We talk a lot about Independent Study (I.S.) at the College of Wooster, for very good
reasons. Since 1948, students and faculty have been able to experience the power of
these student-driven, faculty-mentored research projects.
Junior I.S. projects in French and Francophone Studies also allow students to develop their research and writing skills (in French), while exploring a topic or question of particular interest. For these projects, students work one-on-one with a faculty mentor for an entire semester. Topics may relate to culture, literature, film, society, history, or language and linguistics.
Working closely with a faculty mentor, each senior major completes a more extended yearlong project that typically culminates in an original research paper. The subjects of I.S. projects vary widely, depending on student interests and goals. Senior projects may explore culture, literature, film, society, history, or language and linguistics. In certain cases, students with the appropriate training may choose to produce artistic works, such as novellas, collections of poetry, or films.
Faculty in the department all maintain active programs of research themselves. In some cases, student I.S. projects intersect directly with faculty research interests. Departmental faculty members are also skilled at mentoring students who venture into other terrain.
The Department of French and Francophone Studies actively embraces interdisciplinarity. All departmental faculty members are cross-trained in more than one discipline. As part of their Senior I.S. projects, many and often most students craft interdisciplinary approaches. This can allow students to connect their major in French and Francophone Studies with a minor or major in another discipline.
Junior and Senior I.S. projects focus on many different parts of the French-speaking world, from Paris to rural France, from Belgium to Switzerland, from Madagascar to Cameroon, from Senegal to Morocco, and from Martinique to Quebec. In some cases, students choose to work across two or more geographic contexts.
Abstracts of Senior I.S. projects, and a selection of full-text “exemplar” projects can be found at Open Works.