Jul 20, 2024  
College Catalog 2024-2025 
College Catalog 2024-2025

French and Francophone Studies

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Full Time Faculty: Andrew Billing (Chair), Juliette Rogers, Martine Sauret, Joëlle Vitiello

The department of French and Francophone Studies has the following objectives: a) prepare majors and minors in French language, French and Francophone cultures and literatures and intellectual and artistic movements in various periods, and critical thinking; b) help non-French and Francophone Studies majors achieve language competency appropriate for study in their own fields, for future professional needs or for personal enrichment; c) provide all students with the opportunity to acquire, as a part of a liberal arts education, the knowledge of the language, literatures and cultures of France and Francophone countries; d) offer courses, taught in French or English, that address diverse disciplinary areas as they relate to France and the Francophone world.  The Department actively collaborates with the programs in African Studies, Art History, Critical Theory, Human Rights and Humanitarianism, International Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization, and Philosophy through faculty participation in program steering committees or through teaching courses specifically cross-listed or primarily designed for these programs.

The study of French exposes students to a great intellectual tradition, to important and diverse writers, and to the cultures of France and the Francophone world, past and present, colonial and post-colonial. The study of the Francophone world includes the cultures of other European countries (such as Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Switzerland), Canada, African countries (such as Algeria, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tunisia), the Caribbean (such as French West Indies and Haiti), the islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and Vietnam, where French is the language of communication and artistic expression. French is with English the international language of diplomacy (the European Union, the United Nations, the Olympic Games, etc.). After English, French is the most commonly-taught second language in the world.

The teaching of French is strongly supported by the presence of graduate assistants from France and Francophone countries, French and Francophone students working in the department, a residential French House, daily international news broadcasts via satellite, and a growing library of films on DVD. The department is also well connected to various organizations in the Twin Cities with a focus on French and Francophone cultures (Alliance Française, French Chamber of Commerce, and various organizations providing opportunities for students to use their French linguistic skills).

As a foundational component of a liberal arts education, a French and Francophone Studies major may be combined with other majors to enhance career opportunities. Recent French and Francophone Studies majors from Macalester have pursued careers in fields such as foreign service, international banking and commerce, law, library science, translation, publishing, intercultural exchange, NGOs, education, special education, journalism, and various scientific areas. To prepare for these and other careers, graduates have gone on to graduate programs in French language and literature, international relations, history, linguistics, or teaching English as a second language, and to professional schools (law and medicine). To obtain information about teaching licensure requirements in the U.S., please consult the Department of Educational Studies. For more than ten years, the department of French and Francophone Studies has also had an agreement with the French government which allows graduating seniors to work as English teaching assistants in French schools.

Study Abroad

A French and Francophone studies major requires a study away experience in a French-speaking country.  The department of French and Francophone Studies recommends study abroad as well for those doing a French minor. With prior approval from the department chair, up to two courses from a semester study away program may be counted toward the French major or minor if they are at the level of courses taken on campus toward a French major or minor. All additional courses necessary to meet departmental graduation requirements must be taken on campus. Before studying abroad students should usually have completed a French course at the 300 level.

Because study abroad programs vary widely in quality, focus and content, it is imperative that students majoring or minoring in French and Francophone Studies consult with faculty in the department as they choose their program. The following programs are recommended by the department for majors and minors: Center for University Programs Abroad (CUPA); Internships in Francophone Europe (IFE) in Paris, Strasbourg, and Bruxelles; Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) in Nantes, France; and Minnesota Studies in Development (University of Minnesota) in Senegal.  For a list of all programs, consult with the Center for Study Away.

The French House

The Macalester French House is the center of the Department of French and Francophone Studies’ social and cultural activities. Students have the opportunity to live in the French House where residents benefit from daily conversation and interaction with native French-speaking graduate assistants and other students of French (both to improve oral proficiency in French and to develop increased understanding of culture and society in France and other French-speaking countries). The residents of the French House commit to speak only French while in the house, and to participate in department activities.

Placement Tests

Students can satisfy the Macalester College language requirement in French in one of the following ways: 1) A score of 4-5 on the Advanced Placement Test in French language or literature offered through high schools; 2) A score of 5-6-7 on the International Baccalaureate French B exam (Higher level); 3) Successful completion of Macalester’s French 204.

Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate

A score of 4-5 on an AP exam, or a score of 5-6-7 on the IB Higher level gives four credits toward graduation, but not toward the French major or minor program. Credits received through AP or IB may not be used to meet the general distribution requirement.

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the department of French and Francophone Studies count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except elementary and intermediate language courses, FREN 321  (fine arts general distribution) and FREN 333  (general distribution).

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and US identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester.

Additional information on the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The department of French and Francophone Studies participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Policy on French Language Grades

In order to be accepted into the next French language course in the sequence, a student must have received a grade of C- or higher in the previous course.


FREN 194 , FREN 294 , FREN 394 , FREN 494  

Advanced and topics courses are offered by faculty at their own initiative or in response to student requests. In recent years, these courses have included “Contemporary Art in France and Francophone Countries”; “What Happened In France From The Renaissance To The XVIIth Century? Did Anybody Read, Write or Live Well”; “How to Start a Revolution”; “Science Fiction and Technology in French Literature and Film”; “Voix du Nord: Quebec et les autres”; “Ecolos avant l’heure? Environmentalism, Industrialization and Nature in 19th Century French Literature and Art;” “Voices of the Francophone Mediterranean”; and “French Cultural Studies: Literature and Cinema of Immigration.”

During their first semester all Macalester first-year students take one course designated as a First-Year Course. First-year courses taught by faculty in the Department of French and Francophone Studies in recent years have included: “Food in French and Francophone Cultures: the Local and the Global”; “La Belle Epoque? The Best and the Worst of France, 1880-1914”; and “Loving and Loathing our Posthuman Future: Science Fiction and Technology in French Film and Literature.”

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum section of the catalog.


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