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These courses and seminars were entirely designed by Dr. Polanz and are copyrighted.  They can be completed in 36 hours over a few weeks, a summer, or a semester! These courses can be taken with or without exams and include discussions and lectures. 

Fill out the form in "Services" if interested.

Courses in English

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Women Voices in the Francophone World

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with modern Francophone culture trough the study of translated (from French to English) canonical texts originally written in French by women from various francophone countries. This course introduces students to issues in Francophone contemporary culture and socio-economic/political life, through the particular lens of feminist visions. 

"Women Voices" proposes to take the works of contemporary Women French-language Writers from a variety of origins as evidence of the issues and struggles that have faced all those who have been in effect deprived of the allegedly universal benefits granted by the 1789 Declaration of Human Rights. 

Each week, we will examine different texts pertaining to a specific francophone country, in an interdisciplinary perspective. The various texts offer a very personal representation of a woman’s experience in a different francophone country as well a record of a context and its issues: politics and history; (de)colonization and immigration; social diversity, patriarchy, sexuality. The choice of texts was motivated by their diversity in forms: play, essay, novel, poems, comic book, and movie adaptations but also by their appeal (all of them have been read/studied by very wide audiences) and their critical reception as many texts started controversies in the author’s country of origins. In English.

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Comedy: Movements, Types and Masks

This course is an initiation to the performative tradition of commedia dell arte, which originated in Italy in the 16th century but has become a worldwide phenomenon. In this course, students will be discovering the principles of commedia and how it echoes in today’s comedies in America. Students will also get a chance to study mask acting (neutral and commedia) as well as mask making. 

Each session blends theoretical and practical elements of commedia principles, using excerpts from various books and handbooks, illustrations, movies and video clips. The principles taken from both the history of commedia dell’arte and contemporary comedies will guide our practice. 

Students will:

  • Discover and understand the differences between a dramatic character (psychological) and a type

  • Explore their physicality in the creation of dramatic types

  • Get acquainted with the tradition on commedia dell’arte

  • Identifying type acting outside of traditional commedia especially in films

  • Make a connection between historical European commedia dell’arte and contemporary American comedies (films and sketch comedies)

  • Understand the structure of a commedia canvas in comparison to traditional playwriting

  • Learn to appreciate the importance of team work and the relationship with the audience in commedia acting

  • Use the neutral mask to develop body’s awareness and mime

  • Learn the principles of mask acting

  • Explore every creative aspect of the mask through drawing, sculpting, and acting

In English. Click on the button "View More" to see a promotional video for the class. 

Cabaret Performances in Europe: 1840-1940

This interdisciplinary seminar uses performances, paintings, music, advertising, movies, and literature to study cabaret in Europe. Using both history and culture, this course situates the cabaret in the context of performing arts and politics in Europe, looking at three major European capitals before WWI, after WWI and between the two wars. As regular theater hardly ever deals with the plight of working classes, cabarets were a space in which non-conforming identities were presented and issues concerning the lower strata of society were staged (often through humor).

Cabaret performances always presented a satirical critique of contemporary events, but also functioned as a meeting place for avant-garde artists and revolutionary minds. In this role, cabaret offered a space to broadcast sharp political commentary on the constantly evolving situation while Europe was at war and in the aftermath. How were the political situation, the social changes, the economic crisis reflected on the cabaret stages of Paris, London and Berlin? How was humor used to produce a commentary on politics and society’s changes?

Students will explore the performance and historical traditions of song, puppetry, juggling, storytelling, miming, clowning, vaudeville, burlesque, and performer/audience relationships as practiced in the most famous music halls of Paris, Berlin and London. While exploring the European cabaret tradition through its iconography and songs. In English.

Courses in French

French Short Stories

According to the dictionary, a short story is “an invented prose narrative shorter than a novel usually dealing with a few characters and aiming at unity of effect and often concentrating on the creation of mood rather than plot.” Though definitions and length varies from one country’s tradition to another, the purpose of this course is to select texts that provide a single coherent, inclusive narrative frame, to be read and comprehended in its entirety. The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the specificity of different types of French and Francophone short stories and the various narrative techniques used to understand ways in which different writers have addressed issues of plot, character, place and theme.

