Spring 2010 Courses

French 110
Elementary French
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

French 110 is a first-semester elementary language course for students who have never studied French before or who have had very little exposure to the language. Most students with previous French should be in French 121 (elementary French for "false beginners"). All students who have already studied French elsewhere are required to take the placement test to determine which elementary course is appropriate for them. Students with a score of less than 380 on the SAT II or below 18 on the computer placement test should enroll in French 110.

As in other French courses, class will be conducted entirely in French. You will be guided through a variety of communicative activities in class which will expose you to a rich input of spoken French and lead you from structured practice to free expression. You will be given frequent opportunity to practice your newly acquired vocabulary and grammatical structures in small group and pair work activities which simulate real-life situations. The course will introduce you to French and Francophone culture through authentic materials including written documents, simple articles, songs, films, videos, and taped conversations between native speakers. Out-of-class homework will require practice with audio and video material, and will include regular writing practice. The course will also invite you to explore the Francophone world on the Internet.

French 120
Elementary French
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

French 120 is the second-semester continuation of the elementary sequence and is open to students who have completed French 110 at Penn (see the description of 110). Students who place into the second-semester level should normally enroll in French 121. In those semesters when French 121 is not offered, students with an SATII score between 380 - 440 or a placement score between 18 - 29 are allowed to enroll in French 120.

French 130
Intermediate French
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

French 130 is the first half of a two-semester intermediate sequence designed to help you attain a level of proficiency that should allow you to function comfortably in a French-speaking environment. You are expected to have already learned the most basic grammatical structures in elementary French and you will review these on your own in the course workbook. This course will build on your existing skills in French, increase your confidence and ability to read, write, speak, and understand French, and introduce you to more refined lexical items, more complex grammatical structures, and more challenging cultural material. Students having completed French 120, or with an SATII score of 450 - 540 or a placement score between 30 and 35 should enroll in this course.

As in other French courses at Penn, class will be conducted entirely in French. In addition to structured oral practice, work in class will include frequent communicative activities such as role-plays, problem-solving tasks, discussions, and debates, often carried out in pairs or small groups. Through the study of authentic materials such as articles, poems, songs, films, videos, and taped conversations between native speakers you will deepen your knowledge of the French-speaking world. The course explores the customs and values prevailing in France, Senegal, Cameroun, Martinique, and other cultures, with a focus on living standards, family traditions, cuisine, and leisure activities. Daily homework will require listening practice with audio and video material, in addition to regular written exercises in the workbook and frequent composition practice. The course will also invite you to explore the Francophone world on the Internet.

French 134
Intermediate French: Accelerated
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

French 140
Intermediate French
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

French 140 is the second half of a two-semester intermediate sequence designed to help you attain a level of proficiency that should allow you to function comfortably in a French-speaking environment. Students having completed French 130, or with an SATII score of 550 - 640 or a placement score above 35 should enroll in this course. See the course description for French 130.

Through the study of authentic materials such as articles, poems, songs, films, video-clips, and taped conversations between native speakers, you will deepen your knowledge of France as well as North Africa and other French-speaking areas. The content areas you will explore include the world of work and contemporary social issues, such as the environment, poverty, homelessness, crime, and racism.

French 180
Advanced French in Residence

Open only to residents in La Maison Francaise

French 202
Advanced French
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

French 202 is a one-semester third-year level French course. It is designed to prepare students for subsequent study in upper level courses in French and francophone literature, linguistics, civilization, cinema, etc.

It is also the appropriate course for those students who have time for only one more French course and wish to solidify their knowledge of the language by continuing to work on all four skills - speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students’ work will be evaluated both in terms of progress in language skills and of ability to handle and engage in the content areas.

The class studies two thematic units dealing with a wide variety of magazine articles, literary texts, historical documents, movies, songs, etc. In the first dossier, students get a chance to expand their knowledge of French history, with one major focus on World War II and the German occupation of France. In the second dossier, students study youth-related issues (such as upbringing and education, television, unemployment, racism, etc…). The class touches upon issues of identity in France as well as in the Francophone world, in the context of immigration and colonization.

French 211
French for Professions I
Prof. Ciesco
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

This content-based language course, taught in French, introduces economic, business, and professional terminology through the study of the following topics: financial institutions (banking, stock market and insurance); business practices (business letters and resumes); trade and advertising; the internal structure and legal forms of French companies. 

