DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH STUDIES
The following options offered by the Department of French Studies are available only to undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts, subject to the agreement of the relevant module tutor and provided that intending students have appropriate competence in French language.
Topics in French and Francophone Culture I
Second-Year Modules only
You choose one from List A and one from List B.
List A (Term I)
Collaboration and Resistance in French Fiction and Film FR229 Dr Oliver Davis
FR230 French Women Writers from 1968 to the Present Dr Sam Haigh
FR231 Modern Masterpieces Sian Miles
Paris Hollywood: French Cinema Re-made in the USA FR243 Dr Douglas Morrey
FR244 The Uses of the Past: Medieval to Modern Dr Emma Campbell
FR245 In the Family Way: Birth, Sex and Death in French Dr Cathy Hampton
Seventeenth Century Culture and Text
FR254 Balzac and the Triumph of Realism Prof Leslie Hill
COLLABORATION & RESISTANCE IN FRENCH FICTION & FILM SINCE 1968
Tutor: Dr Oliver Davis Room H 4.33
In the 1940s and 1950s little was done to challenge the depiction of the Second World War in France as a time of heroic resistance against the Nazi invaders. If collaboration was discussed at all, it tended to be shown as the aberration of a tiny number of unscrupulous individuals. The social upheavals of 1968 helped create a climate for the thorough re-examination of
France’s wartime past. A generation of filmmakers and writers who were either not born at the time of the war or too young to have been actively involved in it began to unearth a much more ambiguous history. Collaboration was revealed to be more widespread than official histories had cared to acknowledge, and the moral dichotomy between evil collaborators and
noble resisters was shown to be a comforting simplification of actual dilemmas. This module will examine some of the key films and novels through which of France’s wartime past was re-evaluated. The module begins with Marcel Ophüls’s film Le Chagrin et la pitié, which
was partly financed by French television but banned from being broadcast for ten years after it was made; the module then goes on to examine the novelist Patrick Modiano’s morally
bewildering account of the Occupation in La Ronde de nuit, some of the short texts in
Marguerite Duras’s La Douleur, and the film Lacombe Lucien directed by Louis Malle
and co-written by him and Modiano; it culminates with Michel Tournier’s Goncourt prize-
winning novel Le Roi des aulnes, which disturbingly recreates the seduction exercised by the
Nazi régime on one Frenchman.
Patrick Modiano, La Ronde de nuit (Paris: Gallimard, 1969; Folio edition)
Marguerite Duras, La Douleur (Paris: POL, 1985; Folio edition)
Michel Tournier, Le Roi des aulnes (Paris: Gallimard, 1970; Folio edition)
Marcel Ophüls, Le Chagrin et la pitié
Louis Malle, Lacombe Lucien
FRENCH WOMEN WRITERS SINCE 1968 TO PRESENT: FR230
Tutor: Dr Samantha Haigh (Room H4.40)
Do women experience the world differently to men, and do they write about their experiences in different ways? What is the relationship between the position of women in public life, feminist politics, and literary writing by women? How far does fiction give us an insight into the relationship between language and gender, and what role can writing play in challenging gender assumptions or stereotypes? These are some of the questions raised by women in France (and elsewhere) in the wake of the social, cultural, and political upheavals of May 1968. In this module we will explore some of these debates by examining four texts by key, post-1968 French women writers. Ranging from 1976 to 2000, these texts will be positioned within the historical and political context of the last four decades, with novels by more established writers like Marie Cardinal and Annie Ernaux being studied alongside the more recent work of younger writers such as Marie Darrieussecq and Nina Bouraoui. Reading List
; Nina Bouraoui, Garçon manqué (Stock, 2000)
; Marie Cardinal, Les Mots pour le dire (Le Livre de poche, 1976)
; Marie Darrieussecq, Truismes (Gallimard: folio, 1998)
; Annie Ernaux, La Femme gelée (Gallimard: folio, 1981)
MODERN MASTERPIECES FR231
Tutor: Siân Miles (Room H4.30)
Through this module you will become familiar with the texts most popularly associated with four major and internationally-acclaimed writers of the modern period. We start with the inimitable Proust who records his own vision of the wicked and decadent society of the Belle Epoque or Naughty Nineties while at the same time looking at the nature and function of memory (Combray). Led by the controversial figure of André Gide we next travel through France and Italy to North Africa on a voyage of self-discovery (L'Immoraliste). Following
this, a fellow Nobel prizewinner Albert Camus offers us, with ironic topicality, an examination of a biological weapon we may already be carrying within us (La Peste). And
finally we take a look, in his first novel (La Nausée) at the bizarre world of the famous
existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre and evaluate the relationship between external reality, words and music.
