French presidential candidates
French for Politics / Le Français Politique
137 :  French for Economics, Business, and Politics
Spring 2022
Class No: 32133
109 Dwinelle
Claire Tourmen Perron

This class provides a solid introduction to French-speaking political cultures, with an emphasis on European countries like France, Belgium and Switzerland, but with discussion of other geographic areas (Québec, francophone Africa) as well. The course’s cultural objectives are coupled with linguistic objectives to help you speak about political issues in French. Whether you want to work with or within French-speaking countries, in diplomacy or international affairs, politics, medias, academia, or NGOs, this class will help you build domain-specific linguistic skills as well as intercultural competencies to be able to better interact with people from French-speaking public organizations, NGOs, and media; to develop your capacity to search for and make sense of information in French-speaking media; to develop a better understanding of the core political issues discussed during the French electoral season of 2022. You will also learn how to conduct a semi-directive interview on political matters in French.

Learning outcomes

After this class, you will be able to:
- Navigate French speaking media and decipher their different political orientations;
- Read, listen to, and discuss current political matters in French, with the use of specialized vocabulary;
- Understand the unique features and challenges of French-speaking political systems and the French administration;
- Conduct a semi-directive interview in French.
Required Textbook:
Edward Ousselin (2018). La France : histoire, société, culture. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
Course Organization
Each class will involve a mix of teacher and student presentations, discussions, role plays, and analysis of authentic documents (texts, audio, video etc.). The class will be conducted entirely in French. This will be an interactive class, aimed at maximizing your time interacting in French. Your grammar does not need to be perfect; we will focus on being understood and accurate (both linguistically and culturally).
The class will be organized around 5 textbook chapters and the day-to-day development of the French presidential election:

  • Introduction: you will reflect on why French people are so passionate about politics;
  • Chapter 1 (Political Life): you will learn about French political parties and the chief politicians and institutions in France in order to follow daily news about the French Presidential election during the Spring of 2022;
  • Chapter 2 (Medias): you will learn how to navigate French speaking media in Europe, Canada and Africa;
  • Chapter 3 (Administration): you will learn how to interact with l’Etat providence (the Welfare State);
  • Chapter 4 (World Stage): you will learn how to understand French-speaking countries’ positions on the world stage;
  • Chapter 5 (Hot Topics): you will discuss and deliberate on some of the most divisive topics of French politics today: How to address social inequalities and unemployment in times of capitalism? Why are laïcité (secularism), national identity and immigration so controversial? Are ecologists winning the political agenda, but launching new culture wars? We will also discover hot political topics in other French speaking countries.

Special feature of the class: the 2022 French Presidential Election will unfold in front of us. We will closely follow the election (to be held April 10 and April 24, 2022) by watching and commenting on the televised debates between the candidates and viewing and commenting on the election nights (April 10 and April 24, 2022).

This class will expose you to a great deal of authentic materials (newspaper articles, journal articles, websites, television shows, videos, songs…), including texts from famous French thinkers such as the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, the economist Thomas Piketty, and others. We will welcome a few
French speaking guest lecturers from other Departments (sociology, economy) in class.

Claire Tourmen Perron
Lecturer at UCB French Department,
A French native, Claire Tourmen was trained in humanities, philosophy and political sciences at La Sorbonne (Paris I) before becoming a researcher in Education at AgroSup Dijon-University of Burgundy, where she specialized in professional learning, intercultural learning, and program evaluation. Claire did her PhD research within a consulting firm in Lyon, France, while performing public program evaluation for the European Union and various national and local organizations in France. She also taught program evaluation at the Master level at Sciences Po Lyon, Sciences Po Rennes, and other universities. She is a reviewer for journals in political science such as Evaluation, American Journal of Evaluation, The Canadian journal of program evaluation, Revue Française d’Administration Publique. Since 2017, she has been a lecturer in the UC Berkeley French Department.