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French Faculty

Karen de Bruin

Assistant Professor of French

Head of the French Section

Office:129 Swan Hall

Office Phone: 874-4697

Office Hours: W 3-6 PM


Fall 2013 Schedule

  • FRN 392.02 ONLINE
  • FRN 104.01 MWF 2:00 Swan 206
  • FRN 412.001 M 4:00 Swan 209
  • FRN 497 Directed Study

Karen de Bruin (Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2007) is Assistant Professor of French at the University of Rhode Island. Her scholarship spans the Revolutionary and Napoleonic periods and focuses on political and romantic literature. She is currently reworking into a book her recently completed dissertation entitled “‘La femme supérieure’: L’individu, le roman, et la république libre de Germaine de Staël.” Her next scholarly project will examine the representation of the anti-slavery movement in women’s writings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Ph.D. in French, University of Chicago, 2007
DEA in Sciences du Langage, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, 2005
M.A. in French, University of Colorado
B.A. in French, Washington University in Saint Louis, 1994

Courses typically taught by Dr. de Bruin:
FRN 103 Intermediate French 1
Take the fast track to becoming fluent in French and have fun while doing it! As the continuation of the FRN 101 and FRN 102 sequence, FRN 103 will take you through the remaining basics of the French language. Emphasis will be placed on all four language skills: speaking, listening,
reading and writing.

FRN 104 Intermediate French 2

Take the fast track to becoming fluent in French and have fun while doing it! In this lively class, we review all of the grammar points that you learned in the FRN 101-103 sequence and we consolidate your understanding of the French language so that you may advance seamlessly to the 200-level courses. Contrary to the more textbook-centered FRN 101-103 sequence, in FRN 104 we take a more organic approach to learning the French language and culture. You will work on a French or Francophone blog project, do daily readings on French culture and present your work to the class in animated discussion groups. Come join us and discover French music, food, sports, politics, fashion, movies and much more!

FRN 207 French Oral Expression 1

This French conversation course trains students in spontaneous oral expression. Through emphasis on lively debate and discussion, students learn to speak with relative ease on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from current events to philosophy.

FRN 310 Modern French Culture & Literature
Through literature, this course introduces students to the major philosophical, aesthetic, and political debates of nineteenth and twentieth century France.

FRN 392-200 19th Century French Literature in Translation (Online)
On the magic carpet of the 19th-century novel, this course will take the reader on a turbulent ride through the four major revolutions in France during the 19th century and highlight the ripple effect that these revolutions had across Europe. We will examine what are commonly called the Romantic, Realist and Naturalist movements in their political, philosophical as well as literary contexts. We will also examine how the French Revolutions, especially the 1789 Revolution and 1848 Revolution, fueled revolutionary, literary and philosophical movements throughout Europe and in “America.” Readings will be in English.

FRN 412-001 Terror and the French Revolution
Today we hear constantly about “Terror.”  But what precisely is “Terror”? What are its historical, philosophical and literary origins? In this course we will interrogate the concept of “Terror” in the French Revolution. Through film, literature and other historical texts, we will examine the original “Reign of Terror” and the ensuing reactionary periods of “White Terror.”

FRN 412-002 The Anti Slavery Movement in 18th and 19th Century France
In 1685 Louis XIV promulgated the Code Noir in which he defined the rules and regulations governing slaves in the French colonies. With the decline of Louis XIV’s repressive absolute monarchy, French philosophers turned to humanist values such as liberty, equality and happiness. At the same time, they aggressively challenged slavery. It was with the advent of the French Revolution that the abolition of slavery became a reality in 1794. In 1802, Napoleon abrogated the anti-slavery decree, in part because of his distrust for Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian Revolution (which took place at the same time as the French Revolution). Slavery remained legal in the colonies until 1848, France’s third revolution, when it was finally abolished for good in the name of freedom for all.
In this class, we will examine the anti-slavery movement in France through three lenses: historical, literary and philosophico-political. From a historical point of view, we will examine the role of the anti-slavery movement in the outbreak of both the French and Haitian Revolutions (1789 and 1791 respectively), and then again of the 1848 Revolution. From a literary perspective, we will examine how the anti-slavery movement motivated Enlightenment and Romantic literature. And from a philosophico-political perspective, we will examine how the “slave” finally acquired the status of an “individual” worthy of “human rights.”

Montesquieu : Lettres persanes, De l’esprit des lois (excerpts)
Voltaire : Candide
Jaucourt : « Esclavage » Encyclopédie
Rousseau : Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité des hommes
Condorcet : Réflexions sur l'esclavage des nègres
Olympe de Gouges : Zamor et Mirza ou l’heureux naufrage, L’esclavage
Staël : Mirza ou Lettre d’un Voyageur
Claire de Duras : Ourika
Georges Sand : Indiana