One of many castles along the Loire Valley in France

One of many castles along the Loire Valley in France

Course Descriptions for French

NOTE: Students who study French in high school are required to take the French Placement Exam before enrolling. See the Placement Guides in the Academic Planning chapter of The Miami Bulletin. Once placed, a student may not skip a course in the sequence leading to FRE 202.


FRE 101, 102 - Introduction to the French Language and Culture (4, 4)

Emphasis on multiple skill acquisition, speaking, and writing, and how cultural difference affects experience of the world.

 FRE 131 - Masterpieces of French Culture in Translation (3) MPF

Accessible introduction to French culture through the study of selected examples of significant works in literature and the arts (understood in a broad sense). Works are examined in their social, historical, and ideological contexts and cover the period from the Middle Ages to the mid-20th century. All readings in English translation. IIB, IIIC, Cul, H, CAS-B-LIT.

FRE 141 - Paris in Black, White and Color (3)

Paris is a fabulously mythical city, whose many dimensions are explored in this course, from 1789 up to the present.  Topics include Parisian revolts (from the French Revolution to the counter-culture of the 1960s), American expatriates in France, the city's changing physical landscape, jazz-and blues-playing in Paris, Parisas the city of love, light and culture, and the colonial roots of today's ethnic diversity in Paris.  A central focus is on how and why myths about Paris are created and perpetuated.  Taught in English. Taught infrequently.  CAS-B-Other Humanities.

FRE 201 - Intermediate French (3)

Integrates intermediate-level language skill development and study of cultural difference. Provides student to student interaction and addresses a broad range of cultural issues.

 FRE 202 - Critical Analysis of French Culture (3) MPF

Second-semester, intermediate French course addresses literary and cultural issues through the study of short stories, poetry, film, journalism, and advertising. Works represent several French-speaking countries. Because texts, discussion, and compositions are in French, students continue to develop speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. IIB, Cul, CAS-A.

 FRE 301 - Culture and Interpretation (3)

Gateway to upper-level offerings in French. Organized around a theme developed by each professor (for example: modernity, desire, revolution, or voyages), this class initiates students into the work of original analysis and creative interpretation. The course will include works from a variety of media, voices, and historical moments, from films to comics, speeches to sonnets, Paris to Algiers, Versailles to the street. Students will explore the relationships between literature and culture while gaining exposure to a range of approaches to, and theories of, reading. Students will hone their ability to present their ideas in writing. Prerequisite: FRE 202. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 302 - Pre-Revolutionary Literature and Life (3)

What is the relation between literature and life? How does life shape literature, and how does literature shape life? From to the rowdy streets of Medieval Paris to the court of Versailles, from troubador love songs to the first modern novels, tThis introduction to French culture from the Middle Ages to the Revolution, explores literature as a live, engaged activity that provides a place to order, conceive, reimagine, and explore human and social experience. Course topics will change regularly, and can include issues such as ethics, space, bodies, medical discourses, legal discourses, trauma and witness, or insoluble problems. Alternatively, they may be organized around questions such as what is a subject? How are subjects related to collectivities? Systematic development of writing and speaking skills. Prerequisite: FRE 301. CAS-B-LIT

 FRE 303 - Modern and Contemporary Literature and Life (3)

From the Revolution of 1789 to the current day, France has weathered an astonishing array of governments (five republics, two empires, monarchies, Vichy); expanded colonial projects and decolonized; and hotly debated issues such as public education, the role of women and minorities in society, and the tensions between universalism and individual human rights. This introduction to French and Francophone culture from the Revolution to the current moment explores literature as a live, engaged activity that provides a place to order, conceive, reimagine, and explore human and social experience. Course topics will change regularly, and can include issues such as colonialism, ethics, space, bodies, medical discourses, legal discourses, trauma and witness or insoluble problems. Alternatively, they may be organized around questions such as what is a subject? How are subjects related to collectivities? Systematic development of writing and speaking skills. Prerequisite: FRE 301. CAS-B-LIT

 FRE 310 - Texts in Context (3) MPT

Examines ways creative texts (significant literary, historical, graphic, or architectural systems) are linked to various cultural contexts. Explores the ways in which cultural productions are interconnected to specific historical contexts in which they are created. Focuses on interrelations between cultural productions and their historical, sociological, scientific, or philosophical ramifications. Explains how French cultural discourse has regulated meaning of French texts and how these texts have changed institutions of cultural discourse. Systematic development of writing and speaking skills. Prerequisite: FRE 301.

