University of California, Berkeley


In the Department of French, you can study French and francophone literature, culture, and film, along with the French language and French linguistics. The dedicated and creative teachers and scholars in our department share a commitment to excellence of instruction, whether it be in a first-year French class, a specialized course for majors (all of which are taught in French), a course on French literature in translation, or an advanced graduate seminar.

For its undergraduate majors and minors and its graduate students, the Berkeley French Department provides thorough coverage in the traditional, historically-based divisions of French literature and culture, as well as in francophone literatures. It blends this coverage with the study of a wide array of related fields and topics — from literary history and theory to philosophy, to social and cultural theory, to the study of gender and sexuality, historiography, visual arts and film, music, popular culture, and politics. We encourage independent and innovative thinking and research at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

We participate fully in the interdisciplinary emphasis that has traditionally distinguished study and research at Berkeley. Many of our faculty are affiliated with other programs in the University (with the Departments of Comparative Literature and Italian Studies, with programs in Romance Languages and Literatures and in Medieval Studies; with graduate Designated Emphases in Critical Theory, Film Studies, Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and Renaissance and Early Modern Studies; and with the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture). Graduate students typically count courses from other disciplines toward completion of their degree. We maintain close ties with scholars and writers in France, across North America, and around the world, and have a regular schedule of lectures and colloquia open to our students and colleagues, as well as to the public at large. Most years the Department welcomes a Pajus Distinguished Visitor in French Studies, who gives a series of public lectures. The Department also regularly hosts international conferences.

Study Abroad

There are numerous opportunities for education abroad at all stages of our program. Undergraduate majors typically participate in the University of California Education Abroad Program, which offers summer, semester, and year-long programs in Paris, Lyon, and Bordeaux. For those wishing to take their first steps, our Summer Session Travel Study Office offers an exciting and rigorous program that takes students to Paris for six weeks and currently offers instruction in Elementary French (1), Intermediate and Advanced French conversation (13 and 14), and French History and Culture (43A). At the graduate level, the department has two yearly exchange programs with the Ecole Normale Supérieure and with the Institut d’Anglais at the Université Paris Diderot (Paris VII).


The UC Berkeley Library collects materials in all areas of French literature, including literary criticism, philosophy, and theory. The library maintains a strong collection in all divisions of French literature, from the medieval period to the present. The library also collects in the area of Francophone studies, including, but not limited to, material about Africa, the Caribbean, Canada, and French-speaking Europe, as well as French-language dictionaries and other language reference material. The French collection is limited to materials primarily published in France. Materials on French subjects published outside France are listed with their respective provenance. For further information regarding these resources, see the French Studies collection page.

The Library of French Thought is located in 4229 Dwinelle Hall. The collection contains close to 8,000 volumes (including DVDs), approximately 150 journal titles, magazines, maps, slides, and other ephemera. Subjects such as linguistics, criticism, theatre, and philosophy are well represented. Our vast literature holdings cover the entire history of French writing from the earliest chansons to the New Novel to contemporary fiction and poetry. New items are being added to the collection on a monthly basis. There are many delights waiting to be uncovered in the stacks; please feel free to come in and browse at your leisure.

Undergraduate Programs

French: BA, Minor

Graduate Program

French: PhD
Romance Languages and Literatures (French): PhD (offered by the Graduate Group in Romance Languages and Literatures)

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Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Deborah Anne Blocker, Professor. Early modern French literature and history.
Research Profile

+ Karl A. Britto, Associate Professor. Africa, cultural studies, the Caribbean, literature, francophone literature, colonial and postcolonial literature, Vietnam, gender and identity.
Research Profile

Eglantine L. Colon, Assistant Professor. French.

+ Timothy Hampton, Professor. Culture, politics, English, comparative literature, French, renaissance and early modern European culture, the romance languages, the ideology of literary genre, the literary construction of nationhood, the rhetoric of historiography.
Research Profile

Richard G. Kern, Professor. Literacy, second language acquisition, writing, psycholinguistics, reading, French language, French linguistics, technology and education.
Research Profile

Michael Lucey, Professor. Pragmatics, the novel, sexuality studies, comparative literature, French, French literature, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, British literature and culture, social and literary theory, cultural studies of music, studies of language in use, theories of practice, twentieth-century American literature .
Research Profile

Susan Maslan, Associate Professor. French, early modern French literary, political history, the enlightenment, human rights.
Research Profile

Mairi Mclaughlin, Associate Professor. French linguistics, Italian linguistics, romance linguistics, translation studies, history of French, History of Italian, History of the Romance Languages, language contact, History of the Press, Speech Reporting.
Research Profile

Nicholas Paige, Professor. Cinema (French New Wave), 17th- and 18th-century French literature and culture, history and theory of the novel, quantitative literary history and digital humanities, aesthetics and image theory, subjectivity and autobiography.
Research Profile

+ Debarati Sanyal, Professor. Violence, poetry, the relationship between literary form, politics in 19th-century France, the connection between performance, performativity, ethics in modernist texts.
Research Profile

Soraya Tlatli, Associate Professor. Francophone literature, colonial and postcolonial studies, literature and psychoanalysis, twentieth-century continental philosophy.
Research Profile

Damon R. Young, Associate Professor. Film theory, digital media, global art cinema, gender and sexuality studies, critical theory.


Daniel Hoffmann, Lecturer.

Kathryn Levine, Lecturer.

Vesna Rodic, Lecturer.

Ariel Shannon, Lecturer.

Rachel Shuh, Lecturer.

Maya Sidhu, Lecturer.

Margot Szarke, Lecturer.

Claire Tourmen, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Esther Alder, Professor Emeritus.

Leo Bersani, Professor Emeritus.

Ulysse Dutoit, Professor Emeritus.

Suzanne Guerlac, Professor Emerita. Nationalism, literature, philosophy, 19th- and 20th-century literature, myths of literature and theory, contemporary cultural criticism.
Research Profile

Basil Guy, Professor Emeritus.

David Hult, Professor Emeritus. Literary theory, medieval French literature, allegory, hermeneutics, text editing, French Studies.
Research Profile

Leonard W. Johnson, Professor Emeritus.

Thomas M. Kavanagh, Professor Emeritus.

Ann Smock, Professor Emeritus. Poetry, French, France during World War II, the Algerian War, 20th-century writing by women, relations between literature and music, Jacques Roubaud, Danielle Collobert.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Department of French

4125 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-2712

Fax: 510-642-8852

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Department Chair

Rick Kern

Academic Manager

Lydia Yoon

4205 Dwinelle Hall

Faculty Undergraduate Advisor

Timothy Hampton

4218 Dwinelle Hall

Undergraduate Student Services Advisor

Anatole (Tony) Soyka

4209 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-1202

Head Graduate Advisor

Debarati Sanyal

4211 Dwinelle Hall

Graduate Student Services Advisor

Mary Ajideh

4207 Dwinelle Hall

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