French Through Folktales: More Than Once Upon a Time

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
July 12, 2021 - July 28, 20217/12 - 7/282 WeeksOnlineCancelledOnlineBenjamin Fancy

Course Description

Stories such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood have captured the imaginations of children and adults alike for generations, but these names are only a few examples of tales that have their roots in French-speaking literary traditions. Folktales from across the Francophone world have much to teach us about the world we live in and the places and cultures from which they originate. This course, taught in French, will introduce students to the folktale, its history, and the methods through which scholars study them. At the same time, students will enhance their knowledge of French-speaking cultures and their ability to express themselves in French, both in writing and in speaking.

We will begin this course by reading one or two classic French fairy tales to engage with our expectations of those stories and the elements from which they are composed. From there, we will read folktales from both France and other parts of the French-speaking world, such as Senegal and Martinique. Authors include Charles Perrault, Birago Diop, and Patrick Chamoiseau. Grammar and vocabulary activities in French will accompany each reading.

Throughout the course, students will practice their French and demonstrate their understanding of the material through a variety of assignments, including discussion boards (with both writing and speaking components); low-stakes quizzes; a short academic essay; and small group activities. This course culminates in a creative project, in which students draw upon what they have learned about the folktale and its conventions to write their own folktale in French.

Through completing this course, students will:

  • Acquire a deeper understanding of the folktale and its place in French and Francophone history and culture.
  • Hone their ability to read, write, and think critically.
  • Develop their skills in writing in French for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  • Practice different genres of writing in French.
  • Refine their knowledge of French vocabulary and grammar.

Prerequisites: Students taking this course should have completed high school French 4, 5, or AP.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEFL0935

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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