History | Modern France
B357 | 11111 | Stanard
Above section open to undergraduates only
This course will focus on the history of France from the Napoleonic
Empire right down to the present day. We will address key problems
and questions in modern French history, which should give us a better
perspective on current issues related to France, the European Union,
France’s relationship with the United States, and France’s place in
the world today. The course will ask historical and present-day
questions such as:
*Why does France hold a particular place in world politics, for
example why is it one of just five permanent members of the U.N.
*Why did France last year pass a law to prohibit students from
wearing large Christian crosses, headscarves, or yarmulkes to public
*What is the relationship between France and the European Union?
*How did France become one of the world’s great imperial powers by
1900 and yet lose its empire by 1960?
*How was France victorious against Germany after the four years of
total war that were World War I, yet was defeated by Germany in just
six weeks in 1940?
*What was the original avant-garde?
*How did the nation of Versailles, Louis XIV, and “let them eat cake”
join in and/or cope with industrialization and revolutions in the
19th century? *How did fascism take root in France, the birthplace
of the French Revolution and “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”?
As these questions indicate, the course will focus on the major
political, social, economic, and cultural developments that shaped
French history in the modern period, as well as interrelated events
in Europe and the world. Class will meet daily and will include
lectures, discussions and audiovisual presentations. There is no
textbook for the course, rather we will read novels, testimonies, and
shorter interpretive works. There will be a midterm and a final
examination, a handful of brief quizzes on the readings, and two
short papers drawing from the readings, lecture, and other materials
assigned for the course.