PARIS HOLLYWOOD: FRENCH CINEMA REMADE IN THE USA FR243
Tutor: Dr Douglas Morrey (Room H4.34)
This module looks at French films from a variety of periods and genres that have been remade in the USA. The module will explore a number of questions related to the cultural exchange and influence between France and the USA in film history, looking at how genres and movements have been shaped by the migration of directors, by trends in film spectatorship, and by the economic imperatives of the film industry. The module will also provide the opportunity to reflect more widely on Franco-American relations in social and political terms, looking at the development of this international relationship across the latter half of the twentieth century, from the Second World War, throughout the economic boom of the 1950s-70s, to the current era of globalisation. At the same time, the comparative study of French and American films will give students the opportunity to develop their skills in the close textual analysis of film sequences.
THE USES OF THE PAST: MEDIEVAL TO MODERN FR244
Tutor: Dr Emma Campbell (Room H4.31)
What is the use of the past? How and why do we represent it? What is at stake when we do so? These are questions that this module will address from the perspective of medieval engagements with history and modern French engagements with medieval texts and narratives. The first section of the course will investigate the medieval representation of the past. We will
examine the ways in which history was not only flexibly defined in the Middle Ages but also the ways it served different purposes. This part of the course will look at the ways in which literature may have mediated between readers/listeners and the past in medieval French texts as well as considering how this relates to questions of memory, memorialisation, and historical or literary preservation. Students will be encouraged to think about how this creates different models for approaching the past, how texts define our responses to history and how these things relate to questions of power and ideology.
The final part of the course will apply some of this thinking to modern appropriations of
medieval narratives and texts, focusing on Flaubert’s rewriting of the Vie de saint Julien
l’Hospitalier in his Trois contes (1877) and on Eric Rohmer’s Perceval le gallois (1979): a film
adaptation of an Arthurian tale by Chrétien de Troyes.
; La Mort le roi Artu, roman du XIIIe siècle, ed by Jean Frappier, 3rd edn (Geneva : Droz,
; Marie de France, Les Lais de Marie de France, ed. by Karl Warnke, trans. by Laurence
Harf-Lancner (Paris : Livre de poche, 1990)
; Clemence of Barking, The Life of St Catherine by Clemence of Barking, ed. by William
MacBain (Oxford : Backwell, 1964): a copy of this text will be provided by the department
; Flaubert, Gustave, Trois Contes, ed. by Samuel S. de Sacy (Paris: Gallimard, 2000)
; Rohmer, Eric, Perceval le gallois (1978) : film to be shown in the department
IN THE FAMILY WAY: BIRTH, SEX AND DEATH IN
SEVENTEENTH CENTURY FRENCH CULTURE AND TEXTS Tutor: Dr Catherine Hampton (Room H4.26) FR245
Way before any notion of the human gene, seventeenth century French society theorized and fantasized about the relationship of the human person to his / her environment and blood ties. This module will explore a range of texts that reveal how this society articulated moral, ethical, social and political concerns emerging from their conceptions, real and symbolic, of how the human life cycle operated. These include medical questions (childbirth, the issue of abortion - Louise Bourgeois); anxieties over power at the level of
family and state (sibling and generational rivalry, the role of gender - Corneille, Racine and
Mme de Sévigné); and fantasies of the journey from innocence to sexual maturity (fairy tales and the unconscious - Perrault).
BALZAC AND THE TRIUMPH OF REALISM FR254 Tutor: Professor Leslie Hill (Room H4.28)
Honoré Balzac (1799-1850) was one of France’s most important writers of the first half
of the nineteenth century, who almost single-handedly created the genre or style which readers today the world over know as literary realism.
