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Reading Lists

Useful books

  • You are not required to buy any books for this module. But if you do want to purchase a couple, the most useful would be:
  • J Popkin, A History of Modern France (4th edition, 2012; earlier edition will do)
  • R Gildea, Children of the Revolution: The French 1799-1914 (2008)
  • R Kedward, La Vie en bleu: France and the French since 1900 (2005)
  • Charles Sowerwine, France since 1870 (2000)
  • James Mc Millan (ed.), Modern France (2003)
  • Edward Berenson, Vincent Duclert and Christophe Prochasson (eds.), French Republic: History, Values, Debates (2010)
  • Philip Nord, France’s New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era (2010)

18th Century

  • C Jones, The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to Napoleon (2002)
  • D Parker, Class and State in Ancien Regime France (1996)
  • J Collins, The State in Early Modern France (2nd ed. 2009; earlier edition will do)

19th Century

  • R Magraw, France, 1800-1914: A Social History (2002)

  • P McPhee A Social History of France 1780-1880 (1992)

  • C Charle A Social History of France in the 19th Century (1994)

  • R Price A Social History of 19th-Century France (1987)

  • R Tombs, France 1815-1914 (1996)

20th Century

  • A Conklin, S Fishman, and R Zaretsky, France and its Empire since 1870 (2010)

  • R Gildea, France since 1945 (2002)

  • R Vinen, France 1934-1970 (1996)

  • M Larkin, France since the Popular Front (1988)

  • S. Hoffman, Decline or Renewal?: France Since the 1930s (1974)

19th and 20th centuries

  • T Zeldin, France 1848-1945 (2 Vols 1973, 1977)

  • M Alexander (ed) France since Napoleon (1999)

  • M Evans and E Godin, France 1815-2003 (2004)

The most relevant academic journals for this module are (in no particular order):

  • French History

  • French Historical Studies

  • Modern and Contemporary France

  • French Colonial History

  • French Cultural Studies

Current and back issues of these journals are available online through the libarary's website. The library also has print holdings for those who prefer the paper version.

Lecture and seminar reading

Before coming to class, you should make themselves familiar with the topic of the lecture by reading the corresponding chapter(s) in one of the general texts mentioned above. Core readings will be discussed in seminars. You may read some of the further readings to prepare for class. However, the main purpose of the further readings list is to provide you with a starting point for your essays. Documents are primary sources. They can also be used as a starting point for your essays. All core readings are available as ejournals, ebooks or digitized book chapters stored in the module web group.

You can access the digitized book chapters at

To access the readings you need to a member of the module's web group. Once you have registered electronically onto the module you should be automatically be added to the web group.

Ejournals can be accessed through the library website at

Ebooks are available through the library online catalogue.

In addition to reading the core texts each week, you should also try to read at least one other item from the further reading lists. These reading lists will also help you research and write your essays, but they are by no means exhaustive. See 'Further reading' for each week. For the latter periods covered by the module, you might find the below useful.

4 September 1870: Proclamation of the Third Republic. Empire, Republic, war, and civil strife

  • Corresponding chapters in Sowerwine, McMillan, Kedward or Berenson

16 May 1877: Jules Simon’s resignation. The institutional compromise

Core reading

  • James R. Lehning, The Melodramatic Thread: Spectacle and Political Culture in Modern France [Chapter 3: ‘Boulevard Spectacles of the Third Republic']
  • Philip Nord, The Republican Moment [Chapter 9: ‘Political Culture’]


  • 1875 constitutional laws

1881-82: Jules Ferry’s school laws. The republican platform

Core reading

  • Eugen Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen [Chapters 12 ‘Roads, Roads, and Still More Roads’ and 18 ‘Civilizing in Earnest: Schools and Schooling’]
  • Laird Boswell, ‘Rethinking the Nation at the Periphery,’ French Politics, Culture, and Society 27:2 (Summer 2009), 111-26


  • Jules Ferry’s speech on the equality of education
  • Jules Ferry’s speech on French colonial expansion
  • Pierre-Jakez Helias, The Horse of Pride

