Speaking a foreign language is like opening a window in a blind wall.
Fatima Mernissi
The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

French 101, 102, 103 is the three-term series of beginning French, French 201, 202, 203 of intermediate French, and 311 and 312 the two-term series of Advanced French. 

Courses above 312 are specialized in content and varied: conversation, literature, business, culture/civilization, advanced stylistics/writing, and film. They reflect the richness and diversity of the French and Francophone world. The crowning of French studies is the Minor thesis when the student writes an extensive research paper on a subject of his/her choosing relating to the French or Francophone world. All courses, from French 101 on, are taught in French.



The experience of an extended stay abroad is invaluable for advanced mastery of the language and a better understanding of the country and culture under study.
International Programs/Study Abroad

GE3: France, Université Technologique de Troyes (UTT) (Exchange)
GE3: France, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA Lyon) (Exchange)
Drexel in France: Ecole Superieure du Commerce Exterieur (ESCE) (Exchange)
Drexel in France: CIEE Rennes
Drexel in France: CIEE Paris
Drexel in France: Sciences Po
Drexel in France: Summer in Montpellier
Drexel in Paris and London: Dual City Summer
Drexel in Belgium: EPA Brussels

Drexel Abroad programs are open to students in all disciplines who are pre-juniors or juniors and above and who meet the following requirements:
- a cumulative average of 3.0 (3.5 for pre-juniors)
- at least two upper-division courses in history, politics, and/or sociology
- completion of the intermediate year of college language study or the equivalent



Parlons français
This course stresses conversation and prepares students to function linguistically and culturally in French-speaking countries. So whether you go to France, Belgium, Québec, Sénégal or elsewhere, be it for leisure, study or work, soon or later, this is a course which will introduce you to genuine French for application in real life.

L'Amour en littérature et film

An introductory course to French/ Francophone literature through the theme of love, with excerpts of representative texts to gain familiarity in genre, authors, figures of speech, discourse analysis, historical and cultural contexts, etc. It includes reading, and oral and written analysis of the chosen texts, and the viewing of movies from corresponding time-periods on the theme of love.

Autour de la littérature
offers a unique approach to literature, encouraging students to play and create with the language as they explore both classical and non-traditional Francophone literature. It contains selections from short stories to poetry, even advertising and film, and will open your eyes and ears to a new appreciation of French literature.
Reading comprehension and writing skills are emphasized but also oral presentations and discussions in French with class participation in small groups and as a whole class. Hybrid.

L'exil en littérature

This course will examine, through excerpts of francophone literature, various forms of exile, together with some of its ramifications like new possibilities, or on the contrary, marginalization and exclusion. It presents French/ Francophone literature through the theme of exile, with excerpts of representative texts to gain familiarity in some features of genre, various francophone authors (20th and 21st century mainly), figures of speech, discourse analysis, historical and cultural contexts, etc. It includes reading and oral and written analysis of the chosen texts.
There will then be an emphasis on reading and analytical skills but also on writing and speaking in class. Hybrid.

Bon appétit!
Words and food from the country whose cuisine has been declared "world intangible heritage" by UNESCO in November 2010. This course introduces French cuisine in its context, i.e. its various aspects: historical, social, societal, economic, together with some very current issues. It illustrates it through excerpts from French literature, XXth but mostly XXIst century writers, through film too, and insists above all on the pleasure of food and texts, of eating and writing. Hybrid.

FREN 371 - Specialized Studies in French Civilization & Culture
Voyages en France
Voyages en France invites you to a discovery of the variety and richness of France, the most visited country in the world, through some of its regions, nine out of twenty-six, metropolitan and overseas included. Based on a movie each week, the course leads you to probe deeper into the various regions past, politics, industry, social-economics, linguistics, architecture, art, music, literature and gastronomy. Hybrid.

La France et ses médias
La France et ses médias, is designed for students to understand how France operates, ticks and feels on national and international issues with an insider's view, through its written, spoken and audiovisual press, and to learn about current events and debates in France, and French-specific features of government, politics, society, welfare, and culture. Through the use of the internet, various documents and a text-book, it provides very up-to-date and immediate access to what is going on in the Hexagon. Intense practice of the four skills at an advanced level: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Hybrid.

Paris je t'aime
A study of the biggest francophone city of which Gertrude Stein used to say: "America is my country and Paris is my hometown". Its characteristics and identity will be apprehended through major historical and current events, economy, sociology, urbanism, and through reflections in literature, film and other arts. Hybrid.

La Chanson française
French songs studied as a linguistic and cultural tool. Hybrid.

