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FR255 - The Crowd in French Politics & Imagination

  • Module code: FR255
  • Module name: The Crowd in French Politics & Imagination
  • Department: French Studies
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

There is a good reason why the demonstration has become one of the French national stereotypes, for the people in the street have often played a pivotal role in French history. This module explores the importance of the crowd as a political force and symbol, focusing on the period that the crowd psychologist Gustave Le Bon heralded in 1895 as l’ère des foules. When he was writing, representations of nineteenth-century crowds in parades and festivals, riots or demonstrations were still frequently influenced by the conflicting legacies of French Revolution, yet the same crowds also held the potential to shape a new political world, inspiring contemporary theories of regenerative violence.

Principal learning outcomes

This course addresses the real and imagined history of the crowd, offering the chance to study the development of mass politics and mass parties, and also to analyse representations of the crowd in literature and film.

Timetabled teaching activities

One lecture and one seminar per week.

Departmental link

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: FR255-15)
A (Assessed work only) 4000-4500 word essay 100%
C (Assessed/examined work) 2000-2500 word essay 50%
  1 hour examination 50%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Italian and European Literature (RQ32) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate History of Art and French (V3R1) - Year 2