Further reading

  • Ford, Caroline. Creating the Nation in Provincial France: Religion and Political Identity in Brittany. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993.
  • Caroline Ford, ‘Religion and the Politics of Cultural Change in Provincial France: The Resistance of 1902 in Lower Brittany’, The Journal of Modern History , Vol. 62, No. 1 (Mar., 1990), pp. 1-33.
  • Christopher E. Forth, Elinor Accampo (eds.). Confronting Modernity in Fin-de-Siècle France: Bodies, Minds and Gender. Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK ; New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
  • Debora L Silverman, Art nouveau in fin-de-siècle France: Politics, Psychology, and Style (Berkeley: Univ. of CA, 1989).
  • Christophe Charle, Social history of France in the nineteenth century
  • Chanet, Jean-Francois. L’école républicaine et les petites patries. Paris: Aubier, 1996.
  • Berstein, Rudelle, Le modèle républicain.

1893-94: The villainous laws. Republican government and political opposition

Core reading

  • Shaya, Greg. "How to Make an Anarchist-Terrorist: An Essay on the Political Imaginary in Fin-de-Siècle France." Journal of Social History 44:2 (Winter 2010), pp. 521-543
  • Erickson, Edward. ‘Punishing the Mad Bomber: Questions of Moral Responsibility in the Trials of French Anarchist Terrorists, 1886-1897’, French History, 01/2008; 22(1):51-73.

Further reading

  • John Merriman, The Dynamite Club: How a Bombing in Fin-de-Siècle Pans Ignited the Age of Modern Terror. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009.
  • Nye, Robert. Crime, Madness, and Politics in Modern France: The Medical Concept of National Decline. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.
  • Barrows, Susanna. Distorting Mirrors: Visions of the Crowd in Late Nineteenth-Century France. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1981.
  • ‘L’haleine des faubourgs’, Recherches, 29/1977.
  • Robert Stuart, Marxism and National Identity (State University of New York Press, 2006), pp. 9-48 HX263.S8 Short Loan
  • Gerard Noiriel, Workers in French Society in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Berg Publishers, 1989), chapters 2-3, HD8431.N6
  • Berlanstein, Lenard. The Working People of Paris, 1871-1914. Baltimore; London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984.
  • Gerald Friedman, ‘Capitalism, republicanism, socialism, and the state: France, 1871-1914. Social Science History 1990 14(2): 151-174.
  • Becker, Jean-Jacques et Gilles Candar (ed.). Histoire des Gauches en France. Paris: La Découverte, 2004, 2 vol.
  • Roger Magraw, A History of the French Working Class, Volume 2, (London, 1989), chapters on 1870-1900.
  • Machelon, Jean-Pierre. La République contre les libertés?: Les restrictions aux libertés publiques de 1879 à 1914. Paris: Presses de la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 1976.

3 January 1898: Émile Zola’s J’accuse. Republican state and individual rights

Core reading

  • Michel Winock, Nationalism, Anti-Semitism, and Fascism in France [Chapter 9: ‘The Dreyfus Affairs’]
  • Ruth Harris, The Man on Devil’s Island: Alfred Dreyfus and the Affair That Divided France [choose any two chapters]


  • Célestin Bouglé, Pour la démocratie française
  • Michael Burns, France and the Dreyfus affair : a documentary history
  • Further reading
  • Nancy Fitch, ‘Mass culture, mass parliamentary politics, and modern anti-semitism: the Dreyfus affair in rural France,’ American Historical Review, 97.1 (1992), 55-95.
  • Birnbaum, Pierre. The anti-semitic moment : A tour of France in 1898. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2011.
  • Birnbaum, Pierre. The Jews of the Republic : a political history of state Jews of France from Gambetta to Vichy. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.
  • Histoire politique des juifs en France: entre universalisme et particularisme / sous la dir. de Pierre Birnbaum
  • Audier, Serge. La République, l’Affaire Dreyfus et la raison d’État: Le cas Célestin Bouglé, Revue de synthèse : tome 130, 6e série, n° 2, 2009, p. 289-322.
  • Baruch, Marc-Olivier et Duclert (ed.). Justice, politique et République. 2002.
  • Duclert, Vincent. “L'affaire Dreyfus, l'État et la République“, Serviteurs de l’État

9 December 1905: Separation of the churches and the state. The anticlerical Republic

Core reading

  • Hause, Steven. ‘French Protestants, laicization, and the separation of the churches and the state, 1802-1905’, in Religious differences in France : past and present. Edited by Kathleen Perry Long
  • James McMillan, ‘Priest hits girl: on the front line in the “war of the two Frances”’, in Culture wars. Secular-Catholic conflict in nineteenth-century Europe. Edited by Christopher Clark and Wolfram Kaiser

