FR 302S: Cultural and Literary Perspectives

Reader requirements: French fluent (ability to speak, write and read).

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information

Instructor: Professor Deb Reisinger

This course is organized around the concepts of la francité and la québécité, as well as the social, cultural, and literary determinants of those identities. Through a series of texts and films designed to introduce us to contemporary Francophone thought and cultural practices, we will explore the following questions: What is it to be French? Who is French (and who is Francophone?)? How do the French see themselves, and how are they perceived by others, including other Francophones? In what ways do cultural practices, globalization, and ethnicity influence the formation of the French identity (and may we determine one?)? Discussions will include analysis of cultural stereotypes, child rearing, culinary practices, collective myths, sociolinguistics, secularism, immigration, and multiculturalism.  Although the focus of this course is cultural analysis, we will review grammar and stylistics as needed.

Student Writing:

What are students writing? Persuasive essay (long form editorial, 5 to 7 pgs).
For whom? A sympathetic native speaker.
Where would such writing typically be found? Magazine or newspaper. Similar articles might be found in news magazines such as L’Express, Le Point, or Marianne.
Why would someone usually read it? To better understand and critically examine an issue, to contribute to conversation about the issue in an intelligent and informed manner.

Schedule (Student – Reader Interactions):

Here are the deadlines for this course, as they pertain to the Duke Reader Project:

Oct 30: Student should have an intro meeting with their reader to introduce themselves and their ideas to their reader by this date.

Nov. 8: Student’s bibliographic essay due to reader.

Nov. 15: Reader’s feedback on bibliographic essay due to student.

Dec. 4: Student’s draft of final paper due to reader.

Dec 11: Reader’s feedback on draft of final paper due to student.

For this course, phone conversations or audio recordings (fairly easy to make these days with a smart phone) are the ideal way of providing feedback.


Link to Audio Feedback Examples:

Link to partial Syllabus:

SyllabusFR 302

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

For this course, the Think-Aloud responses will be most useful. Please remember NOT to fix for grammar.

Questions for volunteer readers to consider when reading their student’s work:

1. Does the writer present a clear thesis statement in the introductory paragraph that indicates how his/her argument will develop?

2. Does the writer characterize the problem effectively, taking into consideration both supporting and opposing claims?

3. Does the writer clearly and effectively place his/her research in (historical, social) context?

4. Does the writer support claims effectively, citing sources as necessary?

5. Is it easy to follow the writer’s argument? Is the organization clear, with logical transitions?