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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - French

Undergraduate Course: Recognition Struggles in Contemporary France (ELCF10075)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course engages with the different recognition struggles that have emerged since decolonisation in contemporary France. It focuses on the struggles of ethnic and religious minorities (Jewish, Muslim, African and Afro-Caribbean) to achieve political recognition for different histories of trauma, including slavery, colonisation and the Holocaust.
Course description 'Recognition Struggles in Contemporary France' investigates the socio-political struggles of different ethnic minorities and their attempts to achieve state recognition and reparation for the different histories of trauma affecting their communities. The course examines how France's historical involvement in crimes against humanity (slavery and the Holocaust), as well as other histories of human exploitation and oppression, continues to impact negatively upon African, Jewish and Muslim minority groups. It engages with issues such as: identity formation and shifting ideas on national identity; immigration and integration; memory and trauma theory; social justice and societal racism; and political activism and minority voice. A wide variety of primary sources, including political documents, memory laws, film clips, newspaper reports and political speeches, will be used to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the historical traumas that connect the past to the present, the wide variety of social responses to the impact of trauma, and the multiple theoretical approaches that can be taken to 'repair' the past.

Course content: Students will be provided with an excellent theoretical grounding in theories relating to recognition and identity struggles, memory and trauma, social justice theory and postcolonialism. These will then be applied through different case studies focusing on particular histories of trauma, their effects on different groups and how these groups have mobilised to achieve political recognition. Three case studies will be investigated, inviting comparisons between the state's treatment of different ethnic and religious groups. Examples include: migrants from the former French colonies, notably those from North Africa, and the fraught memories of colonialism in contemporary France; the Jewish community and social movements to remember France's role in the Holocaust; and the Afro-Caribbean population and the struggle for recognition linked to the history of France's enslavement and genocide of African, Indian, Malagasy and indigenous Caribbean peoples.

Student learning experience: This is a lecture and seminar-based course. On a week-by-week basis, students will be provided with relevant materials and pointed to recommended secondary reading (through the resource list). The first half of the course will focus on theory, with a mixture of lectures and seminars, while the second half of the course will focus on the different case studies, leading to class discussions based on set texts and wider reading. Students' learning and understanding will be tested through a variety of formative and summative assessments, including essay writing, project design and extended essay, and oral presentations.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must be able to read, write and speak French and English up to the required academic level for an honours-level course
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of key histories of trauma, including slavery, the Holocaust and colonialism, and how they have affected ethnic minorities living within the French Republic today
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with the recommended primary and secondary material relating to particular histories of trauma and legal, political and social responses to those histories
  3. Engage with and interpret layers of meaning within individual texts and between groups of texts.
  4. Demonstrate the acquisition of certain transferable skills, including ability to criticise, evaluate and interpret evidence, to consider a problem from a number of different perspectives, to accommodate ambiguity and advance reasonable conjectures, to argue cogently and effectively
  5. Develop effective communication, presentation and interaction skills across a range of media
Reading List
For a full reading list, see:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills As a result of studying the course, students will benefit from the development of different personal and professional attributes and skills, including:
Generic cognitive skills:
Critically identify, define, conceptualise and analyse complex/professional problems and issues.
Offer professional insights, interpretations and solutions to problems and issues.
Demonstrate some originality and creativity in dealing with professional issues.
Critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in a subject/discipline/sector.
Make judgements where data/information is limited or comes from a range of sources.
Communication skills:
Use a wide range of routine skills and some advanced and specialised skills in support of established practices in a subject/discipline/sector
Present or convey, formally and informally, information about specialised topics to informed audiences.
Communicate with peers, senior colleagues and specialists on a professional level.
Autonomy, Accountability and Working with Others:
Exercise autonomy and initiative in professional/equivalent activities.
Exercise significant managerial responsibility for the work of others and for a range of resources.
Practise in ways that show awareness of own and others' roles and responsibilities.
Work, under guidance, in a peer relationship with specialist practitioners.
Work with others to bring about change, development and/or new thinking.
Keywordsminority identity,memory,slavery,Holocaust,recognition,social justice
Course organiserDr Nicola Frith
Tel: (0131 6)50 8967
Course secretaryMrs Elsie Gach
Tel: (0131 6)50 8421
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