Students will be given methodology and tools that will greatly sharpen and develop their understanding of a text and how to analyze it. After gaining a deeper understanding of the codes associated with each genre, students will get a chance to put these notions into practice to develop their personal process and relationship to the material in engaging in creative writing. Each week, we will examine a different text pertaining to the section. The course centers on four different types of short stories: fairy tales, childhood narratives, detective stories and fantastic short stories. While discovering the specificity of the French short story through four different styles, students will learn how to approach a text with the help a highly structured analytical method (“l’explication de texte”). In French.

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French and Francophone Literature

This course centers on famous excerpts and authors, ranging from the 10th to the 21st century. Different genres will be studied: philosophy, essay, poetry, theater, novel, short story and song, always presented In a chronological order within an historical, political, social and artistic framework. After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Expand their knowledge of canonical French and Francophone writers

  • Situate French and Francophone texts and their authors in a cultural and historical context

  • Generate increasingly nuanced questions (interpretations, ideas) about the French and Francophone literature in context and explain why those questions matter.

  • Use appropriate vocabulary and tactics to analyze specific literary expressions of culture and the relationship between the reader, the author and text.

  • Identify and define various literary genres and identify rhetorical and formal elements that inform these genres.

In French​

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French Literature of the Enlightenment

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with 18th century French literature and culture trough the study of canonical texts. It is important to note that these literary texts were not written in a vacuum and if French and 18th century authors are known for their engagement, it is important for everyone to gain an understanding of the historical context. Students will get a chance to discover political, scientific and artistic movements that will greatly sharpen and develop their analysis of the text. We will also use as material movies and comics, as well as examples of paintings and architecture of the 18th century in France.

While learning about the context and with the help a highly structured analytical method (“l’explication de texte”), students will be able to better read, comprehend, and examine texts in order to develop a critical understanding of the cultural specificity of 18th century’s France. In French. 

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Generate increasingly nuanced questions (interpretations, ideas) about literature and explain why those questions matter.

  • Use appropriate vocabulary and tactics to analyze specific literary expressions of culture and the relationship between the reader, the author and text.

  • Define ways that texts serve as arguments and identify rhetorical and formal elements that inform these arguments.

  • Recognize appropriate contexts (such as genres, political perspectives, textual juxtapositions) and understand that readers may interpret literature from a variety of perspectives.

  • Articulate a variety of examples of the ways in which literature gives us access to the human experience that reveals what differentiates it from, and connects it to, the other disciplines that make up the arc of human learning.

In French.

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This course includes both theoretical elements and the practice of the art of translation with reading on translation theories and demonstrations of translation through exercises using examples and texts throughout the Francophone World, from French to English and English to French.

At the end of this course of study students will be able to:

    • get an opportunity to develop skills through practice;

    • be acquainted with the fundamentals of the translation process;

    • identify and find the tools required to do non-literary and literary translations from French to English and English to French

    • understand the problems and complexities of translation, and the translator's role as intermediary;

    • demonstrate an appreciation of translation as a technical skill. a craft, and an art with its own criteria;

    • apply translation techniques to resolve problems;

    • demonstrate understanding of the role culture plays in translation;

    • strengthen their reading and writing skills in French;

    • demonstrate mastery of advanced grammatical structures and vocabulary, as well as attention to style, register, and tone, by producing increasingly accurate and fluent translations and explaining the choices made while producing translations.

    • demonstrate a commitment to learn about structures of the language, the origin of expressions and words.

    • develop close reading and analytical skills in both French and English, and continue to expand vocabulary in both languages.

    • understand common challenges of translation and employ translation techniques to fill in lexical and cultural gaps between the languages.

