This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad.
Notes about this minor:
This minor is closed to fluent native speakers of French.
Posting of the minor on the student’s academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
The program code for Modern Language – French Minor is FRENCH-MN.
This is the first course in a two-course sequence. The sequence provides students without prior exposure to the language with a sound basis for learning French as it is used today in its spoken and written forms. The goal of the sequence is proficiency in communication skills with an emphasis on oral proficiency. The sequence also acquaints students with contemporary culture and life in French-speaking countries. Students must take placement exam if this is their first RIT class in French and they have some prior study of French.
Beginning French II
This is the second course in a two-course sequence. The sequence provides students without prior exposure to the language with a sound basis for learning French as it is used today in its spoken and written forms. The goal of the sequence is proficiency in communication skills with an emphasis on oral proficiency. The sequence also acquaints students with contemporary culture and life in French-speaking countries.
Intermediate French I
This is the first course of a two-course sequence at the intermediate level. The sequence provides students with the tools necessary to increase their ability to function in French. Communicative activities, contemporary texts, vocabulary study, and grammar are used to expand all communication skills, especially oral proficiency. This sequence continues to address issues of contemporary French life and culture as well as the cultures of the Francophone world.
Intermediate French II
This is the second course of a two-course sequence at the intermediate level. The sequence provides students with the tools necessary to increase their ability to function in French. Communicative activities, contemporary texts, vocabulary study, and grammar are used to expand all communication skills, especially oral proficiency. This sequence continues to address issues of contemporary French life and culture as well as the cultures of the Francophone world.
French Oral Communication
This course is designed to help students improve their oral communication in French by focusing on increasing and developing speaking and listening skills. Through communicative activities students will gain conversational skills in French and cultural knowledge about France and French people. The course also combines an examination of how French sounds are produced with practical exercises taken from a variety of sources, including songs and movie/tv show clips. Students in this course will improve their general fluency and oral accuracy while also increasing their knowledge of Francophone culture and colloquial French. Taught in French.
French Reading and Writing Proficiency
This course trains students to read and write in French at an advanced intermediate level of competency. Through gradual presentation and recognition of French grammar forms and vocabulary, students learn to comprehend, discuss, and analyze a wide variety of French texts, including songs, scripts of movies and TV series, comic books, skits, news items, canonical narratives, as well as some technical and scientific materials. Students also learn to write and express their ideas in grammatically correct French and to explore different genres and forms of writing. The course also expands students’ knowledge of French and Francophone cultures. Conducted in French.
Advanced French I
This is the first course of a two-course sequence at the advanced level. This course will emphasize active spoken language use. Other skills will also be used, such as reading, writing and listening, but primarily as helps for developing conversational ability. Attention will also be given to grammatical accuracy. Readings will cover historical and current events in France and in other Francophone cultures.
Advanced French II
This is the second course of a two-course sequence at the advanced level. This course will emphasize active spoken language use. Other skills will also be used, such as reading, writing and listening, but primarily as helps for developing conversational ability. Attention will also be given to grammatical accuracy. Readings will cover historical and current events in France and in other Francophone cultures.
Students can take up to two culture courses as part of the French minor. In addition to culture courses listed for the minor, other courses from other departments dealing with aspects of French and Francophone cultures may also be approved by the faculty adviser.
Art in Paris
Students will study the history of artistic production and display in Paris, a city long regarded as a capital of the art world, from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. The class will explore issues related to artistic production and display in Paris, including Paris as a center for Gothic production, art and the royal court, the intersection of classicism and French art, art and revolution, art and public space, Paris as a center of modernity, the role of historic conservation, and the role of museums.
History of Modern France
This course explores pivotal themes in French history from the French Revolution of 1789 to the present. Topics will include the French Revolution, Napoleon III's Second Empire, French imperialism, World War I and nationalism, World War II and the Vichy regime, collaboration and resistance, and the 1968 student rebellions. Special emphasis will be placed on the recurring tension between secularism and Catholicism in French society, the role of French republicanism in shaping historic and contemporary debates about citizenship, race, and immigration, and France's relationship with its former colonial possessions and the United States.
Screening the Trenches: The History of WWI through Film
This course uses popular films to examine World War I as the global conflict that set the stage for the rise of communism, fascism, and subsequent wars in twentieth-century Europe. Students will gain an understanding of the major causes and outcomes of World War I while investigating how the war transformed class, gender, and racial politics in Europe. Special attention will be paid to the combat/trench experience, the home front/war front divide, the German occupation of Belgium and Northern France, “total war,” the politics of shell-shock and disability, and the legacies of grief, mourning, and commemoration. Because World War I so greatly divided its participants, little consensus about the war’s meaning emerged in its aftermath. Filmmakers have consequently used World War I as a blank slate on which to project political fantasies, condemn elements of their own societies, or imagine the future. Students will use secondary historical literature and original primary sources to analyze filmic representations of World War I and consider how filmmakers have deliberately misrepresented the past or constructed particular narratives about the war to serve their own ends. This course will therefore equip students to think critically about representations of the historical past in popular culture.
