French 260

Fall 2003

Prof. Michael Henderson


Office:                 Humanities 206              

Office hours:           Mon Wed 1:00 - 1:55

                        Tues Thurs 4:00 - 4:55

                        Friday 2:00 - 2:55

                        And by appointment


Phone:                  641-3497 (office)

                        643-2889 (home)


Text:         La France Contemporaine



Course Goals and Objectives:


The goal of this course is to introduce you to the culture and society of France through the study of a number of different aspects of French life and history.  Our approach will be thematic, not chronological, although whenever necessary we will open a "window on history" to seek to explain how the French past has inevitably shaped the present.  Our text draws on a variety of disciplines (history, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science) in the hopes of giving you a certain familiarity with the nature of French culture today and the forces that are challenging that identity. We will cover such topics as French geography, political and social institutions, immigration, education, regionalism, and the media.  In addition to the text, we will examine how French culture is manifested in various literary  works, art, music, and film.


Most of you are planning to study in France, and some of you have already lived in or visited a French-speaking culture.  This course is intended both to expand your horizons through a look at a culture other than your own and to prepare you for a rewarding experience abroad.


Although this is not intended to be a language course, you will increase your proficiency through the study of culture in French.  Over the course of this semester, we will concentrate specifically on the following language functions:






Academic Integrity Collaboration between students is encouraged, and even required occasionally.  Please remember, however, that you must adhere to the Juniata guidelines for academic integrity.  I will enforce the policy and seek the most severe sanctions in cases of abuse.


All members of the Juniata community share responsibility for establishing and maintaining appropriate standards of academic honesty and integrity. Students oblige themselves to follow these standards and to encourage others to do so. Faculty members also have an obligation to comply with the principles and procedures of academic honesty and integrity. Academically dishonest acts include cheating, fabrication and falsification, multiple submission, plagiarism, abuse of materials, and complicity in academic dishonesty.


All offenses are reported to the Director of Academic Support Services and all confirmed violations of the policy are kept on file for a minimum of five years or until the student is separated from the College, whichever is longer. A faculty member has discretion to recommend a sanction or the case may be referred to the Academic Judicial Board. If a student is accused a second time, the case is automatically referred to the Academic Judicial Board. Penalties may include, but are not limited to, the following: a formal warning; a reduced grade for the assignment; a reduced grade for the course; suspension from the College; dismissal from the College.


A more complete description of the College's policy on academic integrity and the procedures followed during a hearing of the Academic Judicial Board can be found in the Pathfinder on the Juniata College intranet.



Final Grade:


     Attendance and participation                        10%

     Homework and quizzes                                      10%

     Film reactions     (Bleu, Blanc, Rouge)                  10%

     Three essay exams                                    50%

     Final Project, including oral presentation           20%



Final Project and Presentations: Each student (or two students working together) will select a topic early in the semester.  You will conduct in-depth research of the topic throughout the semester using a variety of resources: library texts, periodicals, museums, the World Wide Web, etc....  Option 1:  You may write up the results of this research in a formal paper and also give a presentation to the class. Option 2: You may create a web page with the material that they have gathered, and present your work to the class.


International Cultural Events

You are required to attend a minimum of 4 international cultural events related to French studies during the course of the semester.  These events may include the International Movie Series, a French Club event, Study-abroad events, guest speakers, etc.  Please ask me if an event qualifies for credit before attending.


Learning Differences

If you have a diagnosed learning difference, please discuss with me in my office any accommodations that will be necessary before August 29.




Semester Schedule

Specific assignments will be made at the end of each class period.




August 25               Introduction and study tips


August 27               Cultural Stereotypes


August 29 -

September 5             French Geography



September 8 - 12        Medieval France        


September     15            First essay exam due             


September 17 - 26       The Kings and the Ancien Régime



September 29 -         

October 8               The Revolution and the French Republic


October 10                   Second essay exam due


October 15 – 24              Social institutions:  Family, work and education


October 27 -

November 7                   Regional identity, Immigration


November 10             Third Essay Exam due


November  12- 21        Religions in France    


November  24            Holidays and Celebrations


December  1 - 8              Student Presentations of Final Projects