The course also emphasizes verbal communication through three components:

  • In-class activities such as problem-solving tasks, discussions and debates.
  • The study of authentic materials such as newspapers and magazines’ articles, video clips, and radio shows.
  • A series of students’ presentations.

Finally, in order to use and practice the new economic and business terminology studied in this course, and to also further explore the structure, the management, and the operations of the French companies, students will work in pairs on a research project about a major French company of their choice.

One of the other goals of this course is to also prepare the students to take one of the exams offered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry: the Diplôme de Français Professionnel, Affaires, C1. This exam will be held on campus in April.

Prerequites: Intermediate-high / advanced level of French ( French 202 highly recommended). No business background necessary.

French 212
Advanced French Grammar and Composition
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

 Intensive review of grammar integrated into writing practice.  A good knowledge of basic French grammar is a prerequisite (French 202 or equivalent is recommended).  Conducted entirely in French, the course will study selected grammatical difficulties of the French verbal and nominal systems including colloquial usage.  Frequent oral and written assignments with opportunity for rewrites.  There will also be a reading component (magazine and newspaper articles as well as selections from Camus’s L’Etranger).

French 214
Advanced French Composition and Conversation
Prof. Philippon-Daniel
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

This is a course intended to improve speaking and writing skills by offering extensive practice in a variety of styles and forms. It will also help students better understand contemporary French culture, thought and mode of expression. Activities include the study, analysis and emulation of model texts, the discussion and debates about current events and social issues as covered by the French news media (television, print, Internet sources). Students will do oral presentations based on research, take part in class discussions and compile a writing portfolio (journal, essays, blog).

French 217
French Phonetics
Prof. Edelstein
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

Designed to provide students with a solid foundation in French phonetics and phonology. Part of the course will be devoted to learning how to produce discourse with native-like French pronunciation, rhythm and intonation. The second half of the course will be devoted to improving aural comprehension by examining stylistic and dialectical differences in spoken French.

French 222
Perspectives in French Literature
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

 This basic course in literature acquaints students with major French literary trends through the study of representative works from each period. Students learn to situate and analyze literary texts. They are expected to take an active part in class discussion in French. French 222 has as its theme the Individual and Society.

French 227
Modern France
Prof. Peron
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

This course offers an overview of French political, cultural, and social history from the Revolution of 1789 to the present. Beginning with the French Revolution, we will explore the emergence of the modern French nation through an interrogation of a variety of written sources—including letters, literary texts and political documents — as well as visual materials, especially painting and architecture. Taught entirely in French, this course will provide students not only with a firm understanding of historical events but also with the ability to interpret the culture of different epochs within a historical framework.

French 313
French for Professions II
Prof. Ciesco
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

 The course, conducted entirely in French, emphasizes verbal communication in business professional situations through three components. First, a series of student’s presentations, in-class activities (using newspapers’ articles, technical readings, radio shows and films), and debates on the following topics (list not exhaustive) related to France’s economy and society:

The role of the State in France’s economy
The French fiscal system
Labor (impact of the 35-hour workweek, “congés”, women in the workplace, etc…)
Regions of France (production)
Major French industries / companies / brands
France’s major imports / exports
“Green business”
Business of pop culture

Second, as effective communication is based not only on linguistic proficiency but also on cultural proficiency, cultural differences mostly between Americans and French will be explored.

Finally, throughout the semester, students will work in groups on the creation of their own business, association, or other organization and will be invited to present their project to the class at the end of the semester.

On completion of the course, students will also have the opportunity to take the Diplôme de Français Professionnel – DFP Affaires (C1) administered by the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Prerequisites: An intermediate high to advanced level of French. French for the Professions I (211) highly advisable. No business background necessary.

