Histoires d'Avenirs: Science-fiction pour le cours de français niveaux intermédiaire et avancé
Annabelle Dolidon, Portland State University
Stéphanie Roulon, Portland State University
Copyright Year: 2017
ISBN 13: 9781387180639
Publisher: Portland State University Library
Conditions of Use
This textbook provides good coverage of the subject, including an overview of science fiction in France, thematic vocabulary and grammar in context, many prompts for written and oral production. The only downside is that there is no index or... read more
This textbook provides good coverage of the subject, including an overview of science fiction in France, thematic vocabulary and grammar in context, many prompts for written and oral production. The only downside is that there is no index or glossary.
Content is accurate, error-free, and unbiased.
Many of the texts and films are referenced but not included in the text, which means that instructors will be able to use different versions or formats or provide the texts to students as an ancillary reader. This allows the possibility of updating the texts and questions easily. The arrangement of chapters is well-structured such that units could be updated or even exchanged for revised sections easily. However, there are many links to online sources that are broken including some that are critical to the chapters. These should be updated.
The text is mainly clear and accessible. Chapters 1-9 are all clear and targeted to intermediate to advanced students of French,. The Introduction parts II-IV do not fit the tone of the textbook; they read more like dissertation chapters. They may provide some context of the topic for instructor but they do not fit the rest of the textbook.
Relatively consistent overall, but the style of the chapters vary a bit, as if they were written by different people. Some are clear and easy to move through (chapter 1), while others use terminology that is inconsistent with the level of the rest of the textbook (for example ch. 4). All chapters use the same titles for sections except the "chapitre préliminaire" which has a completely different format. The terminology varies a bit from chapter to chapter, some chapters asking "Questions de compréhension" and others just listing comprehension questions under the header "histoire."
The text could easily be taught in smaller units or in a different order. It could be used as a supplement or main text for a variety of courses, including conversation, composition or any bridge course leading students from language courses to advanced classes in literature and cultural studies.
Some chapters that appear later in the textbook seem to review more elemental grammatical structures, such as pronouns, possessive adjectives and past tenses in ch. 6. This might be better earlier in the textbook, although the authors point out that the chapters can be taught in any order. Chapter 8 also contains a prompt comparing the text in ch. 8 to one in chapter 9, which students would not have read yet if they are progressing chronologically through the textbook as it is laid out.
There are multiple issues here. The lettering and numbering systems vary from chapter to chapter. Often there are no numbers or letters at all for the questions, which is not ideal for a class or for assigning homework. The numbering sets change from chapter to chapter, sometimes 1.a. b. etc. and sometimes 1. i. ii. etc. Some questions are listed in bullet points (which vary in symbol from chapter to chapter), and often there is just a list of questions without indentation. The lack of numbering or lettering is problematic when teaching from a textbook - it is important to be able to indicated exactly which question is being discussed or is assigned for work. The other main problem in the interface is that many of the links are broken, making it difficult to navigate and to do activities depending on those links. As stated earlier, the chapitre préliminaire does not fit with the format of the other chapters, and also has some problems with its numbering system, including for example a part IV preceding a text (although the questions posed need to be answered during or after reading), followed by parts I, II, and III that are sections of the text itself, and finally a IV that includes reading comprehension questions.
The text is well written with no grammatical errors that I found. There are a few typographical errors including capitalization of the section header "L'existentialisme est un humanisme de..."
Histoires d'avenirs provides an excellent range of short stories by men and women from around the Francophone world as well as contextualization of some lesser-known science fiction stories with more canonical texts from various centuries such as those by Rousseau, Verne, and Sartre.
Histoires d'Avenir: Science-fiction pour le cours de français niveaux intermédiaire et avancé is an interesting textbook that would be fun to use in a conversation, composition or another bridge course between language and literature/culture classes. Students will love reading the francophone science-fiction stories, working with chapter themes and engaging in the creative and analytical activities. Each chapter introduces new vocabulary, grammar in context, thematic activities, and gives a range of oral, written, and creative prompts for students to develop interpretive, presentational, and interpersonal skills. The visual images are well-chosen, and the science-fiction short stories are a novel way to get students interested in relevant and contemporary topics. The textbook includes some imaginative activities that students will really enjoy such as creating a new robot, debating nuclear energy, and writing about the possibility of the end of mortality.
Table of Contents
- Les Bulles
- Impress Genetic, Inc.
- Carte Blanche
- Les Miens
- Ceux Qui Marchent
- L'Anniversaire de Caroline
- Ce qui n'est pas nommé
- Les Années Métalliques
About the Book
Histoires d'Avenirs est un manuel basé sur neuf nouvelles de science fiction française qui s'adresse à un public d'apprenants étrangers (de niveaux intermédiaire et avancé) mais aussi à un public natif voulant approfondir ses connaissances de la science-fiction moderne - après un chapitre préliminaire qui rappelle les bases historiques du genre. Le manuel propose une approche holistique (stylistique, linguistique, et interculturelle) et sollicite une pensée critique au travers d'activités de lecture, interprétation, conversation, recherche et présentations, dans un double objectif : développer les compétences en français sur des sujets contemporains au travers de la fiction; et faire découvrir la science-fiction française et francophone aux apprenants étrangers.
Additional short stories are available at PDXScholar.
About the Contributors
Annabelle Dolidon received her Ph.D. from UC Davis in 20th-and- 21st century French and Francophone literature, with a designated emphasis in Feminist and Critical Theory. She received her master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in French Studies. Dr. Dolidon specializes in post-WWII novels, and has interests in Film Studies and Queer Theory as well as language teaching. She is currently the coordinator of the First-Year French language program at PSU, and teaches courses in French language and literature.
Her research explores prose literature by French women such as Monique Wittig, Jocelyne François and Marie Darrieussecq, developing close-text analysis of their novels and studying their approach to gender difference, temporality and the act of writing. Her first article, on the movie The Girl, co-written by Monique Wittig, was published in the Summer edition of the The Feminist Review (2009). Her future projects take new directions based on former research, and include a study of representations of rural France in literature and films.
Stéphanie Roulon is a French native. She holds a Masters degree in Foreign Language and Literature and a graduate certificate in translation from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She also studied French Applied Linguistics at Pennsylvania State University. In France, she graduated from the Université-Pantheon Assas (Paris II) where she earned a Maîtrise en droit des affaires.
Her interests are new technologies as tools for communication and language learning & teaching, multiliteracies, French for specific purposes and language pedagogy. At PSU she has been teaching a variety of undergraduate classes including, Creative Writing in French, Advanced Grammar through the exploration of genres.