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Study information

The Making of Modern France

Module titleThe Making of Modern France
Module codeMLF1017
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Adam Horsley (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Module description

This team-taught module offers a wide-ranging social and political history of the French state from the medieval period onwards. Weekly lectures will focus on famous figures and events in French history – from Joan of Arc and Louis XIV to the French Revolution and the German Occupation – whilst in seminars you will use a variety of sources from literary and visual culture in order to explore these themes further. This module is also open to students studying degrees outside of French, and will therefore be taught in English.  

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module will provide you with a firm foundational knowledge of French history. You will be able to draw from this in a variety of period-specific French modules offered later in your degree, some of which are convened by lecturers who will teach you on this module. It will also introduce you to a variety of media through which French cultural history can be analysed, from literary texts to paintings and sculptures.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate a sound understanding of some of the major events and key players of French history
  • 2. Analyse with confidence a variety of sources to show an understanding of their socio-political contexts, cultural contexts, and formal qualities

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. With some guidance, evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered
  • 4. Mount a cogent argument in the appropriate register of English, using quotations from both primary and secondary sources
  • 5. Access and use critically printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the module convenor

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Present a cogent and sustained argument orally/in writing, in English, on a topic chosen from a range of options provided, following broad guidelines but selecting and adapting them as required
  • 7. Using course material provided, research, plan and write an essay on a chosen aspect of the subject, to a specified length and deadline
  • 8. Bring to bear a variety of historical sources and art forms with confidence when constructing an argument

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • An introductory lecture
  • One lecture per historical topic (event, period, or figure)
  • Divided into historical periods: two lectures and one seminar per period..
  • Seminars to cover analysis of topics using a range of contemporary sources, from art history and visual culture through to literary analysis.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1010 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching55 x 1 hour seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching11 x 1 hour conclusion
Guided Independent Study134Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Mini essay / image commentary 500 words1-8Written and oral

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay: image or text 1002000 words1-8Written feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay: image or text 1-8Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following is intended as an indicative guide only:

  • Colin Jones, Cambridge Illustrated History of France (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)
  • Joseph Bergin, A History of France (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
  • Pierre Goubert, The Course of French History (London: Routledge, 1991)  

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

History, art, visual culture, literature, politics 

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date