Modern Languages and Literatures – French

College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Dean: Dr. Andrew Harris

Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Humanities Building, Room 475
Phone: (415) 338-1421
Website: mll.sfsu.edu/french-program/

Chair: Charles Egan
Program Coordinator: Bérénice Le Marchand
Undergraduate Advisors: Anne Linton, Blanca Missé
Graduate Advisor: Bérénice Le Marchand

Program Scope

The French program offers a challenging and enriching experience for those who are interested not only in the French language but also in French and Francophone culture and society. French is one of the very few languages spoken all over the world, ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic. Today, more than 220 million people speak French throughout the world: roughly 51% live in Africa and the Middle East, 40% live in Europe, 8% in the Americas, and 1% in Asia/Oceania. As a result of population growth, there will be more than 700 million French Speakers by 2050, 80% of whom will be living in Africa. The French program is excited to offer an avenue to engage with this expanding and diverse Francophone cultural and linguistic world.

We offer a full-fledged Bachelor of Arts program and focus on developing language proficiency in a sociocultural context by offering a variety of courses and by conducting courses in culture and literature in French. Great importance is placed on participatory classes, which are small and practice-oriented, to help students adapt themselves to a changing world. Our B.A. program emphasizes training in the four language skills—listening, speaking, reading, and writing as the basic groundwork for more advanced study of the language, literature, and culture. The aim is to broaden students' cultural perspectives by introducing them to various aspects of French and Francophone cultures as they are manifested throughout the world. Students who complete a French major should have both the linguistic and cultural preparation to be able to function at a fairly advanced level in a French-speaking society or with French speakers, and have developed a tolerance for forms of expression and ways of life different from their own. It is hoped that this will prepare them both to pursue careers and to participate fully in global cultures. Undergraduate students who are unsure which courses to register for should take a placement test and see an adviser. Please contact an adviser for further details.

We also have a full-fledged Master of Arts program with graduate seminars in literature, culture, and linguistics, which allows students to teach at the community college level or to continue graduate study for a doctorate. While many of our B.A. and M.A. graduates pursue teaching careers or further study, many go on to careers in other fields such as international law or business.

B.A. and M.A. students are also given the opportunity to study in France. Through the California State University’s international programs, selected students may study at Aix-en-Provence and in Paris. Such opportunities give students practical experience in everyday French life and culture, helping to build and reinforce cross-cultural communication skills.

Associate Professor

BÉRÉNICE V. LE MARCHAND (2004), Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures; B.A. (1997), M.A. (1999), Université de Nantes; B.A. (1999), The University of the South; M.A. (2001), Ph.D. (2004), Vanderbilt University.

ANNE E. LINTON (2012), Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures; B.A. (2003), Washington University in St. Louis; M.A. (2005), University of Wisconsin; M.A. (2006), M.Phil. (2008), Ph.D. (2011), Yale University.

Assistant Professor

BLANCA MISSÉ (2016), Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures; B.A. (2005), M.A. (2007), University of Paris-Ouest Nanterre; Ph. D. (2014), University of California, Berkeley.

FR 101 First Semester French (Units: 4)

Understanding, speaking, reading, and writing the French language; basic elements of French and Francophone culture. Acquisition of communicative skills in situational/cultural contexts.

Course Attributes:

  • C2: Humanities
  • Global Perspectives
  • Social Justice

FR 102 Second Semester French (Units: 4)

Prerequisite: FR 101 or equivalent.

Continuation of FR 101. Students will continue to engage in basic communication activities and develop the four skills, listening, speaking, reading, and writing, through the study and practice of grammatical and phonetic structures, and through a variety of exercises based on authentic cultural materials representing the Francophone world.

Course Attributes:

  • C2: Humanities
  • Global Perspectives
  • Social Justice

FR 215 Intermediate French I (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: FR 102 or equivalent, or appropriate placement test score.

Attainment of Intermediate High Level in the four skills in French through increasingly complex tasks based on authentic French and Francophone cultural materials.

Course Attributes:

  • C2: Humanities
  • Global Perspectives
  • Social Justice

FR 216 Intermediate French II (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Intermediate High Level in French (FR 215 or equivalent).

