French for Economics, Politics, and Business

137 :  French for Professions
Fall 2023
Class No: 30842
20 Wheeler
Claire Tourmen Perron
12:00 PM - 12:59 PM

Learning Objectives:
This class provides a solid introduction to French-speaking political, economic, and business cultures.

The course’s cultural objectives are coupled with 1) linguistic objectives to help you speak about political and economic issues in French and 2) intercultural objectives to prepare you for the workplace in francophone organizations, i.e. for an internships, especially if you follow the new professionalizing opportunity offered in “International Relations” within the French Minor and Major (for more details, contact Nina Cohen,, or Claire Tourmen,

We will also train you to take an optional test (planned in the French Department in December 2023 – work in progress), recognized in francophone professional worlds, le Diplôme en Français Professionel, delivered by La Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris, to boost your employability and certify your proficiency in French in certain professional domains.

This class will be an asset if you want to work in diplomacy or international affairs, politics, economics, international business, law, media, and NGOs. It is well suited for majors/minors in French and as a complement for majors in Political Science, Global Studies, Law, Economics, Business Administration, Sociology, Journalism, Media Studies, among others. This class is also a perfect introduction or complement for “Political Science 147F – Contemporary French politics in historical perspective: the republican model in transition,” taught by Professor Jonah Levy.

Learning Outcomes:
After this class, you will be able to:

  • Navigate French-speaking media and decipher their different orientations;
  • Read, listen to, and discuss current political/economic/business matters in French, with the use of specialized vocabulary;
  • Understand the unique features and challenges of French-speaking political/economic systems, and francophone businesses;
  • Immerse yourself with intercultural relevance in professional francophone worlds;
  • Conduct a semi-directive interview in French.

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). We will work on texts from famous francophone thinkers such as the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, the economist Thomas Piketty, and others, and this class will help you learn techniques to do research in social sciences. We will welcome a few French-speaking guest lecturers from other departments/universities (e.g., in political science, in sociology, geography…) and from professional worlds (e.g., Unesco, Gastronomy and Food-Industry…) in class.  

The class will be organized around 5 chapters:

  • Introduction: we will reflect on the politic/economic/social state of France within Europe today;
  • Chapter 1 (Political Life): you will learn about French political parties, public debates, and the chief politicians and institutions in France;
  • Chapter 2 (Media): you will learn how to navigate French-speaking media worldwide;
  • Chapter 3 (International Relations): you will learn how to understand French-speaking countries’ positions on the world stage;
  • Chapter 4 (Business): you will learn about the main features of the French economy, its strengths and its challenges; we will dive into the institutional and spatial organization of commerce in France, as well as into several economic sectors representative of the country’s strengths and specificities (e.g., agro-food industry and gastronomy, tourism, engineering and technology);
  • Chapter 5 (Workplace cultures): you will learn about workplace cultures in France and prepare yourself for a professional immersion (e.g., through an internship). You will also be trained to perform successful professional interactions in French.

Special features of the class: This class will be tied to the active participation in the Social Science Speaker Series in French, organized by the French Department and the Center of Excellence for French and Francophone Studies in Berkeley.  It will also include an online exchange with students from Sciences Po Lyon on political/economic topics.

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 (including psychology of work), intercultural learning, and program evaluation. Claire did her PhD resesarch within a consulting firm in Lyon 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 experienced working with multiple professional worlds in France and Québec while she was teaching vocational training in Dijon and supervising internships, including abroad. She is a reviewer for journals such as Evaluation, American Journal of Evaluation, The Canadian journal of program evaluation, Revue Française d’Administration Publique, Culture and Psychology. Since 2017, she has been a lecturer in the UC Berkeley French Department and in charge of the “French For Politics” class in the Spring of 2022. She is now developing professionalizing paths for learners of French at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with Déborah Blocker, other colleagues, and partners, after having received a grant from the French Embassy in the US/Face Foundation.