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Course Description
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History 431: French Society and Politics
The American Business School in Paris
Paris, France

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
History, Political Science, Sociology, Cultural Studies 400 English 3 45 None

The course explores the political and social dynamics of the French Republic.  It is a comparative course which examines the political history of France since the Revolution of 1793, using an American "lens" to try to understand opposing political forces and key institutions through various periods of the country's history.  Special attention is give to the Revolution, Commune of 1871, the Dreyfus Case, World War I, the German occupation, the Algerian war, the upsurge of '68, the Gaullist periods, the rise of the National Front as a political force, and the most recent presidential election.  The emphasis, however, will be on contemporary France.  What are the dominant political moods and trends in France in 2010 and where do we see this dynamic country headed?

The course consists of class lectures, individual/group presentations on various assignments, and class discussions.  Will be covered in class:

- Introduction: Heritage of the French and American Revolutions; Napoleonic heritage
- Industrialization of France in the 19th century
- Third Republic and World War I
- World War II; Defeat, occupation, resistance, liberation
- Gaullism; Algerian war
- the politics of Mitterand and Giscard d'Estaing
- France as a multicultural nation; riots in the suburbs
- Contemporary French welfare state
- Election and politics of Nicolas Sarkozy

  • The History of France by Jeremy Popkin
  • France in Crisis: Welfare, Inequality and Globalization since 1980 by Timothy Smith
  • The Plague by Albert Camus
EVALUATION: The final grade will be made up of classroom work (15%), a mid-term exam (25%), four short papers (40%), and a final project/paper (20%).

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