French and Francophone Studies


Professors: Chatton, Dugas (Chair), Sanogo

The French program emphasizes a critical understanding of the French-speaking world by focusing on language skills, analytical tools, and the study of a variety of kinds of cultural expressions. These studies are one effective way of gaining a deeper understanding of the world, which is an important element of a liberal arts education. The department offers courses in French literature and culture and the literatures and cultures of Francophone Africa, Canada, Asia, and the Antilles. Students of French may study abroad in Strasbourg, Lyon or Rennes (France) and in Dakar (Sénégal).

Coursework and off-campus experiences are complemented by on-campus opportunities that maintain and improve a student’s language skills and expand students’ understanding of the Francophone world. These opportunities include viewing French language films, conversing with classmates and native speakers at the French conversation hours, and attending area cultural events.

Faculty members meet students inside and outside the classroom, participate in campus activities, and counsel students regarding graduate and professional career choices in music, high school and college teaching, science, publishing, government, international trade, international banking, non-governmental organizations, and other fields. French students at Kalamazoo College have a high rate of acceptance when applying for French government teaching assistantships for teaching English in France after graduation.

Placement

All incoming students who have previously studied or have had significant exposure to French must take the College’s placement test. Those students who wish to receive credit for language courses that they have taken at another college or university before enrolling at Kalamazoo College must take the French language placement test and test into a higher-level course than the one for which they are seeking transfer credit. Any appeal of the placement test results should be directed to a French faculty member.

Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) Credit for the Major or Minor

Students who took AP or IB examinations in French must still take the Kalamazoo College French placement test. An Advanced Placement (AP) score of 4 or 5 in French language can be counted as one credit toward the French major or minor provided that the student take French 203 or beyond as her/his first French course at the college. IB scores of 5-6-7 on the Higher Level may count toward a major or minor at the discretion of the department faculty.

Requirements for the Major in French

Number of Units

Eight units are required. For the major, no more than three units may be earned off campus. Units that may be counted towards the major are:

  • FREN 202, FREN 203, FREN 301, FREN 300-level courses, FREN 400-level courses
  • FREN 593 (SIP)
  • AP score of 4 or 5 (see above)
  • IB score of 5, 6 or 7 (see above)
  • Up to two units from study abroad (see below)

Required Courses

  • FREN 301
  • FREN 490 Senior Seminar
  • One additional 400-level course taught on campus
  • One additional course at either the 300- or 400-level taught on campus

French majors are encouraged to develop appropriate cognate programs in areas such as History, Political Science, Film and Media Studies, Economics, Music, Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, International and Area Studies, Art History, or International Economics and Business.

Cognate courses of particular interest to French and francophone studies majors : HIST 244, HIST 252, HIST 256, ENGL 260 Studies in Film: African Cinemas, ENGL 260 Studies in Film: The Post-Classical and the New Waves

Units from Study Abroad

French majors are expected to participate in a study abroad program and acquire a high level of language proficiency.

Only two units to be used toward the major in French may be earned in a long term (6 month) or an extended term (9 month) program. One unit only from a short term (3 month) program may be used. The unit(s), which must have been taught in the French language, may be in the literature of the Francophone world, or in language, or in a cultural/topical course pertaining to the Francophone world. Please consult the department.

Those who did not take French 301 before Study Abroad will normally take that course upon their return to campus, but should consult with the department before doing so. All students will then take the senior seminar plus the requisite number of 400-level courses (and possibly write a SIP) in order to complete the French major.

Requirements for the Minor in French

Number of Units

Six units are required. (FREN 101 & 102 do not count towards the minor.) For the minor, no more than two units may be earned off campus.

Required Courses

  • FREN 301
  • One 400-level course taught on campus
  • One additional course at either the 300- or 400-level taught on campus

Electives

Three units selected from the following:

  • FREN 200 (a total of one unit)
  • FREN 201
  • FREN 202
  • FREN 203
  • Additional French courses at the 300- or 400-level
  • FREN 593 (SIP)
  • AP score of 4 or 5 (see above)

Up to two units in French language, literature, culture, film, history, etc. taught in French may be counted from a long-term French-language study abroad program. One unit in French language, literature, culture, film, history, etc. taught in French may be counted from a short-term French-language study abroad program.

