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French Faculty

Lars Erickson

Associate Professor of French

Director of the French International Engineering Program

Office:103 Swan Hall

Office Phone: 874-4702

Office Hours:


Fall 2013 Schedule

  • FRN 240.0002 MWF 9:00 AM
  • FRN 309.0001 MWF 1:00 PM
  • LET 151.202 Online
  • Lars O. Erickson (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998) is Associate Professor of French and Director of the French International Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Rhode Island. He is also the past President of the Rhode Island American Association of Teachers of French (RIAATF).  Dr. Erickson’s research interests include the relationship between science and literature, eighteenth-century literature and culture, and Breton cultural studies.  In his book, Metafact: Essayistic Science in Eighteenth-Century France, he examines how the literary essay influenced methodological change in the sciences. Journals such as The French Review, Romance Notes, Confluencia, and Celtic Cultural Studies have published his research.

    As Director of the French IEP, Dr. Erickson has developed many unique learning opportunities. “The six-month paid internship is the cornerstone of the IEP experience. Our students have interned with companies such as Total, Vinci Construction, Renault, Rhodia, Hutchinson, and Saint-Gobain.  We prepare our French IEPers so well that they have had incredible learning experiences,” says Dr. Erickson.  He has also been instrumental in the creation of exchange programs with the Université de Technologie de Compiègne (one of France’s most innovative engineering schools) and with the Université Laval in Quebec City, Canada.

    Dr. Erickson lives in South Kingstown, Rhode Island with his wife and three children. When not engaged in his passion for teaching and research he can be found surfing at some of southern Rhode Island’s surf spots.

    Courses typically taught by Dr. Erickson:

    FRN 204 French Composition 1
    The emphasis is on writing, but we will also work on speaking, listening, and reading skills. Students read a variety of short texts, analyze pop music lyrics, and read a contemporary novel. These documents form the basis for the writing you will do. There will also be some study of relevant grammar points and vocabulary building games. At the end of the class, students will be able to write in paragraphs, to narrate in past, present and future time frames, and express and support opinions.

    FRN 207-1000 French Oral Expression 1
    Students will develop skills and strategies needed to participate actively in conversations about areas of personal interest and academic topics. Specifically, students will expand their ability to describe in the present by talking about relationships, studies, and everyday objects. Students will also develop the ability to narrate in the past and to engage in complicated transactions. Films, music, and short stories provide the basis for most classroom discussions. Students will participate in classroom discussions, poster presentations, and role-play activities.

    FRN 309 French Literature and Culture to 1789
    The class familiarizes students with France’s historical periods. It also demonstrates the continuing influence of history on French culture. We begin by examining how changes in architecture illustrate broad cultural shifts. Next we use historical films (Le Retour de Martin Guerre, La Reine Margot, and Ridicule) along with excerpts of authentic texts to examine intellectual and artistic movements. In the third unit, we analyze representative literary works to see to what extent they reinforce or contradict what we have learned about French society. In the final unit we’ll look at heroes and discuss how they define a society. It’s not a literature class. It’s not a culture class. It’s not a writing class. It’s not a speaking class. It’s not a history class. It is all of the above.

    FRN 412 Clockworks and Networks
    Networks dominate today’s world. How did we become a network society and what are the consequences? In “La Mécanique et le réseau” (Clockworks and Networks), we will examine literary and scientific writings of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France in order to understand how clockworks and networks informed these cultural expression of these two centuries. Sample documents include Le Tartuffe by Molière, L’Homme et Le Monde by Descartes, Fables by La Fontaine, and Candide by Voltaire.

    FRN 412 Images of Brittany
    The region of Brittany lies to the extreme northwest of France. As France’s Celtic region, it maintains a decidedly distinct identity within France. In this class we will examine how Brittany is represented differently in various cultural expressions. Students will analyze literature, music, and painting both by Bretons and about Bretons to uncover who the Bretons are and how they have been represented at various moments in history.

    FRN 412 The Emerging French Nation in the Eighteenth Century
    What is a nation? What is nationalism? In this class, we will examine the extent to which France became a nation in the eighteenth century. Through a variety of documents, we will examine how France evolved toward a nation and what changes that brought to French society. At the end of the class students will be able to explain what a nation is, present their research orally, read deeply to determine cultural assumptions underlying a text, engage in independent research using primary and secondary sources, express in writing their critical thinking.

    FRN 480-001 Business and Professional French
    Students will learn how to engage in effective communication in the French business world. It will prepare you to complete successfully the Certificat de Français Professionnel administered by the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris.
    Business French encompasses both advanced language skills and specialized skills. It involves specialized knowledge, general language ability, and also communication strategies. In class we will work on developing specific abilities relating to the business world, such as understanding invoices, writing a resume, engaging in a job interview, and taking down a phone message. Also, we will develop more general abilities such as understanding newspaper articles, writing emails, talking about the workplace, and making travel plans. Cutting across the specific and the general, we will also work on applying communication strategies such as asking follow-up questions, taking notes, listening actively, and appreciating cultural differences.