French and Arabic
The French department curriculum is designed to promote students' understanding of the history, literature, and cultures of the French-speaking world, and to develop proficiency in speaking, listening comprehension, reading, and writing. Students often combine their major in French with a major in another discipline. Grinnell French majors have pursued careers in a broad range of fields including: international affairs, law, business, non-profit work, medicine, scientific research, the arts, education, and scholarly research. French courses can be incorporated into interdisciplinary majors and concentrations such as Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies; Global Development Studies; Linguistics; and Western European Studies.
All incoming students take the Grinnell placement test and, after consultation with the French department, begin their study of French at the elementary (101, 102, 103), intermediate (221, 222), or advanced level (301, 303, 304, 305, 312, or 313). Advanced courses explore the complexity of the French language (301), the cultures of the French-speaking world (303, 304, 305), and creative works (literature and film) in French (312, 313). Department seminars, which are offered every semester, cover a wide range of topics: Contemporary Urban Myths; Molière: Text and Performance; American Stories; Beyond Trauma: From Crisis to Creation; Masculine/Feminine in French Literature and Film; May '68 and Beyond: A Culture of Revolt; From Decolonization to "La France purielle": Ethnic Identity and Change since 1945; Courtship and Conversation in French Literature; French Poetry: The Art of Doing Things with Words. The opportunity to carry out a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) is available as part of all seminars. All departmental courses are conducted in French.
Most French majors spend at least a semester on an approved program of study in a city such as Aix-en-Provence, Marseilles, Nantes, or Paris. The off-campus study option is available to all students, even if they start their study of French at Grinnell at the elementary level.
The Grinnell Arabic program offers four semesters of instruction in Modern Standard Arabic, with a focus on both language and culture. Independent study is available at the advanced level. Many students of Arabic spend a semester on an approved program in the Middle East or North Africa. A knowledge of Arabic prepares students for careers in diplomacy, international affairs, international trade, business, nonprofit work, and education.
A minimum of 32 credits (not including French 101, 102, and 103), with at least 20 credits in all and a minimum of three 300-level courses (12 credits) taken in the Department of French at Grinnell. Required: French 303, 304, or 305; 312 or 313; and a seminar chosen from among the following: 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 341, 342, 350, and 395 (special topics course).
To be considered for honors in French, graduating seniors, in addition to meeting the College’s general requirements for honors, must complete two 300-level seminars, take at least one seminar in the senior year, and be recommended by the Department of French, based on performance in seminars.
Study of the fundamentals of spoken and written French with emphasis on communication through oral-aural practice and awareness of cultural context. Acquisition of basic grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Offered only in the spring, this course is designed primarily as a continuation of French 101. Emphasizes the development of oral-aural skills and of reading comprehension by providing communicative practice and attention to cultural context.
Offered only in the fall, this course is for students with some previous study of French. Covers the equivalent of French 101 and 102 in a single semester. Emphasizes the development of oral-aural skills and of reading comprehension by providing communicative practice and attention to cultural context. Not open to students who have taken French 102.
Conversational unit designed for both free and structured oral exchange in French. May be taken only once for credit.
Conducted in French. Review of grammar with emphasis on written and oral skills. Introduction to analysis of literary and cultural texts.
Conducted in French. Review of grammar with a focus on the development of written and oral skills. Emphasis on analysis, discussion, and composition through the exploration of literature, documents, and films related to the Occupation of France during World War II.
Conducted in French. An integrated approach to the development of aural-oral and written skills in French. Designed to prepare students for discussion and analysis at the 300 level.
Conducted in French. An introduction to French civilization from its origins to the French Revolution through the study of historical and literary texts, paintings, and films.
Conducted in French. An introduction to French civilization from the French Revolution to the present through the study of historical and literary texts, paintings, and films.
Conducted in French. Overview of contemporary France and the French-speaking world. Examines the relationship between national identity and the forces of geography, history, language, race, religion, and ethnicity. Topics include: colonization, decolonization, immigration, French-American relations, and societal values related to the family, gender, education, political organization, the state, and secularism. Uses historical, cultural, and literary texts and films.