Fench 322
France and the European Union
Prof. Slowinski
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

The following topics will be addressed:
1) A brief history of European integration: The Franco-German couple-The hesitations of Great Britain; Debate: neutrality, sovereignty and identity
2) The Community's institutions: Necessity for reform before enlargement. Debate: intergovernmental cooperation vs. federation (a European constitution?)
3) The European single market: Europe becomes the biggest market in the world (the beef and banana war with the United States)
4) Economic and monetary union: Introduction of the EURO; Debate: From an economic community to a political community?
5) Political union and defense-Relations between France, Europe and NATO; Debate: Eurocentrism vs. Atlanticism
6) Is there a social Europe? Analysis of the cultural and social European model; Debate: its future vs. American or Japanese liberalism (the unemployment problem)
7) A people's Europe: Education and training; Debate: Is there a European civilization?
8) Common programs (agriculture, fishing and environment); Debate: Impact of the common agricultural policy on France
9) The Community and its neighbors: Debate: a wider vs. a deeper Community
10) Europe and its relations with the rest of the world (US, Asia and the developing countries); Debate: Euro vs. dollar and yen
Presence and participation in class are important. Three short papers during the semester and one final paper of the students' choice are required.

French 325
Advanced French Translation
Prof. Philippon-Daniel
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

This is a course on the theory and practice of translation from English to French and vice versa. Students will learn translation techniques and apply them to a variety of texts (literary and journalistic as well as publicity). They will also have the opportunity to practice subtitling audiovisual materials. Students should have a good knowledge of French grammar and should have taken French 211, 212 or the equivalent in order to be well prepared to take the course.

French 330
Medieval Literature: Identity, Heroism, Love, Gender
Prof. Brownlee
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

This course examines the extraordinary period (11 th-13 th centuries) during which the French literary tradition was first established by looking at a number of key generative themes: Identity, Heroism, Love, Gender. We focus on the issues of identity and authority with regard to both the protagonist(s) and the author of a key set of canonical medieval works. The issue of how gender roles are constructed and reconstructed provides a global perspective. In the Chanson de Roland we analyze the epic paradigm of heroism, with its glorification of military sacrifice. With the Vie de Saint Alexis, we move to the saintly paradigm, powerfully redefined in the post-martyrdom age. In Chrétien de Troyes's romance Lancelot, we study a different kind of hero who is defined by his capacity to love, which thus valorizes both the elegance of courtly language and the role of the courtly beloved, Queen Guenievre. In Marie de France's Lais, we study the first female-authored collection of courtly love stories, in which contradictions and tragic endings predominate at the level of plot. In Aucassin et Nicolette we see the first real emergence of a female hero, whose power is intellectual rather than military. In Christine de Pizan's Dittié de Jehanne d’Arc (1429), we come full circle in terms of the Roland, as this female-authored text celebrates the military prowess and sacrifice of the female-gendered hero Joan of Arc in the Hundred-Years War between France and England.

All readings and discussions in French. Distribution III: May be counted as a Distribution course in Arts & Letters.

French 350
The Invention of Paris
Prof. DeJean
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

 Paris is among a handful of truly mythical cities. Indeed, it is the only modern city that has enjoyed this status for centuries.

It was during the period 1630-1730 that Paris was transformed. To begin with, Paris was literally transformed: new neighborhoods opened up; new monuments were added to the cityscape. Paris then became the first modern city ever to be represented as more than the sum total of its buildings and its inhabitants. Rather than merely a very large city like many others (London, Amsterdam), it became promoted as the intellectual, cultural, and artistic capital of Europe, the premier destination for tourists and consumers of luxury goods: it became in short a legendary space.

As soon as the legend of Paris had taken root, authors began for the first time to set their works in real settings in the cityscape of Paris. We’ll read some of the first plays to advertise Parisian contexts – from Corneille’s La Place royale to Molière’s Le Tartuffe. We’ll look at some of the earliest novels whose plots depend on their use of settings, both prosaic and glamorous, from the city of Paris – from Préchac’s L’Illustre Parisienne to Prévost’s Manon Lescaut.

We’ll look at reality – in the form of contemporary maps and contemporary paintings depicting the city of Paris – as well as fiction. We’ll also compare various accounts of the conflict that tore Paris apart in the middle of the 17 th century: the civil war known as the Fronde. We’ll read both the accounts of participants in the civil war and political pamphlets written to encourage Parisians to take sides in the conflict. We’ll compare opposing views of Paris – Molière’s bourgeois space and the aristocratic city featured in some memoirs of the Fronde, for example. And we’ll consider above all the transformation of a real city into a space of dreams, a place where anything was possible and where temptation was everywhere: we’ll ask ourselves why this happened and why it happened when it did.

