If you would like to see our current offerings, please see the department’s listing on the Student Information Services (SIS) website.
Undergraduate coursework in French falls under three areas that each provide necessary training for the major in French literature and for the two minors we offer, one in literature, and one in French cultural studies.
- The sequence in French Language (210 prefix) aims to bring students to advanced proficiency in reading, writing, understanding, and speaking French, as well as an awareness of the history and sociology of the French language. Students acquire fundamentals of spoken exchange and written composition and become familiar with the various registers of French, from streetwise slang to the highly codified discourses used in international relations, business, science, or medicine, among others.
- Courses in French Cultural Studies (211 prefix) expose students to techniques of cultural analysis in a French and Francophone context. These courses push students to engage critically with a wide range of documents past and present, from speeches and illustrations to films, news clips, and current events, and to develop sensitivity to social and historical context.
- Courses in French Literature (212 prefix) focus on the interpretation and analysis of literary texts from a rich variety of genres and modes of writing in French: e.g., the novel, poetry, short fiction, autobiography, the essay, digital literature. Students are introduced to techniques of close reading (explication de texte), linguistic analysis, historical and cultural contextualization, and theoretical questions about the nature, purposes, and history of literature and its institutions.
The French section encourages motivated students to pursue study of another romance language or of German. French majors interested in the Renaissance or the Middle Ages are advised to acquire reading knowledge of Latin.
Majors and minors are encouraged to spend a semester at one of the JHU-approved study abroad programs, preferably during the spring of the junior year, both to perfect their command of the French language and to gain exposure to the methods and culture of research in the French higher education system.