 FRE 334 - Colonies, Migrants and Comics (3)

Surveys French-language comics related to colonialism and immigration. Uses a cultural studies approach. Prerequisite: FRE 301.

 FRE 341 - Conversation & Current Events in France (3) MPT

Focuses on the development of speaking, writing, and presentation skills based on current social and political events in France.

 FRE 350 - Topics in French Literature in Translation (3) MPT

Discussion of selected works that suggest particular thematic problems. For non-specialist with little or no background in French literary history. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 361 - French Pronunciation (3)

Theoretical and practical study of French pronunciation. Corrective exercises, laboratory work.

 FRE 366 - French Cinema in Translation (3) MPT

Critical survey of major directors, genres, and movements in French cinema. Particular attention devoted to development of film theory and criticism in France and their relation to film production. Screening of films by Renoir, Bresson, Buñuel, Godard, Truffaut, Varda, Resnais, Tavernier, and others. Taught in English; reading in English translation. Cross-listed with FST 366. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 404/504 - The French Renaissance (3,3)

Study of major writers of prose and poetry in the French Renaissance, including Rabelais, Montaigne, Labé, Ronsard, and DuBellay. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently.

 FRE 410 - Senior Seminar (3) MPC

Required of all French majors in their senior year and open to qualified non-majors, this is a seminar on a selected topic in French literature designed to allow students to reflect upon what they have learned in previous French courses in order to further strengthen their powers of critical thinking and synthesis.

 FRE 411/511 - French Civilization (3,3) MPT

Historical evolution of French society, its art, architecture, institutions and philosophical outlook. Conducted in French.

 FRE 415 - Advanced Composition (3)

Provides instruction in advanced French composition. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently.

 FRE 416/516 - Colonialism, Comics in Algeria (3,3)

Studies relationships between popular visual-textual iconography, especially cartoons and comics, and French colonialism in Algeria. Uses a socio-historical approach to analyze material from 1830 to the present. Compares material by artists from France, Algeria and other countries. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently. Prerequisite: 9 hours of 300-level French courses successfully completed to take course at undergraduate level (FRE 416), or approval of instructor. Graduate standing and approval of instructor to take course at graduate level (FRE 516).

 FRE 423/523 - Theater, Performance, Spectacle (3,3)

Reading theater is, by definition, an incomplete act, for what makes a play theatrical is not the written script, but its performance to a group of spectators.  This course considers the notion of "performativity" through an exploration of different modes and genres of theater and performance in French language traditions. May include: plays from the middle ages to the 21st century; examples of performance art, music, dance, or opera; theories of theatre, performance, and spectacle from Aristotle to Artaud and Butler. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently.

 FRE 430/530 - Topics in Early Modern French Literature (3,3)

Thematic explorations of early modern French literature of all genres. Focus on critical and research methods and writing. Conducted in French. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 431/531 - Studies in Contemporary French Thought in Translation (3,3) MPT

Examination of major recent currents of French and Francophone thought, with emphasis on their relation to the study of literary texts: for example, feminism, post-colonialism, globalization, post-modernism. Conducted in English. Offered infrequently. CAS-B-LIT. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing or permission of instructor.

 FRE 442/542 - Literary Innovation, 16-18th Centuries (3,3)

Coincident with the evolving market and technology of printed books came an explosion of literary invention. Specific topics depend on the choice of the professor and may include early modern developments in poetry, the invention of French classical drama, prose from Montaigne's Essais to the experimental short forms of the 17th centory, or novels and philosophical contes of the Enlightenment.  Conducted in French. Offered infrequently. CAS-B-LIT.

FRE 443/543 - French Literature and Society (3,3)

Introduction to the literature and society of Medieval France. Study of literary texts and works of art, and hands-on experience with medieval manuscripts and materials used to make them. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently.

 FRE 444/544 - Seminar in Medieval French Studies (3,3)

Focuses on current criticism in the area of medieval French studies. Topics vary. Readings in French and English. Old French readings accompanied by modern French translations. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently.

