or above, on the OPIc (Oral Proficiency Interview Computerized)
1

See Education

Transfer credit must be approved in advance by the department chair. 

FREN 111: Beginning French I

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.

FREN 112: Beginning French II

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. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: FREN 111 or placement.

FREN 231: Intermediate French I

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. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: FREN 112 or placement.

FREN 232: Intermediate French II

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. Offered each semester.
Prerequisite: FREN 231 or placement.

FREN 235: French Language and Moroccan Culture in Fes (abroad)

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 Meknès 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. Offered during Interim. Open to first-year students. Counts toward middle eastern studies concentration.
Prerequisite: FREN 231 or placement in FREN 232.

FREN 250: Speaking (of) French

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. Offered during Interim. Counts toward management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: FREN 232 or FREN 235, or equivalent.

FREN 251: Writing French

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. Counts toward management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: FREN 232 or FREN 235, or equivalent.

FREN 253: Introduction to Literary Analysis

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.

FREN 271: The Francophone World

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. Counts toward Africa and the Americas concentration when topic is Francophone Africa and counts towards management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: minimum of one 250-level course (two recommended).

FREN 272: Contemporary France

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. Counts toward linguistic studies and management studies concentrations.
Prerequisite: minimum of one 250-level course (two recommended).

FREN 273: Period Studies

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).

FREN 275: Interdisciplinary French Studies in Paris (abroad)

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. Studentsread, discuss, see, and critique plays ranging from the classical to the contemporary. Taught in French. Offered during Interim. Counts toward management studies concentration.
Prerequisite: One French 250-level course (two recommended).

FREN 294: Academic Internship

FREN 298: Independent Study

FREN 372: Topics in Francophone Studies

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 ofselected 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 topic is different. Taught in French.
Prerequisite: minimum of one 270-level course.

FREN 373: Genre Studies

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.

FREN 394: Academic Internship

FREN 396: Directed Undergraduate Research

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. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor.

FREN 398: Independent Research

FREN 399: Seminar in Francophone Studies

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.

 

Chair, 2016-2017

Maggie A. Broner

Associate Professor of Romance Languages - Spanish

Hispanic linguistics; culture; second language acquisition

Wendy W. Allen

Professor of Romance Languages - French

contemporary France; the Maghreb; second language acquisition; intercultural education

Jolene M. Barjasteh

Associate Professor of Romance Languages - French

19th- and 20th-century French literature; autobiography

Cedric Briand

Visiting Assistant Professor of French

Mary A. Cisar

Professor of Romance Languages - French

18th-century French literature; Franco-Manitoban literature

Maria F. Vendetti

Assistant Professor of Romance Languages-French

20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature; literature and testimony during and after the Algerian War of Independence; literary and filmic representations of torture, trauma, and war