Dire et écrire

What is our daily life made of: "bread," routine, chores, fun, surprise, "métro, boulot, dodo" or "le bel aujourd'hui"? With daily life as a theme, learn how various texts from varied fields (literary, journalistic, comics, film, songs) express discourse, and by what means. Through a close study of style and discussion in class, students will practice the four skills, especially textual analysis and writing, by imitation and creation. Hybrid.


L'amour, romans
The study of four contemporary novels on the theme of love.

Romans contemporains
Romans contemporains introduces you to four very successful contemporary novels that made the top of the list. You will discover some writers and works that the French are reading in these 21st century years, and be acquainted with contemporary French writing and themes. Hybrid.

La nouvelle francophone, hier et aujourd'hui
A study of XXth and XXIst century short stories from France and the Francophone world from contemporary writers from France, Martinique, Algeria, Québec, Vietnam, Belgium, Switzerland, etc…
Literature, the short story in this case, as mimesis or imitation of life, and therefore close attention will be paid to the atmosphere, plot and climax of the various texts but also to their cultural components and what they tell about people, mores, places, habits, history, politics, etc… Along the course, characteristics of the short story will be defined and what makes it a genre on its own. There will then be an emphasis on reading and analytical skills but also on writing and speaking in class. Hybrid.

Impressions d'Orient et d'Occident : parcours de femmes
From Nasser's Egypt to France in the 90's to contemporary Japan, four novels which describe women under different times and climes. How do these women work, love, laugh and cry, in a word cope with life ? What are their places and roles in the family and society ? What are their opportunities and/or constraints ? Such are some of the questions that will be examined in this class with textual analysis, or a feminist or cultural studies approach. Hybrid.

Regards croisés Europe/Amérique du Nord
A study through several literary works and/or excerpts of essays and news-articles from Québec, Belgium and France, of the United States as seen by "alien" eyes and minds. How do the country, its inhabitants, the American way of life appear to French, Québécois and Belgian writers in general? How does what is often called "America" in both languages also appear in French-speaking literature after September 11? How is also France seen through American or Québécois eyes? What is the value of an approach from beyond the USA borders or the Hexagon of these respective countries? Does it carry sharp and interestingly new, fresh insights, or clichés and prejudices? Does it reflect the foreign writer's gaze or reveal more than native, self-reflecting writing would? Such will be some of the issues raised in this study. Hybrid.

Souvenirs d'enfance : souvenirs d'en France et d'ailleurs
20th century childhood memories from France and elsewhere considered in their cultural context (time, place, social class, family structure, schooling...) and their literary dimension (self-narrative characteristics, role of memory, choice of genre: “memories”, novel, autobiography) .Hybrid.

Notre présent, notre monde
From the private, to the public, to the international sphere, how do French novelists see our times and our world? How are the family, globalization, postcolonialism, immigration, Islam and islamism, September 11 perceived through the prism of very recent fiction? Four novels will provide some answers. Hybrid.

L'Union européenne et la France
A study of the European Union from its beginnings to nowadays through its treaties, institutions, transformations, evolution, successes and failures, and of France in relationship to this evolving body, throughout the last six decades.
What is or is not this ever-enlarging EU with 10 new member countries in 2004 and Bulgaria and Rumania joining in 2007, other countries applying too? What is this new 27 countries configuration like in political, social, economic, foreign policy terms since its constitution was voted down by France and the Netherlands? How does the EU function in its own realm and in its interaction with the rest of the world? How can it evolve? These are some questions to debate. Hybrid.

Aspects de la France contemporaine et multiculturelle

La France et la société française telles qu'elles peuvent s'appréhender en ce début de 21e siècle et donc présentation de certains de leurs aspects politiques, sociaux, multiculturels, dans le cadre de l'Hexagone et de l'Europe. L'accent sera particulièrement mis sur certaines questions telles que l'identité nationale face au multiculturalisme et à l'Europe, la gestion du gouvernement, les problèmes de l'économie, l'évolution de la société, les jeunes et leur diversité, "Blacks, Blancs, Beurs", la production culturelle sous diverses formes.
Pour cerner ces diverses facettes, interviendront l'actualité (sous forme d'articles de journaux ou d'hebdomadaires, de bulletins télévisés en ligne) et une réflexion plus approfondie, moins immédiate, par le biais de la sociologie, la littérature, le cinéma, la bande dessinée, etc. Hybrid.

1914-2014: Un siècle d'événements
In 1914, France was the second world power. In 2014, it is the fifth. What happened in between? In a hundred years, events reshaped the country politically, economically, socially and culturally inside and out.
This course will focus on the study of XXth and XXIst century French history, as it is represented and interpreted in major French films, which will be shown in class. Films include La Grande Illusion (World War I), Indochine (colonization), Au revoir, les enfants (World War II), Les Roseaux sauvages (the end of colonialism), Code Inconnu (France at the threshold of the 21st century), and phenomena pertaining to the 21st century proper.
Film will be used as a media to teach history and after an introduction to the events or periods, or particular features to be witnessed, attention will be paid to the interpretation of the film-maker, his approach and/or biases. Along the course, main features of French history in France itself but also abroad will be defined, and parallels with other countries-history drawn.

