William Poulin-Deltour

Professor of French & Francophone Studies

 work(802) 443-5248
 On Academic Leave 2021-2022
 Le Chateau 102

William Poulin-Deltour holds a D.E.A. from the École normale supérieure des hautes études en sciences sociales, an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. from New York University.

His teaching and research interests include the anthropology of France, sex and gender in contemporary France, multiculturalism,and the French educational system.




Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

FREN 6704 - Paradox French Multiculuralism      

The Paradox of French Multiculturalism

When presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron was asked if France was multicultural in 2017, he responded, “There is not one French culture; France is diverse and multiple.” He quickly added, however, “France has never been, and will never be, a multicultural nation.” In this course, we will explore this seeming paradox through an historical and sociological approach. We will start with the ancien régime’s exceptional cultural diversity after which we will analyze the Republic’s attempt to construct a national culture around which to unify its citizens at the end of the 19th century through 1940. We will end with an examination of the challenges postcolonial immigration pose for today’s France. Short papers weekly, choice of final project (podcast, reportage, video in consultation with professor). Civ Cul & Soc

Summer 2020 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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CMLT 0700 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
A senior thesis is normally completed over two semesters. During Fall and Winter terms, or Winter and Spring terms, students will write a 35-page (article length) comparative essay, firmly situated in literary analysis. Students are responsible for identifying and arranging to work with their primary language and secondary language readers, and consulting with the program director before completing the CMLT Thesis Declaration form. (Approval required.)

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

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FREN 0203 - Intermediate French II      

Intermediate French II
An active and intensive review of French grammar for students having had good beginning-level training in French. We will work not only to perfect mastery of the structures of the language with practice of writing and reading, but also to develop oral comprehension and production skills. (FREN 0103 or FREN 0105 or placement) 5 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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FREN 0205 - Toward Liberated Expression      

Toward Liberated Expression
A course designed to increase and perfect the ability to express oneself in spoken and written French. Emphasis on precision, variety, and vocabulary acquisition. Sections limited to 15 students. (FREN 0201, 0203 or placement) This requirement for the major and the minor may be satisfied by placement at a higher level. 3 hrs. lect./disc. LNG

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2022

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FREN 0209 - Self&Society Writing in French      

Self and Society: Effective Writing in French
In this course, students will deepen their knowledge of the French language and French-speaking cultures while developing their reading and writing skills through examination of a variety of texts and media. This course facilitates the transition from language-oriented courses (FREN 0205) to content-oriented courses (such as FREN 0220 and FREN 0230) by introducing students to strategies for interpretation and discussion, with a focus on effective writing. Course materials may include essays/articles, theater, fiction, poetry, videos, and films. (FREN 0205 or by placement) 3 hrs. lect./disc. CW EUR LNG

Fall 2020

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FREN 0230 - Introduction to Contemp France      

Introduction to Contemporary France
In this interdisciplinary course we will examine the evolving social and political landscape of France in the 21st century. How is French society reconciling contemporary challenges with deeply entrenched institutions and values? How does everyday life reflect the evolution of long-term trends? How are immigration, growing inequalities, and membership in the European Union challenging French identity and the notion of “Frenchness”? We will focus our attention on demography and the family, the educational system, politics, and the French social model or welfare state. Emphasis will be on oral expression and the acquisition of specialized vocabulary. Sources will include articles from the French and American press, documents, and film. This course is recommended for all students planning to study in France. (FREN 0209, 0210 or placement); open to first-semester first-year students with permission.) EUR LNG SOC

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

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FREN 0348 - France: Multicultural Society      

France: A Multicultural Society?
The debates over "national identity" and the "niqab affair" (2009-2010) demonstrated once again just how controversial the notion of cultural pluralism remains in France. Using an historical and sociological approach, we will examine the sources of French unease over such public displays of "private" difference. We will explore France's colonial past and immigration; different forms of socio-political mobilization around ethnic, religious, and sexual "identities"; measures adopted by the French to combat ethno-racial discrimination. Sources will include sociological texts, articles from French press, websites, and films. (FREN 0221 or FREN 0230 or by waiver). 3 hrs. lect./disc. EUR LNG SOC

Spring 2021

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FREN 0352 - French Public Education      

From Citizenship to Social Mobility: The Shifting Role of Public Education in France
Since the establishment of a free, compulsory, and secular school system in the early 1880s, the position of public education in French society has evolved significantly. Designed originally to create an "educated" citizenry, its function has increasingly been interpreted as one of promoting social mobility and "equal opportunity" within that citizenry. Over the course of this shift, education has become a site of fierce debate in France. We will take a historical and sociological approach to explore the contours of this debate, covering such topics as: primary school teachers' role in forging national identity during the Third Republic; efforts after World War II to democratize the system; and current attempts to diversify elite institutions of higher education. Authors will include Baudelot, Bourdieu, Dubet, Ozouf, and Prost. (FREN 0220-0230 or by waiver) 3 hrs. lect./disc. EUR LNG

Fall 2018

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FREN 0368 - French Sexual Politics      

French Sexual Politics
Reaction to the recent Dominic Strauss-Kahn scandal and deliberations over same-sex marriage are but two illustrations of the important role sex and gender differences continue to play in contemporary French society. In this course we will examine the political responses such phenomena have elicited. Topics will include: the evolution of gender roles within French family structure, including homoparentalité; attempts to increase women's participation in French national politics, especially via the parité initiative; the question of Muslim women's integration in-or exclusion from-French society; and the attention given to sex and gender differences in anti-discrimination policies. We will critically assess French media and writings from sociology and political philosophy. (This course will be taught in French; FREN 0230 or by waiver) 3 hrs.lect./disc. EUR LNG SOC

Spring 2020

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FREN 0500 - Independent Projects      

Independent Project
Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken. (Approval required)

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

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FREN 0700 - Senior Honors Essay      

Senior Honors Essay
(Approval required).

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

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FREN 0701 - Senior Honors Thesis      

Senior Honors Thesis
Qualified senior majors who wish to be considered for Honors in French must submit a proposal well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken. (Approval required; see requirements above.)

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

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IGST 0702 - EUS Senior Thesis      

European Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023

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Recent Publications

"Community, Communauté : The Gay 90s in France and the United States" (forthcoming)

"France's Gais retraités: Questioning the 'Image of the Closet' " Modern and Contemporary France, Vol.16, No. 3, August 2008, pp. 313-328.

“Gender Studies. Sont-elles toujours au goût du jour sur les campus américains?” Travail Genre et Sociétés  31 (April 2014): 35-49.

“Should Sam Rap or Play the Violin? The Ambiguities of Prepping the Underprivileged for Paris’s Sciences Po.” Contemporary French Civilization 38, 3 (Winter, 2013): 305-322.

“The Prépa de Proximité: A French Attempt at Affirmative Action in Higher Education?” French Politics, Culture and Society 31, 3 (Winter 2013): 114-134.

Review of David Caron’s The Nearness of Others. Searching for Tact and Contact in the Age of HIV ((Minneapolis: U. of Minnesota Press, 2014) in H-France, 15,2 (January 2015).

“Il ne s’agit pas de promouvoir une ‘idéologie’ prônant la fin de la différence sexuelle” in l’Humanité, January 22, 2015, page 14.

Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Chellis House Women's Resource Center
56 Hillcrest Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753