Constantly plagued by debt, and having to compete for an audience within a marketplace increasingly dominated by magazines and newspapers each with their own regular serials, Balzac was the author of nearly a hundred novels and short stories which he had the brilliant and innovative idea of bringing together as an integrated whole, forming a vast portrait of all layers of contemporary French society, which he entitled La Comédie
In the Avant-Propos to La Comédie humaine, Balzac famously explained his work was
informed by two eternal Truths: Religion and Monarchy. In his fiction, however, it is more often these very values that come under threat from the greed, ambition, and corruption prevalent in post-Revolutionary French society, so much so that Karl Marx, as he embarked on writing Das Kapital in the 1850s and 1860s, professed he had learnt more about capitalism from Balzac’s novels than from any number of official sources. Some years later, Marx’s long-term associate Friedrich Engels explained this paradox by suggesting Balzac’s work represented a remarkable ‘triumph of realism’: a case of literary
realism proving more powerful than the author's own personal opinions. In this context, in the course of this module we will aim to look closely at two of Balzac’s
best-known shorter novels, Le Père Goriot (1834) and Eugénie Grandet (1833), together
with four of his more interesting short stories: ‘Gobseck’ (1830), ‘Le Colonel Chabert’
(1832), ‘La Fille aux yeux d’or’ (1835), and ‘Sarrasine’ (1830).
Our focus will be two-fold: it will be to examine the main features of Balzac’s picture of
nineteenth-century French society at this crucial moment in its evolution; and it will be to explore, on the basis of Balzac's work, what is understood by realism as a literary
concept in the light of the work of a range of twentieth-century literary critics and theorists for whom Balzac was often a model and an example, even at times a bête noire.
Topics in French and Francophone Culture I
Second-Year Modules Only
You choose one from List A and one from List B.
List B (Term II)
FR233 Bestsellers of the Nineteenth Century Sian Miles/Kate
Intellectual Interventions: Politics, Literature and the Left FR247 Dr Oliver Davis
before and after the Algerian War
Dr Pierre-Philippe Fraiture FR248 Colonial Memory
FR251 France and the World since 1945 Prof Nick Hewlett
FR2** The Medieval Arthurian Romances of Chrétien de Dr Emma Campbell
FR2** The Crowd in French Politics and Imagination, 1870-Dr Jessica Wardhaugh
The Right in France, from the Dreyfus Affair to Le Pen FR2** Dr Jessica Wardhaugh
BESTSELLERS OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY FR233
Tutors: Dr Kate Astbury (Room H4.35) and Siân Miles (Room H4.30)
This module aims to examine texts by four of France's greatest writers. The nineteenth century was the heyday of the novel and writers tried to convey the whole of society in their works. We will take François-René de Chateaubriand's short story René, George Sand's Indiana, Gustave Flaubert's world classic Madame Bovary, and Emile Zola's La Bête humaine and examine them not just as literary texts but also as social documents. We will consider the impact of the Revolution, the Restoration of the monarchy and the Second Empire, the themes of Paris versus the provinces, the position of women, and class conflict. We will be able to explore the changes in French society that took place from the time of Napoleon Bonaparte to the early years of the Third Republic.
The changes will be charted alongside literary developments from Romanticism to Naturalism in order to answers the questions what makes a bestseller? and what is a writer's relationship with the society in which he or she lives?
Intellectual Interventions: Politics, Literature and the Left during and after the Algerian War FR247
Tutor: Dr Oliver Davis (Room H4.33)
Can intellectuals change the course of events or are they doomed to pointless posturing? What does speaking ‘for’, or ‘on behalf’, of the oppressed involve? When does a timely
intervention become a sustained campaign and which is more effective? Is the Left particularly prone to fragmentation?
In this module you will approach these questions by examining intellectual and artistic interventions by prominent figures on the Left in three distinct areas during the period from 1956 to the mid-1970s: (i) the Algerian War; (ii) the events of Mai ’68 and (iii)
prison life and the criminal justice system.
Torture was routinely used by members of the French Army in their fight against Algerian independence in the 1950s and 60s. You will begin by examining the campaign to draw public attention to these practices and the involvement of Simone de
Beauvoir in the case of a young female victim of torture, Djamila Boupacha. We shall look both at the analysis of torture Beauvoir offers at the time and the account she gives of this turbulent period in her memoirs.
The strikes, demonstrations and disputes of Mai ’68, which spread rapidly across the
world, are still seen by many as the heyday of the Left. You will learn more about the events in question and examine selected intellectual and artistic responses to them, including Robert Merle’s novel Derrière la vitre.
The treatment of prisoners and the criminal justice system in general became prime targets for intellectual intervention in the years after the Algerian War and Mai ’68. You
will examine the artistic and philosophical background to the work of one group of political activists, the Groupe d’information sur les prisons (GIP), founded in 1971 to
draw public attention to all that was ‘intolerable’ about life ‘inside’. You will also look at
more recent artistic responses to prison life and examine their relation to the activism of the 1970s.