Femmes et films en France
This course deals with contemporary women's lives, places and issues in French society through film (family, jobs, sexuality, ethnicity, etc.), depicted mainly (but not exclusively) by women film-makers. Hybrid.

La Société française en film
This course deals with contemporary French society through film from the 1990's on: social classes, men, women, youth, multiculturalism, French specificity, related issues. Hybrid.

Cinéma francophone
A study of some countries through their cinema, reflecting through this means, issues or aspects of those countries or provinces such as Quebec, Belgium, Switzerland, Rumania, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Mali, Lebanon. Hybrid.

Vie contemporaine en film
This course introduces some aspects of French contemporary life through film dating from 2000 to 2013. The selected movies deal with the themes of work, leisure, youth, gender inequalities, politics, finance, immigration, disability as they are currently perceived by various French (and one Swiss) film-makers. Hybrid.


IAS 360 - Special Topics in World Civilization
Some Countries of the Mediterranean Rim

The study of some countries of the Mediterranean rim, where French influence has been felt at one point in time under colonial rule and is still felt, though to a much lesser degree, namely Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. These countries' past will be examined, but also their evolution through the centuries and their political, social, economic contemporary configurations.

The Middle East between Tradition and Modernity
The Middle East, cradle of mankind, birth-place of the three monotheistic religions, center of ancient and brilliant civilizations, has been an area of variety and contrast in its mosaic of countries. It has also been and still is - to the very present- both a literal battle ground and a figurative one, where tradition and modernity coexist or clash. This coexistence of or clash between tradition and modernity will be examined in various countries and illustrated in areas such as government, economy, society, mass media, culture and religion.

Iran Then and Now
Some of Iran’s past (19th century), but mainly the 20th and 21st centuries will be studied in this course: politics, religion, culture, literature and film, through Iranian eyes.

IAS 260 - Evil Isms
From antisemitism to totalitarianism in the name of religion or politics (communism, nazism) to terrorism, this course will focus on prejudices and ideologies, how they variously expressed themselves negatively throughout time and space to the present, how they have been counteracted or still, always do need counteracting.

Women and Human Rights Worldwide
The concept of women's human rights emerged as a distinct aspect of human rights during the international women's movements of the 1980's to ensure a more sustained focus on women's rights throughout the world. Women’s human rights will be considered on ALL continents and in various areas like health, society, exile, war, censorship, childhood, etc, through pertinent essays but also literature and film.


WMST 240 - Women/Society Global Context
omen and Religion in the Middle East and South Asia (Team-taught. My part: The Middle East)
The course is a comparative examination of the role of religion and culture in the lives of Hindu women in South Asia and Muslim women in the Middle East. Does religion shape women's daily lives, politics, law concerning them, their role in society in Middle Eastern countries (with an emphasis on Egypt and Iran)? We will examine these issues along our readings and question Nawal el Saadawi’s statement in The Hidden Face of Eve: “Religion, in particular, is a weapon often used in traditionalist societies to cut short, and even cut down, the efforts of researchers, and seekers of truth. I have come to see more and more clearly that religion is most often used in our day as an instrument in the hands of economic and political forces, as an institution utilized by those who rule to keep down those who are ruled. In this it serves the same purpose as juridical, educational, police and even psychiatric systems used to perpetuate the patriarchal family, historically born, reinforced and maintained by the oppression of women, children and slaves. Thus in any society it is not possible to separate religion from the political system, nor to keep sex separate from politics" (3-4).

WMST 280 - Special Topics inWomen's Studies
Francophone African Women Writers: Displacement. From One Continent To Another
An introduction to the writing of Francophone women writers from Sub-Saharan Africa: Calixthe Belaya (Cameroon), Véronique Tadjo (the Ivory Coast), Mariama Bâ and Fatou Diome (Senegal). With each writer and book will be examined the status, roles and challenges of women in their respective societies. What is the role of women in nation formation and since? How do these women writers use writing to (re) define themselves and clear a discursive space for the discussion of the female condition? How do they challenge male domination and the Eurocentric nature of feminists' appraisal of the female condition in their societies when this applies? Also, how do they handle "displacement", whether it be literal or figurative? These questions will be addressed through close textual analysis.

Writing on the Body
A study of the female body, since "our bodies ourselves" to the present, dealing with such themes as the body as sexual object or reproductive womb, the body as social construct and the tyranny of the look, and related issues in politics, violence, sexism, fashion, peer-pressure, illness, age, etc.

