Spring 2017 - HIST 319 D100

Modern France (4)

Class Number: 3959

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 1415, Vancouver

  • Instructor:

    Roxanne Panchasi
    1 778 782-6809
    Office: AQ 6017
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six 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.


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 study these crucial shifts, focusing on how the identity of France as a nation has been defined, contested, and re-imagined in a variety of ways since the late-eighteenth century. We will explore different social, political, and cultural tensions within the nation, and the complex divisions in terms of class, race and ethnicity, gender, rural vs. urban populations, generations, etc. We will also look carefully at the challenges to definitions of national identity that have come from outside France’s borders, from foreign wars to colonial contexts and immigration.


In this course, students will learn how to better interpret primary documents across a variety of genres (including fictional, 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.



Tyler Stovall, Transnational France: The Modern History of a Universal Nation (2015)

Emile Zola, The Belly of Paris (1873, trans. Mark Kurlansky)

Emilie Carles, A Life of Her Own (1977)

Michel Houellebecq, Submission (2015)

*The texts above have been ordered through the SFU Bookstore. A number of additional shorter selections will be required and distributed via Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html