News and Events

News and Events

Il ne faut jamais avoir peur d’aller trop loin car la vĂ©ritĂ© est au-delĂ .

— Proust

Welcome

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 in teaching, whether it is in an introductory 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 – from literary history and theory to philosophy, to social and cultural theory, to historical and contemporary linguistics, 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.

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 and Geneva. 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 13 and 14. The Berkeley campus also features an exchange program through which qualified undergraduates can spend a year at the prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure, in Paris. At the graduate level, the Department has two yearly exchange programs with the Ecole Normale Supérieure and with the Institut d’Anglais at the Université de Paris VII.

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 Gisèle Sapiro (2014), Jocelyne Dakhlia (2012), Wendy Ayres-Bennett (2012), Christopher Prendergast (2010), Ross Chambers (2009); Jacques Rancière (2008 and 2006); Michael Sheringham (2006); and Didier Eribon (2004-2005 and 2003-2004).  Recent shorter term visitors have included Olivier Wieviorka, Jean-Claude Carrière, Michel Jeanneret, Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, Scolastique Mukasonga, François Bon, Mireille Huchon, and Yves Citton.

This year philosopher/critic Frédéric Worms will be in residence as Pajus Distinguished Professor in April, and we look forward to visits by Congolese author Fiston Mwanza Mujila, film maker Véronique Aubuoy, sociologist Eric Fassin, and musicologist Peter Szendy (March), among others.  Please consult this site for information about upcoming events.

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.

Timothy Hampton, Chair