Intro to French and Francophone studies

Aug 2014

Emmanuelle Saada's classes are some of the best that I've ever taken at Columbia University. She stands out amongst other professors, because she is so attentive to her students. It's easy to get lost amongst the crowd at such a large university, but Saada is always available to work with undergraduates. Furthermore, she is a historical expert and one of the renowned faculty of the French department. Assigned readings are not only pertinent to the subject, but also connect well with Core Curriculum classes. I didn't find CC particularly useful until I took a class with Saada, who's familiarity with the Core makes for an incredibly enjoyable, engaging and connected class. Her interpretations of difficult readings are inspiring due both to her intellect and diverse background. She exemplifies what Columbia University is about. Run, do not walk to her class. It is an honor for any student to be able to take a class with her. I learned more in one class with Saada then in 2 years at Columbia. Expect fascinating lectures and a reasonable workload.

Jan 2012

Professor Dobie was the first French teacher I had at Columbia and from what I have come to understand since then, she is very reflective of the entire department. She is very French and if you don’t quite know what that means, it might be later than sooner that you find out. She’s nice, but more like polite than warmhearted. She’s knowledgeable, but will not exhibit any visible passion for the subject material. She’s easy going, as in she tolerates blatantly bad accents and she’s flexible about dates and assignments. Overall, she’s blasé (...does one add an E in English?) about the class and life in general. She was often late to class yet had that easiness about her attitude and even wardrobe that is just. so. French. The class on the other hand, at least for me, was fascinating. Professor Dobie mainly lectures, so if you’re looking to brush up your speaking and grammar, go elsewhere. It’s basically a history class. Simple as that. You must be able to understand French perfectly and write fast, because she talks for 74 of the 75 minutes. She’s not particularly engaging, but the texts are still worthwhile. Another word of advice: this class deals primarily with France and political, historical and social developments therein. The follow-up course (Francophone Studies Part II) is ENTIRELY about French colonies (read: AFRICA). They do not have to be taken subsequently but it’s advisable.

May 2011

This professor is awesome! She is very nice and helpful. This was her first semester teaching the course so it was maybe a little disorganized at first, but in the end it was an interesting class and very good overall. I'm sure that the class will only improve from here. Also, I would take a class with Prof. Koffi-Tessio again if she's teaching something else. Read the description/ syllabus on the department website if you don't know what the "French and Francophone Studies" part is. (Overall, a lot of important topics are covered and it's a good way to continue improving your French or to get major credit. You don't have to take them in sequence.)

Apr 2010

I had Professor Glover for Intro to French and Francophone Studies II. I absolutely loved her as a teacher. She's energetic and extremely knowledgeable and although she speaks really fast her French is so clear and well articulated that I can understand everything she says. As far as the class went though, I often felt overwhelmed. The reading is a lot and was kind of boring (for me, some people might love it) and after the first few weeks of class I gave up doing it at all. Luckily though, Professor Glover goes over all the important points of the reading so even if you don't read AT ALL, if you come to every class, sit in the front, pay lots of attention and take continuous notes, you should still be able to do pretty well in the class (I got a B on the midterm having read nothing - not too bad). The class is a little hard to keep up with due to the enormous amounts of complicated reading but other than that, there's never any homework to turn in. So it's just reading and then a midterm and final. If you're looking to actually improve your French though, this might not be the class for you. The focus is a lot more on the historical material learned rather than how well you speak, read, and write French. Her grading on the exams focuses solely on your understanding of the subject matter and not at all on your writing abilities. Because the class is mainly a lecture class, you won't develop your speaking and writing skills much but you'll get plenty of practice with listening and reading and taking fast notes in French. Overall though, the class was interesting and I have nothing but praise for Professor Glover. If you're interested in French colonialism and history, then this is the class for you and Professor Glover is simply an amazing teacher.

Dec 2004

Madame Dobie is a reserved lecturer, but has an enormous amount of knowledge. She is a no nonsense type, but her witty British side does shine through at times. She refuses to bullshit and she refuses to listen to bullshit, which is a welcome change from many French professors. You will learn a lot in this class, and you will find that you know it cold. It's refreshing, really.

Sep 2004

Prof Dobie is a VERY sweet, kind, soft-spoken person. She's also the undergrade dept advisor and someone with EXTENSIVE background in F&F Studies, so she's a great person to get to know if you have a real interest in the subject. As a professsor, however, Dobie's class was pretty dry; she wasn't great at provoking conversation, and most of the class was a Q&A type session, where she asked a question and class time was spent trying to direct students to the exact answer she had in mind, rather than discuss topics/issues raised in the readings. Nonetheless, it is a an interesting subject and definitely throught-provoking, even if much of that "thought" won't get expressed in class.

Dec 2002

Prof. Dobie is a fair grader but has terrible handwriting. Most likely, you'll have to ask her what she wrote in her comments. She is nice overall and the atmosphere in the class is relaxed. She doesnt' push anyone to participate but it helps if you do. However, don't be discouraged when you try to respond to one of her questions and discover that your answer is not the one she's looking for. Her class wasn't the best i've had but it's certainly not the worst.