French 382
Horror Cinema
Prof. Met
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

This version of the course will explore European Horror Cinema from the 1970s to the present time, focusing on a number of cult films that have helped rejuvenate and redefine the genre in a radically modern sense by pushing the envelope in terms of subversive representation of gore, violence and sex. We will look at various national cinemas (primarily Western Europe – Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands – with the occasional foray into Eastern Europe and Scandinavia) and at a range of subgenres (giallo, mondo, slasher, survival, snuff, …) or iconic figures (ghosts, vampires, cannibals, serial killers, …).

Issues of ethics, ideology, gender, sexuality, violence, spectatorship will be discussed through a variety of critical lenses (psychoanalysis, socio-historical and cultural context, aesthetics, politics…). The class will be conducted entirely in English.

Be prepared for provocative, graphic, transgressive film viewing experiences. Not for the faint of heart!

French 386
Paris in Film
Prof. Met
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

Latter-day examples like Christophe Honoré’s Dans Paris or the international omnibus Paris, je t’aime (with each director paying homage to a distinctive “arrondissement,” or district, of the capital), both released in 2006, or even more recently Cédric Klapisch’s Paris (2008), are there to remind us that there is something special – indeed, a special kind of magic – about Paris in and on film. Despite the extreme polarization between Paris and provincial France in both cultural and socio-economic terms, cultural historians have argued that Paris is a symbol of France (as a centralized nation), more than Rome is of Italy and much more than Madrid is of Spain or Berlin of Germany, for example. The prevalence of the City of Lights on our screens, Gallic and otherwise, should therefore come as no surprise, be it as a mere backdrop or as a character in its own right. But how exactly are the French capital and its variegated people captured on celluloid? Can we find significant differences between French and non-French approaches, or between films shot on location that have the ring of “authenticity” and studio-bound productions using reconstructed sets? Do these representations vary through time and perhaps reflect specific historical periods or zeitgeists? Do they conform to genre-based formulas and perpetuate age-old stereotypes, or do they provide new, original insights while revisiting cinematic conventions? Do some (sub)urban areas and/or segments of the Parisian population (in terms of gender, race or class, for example) receive special attention or treatment? These are some of the many questions that we will seek to address… with a view to offering the next best thing to catching the next non-stop flight to Paris!

Films by such directors as Renoir, Minelli, Truffaut, Godard, Malle, Bertolucci, Losey, Rohmer, Tavernier, Carax, Kassovitz, Jeunet, Haneke.

This class will be conducted in French.

French 389
France and the New World: An Ethnographic Detour from the Renaissance to the Present
Prof. Richman
(See Course Timetables for time(s))

A recent New York Times op-ed piece reminded Americans that but for a twist of historical fate, we would all be speaking French. Indeed, it is often overlooked that the French were among the earliest explorers and settlers in the New World, probably pre-dating the arrival of Columbus. Equally surprising are the great works generated by the shock of contact, when Amerindian peoples compelled the French to examine fundamental assumptions regarding the nature of their religion, social and sexual mores, and the State. The impressive results figure among the most challenging works of Western civilization, since they dare readers to an ethnographic detour into other cultures as the basis for a critique of their own.

Thus, within the historical framework of the French presence from Brazil to Canada, our focus is on exemplars of what Claude Lévi-Strauss has described as “anthropological thinking,” the tradition emanating from Montaigne central to the revolutionary ideas of the Enlightenment. Our diverse readings include Jean de Léry’s early account of his sojourn among the Tupis of Brazil as well as a proto-feminist epistolary novel by Graffigny. We also draw on cinematic re-creations of the French experience of cannibalism (“How Tasty was my Frenchman”) and Jesuit adventures in Canada (“Black Robe”). Excerpts from Tocqueville’s classic study of democracy in America will be followed by a contemporary Frenchman’s re-visit of his 1830 investigation into the American penal system. The final unit considers the “Obama effect” for a multi-cultural France.

Of interest to students in French studies, international relations, intellectual history, comparative literature, political thought.

Conducted in French.

Primary authors: Jean de Léry; Michel de Montaigne, Le père Jogues, Françoise de Graffigny, Alexis de Tocqueville, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Bernard-Henri Lévy.

Requirements : Ability to speak and write above 202/212-level. Several short papers, one exam in class.