Courses available in French


Tout est dit, et l'on vient trop tard.

—La Bruyère

French 142AC: The Cultures of Franco-America — Literature, Identity, Politics (Summer Session A — first six week session)


Hard copies of books must be brought to class (no electronic books, please).

From the Student Store (or used online)—please make every effort to get the edition listed below:

Nella Larsen, Quicksand (Dover)

Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land, translated by Berger and Bostock (Archipelago)

N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (Harper)

Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed (Pantheon)  

From Instant Copying (2138 University Ave): Course reader

Course Description:

Since the 17th century, when the French established their first stable settlements in North America, there has been a long history of productive encounters between the French and Americans. In this course, we will read a broad range of literary works that showcase these encounters as they open up questions of racial, cultural, and linguistic identities. By observing how these identities shift and interact over 400 years, as well as how they are bound up with sexual, gender, and national identities, we will work to understand how categories of race have been shaped and contested over time, and the role that literature plays in those processes.

We will read literary texts from five distinct historical encounters: early encounters between the French and Native Americans in North America; French treatments of American democracy in the 19th century; the complex relations of Franco- and Anglo-Americans in 19th-century Louisiana; the travel of African-American writers in France following World War I; the bi-directional travel of French and American feminist writers across the Atlantic in the mid-20th century.

To pursue this inquiry, we will read a broad range of literary texts, including poetry, fiction, travel writing, and essays. We will also consult supplementary readings that provide historical and literary-critical context, and students will enrich our contextual understanding through group presentations. As this is a literature course, our discussions will consider not only the history presented by the texts we read, but also the significance of their form. Students will complete weekly, written homework assignments; one in-class presentation; and one final exam (prepared at home and written in class).

​ This course satisfies the American Cultures requirement. This course will be conducted in English; reading knowledge of French is not required.​

Additional Information:

Course conducted in English.  Satisfies campus American Cultures requirement.  Satisfies one “outside elective” in French major.  By exception for summer session 2015, satisfies one course in the French minor.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes