French Seminar: National Identities (MSON) (US)

Grades 11–12
Prerequisite: Francophone Cultures or equivalent
Taught by: Hopkins School

This course is designed for students who have successfully completed French level 5. The college level topics are chosen to prepare students for studying French beyond high school and to provide deeper insight into French and Francophone cultures. Students examine various topics in French language, history, culture, cinema, and literature while interpreting authentic documents. Faithful to the idea of a seminar, the course requires students to be responsible for extensive reading and preparation. Activities including compositions, oral presentations, and discussions enable students to achieve a high level of proficiency in speaking and writing. The literary texts studied are often paired with a film in order to give students an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Francophone culture and to improve their listening skills. Each work is also studied with an historical perspective. For example, La Chanson de Roland is studied along with the hit comedy Les Visiteurs (1993) and an exploration of Charlemagne, the Battle of Hastings, and the crusades. Similarly, L’Exil et le Royaume by Albert Camus is studied along with the film Loin des Hommes (2014) and an exploration of France at the time of Algerian War (1954–1962). With an eye towards the theme of “national identities,” students are asked to consider how each work helps to reinforce and question an individual’s sense of identity and belonging to a nation and its values. This class is conducted entirely in French.