BA French and German / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
French Cultural Studies

Unit code FREN10070
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by French Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


Running parallel with the compulsory year-1 unit FREN 10150 Identity in Modern France this course will introduce students to the analysis of various cultural objects (play, novella, poetry, film), while furthering their socio-historical knowledge of the four key periods studied as part of FREN10150: Ancien Régime, The Third French Republic, Occupation and post-war France and Post-colonial France. Through a combination of lectures, methodological sessions and seminars, students will acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to write commentaries and essays on plays, fictional prose, films and popular music. 


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Identity in Modern France FREN10150 Co-Requisite Compulsory

A-level French or equivalent


  • To develop a better understanding of French-speaking cultures across different periods 

  • To develop critical thinking, conceptual reasoning and analytical skills 

  • To develop the ability to read and analyse a range of cultural objects and media 

  • To develop the ability to place cultural objects in social, aesthetic and political context 

  • to inspire students to further explore the riches of French-speaking cultures 


Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will:  

  • Be able to analyse and differentiate between various types of literary and audio-visual media; 

  • Have further developed language competence through reading and viewing a range of cultural objects in French 

  • Have furthered their socio-historical knowledge of French culture from the Ancien Régime to the present day 

  • Have developed their powers of interpretation, argumentation and of oral and written self-expression in English 


Teaching and learning methods

Some of the lectures for this unit will be delivered online.

Knowledge and understanding

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  •  demonstrate knowledge and understanding of French cultural objects and key aesthetic movements within which these are inscribed 

  • write commentaries and essays discussing and analysing French cultural production 

  • place cultural objects in their socio-historical context 

Intellectual skills

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • Analyse and differentiate between various types of literary and audio-visual media; 

  • Write commentaries and essays discussing and analysing a range of cultural objects from various periods 


Practical skills

By the end of this course students will be able to: 

  • Use the library, electronic and online resources. 

  • Demonstrate their ability to respond to instructions and work to deadlines; 

  • Demonstrate understanding of French written and recorded spoken language 


Transferable skills and personal qualities

On successful completion of course units in French Studies, students will have developed their ability to: 

  • manage time, and work to deadlines; 

  • use information and communication technology (ICT); 

  • participate constructively in group/team work and group discussions; 

  • assess the relevance and importance of the ideas of others; 

  • demonstrate powers of analysis; 

  • display good literacy skills in English and French; 

  • show an awareness of and a responsiveness to the nature and extent of intercultural diversity. 

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students taking this unit will be able to analyse and evaluate both existing literature on the material studied and the primary set materials themselves. Above all, committed students will emerge from this course unit with a capacity to think critically, i.e. knowledgeably, rigorously, confidently and independently.
On this unit students are encouraged to respond imaginatively and independently to the questions and ideas raised by existing literature on the topic and the primary materials studied.
Project management
Students taking this unit will be able to work towards deadlines and to manage their time effectively.
Students on this unit will be required to digest, summarise and present large amounts of information. They are encouraged to enrich their responses and arguments with a wide range of further reading.
Written communication
Students on this unit will develop their ability to write in a way that is lucid, precise and compelling.

Assessment methods

Practice Commentary on a Seen Exerpt - Formative

Written Examination - 50%

Essay Plan and Bibliography - Formative 

Coursework Essay - 50%

Feedback methods

Feedback method  

Formative or Summative 

  • Written and oral feedback on the practice commentary in week 12 of Semester 1 


  • Written and oral feedback on the exam performance 


  • Written and oral feedback on essay plan and bibliography in Week 11 of Semester 2 


  • Written feedback on the essay 



Recommended reading

Set Texts¿: 

Molière, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme (1670) – any edition 

Maupassant, Boule-de-suif (1880) (a copy of the text will be provided) 

Suggested further readings: 

Austin, Guy, Contemporary French Cinema: An Introduction, Manchester University Press, Second edition 2008 

Farrant, Tim, An Introduction to 19th-Century French Literature, Bristol Classical Press, 2007 

Norman, Larry F.,¿The Public Mirror: Molière and the Social Commerce of Depiction, University of Chicago Press,¿1999 

Frances Smith, Bande de filles: Girlhood Identities in Contemporary France (London¿: Routledge, 2020) 


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 14
Seminars 17
Independent study hours
Independent study 169

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jeff Barda Unit coordinator
Joseph Mcgonagle Unit coordinator
Barbara Lebrun Unit coordinator
Jerome Brillaud Unit coordinator

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