Lyon, France

Course Information

Lyon, France | 2019 Spring

Studying abroad can be a more meaningful and invigorating learning experience than at home—both inside and outside of the classroom. You may be more curious and alert than you usually are so use this heightened energy to enhance your studies as well as your cultural and geographical explorations. You may also encounter different teaching styles and course processes; be prepared to adapt and to learn.


You will enroll in 12 credits of intensive language courses taken at the Université Lumière Lyon II Centre internationale d'études françaises (CIEF) with other international students, plus 3 to 6 credits of elective courses in French culture or European Studies designed specifically for USAC students. Course availability is contingent upon student enrollment and is subject to change.

During the spring semester, advanced yearlong students have the option to take a combination of host university courses and USAC courses in lieu of the CIEF intensive language courses.

Fall & Spring Semesters

CIEF Intensive French Language Courses

CIEF language level placement is determined by a placement exam administered on-site. Courses at each level are outlined below. Taught in French.  Course descriptions for 2018-19 CIEF language classes will be posted as soon as they are available.

CIEF LEVEL A2: Intermediate Low/Mid (12 credits)

CIEF LEVEL B1: Intermediate High/Advanced Low (12 credits)

CIEF LEVEL B2: Advanced Low/Mid (12 credits)

CIEF LEVEL C1: Advanced High (12 credits)

Fall Semester

French and European Studies

Courses are taught in English unless noted; courses taught in French are appropriate for third-year students and above unless otherwise indicated.

Spring Semester

French and European Studies

Courses are taught in English unless noted; courses taught in French are appropriate for third-year students and above unless otherwise indicated.

Field Studies

Deepen your academic experience by turning either the optional Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea tour or optional Provence and Avignon tour into a 1-credit field study by completing additional academic requirements (readings, research, written assignments, reports, etc.) on the historical, cultural, and natural features of the region.

Host University Courses

Université Lumière Lyon 2 provides the unique opportunity to enroll in regular courses taught by French university professors. This will give you a chance to meet students outside of USAC and experience a typical French class. Courses are offered in business, economics, international relations, English literature and grammar, and more. Keep in mind that these courses need to be taken in addition to your full time USAC course load. You may choose a host university course as one of your required 3-credit electives. Work with your Resident Director to determine your options and to avoid conflicts with your USAC class schedule. Université Lumière Lyon 2 course grades will not be part of your official USAC record, however USAC will forward a letter or certificate of completion that is provided by the host university. Work with your home academic advisor to determine whether such courses will be accepted for credit.

French as Foreign Language Exams

As an official examination center, the Université Lumière Lyon 2 offers French proficiency exams at all levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced exams. All students take the Diplôme Universitaire d'Etudes Françaises (DUEF) examination at the end of the program; the fee for the exam is included in the program fee.

US Professors

Local faculty teach most USAC courses; however, the following US professors are also teaching as a Visiting Professor.

Fall Semester:

Dr. Catherine White | University of Cincinnati

Courses offered:

After leading the basic French language program at the University of Cincinnati for twelve years, she now teaches French and Francophone literature, cinema and intermediate conversation courses. She is a twice-recipient of the Turner Darwin Teaching Award and is involved in cultural activities in her department such as French Arabic Day. In addition to her academic career, she has been a professional actor in theater and film for over 35 years in New York and in the Midwest. She also writes fiction and is currently working on a novel.

Spring Semester:

Dr. Christopher Decker | University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Courses offered:

Dr. Decker (BA Yale, PhD Cambridge) has taught courses on Romanticism, Victorian literature, the novel, and Henry James.  He edited FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám and writes about poetry.  He was a Fulbright Scholar in England, has lectured in France, and consumes crime fiction voraciously and nocturnally wherever he is.

Course Descriptions

1940-1945 Shock! War, Occupation, and Resistance in France and Lyon

Spring (French, History; 300-level; 3 credits)

Description not available at this time.

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Désir et amour dans le cinéma français

Fall (French; 300-level; 3 credits)

Desire is at the core of a long, rich history in French literature and fine arts. Since the advent of cinema these expressions continue in French and Francophone films; not only erotic desire but human desire of many kinds such as the desire for identity, connection, social progress and self-knowledge. We explore origins of French cinema through works by Alice Guy-Blaché, George Méliès and the Lumières brothers. Students develop a basic understanding of film studies by exploring modern French and Francophone films from many countries like Belgium, Morocco, Algeria, Cameroun, Canada, Mauritania, France, etc. From films like Claire Denis’ “Chocolat” to Guillaume Nicloux’s “Valley of Love” to “Divines” by Houda Benyamina, USAC students will participate in an adventure in visual narratives that enable them to more deeply understand the cinematic language of desire. We will visit the Institut Lumière in Lyon, where students have a unique opportunity to witness first-hand the site of “France’s First Film” and learn about the inception of what is now a universal industry as well as what the French call Le Septième art.

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Film and Literature: The French Literary Thriller

Spring (English; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course explores the shadowy existential alleys of modern French literature through novels and films concerned with crime and everyday life as seen from characteristically French perspectives on politics, social class, psychology, metaphysics, comedy, and style from Georges Simenon to more recent books by Japrisot, Manchette, Izzo, Echenoz, Jonquet, Pennac, Vargas, and Beletto (whose L’Enfer, which won the Prix Femina, is set in Lyon). Readings include short novels, stories, and selections. Films by Carné, Dassin, Becker, Melville, Tavernier, Chabrol, and others provide additional angles on relations to American and British crime fiction: Hammett, Cain, Chandler, Thompson, Highsmith, Rendell.

