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Reframing history: French popular revolt in the graphic novel

Module Code: FR363
Module Name: Reframing history: French popular revolt in the graphic novel

Module Coordinator: Dr Margaux Whiskin

Module tutors: Ariane Demeure, Kelly Mayjonade-Christy and Dr Agathe Zobenbuller

in-person module taught in French

1 hour lecture + 1 hour seminar per week

Module Credits: 15

Module Description

This module will introduce you to contemporary French graphic novels through a historical lens and will give you the tools to approach the genre critically. We will examine how this popular genre par excellence retells the story of popular revolts. Through the carefully crafted interplay between text and image, we will look at how these four graphic novels give voice and visibility to those whom society left in the margins.

We will explore the tension between reality and fiction in historical retellings, and the manifestation of this tension in the intertextual relations the graphic novels entertain with primary sources, both textual and visual. We will also examine the depiction of the people/the state as a collective and abstract entity and of the individuals who belong to it, and how encounters between the two are represented, in particular through violence.

Content alert: the primary sources for this module contain depictions of violence and sexual abuse.


  • 3000-3250 word comparative essay (can be written in either English or French) - 90% weighting
  • class participation - 10% weighting

Reading list

  • The award-winning Liberté (2019) by Florent Grouazel and Younn Locard on the first days of the French Revolution
  • Ceux qui n’étaient rien (2019) by Raphaël Meyssan on the 1871 Paris Commune
  • Mai 68 : La veille du grand soir (2018) by Patrick Rotman and Sébastien Vassant on the insurrection of May 68
  • Mon rond-point dans ta gueule (2021) by Sandrine Kerion on the gilets jaunes movement

book covers