Science, Tech, & European Imperialism: 1800-1965
Between 1800 and 1945, Western nations dominated approximately three-quarters of the earth’s surface through imperialism. This course examines how industrialization, technological developments, and the emergence of the modern sciences facilitated Europe’s conquest and colonization of vast territories overseas. The course opens with a brief overview of the role of biology and science in shaping early imperial encounters (the Columbian Exchange). Students will then consider how 19th-century botany, zoology, acclimatization, cartography, geography, and anthropology became imperial sciences that facilitated formal conquest by producing knowledge about distant cultures, races, and environments. The Industrial Revolution produced new technological tools--steamboats, railroads, and weapons--that facilitated the Scramble for territory in the late 19th century. The course will consider how these inventions shaped patterns of conquest and colonial rule in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Throughout the course, students will interrogate how Europeans’ faith in the superiority of Western technology, scientific knowledge, and medicine shaped the evolution of the European civilizing mission-- the cultural and political logic that defined interactions between Europeans and non-Western populations. At the same time, they will evaluate how Africans and Asians experienced living under colonial rule, and in some cases, how they deployed Western technology as weapons of resistance to imperialism.
Film, Comics, and French Culture
The course focuses on French culture through feature films, animated films, and comic books. France is the strongest film industry in Europe and is one of the world’s major movie export powers after the U.S. Franco-Belgian comics are one of the main groups of comics, together with American and British comic books and the Japanese manga. France is Europe’s largest producer and the world’s third largest exporter of animated film. What do French films and comics tell us about French culture? The course explores aspects of contemporary French society. It addresses a broad range of topics including multiculturalism in France, French cuisine and the French paradox, fashion in France, the impact of the two world wars on French society, the legacy of the French colonial experience, and ethnic and sexual minorities in France. The course examines the interconnectedness of French culture with other cultures in the world, particularly American culture and the cultures of former French colonies. Students will also have to interpret and evaluate French films and comic books considering the cultural context in which they were created. They will learn about the specificity of French cinema as opposed to Hollywood productions, of French animated films versus American animated films and Japanese anime, and of Franco-Belgian comics as opposed to American and British comics and the Japanese manga. The course also offers a brief introduction to spoken French.
French Films and Hollywood
A comparative study of French films and their American remakes from the 1930s to the 21st century to determine what these films reveal about the cultural and cinematic contexts from which they emerge. The course examines differences as well as similarities in the construction of identities in France and the United States. Devotes particular attention to the (re)construction of race, space, gender, and national histories. Conducted in English.
The French Heritage in Films
Heritage films are central to the French cinematographic production. They enable the transmission and the reevaluation of a tradition that lies at the core of French cultural identity. This course examines a selection of French films adapted from both canonical and non-canonical texts representative of major events, trends, social issues, and artistic movements that contributed to shaping modern France. Students will become familiar with world-renowned French novels, short stories, comic books, and films. The course deals with topics such as aristocratic culture, racial identity in France, the myth of the resistance and the legacy of the Second World War, France’s rural past, the French colonial experience, women and bourgeois culture, the long-standing tradition of comic books and comedy in France, the Tradition of Quality, the French New Wave, and heritage films. The course also examines the interconnectedness of French culture and the cultures of the United States, England, and former French colonies. It notably explores how the French colonial experience informed the development of French cinema, and how French heritage films were both inspired and reinterpreted by British and American cinematographic industries to reflect the cultures and values of those societies. Conducted in English.
French for Science and Technology
This course teaches specialized terminology and linguistic structures important for communicating scientific and technological knowledge in French. The focus is on developing students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in interpreting technical French. Students will learn science and technology terms and structures in a broad range of technical areas via experiential learning activities. In addition, students will research and present topics of their own interest or beyond their disciplines. Students will expand their knowledge of French to include technical terms/structures and prepare themselves to better apply their language skills in internships, research, and work while exploring and understanding the culture in professional workplaces. Taught in French with a prerequisite of Intermediate French II.
The course gives students an opportunity to study professional language and culture as well as to practice presentation and negotiation skills, especially in professional and formal contexts. Students will improve speaking, listening, reading and writing skills developed in the elementary/intermediate sequence to master formal interactions in French. They will learn professional vocabulary, expressions, and grammatical structures through readings, conversation, and discussion. They will cultivate expressive skills through discussion, writing assignments, and a video tutorial project. This course will be useful for students who are planning to seek employment in international companies or in companies doing business abroad, and also for students who want to learn more about business in the target culture. This is a language class; proficiency equivalent to Intermediate French II is required.