In French​

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Business and Society in France

This course is specifically designed for learning about the use of French in the business world. It covers traditional business topics, as well as career practices and cultural concepts particular to French businesses. The objectives of this course are to expose students to a wide range of material used for business or discussing the business world (essays, film reviews, newspaper articles, professional letters, resume…) and to offer them opportunities to increase their written skills to an advanced level. The global simulation system will be used to recreate typical French Business situations (create a company and attribute roles, mock job interviews...) This course aims to equip students with crucial vocabulary, and subsequent activities will reinforce newly acquired terms.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Read a variety of technical business material, mostly authentic documents written for native speakers

  • Analyse various modes of discourse in the business world, using appropriate analytical tools and vocabulary

  • Explore complex concepts and ideas pertaining to the topics studied

  • Express ideas orally and in writing with an advanced level

  • Feel more comfortable in a professional situation

In French​

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Social History of Modern French Fashion

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the cultural and sociological aspects of modern French fashion trough the study of newspapers articles, movies, scholarly books and articles. Students will get a chance to discover how various fashion movements and tendencies affected, reflected and even lead to societal changes to broaden their understanding of France’s specific position in the world of haute couture, costumes and prêt à porter that will greatly sharpen and develop their analysis of this cultural system.While learning about the context, students will be able to better read, comprehend, and examine texts (articles, books and movies) in order to develop a critical understanding of the specificity of 20th and 21st century’s French fashion.

After completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Generate increasingly nuanced questions (interpretations, ideas) about Modern French Fashion and explain why those questions matter in today’s society.

  • Use appropriate vocabulary and tactics to analyze specific expressions and context related to fashion.

  • Recognize appropriate cultural contexts and understand how fashion directly influenced other social paradigms such as gender roles, body image and diversity.

  • Recognize and understand the impact of the most important French fashion designers of the 20th and 21st centuries

In French.

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Advanced Oral Interaction in French

With this course, students will be refining their language knowledge and develop the skills necessary to interact orally in French in various situations based on authentic scenarios. It will involve an empirical aspect based on exercises relying on phonetics, phonology, prosody and intonation. This course is designed to help students improve as much as possible their competency in French oral expression while developing a critical understanding of French cultural specificity.

 This course centers on various basic communicative functions such as convincing, narrating, describing, negotiating, obtaining and giving information. To this extent, we will be using role playing as well as public speaking and theatrical techniques to produce and reproduce oral situations. The course involves several types of exercises and activities so as to explore a diversity of language functions and different types of material such as skits, movies and improvisational scenarios. In French.

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Language and Culture in Context: the French Riviera

With the use of the “global simulation” system, this course offers an opportunity for students to explore their own potential for self-expression in French while applying grammar structures in context. Through reading and analyzing a variety of cultural artifacts in French, and completing a serie of creative projects, students will have a chance to develop their own “voice” in French, both in speech and in writing. This course is especially crafted to analyze various linguistic discourses and grammar structures in context, using only authentic documents. This course is designed:

  • to introduce students to a variety of forms of writing (both as models and to practice) in order to apply the grammar structures

  • to have students produce clear, correct, creative written French at the sentence and paragraph level

  • to provide a comprehensive review or presentation of more difficult aspects of advanced grammar

  • to help students develop good writing practices such as good dictionary use, avoidance of translation from English, self-editing habits

  • to encourage students to enjoy finding their creating voice in French and develop ownership of the language

  • to encourage students’ creativity and desire to see the world differently as they learn to express themselves in ever more authentic French

  • to virtually use immersion with the city of Nice and the South of France as a context for every activity: culture, grammar, vocabulary

In French

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Oral and Written Expression in French

This course is intended to help students practice and refine skills previously learned in French, as well as prepare students to engage with course content and not simply language learning. In this course, we work on refining French language skills, with an emphasis on oral and written expression, to facilitate further study of French culture. We will be listening, transcribing, reading, creating, analyzing, writing and speaking about current topics using only authentic documents (made by French people for French people so unedited) in French. The course’s essential question is “How do French people communicate on subjects that are at the heart of their society?” 

Each theme (Food, Family and Education) provide a wide array of material, including comic books, comedic skits, movies, articles, documentary videos and songs. Within the context of these documents, class time will be dedicated to cultural, semantical and grammatical analysis as well as practive with writing workshops, where students apply grammar structures, newly learned vocabulary and idiomatiques expressions. In French.

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