Further reading

  • Ford, Caroline. Divided Houses: Religion and Gender in Modern France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005.
  • Crane, Richard Francis. ‘Laicization and its discontents in early twentieth-century France’, The Catholic Historical Review, Volume 93, Number 3, July 2007, pp. 594-599.
  • Rémond, René. L’anticléricalisme en France : de 1815 à nos jours. Paris : Fayard, 1999.
  • Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire, No. 87, special issue: Laïcité, séparation, sécularisation 1905-2005 (Jul. - Sep., 2005)
  • Cabanel, Patrick. Le Dieu de la République. Aux sources protestantes de la laïcité (1860-1900). Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2003.
  • Lalouette, Jacqueline. La séparation des églises et de l’État. Genèse et développement d’une idée, 1789-1905. Paris : Le Seuil, 2005.
  • Jacqueline Lalouette, Anticléricalisme et laïcité, Histoire des gauches en France, sous la direction de Jean-Jacques Becker et Gilles Candar, vol. 2, XXe siècle : à l’épreuve de l’histoire, Paris, La Découverte, 2004, p. 645-665.
  • Lalouette, Jacqueline. La république anticléricale, XIXe-XXe siècles.

15 July 1914: Law on the income tax. The republican idea of justice

Core reading

  • Nord, Philip. “The Welfare State in France, 1870-1914,” French Historical Studies, vol. 18, No. 3 (Spring 1994), 821-838.
  • Janet Horne, A Social Laboratory for Modern France: The Musée Social and the Rise of the Welfare State [Chapter 3: ‘A Genealogy of Republican Reform’]

Further reading

  • Timothy B. Smith, Creating the Welfare State in France, 1880-1940 (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003).
  • Elinor Accampo, ‘Gender, Social Policy and the Formation of the Third Republic: An Introduction’, in Accampo et al., Gender and the politics of social reform, 1995.
  • Delalande, Nicolas. « Tax reform in early twentieth century France : the politics and techniques of redistribution », in John Tiley (dir.), Studies in the History of Tax Law, vol. 3, Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2009, p. 57-72.
  • Delalande, Nicolas. Les batailles de l’impôt: Consentement et résistances de 1789 à nos jours. Paris : Seuil, 2011.
  • Blais, Marie-Claude. La Solidarité: Histoire d’une idée. Paris: Gallimard, 2007.
  • Jones, H. Stuart. The French State in Question: Public Law and Political Argument in the Third Republic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Rothstein, Bo. Just Institutions Matter. The Moral and Political Logic of the Universal Welfare State, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Ewald, François. Histoire de l’État providence: Les origines de la solidarité. Paris: Grasset, 1986.

1916: The Battle of Verdun. The French nation and the German enemy

Core reading

  • Ruth Harris, ‘The ‘Child of the Barbarian’: Rape, Race and Nationalism in France During the First World War.’ Past & Present, no. 141 (November 1993): 170-206.
  • Tyler Stovall, ‘The Color Line Behind the Lines: Racial Violence in France During the Great War.’ American Historical Review 103, no. 3 (June 1998): 737-69.


  • Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau. Men at war, 1914-1918 : National Sentiment and Trench Journalism in France During the First World War
  • Further reading
  • Nolan, Michael. The inverted mirror: Mythologizing the enemy in France and Germany, 1898-1914. Berghahn Books, 2005.
  • Mark Hewitson, ‘Images of the Enemy: German Depictions of the French Military, 1890-1914’, War In History, January 2004, vol. 11, no. 1, 4-33.
  • Audoin-Rouzeau, Stéphane and Becker, Annette, 14-18, Understanding the Great War, (New York: Hill and Wang, 2002).
  • Leonard V. Smith, Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, and Annette Becker, France and the Great War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  • Horne, John, ‘Remobilizing for ‘total war’: France and Britain, 1917-1918’, In State, Society and Mobilization in Europe during the First World War, edited by John Horne, 195-211. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
  • Annette Becker, ‘From war to war: A few myths, 1914-1942’, in France at War in the Twentieth Century: Myth, Metaphor and Propaganda, edited by Valerie Holman and Debra Kelly (Leamington Spa: Berghahn Books, 2000), pp. 15-26.
  • Antoine Prost, ‘The impact of war on French and German political cultures,’ Historical Journal, 37.1 (1994), 209-217.
  • L V Smith, ‘Remobilizing the Citizen-Soldier through the French Army Mutinies of 1917,’ in J Horne (ed), State, Society and Mobilization in Europe during the First World War (1997)
  • John Horne, ‘L'impot Du Sang’: Republican Rhetoric and Industrial Warfare in France, 1914-18.’ Social History 14, no. 2 (1989), pp. 201-23.

