Associate Professor of French
Areas of Expertise
As a generalist, Dr. Mathieu enjoys teaching all periods and aspects of French language, literature and culture. At SU, he regularly teaches second year French language classes (French III and French IV). He also teaches upper-level courses on various aspects of French culture and literature.
Dr. Mathieu is proud to be a professor at a small school like Southwestern, which emphasizes quality teaching, values mentoring and advising, and encourages close interactions between students and faculty. At Southwestern, Students are not anonymous individuals “lost” in a crowd of thousands of students. Faculty and students get to know each other.
Dr. Mathieu welcomes students to visit him in his office to talk in English or French about any aspect of the courses he teaches, the French program, study abroad in France, or anything else. This kind of one-on-one service is one of the great benefits of a Southwestern education.
Dr. Francis Mathieu joined the Southwestern University faculty in 2007 upon graduating from the University of California at Santa Barbara.
PhD, University of California at Santa Barbara 2007
Associate Professor of French
August 15, 2007 - present
- First Year Seminar - French Food Culture: This seminar examines the history; the contemporary culture; and the geography of France using food as a lens. It deals with such diverse topics as the invention of table manners; the codification of cuisine; food culture as a form of “soft power”; the French paradox (consuming a diet rich in fat while enjoying a low rate of obesity); processed versus artisanal food, to name just a few. The course introduces students to the liberal arts experience by training them to reason, discern, evaluate and argue within the framework of the course. It also aims to support intercultural learning by making students compare and contrast concepts and trends of their own everyday life with those of a different cultural model.
- French Culture - History of French Civilization (354): This course is a survey of the shaping of French civilization and nationhood from Classical Antiquity to the 20th-Century. Interdisciplinary in nature, the course uses French history as a medium to study politics, religion, culture, civility, architecture, art history, music, class/cast relations, and the evolution of the French language. Each chronological or thematic segment is illustrated by art, films and literary texts, among other types of materials.
- Plural France: Immigration, Social Justice, and Multicultural Identities (354): Revolving around sociological and press articles, French rap music, films and literature, this course deals with issues of immigration, multiculturalism, ghettoes, racism, religion, and political rhetoric in contemporary France. This context provides a rich thematic background in which students develop their writing and analytical skills, while improving their knowledge of French society.
- Introduction to Modern French Literature (514): In this course, students read, discuss, interpret, and write about a variety of celebrated works by authors from the modern period, such as Albert Camus’s L’Etranger. Designed as an introduction to literary criticism, the course introduces students to the techniques and the vocabulary of literary interpretation. Literary works also serve as the basis to study the ways in which writers employ language creatively to reflect experiences of the senses, emotions, intellect, imagination, and to confront social and ethical issues. The course focuses on the historical, cultural, and esthetical contexts of the works, and how the various authors responded to the esthetic conventions of their time.
- Laclos’s Dangerous Liaisons and its Film Adaptations (604): This course focuses on one of the most beautifully crafted masterpieces of French literature: Dangerous Liaisons. The great appeal of its plot, its elaborate architecture, its multiple narrators, and the author’s acclaimed eloquence all make it an ideal instrument for the teaching of literary analysis. Another crucial facet of the course is the examination of rhetoric through the plethora of hidden speech mechanisms and rhetorical ploys found in this work in order to understand how discourse has been woven into the text to persuade, deceive, and govern others. The novel also serves as a springboard to study the culture and society of France at a time when it was a model for the Western world, but was on the verge of revolution and chaos. From best-seller to blockbuster: the course examines acclaimed adaptations of this brilliant plot in French, American, chinese and Korean cinema.
- Moralist Writers: Spectators of Society, Philosophers of the Human Condition (604): Spanning the 16th and 17th centuries, this course explores the most essential themes that moralists voice in their works, such as the human condition, the place of women in society, education, social and moral behavior. In addition to canonical male authors, this course examines lesser known works by female writers to understand how they differ or agree with those of the male canon; to see how women engage in a dialogue with their male counterparts; and to grasp the impact they had on literary, philosophical, cultural and social developments.
