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Which PhD Programs in French to Apply to?


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Hi there, 

I'm looking into applying to French PhD programs, but I'm having trouble deciding where to start. I am currently in an MA program in Philosophy, but I'm thinking of changing direction towards a French program that bases itself in literary theory or has philosophical tendencies. Some of the figures I'm interested in right now are Cixous, Derrida, and Levinas, and my focus philosophically has been 20th Century French thought (more specifically, questions about alterity). Does anyone know of programs that I might look into that work on these kinds of things? I'm just hoping to find some jumping off points; thus far I've considered Emory, but I haven't gotten much further than that. 

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  • 2 months later...

I'm a bit late to this but... Start with people rather than places. Look for faculty who use critical theory in their research, and then you will probably find some programs from there. It's all about matching up your research interests to the right advisor/supervisor. 

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Comp lit @ UC Irvine would be fantastic. They (the French dept there) is very philosophically driven, but they recently closed the PhD program. Emory is great indeed. Look at Cornell, definitely, particularly if you are interested in psychoanalysis (and maybe feminist French philosophy). And look at Princeton as well: Tom Trezise (Levinas) and Nick Nesbitt (Althusser/Marx) are essentially philosophers. Katie Chenoweth is a rising Derrida star. (Yale and Harvard French would not be good for this.) Stanford also has a reputation for producing students who work between literature and philosophy -- Joshua Landy might be of interest.

I'd encourage you to look at comparative literature programs -- this is where you'd find a lot of continental philosophy. French literature programs would be a lot of effort for you in terms of going through courses and readings in medieval, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th century literature, teaching the French language, etc. Though these centuries also have philosophical content, remember that it is a lot of traditional literature like poetry, fiction, novels, etc. Comparative literature is a better place to study modern French philosophy within a literature department, and to spend time teaching and writing about what interests you. Martin Hagglund would be a good person to work with @ Yale comp lit, for example. I cannot think of anyone in Yale French who would be good for your interests.

Edited by frenchphd
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