 FRE 451/551 - Rebellions, Revolutions and avant-gardes (3,3)

At certain historical moments, accepted truths and aesthetic conventions abruptly become intolerable, and the present must be reshaped in view of a new and often uncertain vision of the future. This course analyzes the concept of revolution by examining one or more of these moments of upheavel and renewal. These may include political events, such as the revolutions of 1789 and the nineteenth century, aesthetic avante-gardes, such as romanticism or surrealism, scientific movements, such as seventeenth-century optics or the rise of medicine, or technological discoveried, such as the invention of the printing press and its implications for society. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently.

 FRE 452/552 - The 19th Century (3,3) MPT

Nineteenth-century France was wracked by multiple revolutions and changes of government, but it also transformed many of the bases of social life and led to a flowering in many of the arts. The century began with the vast Napoleonic expansion across Europe and ended with searching introspections about the notions of decadence and decay.  In literature, it gave rise to what are arguably the greatest achievements in French lyric poetry and the novel. It created modern medicine both as a practice and a social force. It invented large-scale speculative capitalism and the modern city. This course will focus on exemplary aspects of nineteenth-century cultural production in France and may include literary, aesthetic, political, scientific, and philosopohical trends. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 453/553 - Poetry (3,3)

Exploration of French poetry and poetics. The course examines techniquesand formal aspects of poetry, prosody and rhetoric, by focusing on certain authors and historical movements. It also analyzes the notion of the poetic as a way of envisioning and making sense of the world. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 454/554 - The Origins of the 20th Century (3,3)

In the first years of the 20th century, Paris became a focal point and meeting place for various avant-garde artistic movements such as dada, cubism, and surrealism, many of which were born under the shadow of the First World War. With the rise of modernist urbanism, the city itself became a testing ground for ideas and ideologies that attempted to re-invision human nature.  By the thirties, these totalizing visions of a human future largely divided between communism and fascism, and Paris, as a capital of ideas and immigration, became the battleground for competing, militant images of humanity.  At the same time, the capital gazed out past the borders of France itself over an extensive colonial empire that returned vast riches at the cost of terrible moral and humanitarian injustices.  This course will examine literary and other cultural works from this turbulent period to better understand the scope, meaning, and stakes of the French twentieth century. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 460/560 - Topics in French Cinema (3,3) MPT

In-depth and concentrated study of French cinema. Focus on specific topics such as film's relation to society, its relation to the other arts and artistic movements, and its productive role as an object of philosophical thought. Topics may also include the work of particular directors, historical periods, and comparative social and aesthetic studies. Taught in English translation. Available in French for French majors and French graduate students. Cross-listed with FST 460.

 FRE 462/562 - The 20th-Century Novel: Contemporary Explorations Beyond Existentialism (3,3)

Study of the novel's most recent attempts to redefine the novel. Texts include works by Céline, Leiris, Beckett, Robbe-Grillet, Queneau, Sarraute. Conducted in French. Offered infrequently. CAS-B-LIT.

 FRE 480 - Independent Reading for Departmental Honors (3)

 FRE 600 - Seminar in French Literature (1-4)

Intensive study of selected authors and critical perspectives. Recent offerings included:

FRE 600A - Literature and Loss (3)

Examines the relations between loss and writing, especially in literary texts. How do different works conceptualize, confront, and attempt to palliate the problems of loss? Texts by Sophocles, Ovid, Chateaubriand, Musset, Nerval, and Claude Simon, along with theoretical and historical writings by Abraham and Torok, Philippe Aries, Baudrilland, Guy Debord, Blanchot, Freud, Hegel, Heidegger, Lacan, Emmanuel Levinas.

FRE 600B - Sociology of Culture (3)

Strategies of domination and logics of symbolic power will be debated from both post-Marxist and philosophical perspectives. Readings include texts by Simone Weil, Pierre Bourdieu, and other sociologists from Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.

FRE 600F - Early Modern Subjects (3)

Travel and print culture were two radical agents of change in early modern Europe. The dynamic and diverse cultural landscape generated new ways of pondering – and a new kind of urgency – to the most basic of questions: “who am I.” This seminar engages philosophical and literary enquiries into the nature of human subjectivity, with a commitment to understanding the specificity of pre-romantic modes of self-understanding. Primary texts, including readings by Montaigne, Descartes, Racine, Corneille, Guyon, Pascal, Molière, Lafayette, Châtelet, and Diderot, will be studied in tandem with a wide variety of critical interventions (Certeau, Farge, Grafton, Greenberg, Greenblatt, Jones & Stallybrass, Judovitz, Winnecott, Zemon Davis).

