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:
Meet Our Faculty
Chair and Professor of French
19th-century literature, in particular French women writers; literary humor; urban literature
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
Professor of French
Francophone African and Caribbean literatures and cultures, and 20th-century avant-garde French literature
Visiting Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Medieval French and Occitan lyric, medieval and modern philosophy, Opera and Performance Studies, manuscript studies, and sound studies
Explore Hamilton Stories
Amidst the bustling crowds at Commons and McEwen dining halls, language faculty and students sit around a table to enjoy a meal while conversing in their chosen studied language. Hamilton’s “language tables,” as they are known, provide both valuable speaking experience and community building opportunities.
Mwantuali Publishes New Edition of L’impair de la nation
L’impair de la nation, by Professor of French Joseph Mwantuali, was recently published in Paris by Présence Africaine.
Robertson ’23 Presents Emerson Project at NeMLA
Arianna Robertson ’23 recently presented her Emerson grant research project at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) convention.
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
French and Francophone Studies Department
Claire Mouflard, Acting Chair
Clinton, NY 13323