The Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture is part of a network of intellectual sites grouped within the Center for French Language and Cultures. The Center branches into the University's most significant spheres of activity in French Studies – the Department itself, the Institute of French Studies, and La Maison Française. These form the most comprehensive American academic complex devoted to the study of French and Francophone culture, past and present. Through the wide range of public activities regularly organized, the Center and the three sites, along with NYU Paris, play a preeminent role in the cultural exchange between the French-speaking world and the United States.
A. The French Department
The Department of French Literature, Thought and Culture at New York University has a large faculty of almost 40 of whom a little under half are tenured or on the tenure track. Together they represent a broad spectrum of specialization in all areas of French literature, historical culture, critical theory and philosophy, the history of ideas, cultural studies, film and Francophone studies.
Each year the department offers a number of courses by eminent visiting professors, who are one of the distinctive strengths of the department's graduate programs. Among the most recent visitors are Peter Szendy, Paul Audi, Reda Bensmaïa, Christian Biet, Marielle Macé, Francois Noudelmann, Francois Cornilliat, and Philippe Roger (Global Distinguished Professor). Mini-seminars are another feature of the department's program that allow for briefer contact with distinguished scholars from elsewhere.
The department offers approximately twenty graduate seminars per year, with enrollments ranging generally from five to fifteen. Students are able to choose from the rich offerings of a large department, yet also enjoy the opportunity for close personal interaction with professors.
B. Graduate Study
The department’s PhD degree programs bring together a large body of graduate students from all parts of the world.
PhD students receive financial support for five years; a number of other fellowship opportunities are also open to them. Normally doctoral candidates will teach for four semesters in the Department as part of their training. Candidates for the doctorate do their course work in New York, but can decide to take some courses through the NYU center in Paris; joint candidates with the Institute for French Studies do so standardly. With our effective professional training and placement program, recent PhDs have successfully competed for positions at major colleges and universities.
C. The Institute of French Studies
The Institute of French Studies (IFS) is an interdisciplinary program devoted to the study of modern and contemporary France and francophone countries. The Institute's program focuses on French history, culture, society, and politics and emphasizes an interdisciplinary approach that draws on the strengths of the humanities and social sciences faculty at New York University.
The Institute's PhD programs are designed to train graduates for careers in higher education. Master's programs prepare students for careers in international business and banking, the media, cultural organizations and government, or in teaching French civilization in secondary schools or two-year colleges. The Institute awards a Certificate of Achievement in French Studies to students who take qualifying courses in contemporary France.
In addition to its teaching programs, the Institute fosters research by faculty, doctoral students, research associates, and visiting scholars in a wide range of areas pertinent to modern and contemporary
French society, culture, politics, and history. It also sponsors the French Studies Colloquia – a public lecture series – and weekly luncheon seminars, all designed to advance scholarly research, promote and exchange ideas, and encourage interaction among students, scholars, and professional people in the New York region.
d. NYU Paris
Founded in 1969, NYU Paris is at the forefront of year-round international study-abroad programs for undergraduate students. Participants develop solid language skills while pursuing a challenging curriculum for degree credit and exploring the excitements of Paris. By hosting conferences and lectures that bring together artists, filmmakers, politicians, and writers, the Paris center fosters an intense intellectual life. A full range of cultural excursions and social activities round out the programs in Paris and lead to a rigorous and enriching study experience.
Fellowships funded by the Global Research Initiative at NYU Paris enable graduate students to immerse themselves in the heart of French intellectual and cultural life. Graduate students can also organize events in Paris (with the agreement of the site director).
E. La Maison Française
La Maison Française, founded in 1957, is situated just north of Washington Square at the entrance to the historic Washington Mews. Its director is Francine Goldenhar who oversees an annual program of lectures (featuring more than fifty speakers annually), roundtables, conferences, film and video screenings, art exhibits, concerts, theater productions, and special presentations. These events, which are free and open to the public, focus on diverse aspects of French and Francophone civilization and culture, historical and contemporary.