1922: Victor Margueritte’s The Bachelor Girl. Gender and sexuality in postwar France

Core reading

  • Françoise Thébaud, ‘The Great War and the Triumph of Sexual Division’, in Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot (eds.), A History of Women in the West, vol. 5, Toward a Cultural Identity in the Twentieth Century
  • Mary Louise Roberts, Civilization Without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France [Chapter 5: ‘Madame doesn’t want a child’]


  • Victor Margueritte, The Bachelor Girl
  • Further reading
  • Sian Reynolds, France Between the Wars: Gender and Politics, (London: Routledge, 1996).
  • Judith Surkis, Sexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870-1920, (Cornell University Press, 2006).
  • Cheryl A. Koos, ‘“On les aura!”The gendered politics of abortion and the Alliance nationale contre la depopulation, 1938-1944’, Modern & Contemporary France, 7 (1999), pp. 21-33.
  • Cheryl A. Koos, ‘Gender, anti-individualism, and nationalism: The Alliance nationale and the pronatalist backlash against the ‘femme moderne’, 1933-1940,’ French Historical Studies, 19.3 (1996), 699-723
  • Riot-Sarcey, Michèle (ed.). Démocratie et représentation. Paris: Kimé, 1995.
  • Geneviève Fraisse, Reason’s muse: sexual difference and the birth of democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
  • Richard Tomlinson, ‘The ‘disappearance’ of France, 1896-1940: French politics and the birth rate,’ Historical Journal, 28.2 (1985), 405-415.
  • Andrès Reggiani,, ‘“Procreating France”, The Politics of Demography, 1919-1945’, French Historical Studies, 19 (3) (1996), pp. 699-723
  • Odile Rudelle, « Le vote des femmes et la fin de l’exception française », Vingtième siècle, avril-juin 1994, 52-65.

10 August 1927: Law on nationality. Republic, citizenship, and immigration

Core reading

  • Mary Dewhurst Lewis, The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France, 1918-1940 [Chapter 2: ‘From labor contract to social contract’]
  • Clifford Rosenberg, ‘Albert Sarraut and Republican Racial Thought’, in Race in France: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Politics of Difference

Further reading

  • Gérard Noiriel, The French Melting Pot (Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1996)
  • Robert Stuart, Marxism and National Identity (State University of New York Press, 2006)
  • Roger Magraw, ‘Appropriating the symbols of the patrie: Jacobin nationalism and its rivals in the French Third Republic’, in Nationalism, Labour and Ethnicity, edited by Stefan Berger and Angel Smith (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999), pp. 93-120.
  • Elisa Camiscoli, ‘Producing citizens, reproducing the “French race”: Immigration, demography, and pronatalism in early twentieth-century France’, Gender and History, 2001, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 593-621
  • Baycroft, Timothy, et al., ‘’Degrees of foreignness’ and the construction of identity in French border regions during the interwar period’ Contemporary European History10:1 (2001), pp. 51-71.

25 June 1928: Adoption of the franc Poincaré. Liberalism and its critics

Core reading

  • Jackson, Julian. The Politics of Depression in France [Part I: ‘The background’]
  • Jackie Clarke, ‘Imagined productive communities: industrial rationalisation and cultural crisis in 1930s France’, Modern and Contemporary France, 8:3 (2000), pp. 345-57.


