BA French and Japanese / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course unit details:
Media, Performance, and Digital Cultures in Contemporary France

Course unit fact file
Unit code FREN21212
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by French Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit examines how contemporary French artists, playwrights and authors have experimented with various media (radio, tape recorders, films, the Internet and YouTube) and platforms (festivals, museums, conferences, happenings), to invent new and sometimes destabilizing and daring art forms, art objects and creative practices. For instance, we will study how texts incorporate filmic or pictorial fragments. We will see how digital platforms invite artists and authors to reconsider the nature of writing. More importantly, we will ask ourselves how we respond to new forms of artistic expressions. Introductory lectures and seminars will examine key concepts such as ‘media’, ‘digital practice’, ‘artistic consumption’ and ‘performance’.  In the course of the semester, we will watch and analyze short video clips, theatrical performances and digital art.


  • to familiarise students with key developments in French culture from a formal, social and political perspective.
  • to introduce students to the study of Media in order to enable the analysis of literary, visual and audio-visual artwork from modernity to the present day.
  • to provide an overview of the different issues of cultural representation;
  • to encourage and enable students to verbalise and intellectualise their emotional response to a wide range of practices.

Teaching and learning methods

The majority of lectures for this course unit will be delivered online.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some of the major aspects of  Contemporary related to media
  • Understanding digital culture in France today
  • Understanding the differences between genres and medias

Intellectual skills

  • Contextualise, analyze and discuss literary, visual and audio-visual material in a structured fashion
  •  apply critically terminology and conceptual frameworks derived from media studies.

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate the ability to carry out individual research for coursework essays, and express ideas and arguments coherently and convincingly in time-limited constraints
  • using an appropriate level of academic writing and exemplification.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate powers of analysis;
  • manage word-count effectively when writing coursework;
  •  manage time effectively when writing in exam conditions; participate in seminars;
  • work as part of a group;
  • assess the relevance of existing literature through independent research;
  • seek advice and feedback and develop confidence.

Employability skills

- Time management - Responding to instructions - Independent research; initiative - Intercultural awareness - Coherent expression (orally and in writing)

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 60%
Written assignment (inc essay) 40%

Feedback methods

Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Individual written feedback on formative tasks


Individual written feedback on ACW and exam


Recommended reading

A selection of short texts, videos, digital art pieces


Lionel Ruffel and Olivia Rosenthal (eds), La littérature exposée. Les écritures contemporaines hors du livre, in Littérature, 2010, 4 (160).

Magali Nachtergael, Poet Against the Machine : une Histoire technopolitique de la littérature (Marseille : Le mot et le reste, 2020)

Poésie et médias : xx-xxie siècle, eds Nadja Cohen, Anne Reverseau, Céline Pardo, (Paris : Culture/Médias, 2012)


Secondary Readings:


Debray, Régis, Cours de médiologie générale (Paris : Gallimard, 1991).

Grafton, Anthony La Page de l’Antiquité à l’ère Numérique (Paris : Hazan, 2015).

Jean-Jacques Lebel, Poésie directe des Happenings à Polyphonix. Entretiens avec Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux et quelques documents (Paris Opus International, 1994)

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding the New Media (London, MIT Press, 2000)


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jeff Barda Unit coordinator

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