FRE 600K - Writing and Trauma in Post-War France (3)

After the liberation of France in 1944, the experience of the Occupation and the War was spoken of in the heroic mode:  defeat, resistance, triumph.   A policy of effacement and silence put off reckoning with the deep trauma of the War for a whole generation. This seminar will focus on multiple aspects of French literature and thought that bear the marks of this conspiracy of silence, from ideologies of the left and the right to post-modern assaults on language, history and subjectivity.  Among the authors to be studied are Camus, Delbo, Semprun, Duras, Perec, Derrida, Foucault. Readings and discussions are in English.

FRE 600U - Queer Love: textes français avant 1900 / études queer après 2005 (3)

Roland Barthes’s Sade, Fourier, Loyola, gracefully articulated similarities between contemplative, utopian, and sexual discourse. Loyola’s mysticism ad Sade’s erotic theatrics meet, with the middle term—Fourier—providing a  Marxist dimension. Barthes’s constellation of metaphysics, Sade’s erotics, and speculative politics can be usefully revised in the optic of recent developments in queer theory. We will read French texts representative of the premodern period (esp.12th, 16th, 18th c.) including Voltaire’s Candide, Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, Marie de France’s Lais, etc., and excerpts of contemporary French critique (Foucault, Deleuze, Rancière, etc.), guided by current commentaries on these texts by queer theorists including Michael Snediker (Voltaire/ Leibniz), Cary Howie (Bachelard), David Willis (Sade), and Robert McRuer (crip theory). Conducted in French.

FRE 600V - Metafictionalities (3)

Exploring the self-referential text in Rabelais (Tiers Livre), Marguerite de Navarre (Heptameron), Montaigne (Essais), La Fontaine (the Fables and the Contes et nouvelles en vers), Montesquieu (Lettres Persanes), and Baudelaire (Les Fleurs du mal and Le Spleen de Paris), with excursions into Apuleius (The Golden Ass), Boccaccio (Decameron), and Chaucer (The Canterbury Tales). Metafiction is a term that has been used to describe fiction that calls attention to itself as fiction.  But in this course I will apply it not only to fiction--Montesquieu’s Persian Letters--but also to a work--Montaigne’s Essays (Livre I)--that does not pose as fiction but nevertheless displays moments of self-reference that can perhaps best be described as metafiction.  Montaigne’s Essays are in my reading a fiction about a man writing essays about many things, including himself, but beyond that fiction lies a metafiction in which his text calls attention to itself as a subtle and ordered work of art.  The metafiction trumps the fiction, is truer than the fiction, dissolves the fiction of the Essays as a philosophical work, as a collection of opinions, even as a self-portrait.  This dissolution of content is a normal phenomenon in poetry, where the poet only seems to be expressing a thought, or reflecting reality, or attempting a seduction; instead, he is making a work of art in which such content is but one element among many.  We will also read Baudelaire’s Fleurs du mal in this light. Conducted in French.

FRE 614 - Introduction to the Study of French Literature (3)

Introduction to concepts of literary history and assumptions and practices of literary criticism by studying significant examples of literary theory.

 FRE 617/618 - Intensive Course for Graduate Students (3,3)

A two-part course sequence that provides reading knowledge of French for graduate students in other disciplines. No speaking component in the courses.  Vocabulary building through reading, with emphasis on French grammar for recognition purposes. Readings of increasing difficulty with emphasis on idiomatic usage in student's own discipline. Offered only during the summer.

FRE 680 - Independent Study (1-6)

Independent work in French literature or language.

 FRE 689 - GA Orientation Seminar (1)

Required of new graduate assistants. Directly coordinated with organization of the beginning French course and deals with practical problems involved in this method of language instruction.

FRE 700 - Research for Master's Thesis (1-10; usually 6)


Abbreviations and Terms:
CAS-A: Course fulfills a part of the College of Arts and Science foreign language requirement
CAS-B-LIT: Fulfills a part of the College of Arts and Science humanities requirement in literature
CAS-B-Other Humanities: Fulfills a part of the College of Arts and Science humanities requirement.
CUL: Fulfills the cultural requirement for Liberal Education
H: Fulfills the historical perspective requirement for Liberal Education
MP: Miami Plan for Liberal Education
MPC: Miami Plan Capstone course
MPF: Miami Plan Foundation course
MPT: Miami Plan Thematic Sequence Course
IIB: Humanities
IIIB: World Cultures