Attainment of Advanced Low Level in the four skills in French through increasingly complex tasks based on authentic French and Francophone cultural materials.

Course Attributes:

  • C2: Humanities
  • Global Perspectives
  • Social Justice

FR 301 French Phonetics (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: FR 215 and FR 216 or equivalent.

The French sound system and intonation/prosody. Practice of French pronunciation. Phonetic transcription of written French. Applications to readings in poetry and prose.

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 304 Advanced Grammar (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: FR 215 and FR 216 or equivalent.

Intensive review of French grammar to acquire an advanced level of the language in which structural errors and forms are minimal. Grammar points will be reviewed at the advanced level and in context via literature, paintings, music, etc. Only offered online.

FR 305 French Composition (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: FR 215 and FR 216 or equivalent.

Practice in expository writing. Form, development, and organization of various types of essays, including the study of style.

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 306 Advanced Conversation (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: FR 215 and FR 216 or equivalents; may be taken concurrently with FR 304 or FR 305.

Oral presentation and group discussions based on literary and cultural topics.

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 308 La Chanson Française/French Chanson (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: FR 215 or equivalent.

Present and analyze some of the major composers and singers of the French Chanson tradition that emerged in the 1930s but became popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Focus on major francophone singers starting at the post-WWII period to today. Study of iconic representative of the "nouvelle chanson française" such as Brel, Aznavour, Barbara, Brassens, and Gainsbourg, among others. Focus on analyzing lyrics and treating the texts as literary works. [Taught in French]

FR 310 Creative Writing in French (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: FR 215 or equivalent.

Examination of a variety of creating writing exercises derived from the postwar OULIPO literary tradition. Use of logical and mathematical constraints to stimulate and foster creative writing. Introduction students to literary and poetic productions by Pérec, Queneau, Roubaud, Jouet, and Garréta. [Taught in French]

FR 350 French for the Business World (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: FR 215 and FR 216, or the demonstrated competence equivalent to the course perquisites.

Focus on specialized economic and commercial vocabulary, diverse aspects of Francophone professional life, practical materials (e.g., cover letter and CV), and preparation for professional activities (e.g., public speaking and interview).

FR 360 Press and Social Media in French (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: GE Areas A1, A2, A3, and B4 or consent of the instructor.

Analysis of the major print and online publications and social media outlets in the French language. Social movements in France and the Francophone world from the French Revolution to today. Integration of three major components: a cultural and historical background on the rise and evolution of the press, a critical analysis of major newspaper articles and social media posts, and several writing exercises. Students will learn both to analyze and write newspaper articles and media posts. Taught in French.

FR 400GW French Culture - GWAR (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: GE Area A2; FR 304 or FR 305.

Introduction to French culture from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. (ABC/NC grading only)

Course Attributes:

  • Graduation Writing Assessment
  • Global Perspectives

FR 410 Contemporary French Civilization (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: FR 304 or FR 305.

The culture and civilization of France from 1939 to present.

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 421 Social Movements in the Francophone World (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: FR 305 or equivalent.

Present and analyze the major social movements in France and the Francophone world from the French Revolution to today. Provide a cultural, historical, and social background to allow students to reflect on the contemporary French and Francophone identities, and to understand the background behind key artistic and literary movements of French expression. Taught in French.
(This course is offered as FR 421 and PLSI 421. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.)

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 450 Translating Themes: English/French (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: FR 305 or FR 304.

Translations from a selection of representative texts written in modern English. Four kinds of English texts are examined for translation into French: literature, literary criticism, journalism, and business language. Emphasis on the specific stylistic problems encountered when translating such different genres. [CSL may be available]

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 469 Doing and Undoing Gender in French Culture (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: FR 216 or equivalent; FR 304, FR 305, or FR 310 recommended.