312 Introduction to French Literature from the Middle Ages to the Revolution: From Knights to Libertines Spring
Conducted in French. Readings in poetry, prose, and theatre. Topics may include: the medieval chanson de geste, Renaissance love poetry, tragedy and comedy in the age of Louis XIV, and the Enlightenment. Presents the critical terminology and analytical techniques necessary for in-depth study of the respective genres.
Conducted in French. Readings in poetry, theatre, and prose from romanticism to the Theatre of the Absurd and the nouveau roman. Presents critical terminology and analytical techniques necessary for in-depth study of the respective genres.
Also listed as Art 316. Conducted in French. Major monuments and the development of the city in historical context from the Middle Ages through the transformations of Haussmann in the 19th century. Attention to the vocabulary of architectural design and structure, and to analysis of period treatises and literary texts in relation to aesthetic issues and the politics of architecture.
Conducted in French. Explores the relationship between writers and questions of authority from 1600–1789. Examines the representation of royal power, challenges to state authority and social conventions (such as the role of the church and the position of women in society), and the role of humor as a subversive technique. Authors studied may include La Fontaine, Pascal, Corneille, Moliere, Madame de Lafayette, Mme de Sevigne, Saint-Simon, Diderot, Voltaire, Laclos, and Sade.
Conducted in French. Analyzes the notion of the comic in French literary texts written before 1789. Examines the relationship between comedy and society, using the theories of Bakhtin, Bergson, Boileau, and Freud. Focuses on the particular techniques used in different literary genres, such as the novel, theatre, and satiric verse. Works studied may include the farces of the Middle Ages, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Moliere, Boileau, Voltaire, and Diderot.
Conducted in French. Examines texts representative of Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, and post-Romantic poetry. Topics may include: realism and nature; the role of description; the expression of desire; and the relationship between the individual and society.
Conducted in French. Explores the evolution of literature and the rise of cinema between 1870 and 1945; examines notions such as moral and aesthetic transgression and innovation. Topics to be studied may include: collage, montage, memory, war, autobiography, and sexuality in authors and filmmakers such as Rimbaud, Rachilde, Colette, Melies, Jarry, Proust, Gide, Celine, and Cocteau.
Conducted in French. Study of dramatic texts and their contexts since the Second World War, with reference to existentialism, the Theatre of the Absurd, and the performance of identity shaped by gender, religion, and postcolonial and immigrant experience. Examines how theatre of the French-speaking world reflects, challenges, and redefines societal, philosophical, and aesthetic values, with a focus on the relationship between text and performance.
Conducted in French. Traces the evolution of prose fiction from the 1950s to the present and examines its relationship to biography, autobiography, feminist writing, film, and the popular novel. Explores literary representations of topics such as mother-daughter relations, social class, sexuality, illness, interracial relationships, immigration, and exile.
Conducted in French. Examines the relations between France and the Orient as portrayed in paintings, photos, films, and prose fiction from the mid-19th century to the present. Focuses in particular on images of Oriental women, beginning with France’s representation of its colonies as female. The main topics to be considered are: the depiction of interracial relationships; the effect of gender on the experience of immigration; women and war (Algeria and Lebanon); women’s voices in contemporary North Africa; and the notions of tradition and modernity in relation to issues such as arranged marriages, polygamy, and excision. The Orient studied includes Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, and Lebanon.
Intensive study of a particular period, author, theme, movement, and/or genre. Topic will be announced each time the course is offered. Course may be repeated for credit if content is different. Conducted in French.
Study of the fundamentals of spoken and written Modern Standard Arabic with emphasis on communication through oral-aural practice and awareness of cultural context. Acquisition of basic grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
This course is designed primarily as a continuation of Arabic 101. Emphasizes the development of oral-aural skills and of reading comprehension by providing communicative practice and attention to cultural context.
Conducted in Arabic. Emphasizes grammar and written and oral skills. Provides an introduction to the analysis of literary and cultural texts.
Conducted in Arabic. Focuses on the development of written and oral skills. Emphasizes vocabulary acquisition, discussion, and composition through the exploration of literary texts and contemporary media materials.
- College Catalog