Fall 2015 - HIST 319 D100

The Modern French Nation (4)

Class Number: 5952

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2015: Tue, 2:30–4:20 p.m.

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2015: Thu, 2:30–3:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



An examination of the history of modern France from 1789 to the present with a focus on the social, political, and cultural divisions within the French nation resulting from the Revolutionary era, industrialization, the expansion and eventual decolonization of France's colonial empire, and the World Wars and their consequences.


Description - Over the past two hundred years, France has undergone massive transformations in the form of revolutions, industrial and technological changes, wars within and beyond Europe, as well as a range of social and cultural metamorphoses. This semester, we will examine these crucial shifts, focusing on how the identity of France as a nation has been defined, contested, and re-imagined in different ways at various historical moments. We will explore different social, political, and cultural divisions within the nation, divisions between economic classes, rural and urban populations, as well as men and women. We will also look carefully at challenges to definitions of national identity that have come from outside France’s borders, from foreign wars to colonial contexts and immigration.

Objectives - In this course, students will learn how to better interpret primary documents across a variety of genres (including fictional and non-fictional, written and audio-visual sources). They will also learn how to identify, evaluate, and respond critically to evidence and argument in their reading of scholarly sources. In addition to becoming familiar with the major periods and events in French history since 1789, students will define and develop a research project of their own, making connections between past and present, and developing a central argument about the legacies of history for our understanding of contemporary France.


  • Course Participation 20%
  • Quizzes 10%
  • Critical Analysis of Zola novel (3 pages) 10%
  • Short Essay on Carles memoir (5 pages) 20%
  • Research Essay and Annotated Bibliography (10 pages) 40%
  • *Some assignments and readings may change before the semester begins.



Jeremy Popkin, A History of Modern France

Emilie Carles, A Life of Her Own

Emile Zola, The Belly of Paris (trans. Mark Kurlansky)

Registrar Notes:

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