  • Émile Moreau, The Golden Franc: Memoirs of a Governor of the Bank of France: The Stabilization of the Franc (1926-1928)
  • Further reading
  • Kuisel, Richard F. Capitalism and the State in Modern France: Renovation and Economic Management in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
  • Mouré, Kenneth. The gold standard illusion : France, the Bank of France, and the International Gold Standard, 1914-1939. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • The gold standard and national financial policies, 1919–39, In The Cambridge Economic History of Europe Vol. 8. The Industrial Economies: The Development of Economic and Social Policies (1989)
  • Dutton, Paul V. Origins of the French Welfare State: The Struggle for Social Reform in France, 1914-1947. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
  • Pedersen, Susan. Family, dependence, and the origins of the welfare state: Britain and France, 1914-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Marjorie A Beale, The Modernist Enterprise: French Elites and the Threat of Modernity, 1900-1940. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

6 May 1931: Opening of the Colonial Exhibition. The Republic’s empire

Core reading

  • Emmanuelle Saada, Empire's children : Race, filiation, and citizenship in the French colonies [Chapter 4: ‘Nationality and citizenship in the colonial situation’]
  • Dana Hale, ‘French Images of Race on Product Trademarks During the Third Republic’, in Sue Peabody and Tyler Stovall (eds.). The Color of Liberty : Histories of Race in France.
  • Elizabeth Thompson, Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon [Chapter 4: ‘State Social Policy’ and chapter 12: ‘Cinemas: Gendering a New Urban Space’]

Further reading

  • Alice Conklin, A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).
  • Alice Conklin, ‘Civil society, science, and empire in late republican France: the foundation of Paris’s Museum of Man.,” Osiris, 17 (2002), pp. 255-290
  • Robert Aldrich, Greater France: a History of French Overseas Expansion (London: Palgrave, 1996).
  • Alice Bullard, Exile to Paradise: Savagery and Civilization in Paris and the South Pacific. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000)
  • McClellan, Michael. ‘Music, Education and Français de Couleur: Music Instruction in Colonial Hanoi.’ Fontes Artis Musicae 56/3 (July-September 2009): 314-325.
  • Ford, Caroline. "Reforestation, Landscape Conservation, and the Anxieties of Empire in French Colonial Algeria" American Historical Review (April, 2008): 341-362.
  • Emmanuelle Saada, « Un racisme de l’expansion. Les discriminations raciales au regard des situations coloniales », in De la question sociale à la question raciale ?. La découverte, 2006, 55-71.
  • White, Owen. Children of the French Empire: Miscegenation and Colonial Society in French West Africa 1895-1960. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

6 February 1934: The ‘veterans’ riot’. Right and left, far and beyond

Core reading

  • René Rémond, The Right Wing in France from 1815 to De Gaulle [Chapter 8: ‘1919-1939: From the Bloc National to the National Revolution, the Classic Right Wing and the Leagues’]
  • Kevin Passmore, ‘The Croix de Feu: Bonapartism, National Populism or Fascism?,’ French History, 9.1 (1995), 67-92.
  • Jessica Wardhaugh, In Pursuit of the People: Political Culture in France, 1934–1939 [Chapter 5: ‘Building the ideal city in popular culture, 1936-7’]

Further reading

  • Chris Millington, ‘The French Veterans and the Republic: The Union nationale des combattants and the Union fédérale, 1934–1938’, European History Quarterly; Jan2012, Vol. 42 Issue 1, p50-70.
  • Chris Millington, ‘February 6, 1934: The Veterans’ Riot’, French Historical Studies, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Fall 2010)
  • Sean Kennedy, Reconciling France Against Democracy: The Croix De Feu and the Parti Social Français, 1927-1945 (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007).
  • Cheryl Koos and Daniella Sarnoff, France, in Women, Gender and Fascism in Europe 1919-1945 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), pp. 168-188.
  • William D. Irvine, ‘French conservatives and the new right in the interwar years,’ French Historical Studies, 8.4 (1974), 534-562
  • Donald G. Wileman, ‘P-E. Flandin and the Alliance Démocratique,’ French History, 4.2 (1990), 139-173
  • Kevin Passmore, ‘Catholicism and nationalism: the Fédération républicaine, 1927-1939’ in Catholicism and Politics in Twentieth Century France, ed. by Kay Chadwick (2000), pp. 47-72.
  • Brian Jenkins, France in the Era of Fascism: Essays on the French Authoritarian Right, (Leamington Spa: Berghahn Books, 2007).

