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French Worldwide: Language, Culture, Identity


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelor's programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.


What does it mean to speak (and write in) French in the francophone ‘periphery’ (i.e. the French-speaking world outside France, supposedly the centre of power)? How do the various francophone contexts influence language, identity, cultural production, power relations within and between societies? Can the debates around ‘francophonie’ inform our contemporary considerations and concerns about global power?

These questions are at the core of the course in which we address ‘Francophonie’ in all its aspects (historical, political, linguistic and cultural) and through analysis of various artefacts (e.g.: novels, songs, movies, etc.). The course tackles the relations of domination, postcolonialism and legitimacy in specific temporal and geographical contexts, for instance the Middle East, North-Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, French Guiana, Canada and South East Asia.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have;

  1. a thorough knowledge of the societal, diplomatic, linguistic and cultural challenges of the French speaking world;
  2. acquired skills in:
  • researching (find relevant information on the topics of the course), analysing (put Francophonie and its debates into a historical context; analyse cultural artefacts from the French-speaking world), generating solutions (combine information & discuss the concepts of the course with sound argumentation & examine the ‘Francophone’ concept and its contexts from different viewpoints),

  • collaboration (presentation in small groups of academic papers and case studies on several Francophone regions and cultural productions); oral skills (leading group discussion during class); presenting and written communication (end paper on individually chosen case study); societal awareness (be well-informed about societal, political and discipline-related developments linked to the Francophonie)

  • reflection: peer feedback on individual research topic (Critically evaluating own and others’ work, being open to evaluations by others and learn from them).


The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

Seminars (weekly lecture and discussion); individual research; excursion (Africa Museum - Tervuren, BE)

Assessment method


Paper (approx. 3000 words)
Oral examination (in small groups)
Individual participation
Portfolio (written assignments – preparation of the seminars)


The final mark for the course is established by determination of the weighted average of four exams (paper: 50%; participation: 10%; oral examination: 25%; portfolio: 15%). All exams need to be passed with a 5.0 min.


Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursions, etc.). If you are unable to attend, notify the lecturer (listed in the information bar on the right) in advance. Being absent may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the final essay. Contact the course lecturer for more information.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

All material (academic articles, llinks to websites & fragments of novels) will be made available via Brightspace of via a Dropbox.
For the students who would like to read the novels in advance in French or in translation:

  • Mabanckou, Alain, Verre cassé [trans. Broken Glass]

  • Djebar, Assia, L’Amour la fantasia [trans. Fantasia. An Algerian Cavalcade]


Students participating in this module will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students can register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form provided by Umail. On this form students indicate the modules in order of their preference. The coordinators assign students to a module based on their preference and bachelor’s programme, in order to create a diverse group of students and equal amount of students per module Usually students get assigned to the module of their first or second choice.
General information about MyStudymap is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.