The PhD Program in French focuses on literary and cultural production from throughout the French-speaking world and provides students with a strong theoretical background. Historically dedicated to training students in the various periods, genres, and media of cultural production in French, the program is also distinguished by its pioneering commitment to a broadly inclusive conception of the field of French and Francophone literatures and cultures, as well as its sustained engagement with developments in literary theory, philosophy, and critical thought that have indelibly impacted humanities scholarship of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The program aims to develop students’ metacritical perspectives through exposure to the range of theoretical and methodological approaches represented by our faculty. These include poststructuralist, postmodern, psychoanalytic, cultural historical, postcolonial, feminist, visual arts, gender studies, and historical materialist perspectives, as well as film and media theories.
The research and teaching of our combined faculty exhibits particular strength in the areas of twentieth-century literature and contemporary theory (Christopher Bush, Scott Durham, Michal Ginsburg, Nasrin Qader, Alessia Ricciardi, Domietta Torlasco, Sam Weber, Jane Winston); film and visual culture across periods (Christopher Bush, Scott Durham, Bernadette Fort, Michal Ginsburg, Alessia Ricciardi, Marco Ruffini, Domietta Torlasco, Jane Winston); Francophone studies (Christopher Bush, Doris Garraway, Nasrin Qader, Jane Winston); seventeenth- and eighteenth-century studies (Bernadette Fort, Doris Garraway, Sylvie Romanowski); Medieval and Early Modern: (Cynthia Nazarian, Bill Paden-Emeritus); and gender studies (Bernadette Fort, Bill Paden-Emeritus, Sylvie Romanowski, Jane Winston, Cynthia Nazarian).
In addition, the program is strongly committed to interdisciplinarity and allows students the flexibility to tailor their course of study so as to reach across disciplinary and departmental boundaries. In so doing, students may choose to participate in the Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative, a program designed to help Northwestern graduate students foster connections with students and faculty in other departments and programs around interdisciplinary subject areas such as African Studies, Critical Theory, Gender Studies, and Rhetoric and Public Culture. All students benefit from a wide array of interdisciplinary resources, including Northwestern Library's outstanding Africana collection, and from close interaction with experts in related fields of gender studies, film, art history, philosophy, and comparative literature. In addition, the department regularly hosts conferences and invites internationally acclaimed writers and scholars to Northwestern to lecture and teach. Recent guests include Adelkébir Khatibi, Georges Didi-Hubermann, Hélène Cixous, Frederic Jameson, Ross Chambers, Tariq Ali, Peter Hallward, and Boubacar Boris Diop.
The program is dedicated to meeting the intellectual needs of each student and to supporting students throughout their training through formal and informal mentoring.
For additional resources, please see our Resources page.
For Program Information
Cindy Waldeck, Graduate Program Assistant
Department of French & Italian
1880 Campus Drive, Kresge 2-375
Evanston, IL 60208-2204
For information about the application/application process, please see our Admission Requirements.