Analyze the construction of gender identity in French culture and society from the early modern period to present times. Analyze the theoretical and cultural attempts to question, subvert, and redefine gender norms, identities, and sexuality. Explore a variety of cultural and artistic productions, including literature, music, cinema, and visual art, that feature the doing and undoing of gender. Introduction to key feminist writings and figures of the French Feminist movement and LGBTQI counter-cultures and communities such as De Gouges, Beauvoir, Fraisse, Cixous, Wittig, Delphy, Bourcier, and Preciado. [Taught in French]

FR 500 Introduction to Literary Texts (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: FR 305 or FR 304. FR 400 highly recommended (may be taken concurrently).

Oral and written analysis of selected texts in French, representative of the different periods of French and Francophone literature.

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 501 Contes et Poemes (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: FR 304 or FR 305; one 400-level FR course recommended (may be taken concurrently).

A study of the "conte," or tale, in both its verse and prose forms, as expressed in French and Francophone literature from the Middle Ages to the present.

Course Attributes:

  • Global Perspectives

FR 525 17th and 18th Century French Theater (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 825: Graduate standing or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisites for FR 525: Upper-division standing; FR 500 or equivalent; GPA of 3.0 or higher; or consent of the instructor.

Introduction to principal dramatic texts and conventions of the 17th and 18th century France.
(FR 825/FR 525 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 545 Le Conte de fées au 17ème siècle (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 845: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisite for FR 545: FR 500 or FR 501 (may be taken concurrently).

Examination of the literary, historical, and cultural significance of the fairy tale in the mid and late 17th century France. Definition of the fairy tale genre, its history from the oral and folklore tradition to the literary genre. Analysis of the motifs presented in the tales and questioning the purpose of those themes. Study of the tale types examining several primary texts and secondary sources to highlight those patterns.
(FR 845/FR 545 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 555 Art et Poesie: 1860-1940 (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 855: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisite for FR 555: Upper-division standing; FR 500 or equivalent; GPA of 3.0 or higher; or consent of the instructor.

French and Francophone poetry between 1860 and 1940 and its relation with the arts, especially music and painting.
(FR 855/FR 555 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 565 Paris: Capitale du 19e siècle (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 865: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisites for FR 565: Upper-division standing; FR 500 or FR 501 or equivalent; GPA of 3.0 or higher; or consent of the instructor.

Investigation of the significance of the French metropolis's rise to preeminence following the French Revolution. Examination of 19th century literary and visual representations of Paris alongside histories of the city. Exploration of how culture intersects with the urban environment.
(FR 865/FR 565 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 570 Monstres du 19e Siècle: L'altérité et L'essor du Modernisme (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 870: Graduate Standing or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisite for FR 570: FR 500 or FR 501 or consent of the instructor.

Explore otherness in nineteenth-century France through poetry, short stories, novels, and historical documents. What is the relationship between alterity and modernity, and what can these literary "monsters" tell us about ourselves? Investigation of the nineteenth-century fascination with monstrosity through fiction by Balzac, Gautier, Maupassant, and Rachilde; the memoirs of Herculine Barbin; and popular fiction. Secondary readings by other authors will provide critical tools to analyze primary texts. [Taught in French.]
(FR 870/FR 570 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 699 Independent Study (Units: 1-3)

Prerequisites: Consent of the department chair and instructor.

Written project in linguistics, literature or culture. Material adapted to individual needs and interests. Open only to students who have demonstrated ability to do independent work. May be repeated.

FR 750 Comparative Cities: Space, Place, and Culture (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Restricted to graduate standing or consent of the instructor.

Exploration of contemporary Bay Area urban culture in comparison with at least one other city outside the so-called "Global North" through the lens of questions about space and place. Focus on questions of space, place, and the cultural construction of identities, communities, and ways of life. When possible, this includes a significant online component for direct interactions and collaborations with students at an urban university outside the U.S.

FR 800 Seminar in French and Francophone Language and Culture (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.

Rotating course covering the French and Francophone language and culture of a particular theme, period, genre or movement. Topics to be specified in the Class Schedule. May be repeated when topics vary.

FR 810 Seminar in French Literary Movements, Periods, or Genres (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Graduate French students or consent of the instructor.

Rotating course covering the French and Francophone literature of a particular theme, period, genre or movement. Topics to be specified in the Class Schedule. May be repeated when topics vary.

FR 812 Le Merveilleux (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.

