The French department offers a doctoral program with a strong critical and interdisciplinary focus. In addition to their respective specialties in French and Francophone literature, the faculty pursue research in related disciplines such as philosophy, aesthetics, psychoanalysis, health humanities, postcolonial and migration studies, multilingualism, visual culture and intellectual history.

The French Ph.D Program at Emory provides a multifaceted, interdisciplinary, theoretically sophisticated and cosmopolitan approach to understanding how French and Francophone texts (from the middle ages up to the present day) continue to make highly relevant and enduring contributions to many of the questions that are central to intellectual life and the culture of the future.

The Ph.D. in French

The distinctive feature of our doctoral program in French is an interdisciplinary curriculum that trains teachers and scholars to

  • engage in conversations across disciplinary boundaries;
  • understand the nature of French and Francophone literatures and the theory that informs and shapes our understanding of these literatures;
  • become acquainted with critical traditions that have in recent decades oriented literary critical studies;
  • gain proficiency in the theory and practice of second language

In keeping with this orientation, graduate courses reflect the faculty’s interest in viewing French literature from multi-disciplinary critical approaches, emphasizing both the close reading of texts and modern theories of inter- pretation. Moreover, through cooperation with programs in Comparative Literature, English, Philosophy, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students can readily incorporate an  interdisciplinary  focus  into  their coursework and dissertation. A certificate in Comparative Literature, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Jewish Studies or Psychoanalytic Studies is available for students who seek to combine their Ph.D. in French with literary and theoretical issues outside the historic or generic boundaries of French literature.

Intellectual Community

Graduate students at Emory take part in a thriving intellectual community focused around literature, critical theory and cultural studies with dynamic  lecture and film series as well as seminars across campus. These include those organized by the Disability Studies Initiative, the Institute of African Studies, the Psychoanalytic Studies Program, the Anthropocene Reading Group, the Global and Postcolonial Studies Program, along with several other faculty and student led conferences and programming.

The department also regularly brings distinguished scholars and authors to campus for seminars and lectures. One of these speakers each year is selected by the graduate students. Recent visitors include:

Ken Bugul, Patrick Chamoiseau, Michel Chion, Monique David-Ménard, Claire Denis, Fabienne Kanor, Alain Mabanckou, Raoul Peck, Pascal Quignard, Jean- Michel Rabaté, Jacques Rancière, Joël Des Rosiers, Kim Thúy, and Robert J. C. Young.

Professional Activities and Placement

Graduate students are encouraged to participate fully in  their  future  profession by publishing papers and presenting them at professional meetings. Generous funds are available to students for conference travel,  archival  research, field work, and training. Travel support is available for students who present papers at professional meetings.

Additionally, all Ph.D. students participate in the Laney Graduate School’s “Jones Program in Ethics” (JPE), which involves workshops and special sessions addressing issues of professional ethics.

Graduate Students are thoroughly prepared for the  job  market  by  their  faculty advisor, who counsels them at every step of the process, from the composition of the application letter and the preparation of sample syllabi, to the job interview, for which we hold practice sessions. We have had an excellent placement record,  with  graduates  obtaining tenure  track  positions at  such  institutions   as   American   University,   the University  of  Alabama at Birmingham, Auburn University, the University of Arizona,  UCLA,  Grinnell College, the University  of  Illinois  Urbana-Champaign,  the University of Minnesota, UNC-Chapel Hill, Princeton University, the University of Tulsa, Georgia Tech, the University of the South, Vanderbilt University, and Winthrop University.

Training in Teaching

Our graduate program provides a rich language-teaching experience in both training and praxis. Graduate students serve as instructors of record and work collaboratively with colleagues and supervisors to create and administer their own courses. In addition to the Teaching Assistant Training and Teaching Opportunity (TATTO) program offered by Laney Graduate School, students take FREN 505 “Problems in Foreign Language Teaching” in their second year, which  offers  a  state-of-the-art  snapshot   of   the   field   of   language teaching methodologies.

Our graduate students are guaranteed to teach in several different levels of French, with the possibility of teaching a 300- or 400-level course themed to align with their research specializations in their final year. In this way, our graduate students build a robust teaching portfolio with the ability to put pedagogical theories into practice in a variety of courses.


Contact Information

For further information about the Ph.D. program in French, please contact:
Dr. Subha Xavier
Director of Graduate Studies
subha.xavier@emory.edu / 404-727-4574

Leslie Church Hartness
Academic Degree Program Coordinator
lhartne@emory.edu / 404.727.6431

French and Italian Program
537 Kilgo Circle
405 N Callaway Center
Emory University
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: (404) 727-6431
Fax: (404) 727-4579