Welcome to the website of the Department of French at UC Berkeley. In our department you can study French and francophone literature, culture, and film, along with the French language and French linguistics. The dedicated and creative teachers and scholars in our department share a commitment to excellence of instruction, whether it be in a first year French class, a specialized course for majors (all of which are taught in French), a course on French literature in translation, or an advanced graduate seminar.
For its undergraduate majors and minors and its graduate students the Berkeley French Department provides thorough coverage in the traditional, historically based divisions of French literature and culture, as well as in francophone literatures. It blends this coverage with the study of a wide array of related fields and topics ‚Äď from literary history and theory to philosophy, to social and cultural theory, to the study of gender and sexuality, historiography, visual arts and film, music, popular culture, and politics. We encourage independent and innovative thinking and research at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
We participate fully in the interdisciplinary emphasis that has traditionally distinguished study and research at Berkeley. Many of our faculty are affiliated with other programs in the University (with the Departments of¬†Comparative Literature¬†and¬†Italian Studies, with programs in Romance Languages and Literatures and in¬†Medieval Studies, with Graduate Designated Emphases in¬†Critical Theory,¬†Film Studies¬†and in Women, Gender, and Sexuality,¬†Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and with the¬†Center for the Study of Sexual Culture). Graduate students typically count courses from other disciplines toward completion of their degree. We maintain close ties with scholars and writers in France, across North America, and around the world, and have a regular schedule of lectures and colloquia open to our students and colleagues, as well as to the public at large. Most years see visits by one or more Pajus Distinguished Visitor in French Studies. Recent longer term Visitors have included Wendy Ayres-Bennett (2011-12), Christopher Prendergast (2010-2011), Ross Chambers (2008-2009); Jacques Ranci√®re (2007-2008 and 2005-2006); Michael Sheringham (2006-2007); and Didier Eribon (2004-2005 and 2003-2004). Recent shorter term visitors have included Michel Jeanneret, Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, Mireille Huchon, and Yves Citton. This fall we look forward a two-week visit by the distinguished historian of Islam in France, Jocelyne Dakhlia, from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, as well as a shorter visit by Olivier Wieviorka. Later in the year we will be hosting Nicholas Dew, Nicolas Pesqu√®s, Filippo de Vivo, Noah Guynn, Peggy McCracken, Max Silverman, and Griselda Pollock, among others.
The department also regularly hosts international conferences. This past spring we featured a graduate-student organized conference, ‚ÄúThe Edges of Exposure,‚ÄĚ featuring Ann Smock, Eric Trudel and Martin Crowley. In April 2010 we held a conference called ‚ÄúMusic, Letters, Moving Shadows, ‚Äú honoring the career of our colleague Ann Smock. Speakers included Ann Smock, Katherine Bergeron, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Denis Hollier, Thomas Schestag, Rochelle Tobias and Christophe Wall-Romana. In 2007, the French Department graduate students hosted a conference entitled ‚ÄúPaths of Desire: Itineraries as Transgression.‚ÄĚ Spring 2005 saw a remarkable interdisciplinary conference on ‚ÄúThinking in Time: Henri Bergson.‚ÄĚ In Spring 2006 there was ‚ÄúThe Time of the Political: A Conference around the Work of Jacques Derrida‚ÄĚ. In Fall 2006 the department hosted two conferences: ‚ÄúPoetry of the Everyday‚ÄĚ in October and ‚ÄúCorneille and the Discourses of Empire‚ÄĚ in November. A workshop titled ‚ÄúContextualizing ‚ÄėLiterary‚Äô Practices in Early Modern France‚ÄĚ occurred in Spring 2007. French film series organized both by our department and at the Pacific Film Archive complement our academic programs and offerings.
There are numerous opportunities for education abroad at all stages of our program. Undergraduate majors typically participate in the University of California¬†Education Abroad Program, which maintains campuses in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, Grenoble, and Toulouse. For those wishing to take their first steps, our Summer Session Travel Study Office offers an exciting and rigorous program which takes students to Paris for six weeks and currently offers instruction in French 1 and French 2. At the graduate level, the Department has two yearly exchange programs with the Ecole Normale Sup√©rieure and with the Institut d‚ÄôAnglais at the Universit√© de Paris VII.
I hope that you will take the opportunity to explore our site and its various links so as to acquaint yourself more fully with our programs, our faculty, and their research interests. Do not hesitate to contact the faculty or our superb staff members should you have any further questions about studying in our department.
Professor and Chair