Simone de Beauvoir, La Force des choses (Gallimard, folio; vol. ii); Djamila Boupacha
Robert Merle, Derrière la vitre (Gallimard, folio)
Philippe Artières, Laurent Quéro and Michelle Zancarini-Fournel, Le Groupe
d’information sur les prisons: archives d’une lutte, 1970-1972 (IMEC)
THE COLONIAL MEMORY FR248 Tutor: Dr Pierre-Philippe Fraiture (Room H4.38)
Does colonialism merely belong to the past? Recent French examples show that nearly half a century after decolonisation the colonial past is still informing – and sometime haunting –
public debate on immigration, ‘French-ness’ and the very nature of republicanism. This
module will explore the relationship between imperialism and culture and will focus on a wide selection of materials ranging from novels, comics and feature films such as Jules Verne’s Le Tour du Monde en 80 jours (1872), Hergé’s Le Lotus bleu (1936), Julien
Duvivier’s Pépé-le-Moko (1936), Michel Tournier’s Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique
(1967) or Didier Daeninckx’s Cannibale (1998). The first part of the module will
concentrate on the colonial era (1880-1960) and assess the impact of French colonial discourses and counter-discourses on imagination. The second part will evaluate the use of the colonial past in contemporary culture.
FRANCE AND THE WORLD SINCE 1945 FR251 Tutor: Professor Nick Hewlett (Room H4.29)
For any country, relations with the rest of the world are important for reasons of self-esteem, national unity, the economy and culture.
In this module we will study the place of France in the world from 1945 to the present. France emerged from the Second World War divided and humiliated, and this had a significant effect on its foreign relations for many years, in particular on its relations with its colonies and former colonies.
In this chronologically-organised module we will trace how France negotiated its way through the foreign relations thickets of the IVth Republic (1946-1958) to a period of greater stability, arguably with aims more grandiose than realistic, under de Gaulle (1958-1969) and after.
This international context will perhaps help us understand how France has become more like other industrialised countries over time, in what has become known as the ‘end of French exceptionalism’
; Cerny, Philip G., The Politics of Grandeur. Ideological Aspects of de
Gaulle’s Foreign Policy, London, Frances Pinter, 1980.
; Patrick Eveno and Jean Planchais (eds.), La Guerre d’Algérie, La
Découverte/Le Monde, 1989
; Pierre-Marie de la Gorce, La Politique étrangère de la Ve République,
Paris, Que sais-je, PUF, 1992.
; Grosser, Alfred, Affaires extérieures. La Politique extérieure de la
France, 1944-1989, Flammarion, 1989.
; Philippe Moreau Defarges, La France dans le monde au XXe siècle,
Paris, Hachette, 1994.
; Politique étrangère, ’50 ans de politique étrangère de la France’, no 1/86,
; Hugh Thomas, The Suez Affair, London, Weidenfeld, 1986
The Medieval Arthurian Romances of Chrétien de Troyes FR2**
Tutor: Dr Emma Campbell (Room H4.31)
This module will provide students with an in-depth introduction to the romances of Chrétien de Troyes: a writer who ranks among the most influential writers of the Middle Ages and is still regarded by many as one of the greatest French writers of all time. In a literary career thought to span the last decades of the twelfth century (c. 1170-1190), Chrétien produced a number of exceptionally important romances that were translated and emulated in all of the major European literary traditions. Chrétien’s romance texts all relate to the world of King Arthur and his knights,
innovatively reworking previous material on the subject in order to explore the often complex and contradictory relationship between love and chivalry, as well as questions of identity and courtly values. The module offers students the opportunity to get to grips with all of the major works attributed to Chrétien, as well as the less studied Guillaume d’Angleterre which is also
thought by some to have been written by Chrétien.
The aims of the module are to introduce students to the most important stylistic and thematic aspects Chrétien de Troyes’s work, to debates on medieval authorship and composition as these relate to Chrétien’s oeuvre, and to major features of medieval romance as a genre. By the end of the module, students should be able to identify and analyse key themes and stylistic features of Chrétien’s romances; to critically examine similarities and differences between the works attributed to him; to discuss questions of authorship as these apply to Chrétien in an historically- and critically-informed manner; and to demonstrate an awareness of how such issues of style, theme etc. might be related to the development of Arthurian romance as a genre. Students are not expected to have prior knowledge of Old French: all of the romances will be studied in modern French translation, though there will be some guided analysis of the original language.
