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FREN3029 Fragmented France: Cultures and Identities in Transition

Module Overview

This option will examine the relationship between French identity and culture since 1981 with the elections of François Mitterrand by exploring the ways in which identities of different social groups are expressed within the economic, political and cultural contexts of contemporary France.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Introduce you to the different theoretical approaches to the study of both culture and identity that shape contemporary French debate
  • Examine critically the debates on French identity at times of social and political change (Europeanisation and globalisation)
  • Explore the ways in which identities of different social/ethnic groups are expressed within the economic, social, political and cultural contexts of contemporary France.
  • Examine elements of French cultural identity taking into account students' own experience of France and its diversity.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate your ideas in a coherent and cogent fashion through oral presentations and written work.
  • Develop your presentational skills with the use of audio-visual resources.
  • Participate in group discussions, work effectively both as a member of a team and individually.
  • Prioritise and manage your time more effectively.
  • Participate in group discussions, work effectively both as a member of a team and individually.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Read, evaluate, summarise and synthesise texts in French and English.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and put into practice the different skills required for analysing primary and secondary sources.
  • Be familiar with key political and sociological terminology an different interpretations of facts
  • develop research skills
  • Constructively criticise other people’s ideas based on an informed judgement of the subject in question.

Syllabus

This option will examine the relationship between French identity and culture since 1981 with the elections of François Mitterrand by exploring the ways in which identities of different social groups are expressed within the economic, political and cultural contexts of contemporary France. The beginning of the 1980s witnessed the emergence of a cultural debate about what it means to be French. Indeed much of the period was characterised by the ‘crisis of French identity’ as intellectuals and the political classes attempted to make sense of French identity in the light of challenges posed by broader global forces such as immigration, feminism, European integration and globalisation. France entered the new millennium with a reframing of the cultural identity debate in nationalistic and political terms. The course proposes to examine the construction of Frenchness through the debates redefining traditional key cultural markers of French identity in the context of increased fragmentation and recomposition. The introductory lectures will familiarize students with various theoretical approaches to the study of both culture and identity. Students will then examine the economic, political, social and cultural frameworks for thinking about the question of what it means to be French today. Seminars and case studies will explore themes such as language, education, sport, popular culture, heritage and museums, memory and the past, food and wine, family and ethnicity. You will be encouraged to think critically and independently about how French cultural identity is conceptualised and how its future has been debated in response to both Europeanisation and globalisation.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Weekly lectures and seminars. • A set of weekly questions to guide you in your reading. • Discussions arising from student-led seminars with the convenor acting as a guide and learning facilitator. • Informal feedback from the convenor and students on oral presentations. Learning activities include • Directed and undirected reading in both English and French. • Preparation of cogent and well-founded arguments for oral presentations and group discussions. • Reviewing other students’ presentations. • The research and completion of written assignments.

TypeHours
Follow-up work2
Seminar12
Revision40
Wider reading or practice40
Lecture12
Completion of assessment task40
Preparation for scheduled sessions4
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Reynolds, Sian; Kidd, William.B (2000). French cultural Studies. 

Cole, Alistair & Raymond Gino (eds.) (2006). Redefining the French Republic. 

Warren, Kidd (2002). Culture and Identity. 

Kelly, Mike (2002). French culture and society: the essentials. 

Lebovics, Herman (2004). Bringing the Empire back home: France in the Global Age. 

Assessment

Assessment Strategy

Assessments designed to provide informal, on- feedback  Peer and tutor feedback on seminar presentations and the short essay.  Discussion of essay/or dissertation plans by arrangement with the tutor. The lectures will acquaint you with the broad context of each topic, introduce you to the various historical debates, and provide the stimulus for in-depth reading in preparation for the weekly seminar. The weekly seminar will be largely student led involving group discussions of set questions and peer reviews of individual presentations which will have been posted on blackboard in advance. You will be expected to prepare material for each seminar in order to discuss the weekly questions and to provide substance to your critique of other students’ presentations. This format should also allow you to deepen your knowledge of the overall topic while providing ample opportunity to discuss and expand on areas of your interest which may not have been explicitly covered within the lectures. The student presentation encourages you to work autonomously and to reflect on the most effective way of presenting your findings with the use of audio-visual resources. In addition, the system of informal peer feedback at the end of each presentation will stimulate you to reflect critically about how others construct and present their own ideas, which should in turn encourage self-reflection about your own abilities. The ongoing process of sharing and critiquing ideas in class combined with the preparation of a seminar presentation and short essay should equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to undertake the longer written assignment.

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Essay  (2500 words) 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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