Matthew Senior, Ruberta T. McCandless Professor of French, Chair
Grace An, Associate Professor of French and Cinema Studies
Nathan Dize, Visiting Assistant Professor of French
Julien P. Roland, Lecturer of French
Ivana Di Siena, Instructor of Italian
Visit the department webpage for up-to-date information on department faculty, visiting lecturers, and special events.
The Department of French and Italian offers a major and minor in French and Francophone studies and courses in beginning and intermediate Italian language and culture. Both programs are supported by a range of co-curricular activities and a selection of affiliated study away programs.
The French program offers a unique interdisciplinary liberal arts curriculum aimed at preparing students to engage in ways that are meaningful to them with the diverse and dynamic Francophone world. The major and minor prepare students to be life-long, autonomous learners and users of French, a fast-growing, global language spoken on five continents. Students develop linguistic, cultural, and communicative competence, allowing them not just to hold a conversation in French, but also to begin to think and to view the world through cultural references, attitudes, and traditions that are different from their own. Students complete the major or minor prepared to join an engaged, digitally connected, global community of Francophones, having gained access to the rich traditions of the Francophone world and to the challenges facing it today.
Students who are interested in French and Francophone Studies and are motivated to learn French can, with proper planning, complete a major or minor in French, even if they have no previous language preparation. The French curriculum includes four levels of study; courses in all levels may count toward the major and minor.
- The first level consists of beginning and intermediate language and culture courses for students who are new to French or building on prior preparation.
- The second level includes a range of language and culture courses for students with different proficiency levels.
- The third level includes a variety of courses in literature, history, film, and cultural studies, including interdisciplinary courses focused on topics such as queer media, activism, and thought in France; Francophone literature and the history of “esclavage et liberté,” and the history of French Creoles.
- The fourth and final level consists of 400-level seminar-style courses focused on specific authors, works, topics, or trends in the French-speaking world. These courses serve as culminating or capstone experiences and provide students opportunities to work on course-related creative and research projects of their own design. French majors with the requisite GPA and a well-crafted research plan can apply at the end of their junior year to develop a year-long Honors project during their senior year.
Students are encouraged to reach beyond the curriculum offered by our department to explore English-taught courses in the wider Oberlin curriculum that deal with the Francophone world. These courses may count as full or partial credit toward the major and minor.
The French program offers students opportunities to integrate classroom learning with on-campus activities. We encourage majors to live in La Maison Francophone, where they have the opportunity of immersion in the target language and culture in daily contact with native speakers. French Conversation hours, held at French tables in Stevenson dining hall, in the co-ops, and in local cafés, are animated by native speakers and student leaders. Advisors work with students to find opportunities for study abroad in Francophone countries, including winter term and summer opportunities for students who cannot spend a full semester or year away.
In addition to courses supporting the French major, the department offers courses in beginning and intermediate Italian language and culture and co-curricular activities such as Italian movie nights and an Italian language table.
See information about Research, Internships, Study Away, and Experiential Learning (RISE).
International Learning Center
The Paul and Edith Cooper International Learning Center, located on the third floor of Peters Hall, is a state-of-the-art facility designed for both class and individual use at all levels of language learning. A staff of experts helps students develop their language skills and connect with French speakers around the world.
Students who have received a score of 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in French Language or French Literature, a score of 6 or 7 on the French (advanced) exam of the IB, a score of 626-800 on the French SAT II Exam, or who have completed the baccalaureate (bac) in a French lycée will be automatically awarded credit for one course toward graduation (FREN 300) which may be counted towards the minor or the major. They should enroll in one of the gateway courses for the French major and minor (FREN 301 , FREN 309 , FREN 321 ).
Explore Winter Term projects and opportunities.
Majors and Minors
It is the department’s policy to advance students as fast as achievement warrants. Students who have taken the SAT II Exam in French should enroll in courses according to their scores:
550-625 - FREN 205 , FREN 206
626-800 - FREN 301 , FREN 309 , FREN 321
Students with a previous study of French who have not taken the SAT II exam should take the Oberlin French Placement Test online to determine their appropriate level.
Visit the Language Placement website for instructions and information on the Oberlin French Placement Test.
Suggested Course Sequence
FREN 101 - FREN 102 ; FREN 205 - FREN 206 ; FREN 301 ; then other 300-level courses in French followed by 400-level courses.
FREN 301 , FREN 309 , or FREN 321 is the prerequisite for other courses at the 300-level. Two 300-level courses beyond FREN 301 are the prerequisite for 400-level courses. Other prerequisites may be noted: see the course descriptions below.
- FREN 101 - Français élémentaire I
- FREN 102 - Français élémentaire II
- FREN 103 - Français élémentaire accéléré
- FREN 205 - Français intermédiaire I
- FREN 206 - Français intermédiaire II
- FREN 220 - Travel and the Idea of Home
- FREN 301 - Expression orale et écrite
- FREN 302 - Conversation et communication
- FREN 304 - History of French Creole
- FREN 309 - Plaisir de lire
- FREN 315 - Queer Media, Activism and Thought in France: Case Studies
- FREN 320 - French Cinema, Intersectional and Feminist
- FREN 321 - Pratiques de l’ecrit
- FREN 322 - Guest, Host, Stranger: Hospitality in the Mediterranean World
- FREN 330 - World-making in French and Francophone Literature
- FREN 341 - Caribbean Women’s Fiction
- FREN 353 - Passions du corps et l’âme (1600-1900)
- FREN 355 - Les îles créoles : Lutte et résistance, d’hier à aujourd’hui
- FREN 356 - Discovering Champagne: The World in a Glass
- FREN 365 - Zombies and Spirits in the Caribbean
- FREN 373 - Introduction à la littérature francophone
- FREN 375 - Franco-Arab Encounters
- FREN 380 - Esclavage et libert
- FREN 387 - Bread, Wine, and Cheese: The French Art of Savoring
- FREN 387OC - Bread, Wine, and Cheese: The French Art of Savoring
- FREN 388 - À Table: la conversation et l’écriture gastronomique
- FREN 403 - Mourning in Haitian Literature
- FREN 404 - The Poetics and Politics of French Documentary and the Essay Film
- FREN 406 - Discovering Champagne: The World in a Glass
- FREN 411 - L’animal et l’homme
- FREN 414 - Bardot, Seyrig, Fonda: Stardom and Activism Before #MeToo
- FREN 415 - Surréalisme et francophonie
- FREN 423 - L’histoire du corps, 1500-1800
- FREN 428 - La décolonisation du corps féminin
- FREN 441 - Plague Narratives: Narratology and Immunology
- FREN 442 - Littérature, pandémie et confinement
- FREN 455 - Le crime au féminin
- FREN 462 - 1968: art, média, contestation
- FREN 471 - Medicine, Literature, Biopower LXC
- FREN 472 - Medicine, Literature, Biopower
- FREN 505F - Honors - Full
- FREN 505H - Honors - Half
- FREN 995F - Private Reading - Full
- FREN 995H - Private Reading - Half