THE CROWD IN FRENCH POLITICS AND IMAGINATION, 1870-1945 Tutor: Dr Jessica Wardhaugh (Room H4.39) FR2**
There is a good reason why the demonstration has become one of the French national stereotypes, for the people in the street have often played a pivotal role in French history. This module explores the importance of the crowd as a political force and symbol, focusing on the period that the crowd psychologist Gustave Le Bon heralded in 1895 as l’ère des foules. When he was
writing, representations of nineteenth-century crowds in parades and festivals, riots or demonstrations were still frequently influenced by the conflicting legacies of French Revolution, yet the same crowds also held the potential to shape a new political world, inspiring contemporary theories of regenerative violence. This course addresses the real and imagined history of the crowd, offering the chance to study the development of mass politics and mass parties, and also to analyse representations of the crowd in literature and film. Beginning with an exploration of the French revolutionary legacy in politics and literature, and of the symbolic importance of Paris in popular politics, the module then addresses the development of new movements and parties around the Dreyfus Affair, and the role of the crowd in theories of leadership, destruction, and regeneration proposed by such writers as Gustave Le Bon and Georges Sorel. The second half of the module encompasses the development of performative politics on right and left in the interwar years, and offers the possibility of comparing the depiction of the crowd in the films of Jean Renoir, Sergei Eisenstein, and Fritz Lang.
THE RIGHT IN FRANCE, FROM THE DREYFUS AFFAIR TO LE PEN-
Tutor: Dr Jessica Wardhaugh (Room H4.39) FR2**
Was there a French fascism in the 1930s? Is Paris a city of the right or the left? How strong is the legacy of de Gaulle in contemporary politics? These are some of the questions that this module will address as it traces the evolving theories, practices, and influence of the right in France from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Looking at key political and intellectual figures such as Charles Maurras and Robert Brasillach, de Gaulle and Chirac, Pétain and Le Pen, the module also considers wider movements and parties, and employs a variety of source material. There will, for example, be opportunities to study royalist posters and caricatures of the late nineteenth century, songs of the 1930s Croix de Feu, and speeches of General de Gaulle. The module will begin with a discussion of right-wing ideology and activity in the nineteenth century, exploring the historiographical contention surrounding the emergence of a ‘new right’ in the fin-de-siècle. Subsequent
seminars will examine the development of mass politics in the twentieth century, looking at the importance of veterans and youth movements to the interwar right, and at the varieties of right-wing activity under the German Occupation. There will also be opportunities to compare forms of right-wing leadership and authority, contrasting Pétain with de Gaulle, or de Gaulle with Chirac, and to consider the particular role of Paris in constructing images of leadership and networks of support, whether in May 1968 or in the contemporary parades of the Front National.
Each TiFFC I module is weighted at 15 CATS and involves two contact hours (lecture + seminar) per week. Students choose two modules (2 x 15 CATS = 30 CATS), selecting one from List A and one from List B. Each individual TiFFC module is examined by an assessed essay (of 2,500 words) and by one-hour examination, with assessed essay and examination answer having equal weight (i.e. each 50%).
TOPICS IN FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE CULTURE II
You choose one from List A and one from List B
LIST A (TERM I)
FR402 Drama and Melodrama from Diderot to Hugo Dr Kate Astbury
FR407 The New Wave in French Cinema 1958-1968 Prof Leslie Hill
FR409 Modern Sexualities Dr Oliver Davis
FR420 Popular Music in Contemporary France Dr Douglas Morrey
FR421 Politics and Violence in Modern France Prof Nick Hewlett
DRAMA AND MELODRAMA FROM DIDEROT TO HUGO FR402
Tutor: Dr Katherine Astbury (Room H4.35)
Crime, punishment, remorse and retribution, spectacular scenery and musical extravaganza were all to be found in the plays of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Wildly popular in their day, they offered a mix of emotional effects, social comment, and sensational plots. The aim of this module is to examine the evolving nature of French drama of the period as playwrights tried to break down the barrier between comedy and tragedy and produce drama relevant to the changing social and political climate. We will examine the drame bourgeois of Diderot and Sedaine, Beamarchais's theatrical innovations, the gloomy melodramas of the revolutionary period, and finish with the swash-buckling drames romantiques of Hugo and Dumas.
