Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: French Studies

Page Coordinator: Agnes Widder Last updated: 06-09-2008

Purpose or Scope of Collection

A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs

Resources in French studies serve the instructional needs of the students of French in the Romance and Classical Studies Department (RCS hereafter) and students, faculty, and other M.S.U. community members interested in the literature, language, history, and culture of France.

The RCS department fosters the study of the human experience as expressed in the languages, literatures, and cultures of France, Italy, and ancient Greece and Rome. Some courses cross disciplinary boundaries to examine topics in philosophy, comparative literature, religion, political theory, and cultural, gender, and diaspora studies. The students become proficient in reading, writing, and speaking French. The courses integrate current research in the fields of language acquisition and cultural and literary studies; the students learn to think critically about their world. B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. programs are offered in French, with courses on literary periods from the Middle Ages to the present. At the 400 level RCS has theme, genre, and history-based seminars. RCS also offers a French minor and a teaching certification French minor for students majoring in education.

Faculty and students from art, music, philosophy, history, and theater need and use the materials, as well as those participating in on-campus programs in religious studies, Jewish studies, diaspora studies, migration studies, women’s studies, Caribbean studies, African studies, and integrative studies in the arts and humanities.

France is a popular destination for study abroad students; there has been an M.S.U. study abroad program in Tours, France, annually for many years, led by RCS faculty. Recently, they also offered a program in Nimes, France, which combined classics and French studies.

Among the history faculty, at the present time we have scholars interested in the following: 12th-century Anglo-Norman law, cartularies, higher learning in the Middle Ages, early medieval monastic life, the Benoist d’Azy family in 19th century France and the Caribbean, women in modern Europe, historical demography, French history since 1750, migration in 19th-century France, especially from rural areas to Paris, family and social history since the 16th century, and 20th century Europe in film.

Among the French faculty in the RCS department we have scholars interested in the following authors, topics, and periods: Christine de Pizan, late antique and medieval French literature, especially the relationship between epistemology and ethics in the later Middle Ages, ideas of memory and consolation, allegory, and historiography; Clement Marot, Marguerite de Navarre, lyric poetry and songs of the Renaissance, 17th-century literature; Moliere’s plays, 17th-century French drama and theater, La Bruyere; Voltaire’s correspondence as fiction, epistolary writing, the Scottish Enlightenment and its reception in France, 18th-century French literature and the other arts, especially visual art; Gustave Flaubert, Marie de France, Madame de Stael, Charles Baudelaire, Victor Hugo, French symbolism, French romantic poetry, women authors, feminist studies, critical theory, 19th-century French literature; French literature related to Vichy France, the German Occupation in the 1940s, and the Holocaust; writings and autobiographies of 19th and 20th century French women prisoners, French cinema, Jewish studies, and 20th-century French literature. There is also a faculty member specializing in French linguistics and applied linguistics.

“Bulk” loading of content sub-sets from our electronic resources can be negotiated with vendors such as ProQuest, Adam Matthew, and Gale/Cengage for faculty and students to use for digital projects.  People may also find "data" to use from data repositories such as Registry of Research Data Repositories. The resulting intellectual products can be hosted on our servers for research and teaching.

Grant funded (NEH, etc) research may be subject to data management requirements, including consideration for publishing and sharing of data.  MSU would like to be considered for consultation and retention of such data, if approached by faculty or graduate students.

B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases

Our collection favors French literature by and criticism about the canonical authors of France and history of France from the medieval period to the present. Contemporary literary authors are collected sparingly and to support the curriculum. Our Africana, Asian, and Latin American studies bibliographers collect works by and about French African, Near Eastern, Asian, and Caribbean literary authors and history of these places. French Canadian literature is not collected in French.

Special Collections contains the French Monarchy Collection. It includes over 6,000 volumes and 3,000 pamphlets about the French royal families and the French monarchical institution from the 10th c. to the 19th century, including the art and architecture of the period. Unfortunately, it is not used very much owning to the research proclivities of the present faculty, outlined above.

The materials in Main and Africana about French Africa and Francophone literature are a great strength; Africana librarians do the collecting here. The collection receives much use as the African history program has noted faculty. The history of the Francophone Caribbean is an up and coming field at this time on campus. The Latin American studies bibliographer takes the lead in collecting.

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