Units from Study Abroad

  1. A student may count one unit from a short-term (3-month) study abroad program towards the minor in French. A student may count two units from a long-term (6-month) or extended-term (9-month) study abroad program. The unit, which must have been taught in the French language, may be in the literature of the Francophone world, or in language, or in a cultural/topical course pertaining to the Francophone world. Please consult the department.
  2. Normally, students who go on Study Abroad before taking French 301 will take that course upon their return to campus, but they should consult with the department before doing so.

French Courses

FREN101Beginning French I Introduction to the French language and the French-speaking world. Students begin developing competency in the four basic skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) through communicative activities and cultural exploration.Prerequisite: Placement test if student has any prior experience with French. FREN-101L must be taken concurrently
FREN102Beginning French II Further development of the four skills through continued exploration of the French-speaking world. Students will work to acquire the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge needed to navigate a variety of cultural settings.Prerequisite: FREN-101 or Placement Test; FREN-102L Must be taken concurrently
FREN200French Pronunciation Designed to improve learners' pronunciation of French, this course will help students understand the sound system of French and practice producing French sounds through focused exercises and creative activities. Class will be tailored to the proficiency level and needs of students.Prerequisite: FREN-201 or placement into FREN-201 or higher
FREN200Advanced French Grammar Designed to improve learners' proficiency in French, this course will focus on grammar not presented in the intermediate course sequence and introduce more advanced verb tenses. Short French and francophone texts related to the theme Le voyage, will serve as models for grammar presentations and spring-boards for in-class speaking activities and written homework assignments. Class will be tailored to the proficiency level and needs of students.Prerequisite: FREN-201 or placement into FREN-202 or higher.
FREN200Advanced French Conversation In this course, we will explore the theme of the environment as it relates to regions of the French-speaking world. Emphasis will be placed on developing oral communication skills through debates, formal and informal presentations, and discussions of a variety of French texts (films, songs, short stories, articles). Class will be tailored to the proficiency level, needs and interests of students.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-202 or have placed into FREN-203 or higher or with instructor permission.
FREN200Creative Writing in French This course will help students develop creative writing skills in French. Emphasis will be placed on writing compelling narratives as well as vivid descriptions of places and people. Short model texts (excerpts from novels, short stories and a play) from around the francophone world will serve as the spring-boards for thematic-based creative fiction or non-fiction assignments. Class will be tailored to the proficiency level and needs of students.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-201 or have placed into FREN-202 or higher or with instructor permission.
FREN200Professional French Studying abroad, you learn the informal speech patterns and current slang of college students. In this course, you will craft and hone your identity as an adult professional in a Francophone context. You will produce a French c.v. and a sample cover letter for a job in a French speaking cultural context, and you will experience a mock job interview in French. You will also explore such topics as self-presentation, etiquette, more formal speech registers, business culture, and attitudes toward work in various Francophone cultures. Class will be tailored to your proficiency level, needs and interests.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-201 or have placed into FREN-202 or higher.
FREN200Adv. French Conversation II À table! In this course, we will explore the theme of food as it relates to regions of the French-speaking world. Emphasis will be placed on developing oral communication skills through debates, formal and informal presentations, and discussions of a variety of French texts (films, songs, short stories, newspaper articles) related to the plaisirs de la table.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-202.
FREN201Intermediate French The refining and expansion of communicative skills. Students develop critical thinking and cross-cultural competency by reading, discussing, and writing about authentic texts. Students further improve their skills through interactions with authentic media and pop-culture artifacts from the French-speaking world including documentaries, films, and songs.Prerequisite: FREN-102 or Placement Test; FREN-201L must be taken concurrently
FREN202Conversation and Composition Critical explorations of the French-speaking world through focused reading, discussion, and related written and speaking assignments.Prerequisite: FREN-201 or Placement Test; FREN-202L must be taken concurrently