22 June 1940: The ‘strange defeat’. The Vichy regime

Core reading

  • Jackson, Julian. France: The Dark Years, 1940-1944. [Chapter 6: ‘The Debacle’, chapter 7: ‘The National Revolution’, and chapter 13: ‘Intellectuals, Artists and Entertainers’]


  • Marc Bloch, Strange defeat: A statement of evidence written in 1940
  • Further reading
  • Jackson, Julian. The fall of France: the Nazi invasion of 1940. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Burrin, Philippe. France under the Germans: Collaboration and compromise. New York: The New Press, 1996.
  • Talbot Imlay, ‘Paul Reynaud and France's response to Nazi Germany, 1938-1940’, French Historical Studies 2003 26(3): 497-538
  • Talbot Imlay, Facing the Second World War: strategy, politics, and economics in Britain and France, 1938-1940 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
  • Martin Alexander, ‘No taste for the fight?’: French Combat performance in 1940 and the politics of the fall of France’, in Time to Kill: The Soldier’s Experience of War in the West, edited by Paul Addison and Angus Calder, pp. 161-176.
  • Noiriel, Gérard. Les origines républicaines de Vichy. Paris: Hachette littératures, 1999.
  • Boninchi (Marc), Vichy et l'Ordre moral, Paris, PUF, 2005.
  • Francine Muel-Dreyfus, Vichy and the Eternal Feminine: A Contribution to a Political Sociology of Gender. (Durham, N.C., 2001).
  • Frégnac-Clave, Françoise. ‘Vichy France on Stage: The Polemic Use of Ancient Myths and Classic Tragedy’, in The Theater of Teaching and the Lessons of Theater. Edited by Domnica Radulescu and Maria Stadter Fox. Lanham, MD: Lexington books, 2005.

25 August 1944: Paris liberated. The expansion of the welfare state

Core reading

  • Philip Nord, France’s New Deal. From the Thirties to the Postwar Era [Chapter 3]
  • Eric Jabbari, ‘Vichy, the Resistance, and Free France’, ‘The genesis of the Laroque plan (1944-1945)’ and ‘The failure of universalism (1946-1948)’, in Pierre Laroque and the welfare state in post-war France

Further reading

  • Andrew Knapp (ed.). The Uncertain Foundation: France at the Liberation, 1944–1947. New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2007.
  • Andrieu, Claire, Lucette Le Van and Antoine Prost (eds.). Les nationalisations de la Libération. De l'utopie au compromis. Paris : Presses de la Fondation nationale des Sciences politiques, 1987.
  • Olivier Wieviorka. Histoire du débarquement en Normandie. Des origines à la libération de Paris, 1941-1944.

27 October 1946: Creation of the French Union. Democratic standards and the end of empire

Core reading

  • Cooper, Frederick. “Labor, Politics, and the End of Empire in French Africa,” in Colonialism in Question, 204-230. [Chapter 7]
  • Todd Shepard, The invention of decolonization: The Algerian war and the remaking of France [Chapter 2: ‘Inventing Decolonization’]


  • Césaire, Aimé. Discourse on colonialism
  • Fanon, Frantz. The wretched of the earth
  • Further reading
  • Cooper, Frederick. ‘Reconstructing Empire in British and French Africa’, Past and Present (2011) 210 (suppl 6): 196-210.
  • Gregory Mann, What was the indigénat? The empire of law in French West Africa, The Journal of African History, Vol. 50, No. 3 (2009) (pp. 331-353)
  • Dimier, Véronique. For a Republic 'Diverse and Indivisible'? France's Experience from the Colonial Past, Contemporary European History, 13.1, (Feb 2004): 45-66.

9 January 1959: André Malraux appointed Minister of Cultural Affairs. The Republic, the arts, and the people

Core reading

  • Philip Nord, France’s New Deal. From the Thirties to the Postwar Era [Chapter 6: ‘The Culture State’]
  • Looseley, David. The Politics of Fun: Cultural Policy and Debate in Contemporary France [Part I]


  • Jeremy Ahearne (ed.). French cultural policy debates: a reader. London: Routledge, 2002.

