Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Modern Language and Cultures (French)


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap 35 Location Durham


  • French Language 2 (FREN2051) OR an equivalent qualification to the satisfaction of the Chairman/Chairwoman of the Board of Studies in MLAC or his/her representative.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The proposed changes shift the focus of ‘Modernity and the City’ primarily to the post-war period. The module will explore the representation of modernity and the urban world in post-war France, and the socio-cultural changes associated with it, in literary and visual culture. In doing so, it will build on themes introduced on the Level 2 course, ‘Politics and Culture of Contemporary France’.


  • The module will explore how the rapid social and cultural changes affecting post-war France, defined in particular by the twin narratives of modernisation and decolonisation, have been articulated in the literary and visual culture of the period. It will consider how issues such as urban development and change, immigration, and the emergence of a consumer society have been represented in photography, text and film across the period, from the aftermath of the Liberation to the present day.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students should have furthered their understanding of the complex changes affecting post-war France, and the ways in which those changes find expression in cultural form from the immediate post-war period to the present.
  • More generally, they should have developed their understanding of the relationship between cultural production and its social, historical and political contexts.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students should have acquired enhanced skills of critical analysis in relation to literary texts and visual culture, by drawing on and developing skills and knowledge acquired earlier in their course.
Key Skills:
  • Assessent (two summative essays) will evaluate students’ ability to assimilate, understand and analyze critically the primary and secondary material associated with the topic, as well as their ability to present a sustained argument with suitable evidence, expressing themselves fluently and accurately in English, and paying due attention to the relevant conventions of academic writing.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module will be taught in English through lectures and seminars.
  • Lectures will provide introduction to, and discussion of, theoretical and historical material.
  • They will also prepare for seminars by introducing and setting in context the texts and films prescribed for special study.
  • Seminars will be devoted to discussion of these texts, with students encouraged to identify and explore how they reflect and respond to the broad historical shifts outlined in lectures.
  • Assessment will also be in English.
  • The two assessed essays will provide students with the opportunity to undertake independent research, by analysing a text or film of their choice (approved by the module co-ordinator) in the light of the critical and theoretical knowledge they have acquired.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 Per Week 1 Hour 21
Seminars 10 Fortnighly 1 Hour 10
Preparation and Reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 2,000 words 100% No
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 3,000 words 100% No

Formative Assessment:


Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University