FREN203Engaging With Texts Students enrich their vocabulary and increase their sensitivity to nuance while examining a wide variety of texts (fiction, non-fiction, image, film, songs, etc.). New reading skills will result in the ability to produce texts (both oral and written) in a wide variety of styles. Students begin to acquire a more sophisticated knowledge of the intricacies of the French-speaking world while putting into practice more complex forms of written and oral expression.Prerequisite: FREN-202 or Placement Test; FREN-203L must be taken concurrently
FREN301Introduction to French and Francophone Studies An interactive, discussion-based course helping student acquire skill in the reading and interpretation of French and other Francophone texts, presented in their cultural and historical contexts. Course offers opportunities for refinement of written and presentational skills. May be repeated for credit if content is different.Prerequisite: FREN-203, French-Language Study Abroad Program or Placement Test. Note: students who use study abroad to satisfy the pre-requisite must be manually added by the Registrar's office.
FREN355Letters From the Francophonie Fictional letters are powerful media through which authors explore themes of romance and friendship while also addressing various contemporary social issues such as otherness, climate and social activism, and racism. Using various texts (letters, film, social media) from across three centuries of French-language productions, this class surveys the milestones of the epistolary genre while also giving students the opportunity to hone their own writing and speaking skills in creative ways.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-301.
FREN401Topics in French and Francophone Cultures Cultures Reading, research, and discussion on selected topics and issues in the French-speaking world. Please consult with the instructor about the current topic. May be repeated for credit if content is different.Prerequisite: FREN-301
FREN425/FREN 490Bilingualism in French-Speaking World Almost half of the world's population uses two or more languages as they go about their daily lives. In this course, we will explore topics such as code-switching, accents, biculturalism, bilingual children and bilingualism in schools, attitudes towards bilingualism, bilingual singers, bilingual authors, and bilingual movies. We will also look at the multilingual history of France, regional languages in France, French outside of France, diglossia, language shift, language loss, and the role of language policies.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-301 or with instructor permission.
FREN435/FREN 490Adv Lit & Cultural Studies Topics in French and/or Francophone literatures, culture, and history. Recent topics have included Space and Identity in French and Francophone Cinema; Francophone Cult(ure) Movies; Theatre or When words said on a stage provoke a revolution at the other end of the world; Vietnamese History and Culture; Francophone African Literature; Intercultural Encounters. May be repeated for credit if content is different.Prerequisite: FREN-301
FREN/AFST445/FREN 490Afro-Perspectives Today, the channels of knowledge production and distribution are heavily dominated by Western thinkers and institutions. As a consequence of that unequal relationship, voices from former colonial spaces, such as Africa, remain largely unacknowledged in scholarship even when such scholarship address circumstances specific to those marginalized spaces. This course uses a variety of media (comics, films, novels, songs, etc) to emphasize epistemic knowledge produced by African intellectuals about how Africans perceive, interact, and position themselves in relation to local and global questions such as fashion, immigration, diaspora, environment, feminism, race, Female Genital Cutting, etc. Course is taught in French.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-301.
FREN/AFST455/FREN 355Letters From the Francophonie Fictional letters are powerful media through which authors explore themes of romance and friendship while also addressing various contemporary social issues such as otherness, climate and social activism, and racism. Using various texts (letters, film, social media) from across three centuries of French-language productions, this class surveys the milestones of the epistolary genre while also giving students the opportunity to hone their own writing and speaking skills in creative ways.Prerequisite: Must have taken FREN-301.
FREN490/FREN 435Senior Seminar Topics in French and/or Francophone literatures, culture, and history. Recent topics have included Space and Identity in French and Francophone Cinema; Francophone Cult(ure) Movies; Theatre or When words said on a stage provoke a revolution at the other end of the world; Vietnamese History and Culture; French Polynesian Literature and Culture, Francophone African Literature; Intercultural Encounters. May be repeated for credit if content is different.Prerequisite: FREN-301; Senior French major, minor, or permission.
FREN593Senior Integrated Project Each program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Integrated Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Senior Integrated Project section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.