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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: France since 1940 (HIST10371)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is an introduction to the history of contemporary France, from the country's calamitous defeat in 1940 to its contemporary struggles over national identity.
Course description This course is an introduction to the history of contemporary France, from the country's calamitous defeat in 1940 to its contemporary struggles over national identity. Its key focus will be how French politics has adapted to the legacy of the Second World War, decolonisation, the rise and fall of de Gaulle, and geopolitical transformations since the 1970s. Students will draw on some of the most contemporary historiographical and social scientific literature in order to gain a fuller understanding of key historical events such as the founding of the Fifth Republic and the Algerian War, as well as broader processes such as the rise of the extreme-right and the problems of racism in French society. This course also includes a parallel weekly source component, in which students will examine a set of French-language written or audiovisual sources relevant to each class. Additional language assistance will be provided for the source component but prior knowledge of French will be an advantage.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have 3 History courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Enrolments for this course are managed by the CAHSS Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department. All enquiries to enrol must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
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 a coherent grasp of key political, economic, social, cultural developments in the France in the period from 1940 to the present day
  2. demonstrate a better understanding of France's relations with the outside world, especially its relations with its colonies/former colonies, its relations with the UK and the USA; and its relations with other European countries through the European Union
  3. demonstrate a familiarity with the key historiographical innovations in the study of contemporary France; this will include knowledge and engagement with secondary literature from sociology, literature and political science
  4. engage with primary sources in English and in French
  5. critically analyse the work of others; a capacity to engage critically with the relevant textual and non-textual primary and secondary sources; an ability to gather and organise relevant material for presenting their findings; and an ability to work under established deadlines
Reading List
These books offer an introduction to the course themes:
Sudhir Hazareesingh, Political Traditions in Modern France (1994)
Philip Nord, France's New Deal: From the Thirties to the postwar era (2010)
Julian Jackson, France: the Dark Years 1940-44 (2001)
Robert Gildea, France since 1945 (1996)
Michael Sutton, France and the Construction of Europe, 1944-2007 (2007)
David Howarth & Georgios Varouxakis, Contemporary France (2006)
Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome (1987)
Sudhir Hazareesingh, The Myth of the General (2012)
Jean-Fran├žois Sirinelli (ed.), Histoires des droites en France, 3. vols (2006)
Stanley Hoffmann, Decline or Renewal: France Since the 1930s (1970)
Todd Shepard, The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France (2006)
Richard Kuisel, Seducing the French: the dilemma of Americanization (1993)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The study of the past gives students a unique understanding of the present that will enable them to succeed in a broad range of careers. The transferable skills gained from this course include: understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past;
ability to analyse the origins and development of current political and historiographical questions;
a command of bibliographical and library- and/or IT-based online and offline research skills;
a range of skills in reading and textual analysis;
ability to question and problematize evidence;
considering the relationship between evidence and interpretation;
understanding ethical dimensions of research and their relevance for human relationships today;
ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely, both orally and in writing;
ability to deliver a paper or a presentation in front of peer audiences;
ability to analyse primary sources in both English and French;
ability to design and execute pieces of written work and to present them suitably, as evidenced by the two assessment essays of 3,000 words each.
Course organiserDr Emile Chabal
Tel: (0131 6)50 4302
Course secretaryMiss Katy Robinson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3780
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