With over 220 million speakers in 29 countries on five continents, French plays a significant role in the global economy and culture, and in the sciences. Our French and Francophone Studies classes prepare students for a broad range of international engagements, including participation in programs such as MISTI France, Belgium and Switzerland, MIT-Africa, MIT-Middle East and January Scholars in France.

The French and Francophone Studies curriculum offers opportunities to all students from the elementary level to the most advanced courses, spanning language, literature, intercultural studies, critical theory, French politics and society, gender and queer studies, French history, film studies, visual culture, Francophone African Studies, and cultural anthropology. The diversity of course offerings and the personal attention in small group classes create engaging and rewarding experiences for each student.

Subjects in French Studies may be applied to the French major, minor, or Concentration. Learn more about the French program requirements at the Academic Programs page. Advisors for these programs are below. Students uncertain what level of French language to take should refer to placement information. Information on transfer credit is available here.

French Minor/Major: Catherine Clark
French Concentration: Eva Dessein
Global Languages French Studies group: Cathy Culot | Leanna Rezvani | Isadora Nicholas | Eva Dessein

Fall 2024

21G.301/351 French I
21G.302/352 French II
21G.303 French III
21G.304 French IV
21G.310 French Conversation: Intensive Practice
21G.312 Basic Themes in French Literature and Culture
21G.342 French Pop Music
21G.346 Topics in Modern French Literature and Culture
21G.347 Social and Literary Trends in Contemporary Short French Fiction
21G.054 France and Haiti: Enlightenment, Slavery, and Revolution

21G.312 Basic Themes in French Literature and Culture: A Tour of Belgium in 80 days

The main objective of this course is to gain a better understanding of contemporary Belgium through an exploration of Belgian culture with a study of Belgium’s history and its successes in various areas including the arts and international politics. Readings and group discussions will help students increase their oral and written communication skills and put their findings in a historical and sociopolitical context. Topics such as Belgian history, Belgian colonization, Art Nouveau, comic strips, the European Union, Belgian surrealism and Belgian literature among others will be explored. Taught in French


21G.346 Topics in Modern French Literature and Culture: Language and Power

This advanced subject offers sociolinguistic perspectives on debates that relate to language, culture, politics, identity, and ideology in France and the Francophone world. Throughout the semester, we will explore the spread of the French language across the globe from medieval times and the colonial era to the present day. We will explore linguistic features and cultural contexts of domestic and global varieties of the language. Students will analyze how societal shifts influence usage, and how language reflects national and cultural identities. As we investigate the language ideologies that have prevailed in France since the foundation of the French Academy in 1635, we will consider how standardization contributes to social inequality. Finally, the course will address the status of French in the age of globalization and increasingly multilingual societies. Through a combination of readings, discussions, and project work, students will (1) develop conceptual knowledge in the field of sociolinguistics with a focus on language ideologies, policy, language variation and change, language contact, and multilingualism; and (2) enhance linguistic proficiency in French, with a specific emphasis on the academic register both in speech and writing. Instruction is conducted in French, and no prior background in linguistics is necessary.


IAP 2025

21G.301/351 French I