The Department of French Studies shares the mission of the College of Pro Humanitate. At all levels of the curriculum, our program aims to bring out the deep connections that exist between ways of talking, writing, and understanding local and global cultures. Knowing another language is key to understanding social, historical, and political events in their contexts. Learning another language also leads to new friendships and opens diverse and often unique career opportunities.
At Wake Forest, the French Studies curriculum is supported by the rich and varied scholarship of our faculty, with courses and research on sociolinguistics, cinema, West African and Caribbean literature, and French crime stories, to name just a few. Classes are taught in French from the beginning levels, and the faculty’s commitment to communicative learning fosters the development of student proficiency. We use multimedia and technology that bring communities to the classroom. French Studies majors often have the opportunity to present at conferences, to collaborate on faculty projects, or to explore an area of interest to them through an Honors project.
Just as language lives only in a context of culture, French courses at Wake Forest highlight the meeting places of the language, culture, literature, film, art, and history of France and the Francophone world. Our program of co-curricular activities and our student-led French Club further support this mission. From watching movies in French with fellow students to discussing cultural topics in small informal groups and participating in cultural hands-on activities, students experience the French language and its cultural settings with the Wake Forest and Winston-Salem community.
Wake Forest enjoys a well-deserved reputation for encouraging students to pursue their academic and intellectual interests through study abroad. Jean-Jacques Rousseau reminds us in his Confessions that “Quoique j’eusse l’esprit assez orné, n’ayant jamais vu le monde, je manquais totalement de manières.” (However cultivated my mind may have been, I was totally lacking in social skills because I had not seen the world.) If the Humanities count among their sometimes unspoken missions the development and formation of human beings, traveling and studying abroad count among their own missions the development and formation of a responsible citizen of the world. To this end, the Department of French Studies offers two exciting opportunities to live and study in France: our fall semester program in the elegant city of Dijon, and our summer program in the beautiful town of Tours. Students live with French families and continue their studies both with French instructors and with a Wake Forest faculty member from the department.
Whether you are just beginning your study of French or are a longtime student of the language and culture of the Francophone world, we look forward to meeting you and working with you.