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French Art and Architecture

Fall (French; 300-level; 3 credits)

Lyon’s rich heritage allows us to offer an introduction to the history of the arts. In order to sensitize students to Culture and Arts, we will both have practical workshops, lectures and visits of museums. Throughout our multiple interventions, we are trying to emphasize on the commonalities existing between arts. Indeed, it seems important that students understand the connections that exist between arts of all time, connections that got stronger in the 20th century. This course will be about the arts throughout its issues, its breakdowns but also its continuities.

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French Cuisine

Fall (200-level; 1 credit)

This course is designed to teach typical French recipes, as well as tips, serving ideas, and a bit of etiquette and customs. The lessons are arranged by meal, so that one can easily translate the lessons to real life cooking situations.

In addition to learning how to make appealing appetizers and entrees, students take several classes in baking and pastries. They learn tricks and tips that can be used in daily life. Students will spend time chopping onions, peeling potatoes, cutting meat, kneading dough and beating eggs, all of it under the supervision of the cooks who can teach them the tricks of the trade and correct any mistakes.

Generally, classes include one to two hours of explanations along with a practical hands-on component in the school (fully equipped and stocked kitchens where students cook).

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French Culture and Civilization: Getting to know Lyon Beyond the Walls

Fall (French; 200-level; 1 credit)
Spring (French; 200-level; 1 credit)

This short 15 hours course will introduce students to several aspects of French civilization discussed from a local perspective. It will cover different topics: education, politics, history, social organizations. The class will not take place in a regular classroom but will consist in visiting places, meeting people and exchanging ideas about their work and their involvement as members of French society. A short list of relevant vocabulary and basic knowledge about the subjects treated will be handed prior to or after the visits.

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French Stylistics

Fall (French; 400-level; 3 credits)
Spring (French; 400-level; 3 credits)

French Stylistics is an elective course for students of French as a second language at an advanced level, who have probably taken at least three years of college French. The goal of this course is to enhace the writing abilities, taking the written text as a contextualized communication event, addressed to an audience and with a clear and defined purpose. Therefore, class activities are centered around the analysis and the understanding of different written genres, so that they can be produced latter. In addition, this course does not neglect the oral interaction and expression, since the class is conducted entirely in French, reinforcing collaboration through group work.

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Government and Politics in France and Europe

Fall (Political Science; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course aims at showing the specificities of French politics. It will present balance of power and go into detail about each power. It will also go into detail about elections and political parties so the students can understand the roots of today’s political debate. A review of some majors policies by the presidents of the 5th Republic will be also done in order to explain some evolution in the French society and illustrate the major difference between the everlasting gap between “gauche” and “droite”. Few minutes will be spent in the beginning of ach class to answer students’ questions.

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Introduction à la littérature française moderne

Fall (French; 300-level; 3 credits)

During the 20th and 21st centuries French literature has undergone many transitions. Through short fiction, poetry, memoire and theatre this course is a voyage through those transitions. Structured on the theme of the rapport between individual and society, we begin with 19th century short fiction of Flaubert and symbolist poetry of Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine. The existentialist and absurdist theatre of Sartre and Ionesco are studied and recorded representations of their plays viewed (local productions at the time of this course will be attended if they are available). Students are introduced to Annie Ernaux, Marguerite Duras and Assia Djebar, and some of the most important works by women about women. Early 21st century “Bande desinnée” is also explored as a genre that is particularly popular in France today. Students will write analyses of some works and have the chance to explore their own literary expression by writing short creative pieces in French.

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Islam in France: Multiculturalism and the Media

Fall (Anthropology, French, Speech Communications; 300-level; 3 credits)

Why Islam represents a controversy in France? This course aims at analyzing and describing how Islam developed in France, and how Muslims are perceived and represented by media, politicians, and public opinion.

In the first part of the course we will analyze how north African Muslim immigration since 1960’s impacts contemporary French society; integration vs isolation. In the second part, we will address the topic of secularism of Institutions in France: historical perspective and current debates. In the last part of the course, we will analyze media coverage of Islam in France; special attention will be given to the interactions and debates of muslin religion in the schools: the case of the Islamic headscarf.

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Marseille and the Mediterranean Sea Field Study

Fall (200-level; 1 credit)

This field study course is designed to optimize the benefits of the Provence tour by providing a solid historic and artistic base for studies of French language and culture. The point of departure for the course will be the sites visited on Provence.

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Modern Comparative Literature: Living and Traveling in France

Spring (English; 400-level; 3 credits)

This course explores France as seen by writers from France, the USA, Britain, and Latin America, in two regards: dwelling and movement. Readings that take mobile views of France include Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes, Wharton’s A Motor-Flight through France, and Cortázar’s Autonauts of the Cosmoroute. Writers that linger in places include Aragon, Hemingway, Queneau, Green, Gallant, Clébert, Réda, Roubaud, Modiano (Paris); Daudet, Pagnol, Fitzgerald, Giono, Sagan, W. S. Merwin (the South); Xavier de Maistre (Rhône-Alpes). Readings consist of selections and short works, with supplementary films by Carné, Malle, and Carax. Assignments include journal-keeping and travel writing.

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Provence and Avignon Field Study

Spring (200-level; 1 credit)

This field study course is designed to optimize the benefits of the Avignon Provence tour by providing a solid historic and artistic base for studies of French language and culture. The point of departure for the course will be the sites visited on Provence.

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Survey of French Literature II

Spring (French; 300-level; 3 credits)

A study of the development of French literature through the analysis of literary movements and the comparison of the most important authors of each period. Texts from different literary genres are selected which demonstrate underlying ideas, the idiosyncrasies of the French people, and universal values, as well as the literary characteristics of the works themselves.

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Travel Photography

Spring (Art, Journalism; 200-level; 1 credit)

Regards sur la ville : une approche de la photographie pour découvrir un environnement urbain, se l’approprier et partager sa vision. Construire une mémoire commune à partir de regards individuels différents

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