At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of resources inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work.
Language is generally taught to students as if their primary identity were that of a consumer. They learn how to order food, how to buy something, how to get somewhere. At Bennington, we do something else. We teach language by engaging with a student's intellectual identity.
Here, French lets you explore your own interests and exercise your imagination while developing an informed understanding of French and Francophone cultures. The French program at Bennington prizes challenging and engaging content as the best pathway to linguistic proficiency, regardless of level. Beginners use French to look closely at cultural practices. Intermediate-level courses often focus on film or music. Advanced students examine literature, critical theory, and theatre in depth. At all levels, small seminars focus students' energy on close reading, challenging questions, and lively discussion.
To enrich students’ exploration, artists, writers, and scholars regularly visit campus and participate in classes. Faculty and students collaborate to organize extra-curricular activities. Students are encouraged to pursue Field Work Term opportunities, study abroad, and community service in local schools.
Isabel Roche is a scholar of 19th-century French literature. She previously served as Provost and Dean of the College, and was Interim President for the 2019-20 academic year.
Noëlle Rouxel-Cubberly teaches French language through the lenses of French film, historical correspondence, and other aspects of French cultural life.
Stephen Shapiro’s research on early-modern French literature and culture focuses on aristocratic memoirs, the history of sexuality, culinary culture, and the history of the city of Paris. He is currently looking at the development of a modern gay culture in 18th-century Paris.