THE NEW WAVE IN FRENCH CINEMA 1958-68 FR407
Tutor: Professor Leslie Hill (Room H4.28)
The 1960s in France were a period of tremendous cultural and social upheaval. In the cinema, it saw the arrival of a new generation of film-makers (including such famous names as Chabrol, Godard, Truffaut, Rivette, Rohmer, or Varda), who brought a fresh dynamism and extraordinary inventiveness to film. Influenced both by classic European cinema and by American genre movies (gangster films, thrillers, and musical comedy), these film-makers helped redefine the possibilities of the medium in a way that is still apparent today in European cinema and Hollywood productions too. At the same time, the 1960s witnessed many changes in attitude — regarding love, sex, politics, youth
culture, France’s position in the world, and much else besides — and it is these that are
explored in detail in the films of the decade. In this module, we will watch about ten films (shown on DVD), drawn from the varied output of the period, and seek to chart the development of a distinctive film style as well as the social changes that led France to the brink of political collapse in May 1968.
This module will be of particular interest to students who took the French Cinema module in their second year; but it is open to all students whether or not they have
studied film before. Students are reminded that roughly six hours attendance per week are required for this module, including lecture, seminar, and up to four hours of screenings (on Tuesday 4.00 till 6.00 and Wednesday 4.00 till 6.00).
MODERN SEXUALITIES FR409
Tutor: Dr Oliver Davis (Room H4.33)
Sex occupies far more prominent a place in public consciousness in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries than it did previously. Literary representations of sex and sexuality inevitably reflect this development.
In this module you will be reading texts which attempt to come to terms with different aspects of sexuality in the modern world. In reading them, you will be asking questions such as: are sexual preferences a result of nature or nurture? Does marriage have any value in a world of sexual relativism? Is sexual identity a social construct? What is pornography and is it harmful? We shall be approaching these questions mainly through close readings of the texts. Topics to be tackled will include male homosexuality (in Genet’s Journal du voleur), female sexuality and the
ageing process (Colette’s La Naissance du jour), sex and illness (Guibert, A l’ami qui ne m’a pas
sauvé la vie), sex tourism (Michel Houellebecq’s controversial novel, Plateforme) and the sex
industry (Virginie Despentes, Les Chiennes savantes).
Students contemplating choosing this module should be aware that some of the texts contain material which could conventionally be described as graphic or obscene. If you think you are likely to find engaging with such material in an academic context difficult then you would be advised not to choose this module. If you are unsure then it would be worth looking at the
material below before selecting the module.
POPULAR MUSIC IN CONTEMPORARY FRANCE FR420
Tutor: Dr Douglas Morrey (Room H4.34)
This module offers an introduction to the history, forms and meanings of popular music in contemporary France. The module will begin with a brief theoretical introduction to studying pop music and will subsequently be divided into two parts. In the first half of the module, we will look at the craft of the French popular song as it has evolved from music-hall stars like Edith Piaf, through protest singers of the 1960s to postmodern pop icons like Serge Gainsbourg and Mylène Farmer for whom image and persona are often as important as music and lyrics.
The second part of the module will cover a variety of different genres in French pop music, looking at rap, world music and techno and asking how changes in popular musical culture have reflected developments in French society during this period. We will also consider the impact of pop music upon governmental and media discourses by looking at cultural policy and French music radio.
Seminars will involve the cultural analysis of lyrics, songs, albums, videos, radio programmes, music journalism and web sites. No formal musical education is required to study this module, although an interest in pop music would certainly help! Outline syllabus
1. Introduction: Studying popular music
2. History of French chanson: Edith Piaf
3. Post-war chanson: Brassens and Brel
4. The postmodern pop star: Serge Gainsbourg
5. Sound and image, music and video: Mylène Farmer
6. Reading week
7. Hip hop in France
8. World music and/in France
9. Techno in France
10. Popular music radio in France
POLITICS AND VIOLENCE IN MODERN FRANCE FR421
Tutor: Professor Nick Hewlett (Room H4.29)
In this module we will study a distinctive aspect of modern French politics. France has a long history of violence in revolution, counter-revolution, coup d’etat, foreign occupation
and protracted colonial wars, not to mention lower-level violence on the streets and in factories.
We will look at theories and reflections on political violence, including those of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.
We will also examine actual moments of particularly intense violence - including: Occupation and Resistance, 1940-1944; the Algerian struggle for independence, 1954-1962; and May 1968 – and ask whether the contemporary French political scene is much less prone to violence than in the past.
By the end of the module we will be in a position to fully address such questions as: ‘Is
political violence always wrong?’ and ‘Does liberal democracy represent a real advance over other, more obviously violent forms of political arrangements?