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The University of Southampton

FREN2008 Post-War French Thought

Module Overview

This unit provides an introduction to the study of French post-war French thought and society.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• provide you with an approachable introduction to the study of French thought • develop a number of skills which will equip you for the latter part of your degree course

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • post-war French thought and society
  • the key concepts deployed by Beauvoir, Barthes and Fanon
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate your critical and analytical skills by responding to questions about the validity and relevance of the ideas set out in the texts they have studied
  • develop effective reading strategies for dealing with challenging material
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • employ correct referencing methods and construct bibliographies
  • plan and carry out independent research and learning


This module will focus on three important texts in French post-war thought, linking these texts to three key themes in post-war history: women and society, the rise of consumer society, and decolonisation. The texts to be studied are Simone de Beauvoir, Le deuxième sexe (Vol.II), Roland Barthes, Mythologies and Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs. While you will be invited to approach the texts with an awareness of their historical context, they will also be asked to think about ways in which these texts transcend their context and offer tools of analysis useful to any student of modern culture and society.

Special Features

Lectures will provide guidance on engaging with each theorist in turn in terms of the cultural and intellectual contexts of writing, the intellectual origins of their work and their relationships to one another. In the seminars you will be expected to engage actively with your classmates’ presentation work and to participate in discussions based on your own preparation of the material each week. Knowledge and understanding will be developed through your attendance at lectures, your independent study and your writing of essays. The two essays give you the opportunity to take further your engagement with these texts and to integrate the skills developed over the module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • weekly lecture • weekly seminar • individual consultations over essays and feedback from assignments Learning activities include • seminar presentations • independent learning in preparation for weekly classes

Wider reading or practice40
Preparation for scheduled sessions2
Follow-up work4
Completion of assessment task40
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Simone de Beauvoir. Le deuxième sexe (Vol.II). 

Roland Barthes. Mythologies. 

Frantz Fanon. Peau noire, masques blancs. 


Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on-module feedback • seminar presentations • individual consultations on essay plans Assessment by two equally weighted essays


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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