French and Francophone Studies
The goal of the French and Francophone Studies Department is to encourage an appreciation of the heritage and culture of French-speaking peoples and help students develop language proficiency necessary for a mature understanding of France and Francophone countries, past and present.
About the Major
French is the language of much of the world’s greatest literature and philosophy. Widely spoken in such regions as Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia, it preceded English as the international language and remains ingrained into the discourse of history and diplomacy. At Hamilton, students of French sharpen their language skills in small classes and through casual conversations at French tables in a dining hall. Many students live the language and culture through Hamilton in France, where, challenged to speak nothing but French, they emerge with new-found confidence and a deeper understanding of themselves.
Students Will Learn To:
- Communicate effectively in oral and written French
- Construct interpretive arguments about a variety of works, and/or historical or contemporary events from areas of the world in which French is spoken
- Research and present clear results in written and spoken form
A Sampling of Courses
Out in the City: Nineteenth-Century Paris
Examination of the ways in which an increasingly modern Paris looms large in the 19th-century imagination. Explores developments in the arts (drawing, caricature and photography) and writing (journalism and literature) to examine topics such as money, pleasure, looking, flânerie, fashion, social class and gender within the context of urban decay and renewal. Attention to the historical and social geography of Paris complements study of writers such as Balzac, Girardin, Baudelaire and Zola and artists such as Daumier, Nadar, and the impressionists.
Explore these select courses:
What makes us laugh, and what is the social function of comedy? This course examines French comic literature, film, theater and performance from medieval fabliau and farce, modern comic fiction and theater, to contemporary cinema and stand-up comedy; works of imagination are read against the theories of Aristotle, Joubert, Baudelaire, Freud, Bergson, and Bakhtin. Authors and artists include Rabelais; Molière; Voltaire; Georges Feydeau; Albert Jarry; Eugène Ionesco; Jacques Tati; Agnès Jaoui; and Gad Elmaleh. Work includes a personal carnet du rire, an oral presentation, and a longer project.
This course explores the limitations, functions, and capacities of language through postcolonial and comparative lenses. We will investigate the relationship between language and nation or language and identity, and explore forms of language such as tongue, discourse, and corporeal language. Sources will include critical texts, narratives, and film from Sartre, Fanon, Lê, Lafèrriere, Chraibi, among others. Students will gain the tools and perspectives to question the language(s) we speak, write, interpret, choose and exclude.
Meet Our Faculty
Professor of French
French 20th- and 21st-century literature and film; narrative representation of trauma (war, poverty); social documentary from the 1970s to today; literature and film of the Nazi occupation of France (Patrick Modiano); women writers (Amélie Nothomb, Assia Djebar, Simone de Beauvoir)
Associate Professor of French
contemporary French and Francophone literature, culture, and film; literature and cinema of immigration; transnational immigrant identities in France
Visiting Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Medieval French and Occitan lyric, sound and performance studies, manuscript studies, Medieval and contemporary philosophy, queer and gender studies, 16th-century French poetry, and architecture history of French opera
Teaching Fellow in French and Francophone Studies
Explore Hamilton Stories
Emma Mae Regan ’22 explored the world of public policy through an internship at the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Global Policy Group (GPG). Founded by Ian Graig ’79, GPG provides domestic and international corporations across a range of business sectors with assistance regarding U.S. politics.
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in French are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Assignment Editor, ABC News
- Music Teacher, New York City Department of Education
- Professor of French, Wesleyan University
- Pilot, Delta Airlines
- Chairman and CEO, Procter & Gamble
- Medical Writer, Providence Journal
- Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Emory University
- French Teacher, Choate Rosemary Hall
- New York State Supreme Court Justice
- Vice President of Product Development, Estee Lauder
- International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture