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As a major you will be expected to reach near fluency in your language skills, sharpening them in small classes and in casual conversations during French language meals in a dining hall. You can live the language and culture through Hamilton in France, where you will be challenged to speak nothing but French. You’ll emerge with new-found confidence and a deeper understanding of yourself.

About the Major

In the tradition of the liberal arts, the French program at Hamilton encourages students to escape the confines of a single language and grow toward a larger understanding of the world. Hamilton students who have studied abroad often find that the experience has been among the most meaningful of their lives.

I love the language of French and always loved it – and I hope I always will. And becoming bilingual in French and English has absolutely nothing to do with veterinary medicine, but being able to go to a school like Hamilton has allowed me to pursue both of my passions...

Jess Sofen — French major

The word "language" itself is of French origin, a fact that suggests the dramatic reach and importance of French throughout history and in the modern world. French is the language of much of the world's greatest literature and philosophy. It is widely spoken in such regions as Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, a legacy of the colonial era. It preceded English as the international language and so remains deeply woven into the discourse of history and diplomacy.

Careers After Hamilton

  • 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

Contact Information

French and Francophone Studies Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4771 french@hamilton.edu

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Elementary French 110F

A thorough grounding in speaking, writing, reading and comprehension for beginners. This is an intensive, interactive course in which students make rapid gains in oral fluency and are able to read short texts. Textbook readings, daily on-line and written exercises supplemented by short texts and films.

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History of French Cinema (in English): Labor on Film 160

This First-Year course offers an overview of major movements of French cinema’s long and significant history. This year’s topic is the representation of labor including films from the Lumière brothers era, post WWI poetic realism, the 1960s New Wave and militant cinema to today’s new realism and parody. The theme of work will familiarize students with French social and political history. Taught in English (films in French with English subtitles). Reading on the theory of film and French cultural history will supplement screenings. The class may include field trips. Oral Presentations.

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Francophone Theaters 276S

An exploration of diverse playwriting techniques and themes in different French-speaking areas. Plays read or watched on video. Assignments include text analysis as well as dramatic readings and/or reenacting scenes from the plays. Authors read include: Michel Tremblay and Marie Brassard (Québec), Aimé Césaire (Martinique), Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe), Mikanza Mobyem (Congo-Kinshasa), Marie Ndiaye, Sartre, Camus, Beckett, or Ionesco (France), Guillaume Oyono Mbia (Cameroun), Guy Régis Jr. (Haiti), Sony Labou Tansi (Congo-Brazzaville), and Werewere Liking (Cameroun-Côte d’Ivoire). Oral Presentations.

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Writing the Self: Autobiography Across the Francophone World 356S

Exploration of the autobiographical experience of French-speaking authors from France, the Caribbean, and Africa, in memoirs, auto-biographies, journals, diaries, and film. Consideration also of the different cultures, sexes, and social contexts. Authors/filmmakers may include Michel Leiris, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maryse Condé, Assia Djebar, Camara Laye, Mariama Bâ, Ken Bugul, Moufida Tlatli, Maïwenn, Zakia Tahiri, The final project consists of writing an autobiography/literary journal or diary (real or fictive), or producing an autobiographical short film. Taught in French. Proseminar.

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Out in the City: Nineteenth-Century Paris 415

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. Oral Presentations. Proseminar.

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