Further reading

  • Jeremy Ahearne, Intellectuals, culture and public policy in France : approaches from the left. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010.
  • Ford, Caroline. "Museums After Empire in Metropolitan and Overseas France," Journal of Modern History 83, no. 3 (September 2010): 625-61.
  • Laurent Martin. Du SER au DEP, ou la constitution d’une socio-économie de la culture et d’une prospective culturelle au service de l’action (1959-1993). Revue historique, 2012/3 (n° 663), 683-704.
  • Foulon, Charles-Louis. Des beaux-arts aux Affaires culturelles (1959-69), Vingtième siècle, 1990.
  • Philippe Poirrier, Histoire des politiques culturelles de la France contemporaine.
  • Philippe Urfalino. L’invention de la politique culturelle. Paris : La Documentation française, 1996.

10-11 May 1968: The ‘night of the barricades’. Youth’s challenge to authority

Core reading

  • Michael Sibalis, ‘The spirit of May '68 and the origins of the gay liberation movement in France,’ in L J Frazier and D Cohen (eds.), Gender and sexuality in 1968, 2009. [Chapter 10]
  • Michael Seidman, The imaginary Revolution: Parisian students and workers in 1968
  • Julian Jackson, Anna-Louise Milne, and James S. Williams (eds.). May 68 : Rethinking France's last revolution

Further reading

  • Kristin Ross. May ’68 and its afterlives. 2002.
  • Drott, Eric. Music and the elusive revolution : cultural politics and political culture in France, 1968-1981. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.
  • Ludivine Bantigny. ‘Que jeunesse se passe ?’, Vingtième Siècle. Revue d'histoire 2/2008 (n° 98), p. 7-18.
  • Bantigny, Ludivine. Le Plus Bel Âge ? Jeunes et jeunesse en France de l’aube des Trente Glorieuses à la guerre d’Algérie. Paris : Fayard, 2007.

17 January 1975: Law legalizing abortion. Women’s rights and opportunities in contemporary France

Core reading

  • Scott, Joan. Parité! : sexual equality and the crisis of French universalism. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Further reading

  • Dorothy Kaufmann-McCall, ‘Politics of difference: the women’s movement in France from May 68 to Mitterrand’, Signs, 9 (2 1983), 282-293
  • Joan Scott, ‘“La Querelle des femmes” in the late twentieth century’, New Left Review 226 (nov-dec 1997), 3-19
  • Cahen and Capuano, La poursuite de la répression anti-avortement après Vichy, Vingtième siècle, jui-sep2011, Issue 111, p119-131
  • Rochefort, Florence (ed.). Le pouvoir du genre : laïcités et religions, 1905-2005. Toulouse : Presses universitaires du Mirail, 2007.

10 May 1981: François Mitterrand elected president. The socialist promise

Core reading

  • Smith, Thimothy. France in crisis : welfare, inequality, and globalization since 1980 [Chapter 5: ‘Persisting inequalities’ and chapter 7: ‘The excluded people: immigrants, youth, women’]

Further reading

  • Sian Reynolds, ‘The French ministry of Women’s Rights, 1981-1986: modernization or marginalization?’, in John Gaffney, France and modernization, 1988, p. 149-168.
  • Custos, Dominique. ‘Secularism in French Public Schools: Back to War? The French Statute of March 15, 2004’, The American Journal of Comparative Law, 54 2 (Apr 2006): 337-399.
  • Jocelyne Césari, ‘Islam in a secular context : catalyst of the « French exception »’, in Religious differences in France : past and present / edited by Kathleen Perry Long. Kirksville, Mo. : Truman State University Press, 2006.
  • Las, Nelly. Secularism, feminism, and anti-Semitism: the Islamic veil in France. 2010
  • Scott, Joan. The politics of the veil. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.
  • Bowen, John. Why the French don’t like headscarves: Islam, the state, and public space. 2007.
  • Winter, Bronwyn. Hijab and the republic: Uncovering the French headscarf debate. 2008.
  • Silverman, Maxim. Deconstructing the Nation: Immigration, Racism and Citizenship in Modern France. London: Routledge, 1992.
  • Jackson, Julian. Living in Arcadia : homosexuality, politics, and morality in France from the liberation to AIDS. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2009. (Stanford ebook)
  • Looseley, David. Popular Music in Contemporary France: Authenticity, Politics, Debate. Oxford: Berg Publishers, 2003.
  • Becker, Jean-Jacques et Gilles Candar (ed.). Histoire des Gauches en France. Paris: La Découverte, 2004, 2 vol.