Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The History of Modern France (HI295)

Please note that this module has been
temporarily withdrawn and is therefore
not available to students in 2016/17

Tutor: Dr Charles Walton 

This second-year undergraduate module introduces students to modern French History, from 1750 to 1998. Beginning with the Old Regime and the Enlightenment, we will examine France's tumultuous transformation from a dynastic regime based on social hierarchy and privilege to a constitutional republic based on freedom and equality. Several themes will be treated throughout the year: religion and secularisation, revolution, imperialism, republicanism, liberalism, industrialisation, consumerism, class, gender, nationalism, war, fascism, decolonisation and pluralism. Through an energetic engagement with primary and secondary sources, students will be encouraged to formulate their own questions and arguments about these processes. This module does not require any prerequisites.

In addition to the weekly readings, students will read the following novels and watch the following films on their own:

Term 1:

  • Novel: Père Goriot (Honoré Balzac)
  • Film: Ridicule (Patrice Leconte)

Term 2:

  • Novel: Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade (Assia Djebar)
  • Film: Battle of Algiers (Marcel Ophuls)

Below is a list of books that will be read either extensively or in their entirety. Although the library has copies, you may consider purchasing them in order to have a copy of your own. The library's copies will be put on reserve.

Honoré Balzac, Père Goriot (used copies on line for three to four pounds)

Assia Djebar, Fantasia (used copies online for around eight pounds)

Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution (free text is available online, but you may prefer a harcopy, which, used, can be purchased through online bookstores for four to five pounds)

Textbook: Jeremy Popkin, A History of Modern France (the new, fourth edition is expensive. The library has copies of the second edition, which can also be found online for one to four pounds).


1998 World Cup

Map of France