Arab Women Writers
From Maghrebian Algeria and Morocco to Middle Eastern Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon, five Arab women writers depict life in their countries or an unnamed desert state, from the 1940s to the ongoing Iraq War, raising critical questions about society, politics, economics and woman's place in so doing.


Students' Minor Theses under my sole supervision
- Le portrait du roi (Louis XIV) (Kai McLaughlin)
- Représentation corporelle desFrançaises (Sarah Mukhtar)
- Les Pharmacies en France (Marie Nguyen)
- Francophilie en terre russe du XVIIIe au XXIe siècle (Kristine Bohnhoff)
- « Vive la France ». Résistants et réfractaires pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale (Jessica Coulon)
- Œnologie et œnologues (Emily Buck)
- Biodiversité et disponibilité de nourriture bio en France (Alexandra Bell)
- La Prostitution en France (Seynique Smythe)
- Charles Perrault: Contes et adaptations filmiques (Amanda Good)
- Critiques gastronomiques: Hier et aujourd'hui (Dominique Gnatowski)
- Comparaison: la Villa Savoye de Le Corbusier et Fallingwater de Frank Lloyd Wright (Jacob Gulezian)
- Le Collège en France et aux Etats-Unis (Brittany Handler)
- Mai 68: Un tournant pour les droits des femmes (Michaela Kolbe)
- Les Grandes écoles (Benson Igarabuza)
- Le système éducatif au Vietnam (Anh Pham)
- L'Architecture de Versailles (Eve Parrot)
- L'état et l'avenir de l'énergie nucléaire en France (Benjamin Smith)
- Combats féministes des Françaises (Stephanie Toronidis)
- Ponts de France (Bridget Botchwey)
- La Gastronomie moléculaire, au carrefour de la science et de la cuisine (Christine Rettew)
- Noirs de France (Krystle Wilson)
- Alcool et culture/s en France et aux Etats-Unis (Mai-Linh Bui)
- Yves Saint Laurent (Katherine Wilt)
- Mouvements LGTB en Afrique de l'Ouest: Homophobie et lutte pour l'égalité (Adam Zahn)
- Le Handicap en France: Lutte contre l'inégalité (Ashley Hutchinson)
- Etiquette et savoir-vivre (Christina DiSciullo)
- La Nourriture française (Stefanie Gonnella)
- Les Ethnies au Sénégal (Astou Ndiaye)
- Séparation Eglise Etat en France et aux Etats-Unis (Bonnie Johnson)
- Entre le texte et le film: les contes de C. Perrault et J. M. Leprince de Beaumont (Elizabeth Dzwonek)
- Voiles et mariages forcés en France (Shefali Ramsinghani)
- La Cuisine française (Melis Erdogan)
- La Chlordécone en Martinique et en Guadeloupe (Shannon Oseback)
- Les Films de Luc Besson: Une analyse culturelle (Sarah Meiklejohn)
- Les Femmes dans les pays maghrébins (Nora McLaughlin)
- Néo-colonialisme pétrolier: un monde de corruption et de délinquance financière (Andrew Damron)
- Le breton: une langue en danger (Peter Caisse)
- L'Image des immigrés roumains en France (Andrada Deatcu)
- La France et la politique de l'environnement (Regina Cagle)
- L'Immigration: amie ou ennemie? Impact de l'immigration en France d'anciennes colonies depuis la Deuxième guerre mondiale (Jessica Bozarth)
- L'Esprit parisien: Paris, capitale de la haute couture (Brittany Cormack)
- Napoléon: monarchiste ou révolutionnaire? (Alice Shu)
- Usages et limites du verlan (Sean Manzano)
- Système éducatif et langues étrangères en France et aux Etats-Unis (Emily Jenkins)
- L'Armée qui a sauvé le peuple rwandais (Jean Gustave Afrika)
- L'Immigration en France et au Québec (Neale Bergman)
- L'Influence de la Nouvelle Vague sur le cinéma d'aujourd'hui (Gabrielle Starace)
- L'Immigration aux Etats-Unis: Attitudes américaines et perceptions francophones (Mary Hoffman)
- Le Grand secret: Les Essais nucléaires en Polynésie (Aaron R. Sakulich)
- La Communauté russe en France (Olga Shikhman)
- Islam et judaïsme en France (Charles Fofana)
- Le Chômage en France (Laurie Nguyen)
- Les Frogs et les big Macs: Guerre culturelle entre Américains et Français et accroissement des tensions de chaque côté de l'Atlantique (James E. Langel)
- Francophobie: Création d'une administration manipulatrice et ses réseaux sauvages (Stephen Wildy)
- La France et les défis de la mondialisation (Sanam Fazelbhoy)
- Les Algériens-Français: un long voyage (Philip Fitzgerald)

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