Discovery of the Other and unknown lands through literary works, maps, and paintings from the Middle Ages to 17th century. How medieval and early modern France imagines remote worlds and their exotic inhabitants.

FR 814 Theatre et Spectacles du Moyen Age au 17e (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.

Examination of the literary, historical, cultural, and theatrical evolution of the stages and performances from Middle Ages to 17th century. Emphasis on analysis of plays, farces, ballets, and operas with particular focus on their innovations, literary, and cultural impacts.

FR 825 17th and 18th Century French Theater (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 825: Graduate standing or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisites for FR 525: Upper-division standing; FR 500 or equivalent; GPA of 3.0 or higher; or consent of the instructor.

Introduction to principal dramatic texts and conventions of the 17th and 18th century France.
(FR 825/FR 525 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 835 Les Philosophes (Units: 3)

Prerequisite: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.

Examination of the French Enlightenment through philosophical topics and cultural context in 18th century France via philosophers such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Diderot, etc.

FR 845 Le Conte de fées au 17ème siècle (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 845: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisite for FR 545: FR 500 or FR 501 (may be taken concurrently).

Examination of the literary, historical, and cultural significance of the fairy tale in the mid and late 17th century France. Definition of the fairy tale genre, its history from the oral and folklore tradition to the literary genre. Analysis of the motifs presented in the tales and questioning the purpose of those themes. Study of the tale types examining several primary texts and secondary sources to highlight those patterns.
(FR 845/FR 545 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 855 Art et Poesie: 1860-1940 (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 855: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisite for FR 555: Upper-division standing; FR 500 or equivalent; GPA of 3.0 or higher; or consent of the instructor.

French and Francophone poetry between 1860 and 1940 and its relation with the arts, especially music and painting.
(FR 855/FR 555 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 865 Paris: Capitale du 19e siècle (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 865: Graduate French M.A. students or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisites for FR 565: Upper-division standing; FR 500 or FR 501 or equivalent; GPA of 3.0 or higher; or consent of the instructor.

Investigation of the significance of the French metropolis's rise to preeminence following the French Revolution. Examination of 19th century literary and visual representations of Paris alongside histories of the city. Exploration of how culture intersects with the urban environment.
(FR 865/FR 565 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 870 Monstres du 19e Siècle: L'altérité et L'essor du Modernisme (Units: 3)

Prerequisite for FR 870: Graduate Standing or consent of the instructor.
Prerequisite for FR 570: FR 500 or FR 501 or consent of the instructor.

Explore otherness in nineteenth-century France through poetry, short stories, novels, and historical documents. What is the relationship between alterity and modernity, and what can these literary "monsters" tell us about ourselves? Investigation of the nineteenth-century fascination with monstrosity through fiction by Balzac, Gautier, Maupassant, and Rachilde; the memoirs of Herculine Barbin; and popular fiction. Secondary readings by other authors will provide critical tools to analyze primary texts. [Taught in French.]
(FR 870/FR 570 is a paired course offering. Students who complete the course at one level may not repeat the course at the other level.)

FR 896EXM Culminating Experience Examination (Units: 0-3)

Prerequisites: Consent of the instructor, committee chair, and approval of Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) and Culminating Experience (CE) forms by Graduate Studies. ATC and Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement forms must be approved by the Graduate Division before registration.

Enrollment in 896EXAM required for students whose culminating experience consists of an examination only. Not for students enrolled in a culminating experience course numbered FR 898. (CR/NC, RP)

FR 898 Master's Thesis (Units: 3)

Prerequisites: Consent of the instructor and approval of Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) for the Master of Arts in French and Culminating Experience (CE) forms by Graduate Studies.

Thesis must be written in French. Advancement to Candidacy (ATC) and Proposal for Culminating Experience Requirement forms must be approved by the Graduate Division before registration. (CR/NC grading only)

FR 899 Independent Study (Units: 1-3)

Prerequisite: Consent of the graduate major adviser and supervising faculty member. Enrollment by petition.

Study is planned, developed, and completed under the direction of a member of the department faculty. Open only to graduate students who have demonstrated the ability to do independent work. May be repeated for a total of 6 units.