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The French Revolution

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
30
ECTS points
15
Level
Level 4
Module lead
Joan Tumblety
Academic year
2021-22

Module overview

The module introduces you to the political, social and cultural history of the period of revolution in late eighteenth-century France. The revolution of 1789 remains a great event of mythic proportions: it is, in the periodization of French history, the beginning of the present; and it has fed the imaginations of all those willing to see in its rhetoric of rights, its abolition of slavery, and yet also in its violence, a seismic moment in global history. On this module you will gain an understanding of what the French Revolution was within its own time, but also a sense of how our understanding of it has been shaped by the evolving concerns of historians. After an extended introduction, which will trace the development of the revolution and explore some reasons for its radicalization over time, we focus on three main themes: the question of citizenship rights and equality; the nature of revolutionary violence; and the impact of the revolution on daily life. You will engage with each of these topics through a consideration of different kinds of primary source material as well as through secondary reading, in order to help you understand that the positions that historians take in debates over the past are necessarily anchored in their reading of the evidence left behind by the past itself.

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