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Unit information: Shaping France in 2019/20

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing and student choice.

Unit name Shaping France
Unit code FREN10008
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Hurcombe
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of French
Faculty Faculty of Arts


The unit provides students with an overview of issues pertaining to the history, culture and identity of contemporary France by examining key moments and themes in the development of France as a political and cultural entity from the Middle Ages to the present. It will give students a better understanding of the evolving nature of French national identity, of the French Republic, and of its position in Europe and the world across the centuries in order to better comprehend the issues facing French national identity in the contemporary world. It involves a weekly lecture, and a weekly seminar some of which are conducted in French.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit students will:

1. have gained knowledge of the historical background to contemporary French society and culture;

2. have acquired a range of skills and techniques for obtaining, researching and analysing relevant material;

3. be competent in the appropriate linguistic register (oral and written) for presenting such research as appropriate to Level C.

Teaching details

One weekly lecture plus one weekly seminar over 11 weeks/one teaching block.

Assessment Details

One commentary of 1500 words to be written in English and which will contribute to 33% of the total mark testing ILO’s 1-3.

One essay of 2000 words to be written in French and worth 67% of the total mark testing ILO’s 1-3.

Reading and References

Labrune, Gérard and Toutain, Philippe, L'Histoire de France (Paris: Nathan) ISBN-10: 2091830984 /ISBN-13: 978-2091830988

Evans, Martin and Godin, Emmanuel, France 1815-2003 (Hodder Arnold, 2004) ISBN-10: 0340761415 /ISBN-13: 978-0340761410

Jones, Colin, The Cambridge Illustrated History of France (CUP: 1999)

NB All three are recommended reading. A detailed bibliography will be supplied in the unit handbook.