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PhD in French/Francophone Studies

The Program

The PhD Program in French and Francophone Studies focuses on literary and cultural production throughout the French-speaking world and provides students with a strong theoretical background. Historically dedicated to training students in various periods, genres, and media of cultural production in French, the Program is also distinguished by its pioneering commitment to a broadly inclusive conception of the field of French and Francophone literatures and cultures, as well as its sustained engagements with developments in literary theory, philosophy, and critical thought that have indelibly impacted humanities scholarship of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Program aims to develop students’ metacritical perspectives through exposure to the range of theoretical and methodological approaches represented by our faculty. These include poststructuralist, psychoanalytic, cultural historical, postcolonial, feminist, visual arts, gender studies, and historical materialist perspectives, as well as film and media theories.

The research and teaching of our combined faculty exhibits particular strength in the areas of twentieth-century literature and contemporary theory (Christopher Bush, Scott Durham, Michal Ginsburg [Emerita], Nasrin Qader, Alessia Ricciardi, Domietta Torlasco, Sam Weber [Affiliated], Jane Winston); film and visual culture across periods (Christopher Bush, Scott Durham, Bernadette Fort [Emerita], Michal Ginsburg [Emerita], Alessia Ricciardi, Domietta Torlasco, Jane Winston); Francophone Studies (Christopher Bush, Doris Garraway, Nasrin Qader, Jane Winston); seventeenth and eighteenth-century studies (Bernadette Fort [Emerita], Doris Garraway, Sylvie Romanowski [Emerita]; Medieval and Early Modern (Cynthia Nazarian, Christopher Davis, Bill Paden [Emeritus], Sylvie Romanowski [Emerita], and gender studies (Bernadette Fort [Emerita], Bill Paden [Emeritus], Sylvie Romanowski [Emerita], Jane Winston, Cynthia Nazarian).

In addition, the Program is strongly committed to interdisciplinary research and scholarship and allows students the flexibility to tailor their course of study so as to reach across disciplinary and departmental boundaries. In so doing, students may choose to participate in the Interdisciplinary Cluster Initiative, a program designed to help Northwestern graduate students foster connections with students and faculty in other departments and programs around interdisciplinary subject areas such as African Studies, Critical Theory, Gender Studies, and Rhetoric and Public Culture. All students benefit from a wide array of interdisciplinary resources, including Northwestern Library’s outstanding Africana collection, and close interaction with experts in related fields of gender studies, film, art history, philosophy, and comparative literature. In addition, the Department regularly hosts conferences and invites internationally acclaimed writers and scholars to Northwestern to lecture and teach. Recent guests include Jacques Rancière, Adelkébir Khatibi, Georges Didi-Hubermann, Hélène Cixous, Frederic Jameson, Ross Chambers, Tariq Ali, Peter Hallward, Boubacar Boris Diop, and Abdourahman Waberi.

The Program is dedicated to meeting the intellectual needs of each student and to supporting students throughout their training through formal and informal mentoring.

Additional Resources

For additional resources, please see our Resources page.

For Program Information contact Lisa Byrnes, Graduate Program Assistant, at or email

Department of French & Italian
Northwestern University
1860 Campus Drive, Crowe Hall #2-107
Evanston, IL 60208-2204

(847) 491-4148

For information about the application/application process, please see our Admission Requirements.

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