The French Program at Whitman
The main courtyard of the Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
Whitman offers six consecutive semesters of French language instruction, ranging in level from beginning to advanced. Students develop a strong proficiency in speaking, writing, and reading the language and in the process are exposed to the literature and culture of the French-speaking world.
The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures also offers courses in all periods of French literature as well as contemporary Francophone literature and modern French culture. Students graduating from our program are familiar with all of the major movements and authors of French literary history and have strongly developed skills in critical reading, discussion and composition. Most of our students spend one or two semesters abroad as part of their program of study; all of our students pass a comprehensive exam in the second semester of their senior year. Our faculty members bring a broad range of experience and interests and a diversity of approaches to the study of literature, and our students graduate with a solid, well-rounded foundation in literary studies.
The faculty of the French department are also active in Whitman's World Literature program, teaching French and Francophone texts in translation. Current and recent offerings by members of the French faculty include From Negritude to Creolité: Francophone Literatures of West Africa and the Caribbean, Sartre and Camus: The Polemics of Violence, The Literature and Film of the Holocaust in France, Unruly subjects in French literature, Montaigne, Contemporary Literary Theory and French theater of the 1950s–1970s.