University of Minnesota
Department of French & Italian

Department of French & Italian.

Department of French & Italian

Welcome to the Department of French and Italian at the University of Minnesota. The Department offers undergraduate and graduate courses on the language, literature, and culture of France, the broader Francophone world, and Italy. At all levels, our courses are designed to provide the linguistic skills and to enhance the kind of critical thinking needed to explore other cultures, other historical periods, and to discover what makes them meaningful today.

  • Lecture by French author Réjane Sénac

  • Upcoming events featuring visiting Professor Alessia Ricciardi

    Luncheon and Seminar for graduate students and faculty
    Thursday, October 8. Folwell Hall 113, 11:00 A.M.-1 P.M.

    Free Use/Monasticism/Digital Media
    In The Highest Poverty (2013), the philosopher Giorgio Agamben sheds light on a surprising and perplexing affinity between contemporary digital culture and the Franciscan school of monasticism by revisiting the medieval theological controversy Alessia Ricciardi surrounding the notion of free use. In our discussion, we will consider the implications of Agamben’s thinking for the present-day problem of freely shared digital media and intellectual property. For this event only, please RSVP to regarding your participation in the luncheon and seminar on October 8 no later than 12 P.M. on Monday, October 5.

    Public Lecture
    Friday, October 9. Nicholson 135, 2:30 P.M.-5:00 P.M.

    Red Desert: Woman as a Form of Life
    This lecture focuses on the strategic role assigned to the character of Giuliana, who is played by Monica Vitti, in Michelangelo Antonioni’s landmark film, Red Desert (1964). Confronted by the signs of ecological crisis and unsettling technological change in the film’s setting of Ravenna, Giuliana undertakes a search for new ethical alternatives to the prevailing ways of thinking and being. We will assess her responses to her predicament with the help of the poet Anne Carson’s brilliant lyrical engagements with Antonioni’s masterpiece.

    Both events are sponsored with the support of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, MIMS Graduate Group, and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Italian Cultural Center.

    Alessia Ricciardi is a Professor in the French and Italian Department and the Comparative Literary Studies Program at Northwestern Universitiy. Her first book, The Ends of Mourning, was published by Stanford University Press in 2003 and won the MLA's 2004
 Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literature. Her Alessia Ricciardi second book, After La Dolce Vita: A Cultural Prehistory of Berlusconi's Italy, was published by Stanford in 2012 and won the MLA’s 2013 
Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies. Currently, Professor Ricciardi is writing her third book, which is titled Woman as a Form of Life: Gender Politics in Antonioni's Films. Her essays have appeared in PMLA, Modernism/Modernity, Modern Language Notes, diacritics, and The Romanic Review, among other publications. Her most recent articles are about works by Pasolini, Antonioni, Foucault, Deleuze, and Agamben.

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Undergraduate News

  • Sports and the Body in Modern France

    We are very excited to be offering a brand-new undergraduate French course this spring. Please consider enrolling today!

    French 3650, Section 002: "Sports and the Body in Modern France"
    MW: 8:15 A.M.-9:30 A.M.
    3 credits

    Description: Prerequisite: FREN 3015. In the lead-up to the Rio Olympics and the Moscow World Cup, this course will examine the cultural and political uses of sport in the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries, as well as some of the many ways sports have been imagined to make or unmake bodies. Through encounters with literary texts, criticism, film and other cultural materials, we will parse attempts to define what sport is and is not, to understand sport’s ethical, aesthetic, and political implications in the era of mass spectacle, and to describe how sports have participated in shaping bodies in modernity. From the athletic young girls in Proust’s À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs to the sinister games in Perec’s W, from the mythologized footballer in Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s “La Mélancolie de Zidane” to Barthes’ sport “mythologies,” this course will pay close attention to how athletic gestures have been imagined to express aspects of ethnicity, gender, and class identity in motion.

    Instructor: T. Wilds
  • Upcoming Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Conference


    The Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Conference will be held April 6-8, 2016. The UIC is in its fourth year and provides an opportunity for students with majors or minors in French Studies, Italian Studies, Spanish/Portuguese Studies, ALL, GSD, or GLOS to to showcase their work.

    In addition to traditional conference panels and presentations, this year they will be asking students to propose collaborative and discussion-based sessions. The application and abstract deadline is February 24th. More information will be made available on the UIC website Questions may be directed to Maryanne Williams at

  • Mulhollem Cravens Leadership Scholarship

    $5,000 Internship Award for CLA Students

    CLA Career Services introduces the Mulhollem Cravens Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship opportunity will combine the hands-on experience of a summer internship with an internship reflection course, enhanced career coaching and alumni mentoring opportunities.

    Application deadline is December 15. No need to have an internship secured by the time of application. For more information and to apply, visit

  • SITE Internships

    Wish you had a paid opportunity to experience the Italian language and culture while making a difference in the classroom? We have exciting news to share with you.

    We have recently developed a partnership with the Study, Intercultural Training, and Experience Program (SITE) to ensure two recent majors in Italian paid internships in Lombardy as English Teaching Assistants. Our first two interns are in Italy right now, and they are having a very exciting time of their lives. You could be the next one!

    For information about the program and to submit your application please contact Professor Susanna Ferlito ( by December 15, 2016.

    To learn more about the SITE program, please click here:
    "Italy, and specifically Crema, is fantastic! The city is very charming, and I'm enjoying my experience with a host family (I have my own apartment, but they live below). The program itself is also going well. I teach hour-long English conversation/listening lessons to first and third-year students at the moment, and I'm having a lot of fun doing that. Eventually, they will have me teach CLIL, which involves teaching specific subject material in English. On the side, I do private lessons in order to live more comfortably, and this, too, is very enjoyable. I've been starting to travel around northern Italy, and I've found that in the last two months alone I have become very"comfortable with the pace of life here and the local culture. My Italian is also rapidly progressing too!"
    -Nick Lambert
    "The SITE program has been one of my best experiences so far! I love everything about it and am having the time of my life! Not only do you get work experience, but it also teaches so many other important life lessons that can be applied to a number of different things. The workload isn't heavy either, so there's plenty of time to travel and make friends. I'm enjoying it so much so that I already am thinking about signing up again for next year!"
    -Emily Irsfeld

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Graduate News

  • 10/6 SUNY Press: Proposal to Bookshelves by Dr. Beth Bouloukos

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    How can you write a proposal that will survive the trip from the mail room to the editor’s desk? Did you ever wonder what editors look for when reading proposals? What factors are the most important when editors decide to acquire a book? How do you know what press would be best for you? How do youfind an editor who will appreciate your work? What questions should you ask about the production and marketing of your manuscript? What are the different factors you should think about when writing your first, second, or tenth book?

    Dr. Beth Bouloukos, Senior Acquisition Editor at SUNY Press, will address these issues in her talk about academic publishing in the humanities.Beth Bouloukos received her PhD in Hispanic Studies from Cornell University. She is a senior acquisitions editor at the State University of New York Press, where she develops the lists in education, Latin American and Iberian studies, sexuality studies, and women's and gender studies. The books she has acquired have won several prestigious awards. Beth has also taught Latin American literature, film, and cultural studies at Fairfield University in CT and the University at Albany-SUNY. She recently contributed an article to an edited volume on 1960’s gay pulp fiction that was published this past winter with the University of Massachusetts Press.

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