As a scholar, Dr. Mathieu’s research and publications focus on Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French; and more specifically on the early modern novel and on rhetoric.
In 2012, he published a book written in French with a European university press entitled: “L’Art d’esthetiser le precepte: l’exemplarite rhetorique dans le roman d’Ancien Regime.”
Dr. Mathieu has also published 5 articles and book chapters in French or English on French literature in scholarly journals.
He has presented multiple papers at annual conferences, such as the Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies or Women in French.
“Mme de Cleves modele de bienseances: Lecture de La Princesse de Cleves a la lumiere d’un traite de civilite.” Submitted for publication in Cahiers du dix-septieme.
“Early Modern Women Writers in a History of Ideas Survey Course.” Teaching Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century French Women Writers. Ed. Faith Beasley. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2011.
“Panegyrique, sacre et exemplarite dans Berenice de Racine.” French Review. Vol. 82, 4 (2009): 788-99.
“Mme de Lafayette et la condition humaine: Lecture pascalienne de La Princesse de Cleves.” Cahiers du dix-septieme: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Vol. XII, 1 (2008): 61-85.
“Le Pacte rhetorique et moral: l’exemplarite et le roman a l’age classique.” Cincinnati Romance Review 27 (2008): 99-112.
“Voir et savoir: Rhetorique et didactique de l’image dans le roman classique.” Paper presented at the 30th annual conference of the Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies, University of Kentucky, Lexington, November 2011.
“Mme de Cleves modele de bienseances: Lecture de La Princesse de Cleves a la lumiere d?un traite de civilite.” Paper presented at the 29th annual conference of the Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, October 2010.
Chair of the session entitled “Unmasking Aesthetics” at the 16thannual Carolina Conference on Romance Literatures, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, March 2010.
“Subversion libertine et parodie de l’esthetique classique dans Les Lettres de la marquise de Crebillon Fils.” Paper presented at the 16thannual Carolina Conference on Romance Literatures, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, March 2010.
“La Rhetorique de l’exemplum dans le roman : L’harmonie discordante du < plaire > et de l’< instruire >.” Paper presented at the 41st annual conference of the North American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature, New York University, New York, May 2009.
“Staging Louis XIV’s Power of Divine Right: Legitimizing Absolutist Monarchy in Racine?’ Berenice”. Paper presented at the regional conference on “Power and its Influences”, James Madison University, April 2009.
Chair of the session entitled “Appetites and Desires” at the 40thannual conference of the North American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature, Lafayette College, Easton, April 2008.
“Mme de Lafayette et le triomphe de la raison au feminin: Le Refus et la retraite dans La Princesse de Cleves.” Paper presented at the 2008 Women in French conference, University of north Texas, Fort Worth, April 2008.
“Variations sur le meme < t’aime >: Mme de Villedieu rhetoricienne de l’exemple dans Les Desordres de l’amour.” Paper presented at the international colloquium on “Femmes, rhetorique et eloquence sous l’Ancien Regime”, University of Quebec at Rimouski, September 2007.
“Exemplarite et determinisme anthropologique contre < lumiere naturelle > dans Le Discours de la methode de Descartes.” Paper presented at the 39th annual conference of the North American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, May 2007.
“La Passion corps et ame: lecture pascalienne de La Princesse de Cleves.” Paper presented at the 25th annual conference of the Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies, University of Iowa, Iowa City, October 2006.
“Alchimie rhetorique et morale: l’exemplarite et les genres romanesques a l’age classique.” Paper presented at the 26thCincinnati Conference on Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, May 2006.
Honors and Awards
- Junior Faculty Sabbatical leave, Southwestern University, spring 2011.
- Competitive Faculty Development grants, Southwestern University, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.
- French American Cultural Exchange’s Tourn�es Film Festival grant for the organization of on-campus French film festival, UCSB, 2006.
- Consortium for Literature, Theory and Culture Stipend Award for promising research, UCSB, 2002.
North American Society for Seventeenth-Century French Literature.
Society for Interdisciplinary French Seventeenth-Century Studies.
Women in French.
American Association of Teachers of French.
Modern Languages Association.