Module Catalogue 2023/24

FRE2009 : Paris: Aspects of History and Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kathryn Robson
  • Lecturer: Dr Gillian Jein
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



-To provide students with a broad knowledge of the history of Paris and its role in French national identity through the study of a variety of cultural texts representing the city.
- To introduce students to the detailed study of a variety of cultural texts representing Paris.
- To introduce students to theoretical ideas associated with notions of social geography, cultural memory and urban topography

Outline Of Syllabus

This module covers four topics which may include, for example: Modernisation, Marginality, Revolution, Visions of the City, Politics of the Town Hall and Language. Two topics will be covered in Semester 1 and two in Semester 2; there are also two essay-writing seminars and a feedback session, as well as a concluding overview session.

The lectures for this course will be taught mostly in French and the seminars in English.

The module will be thematically organised into an introductory overview followed by four
sections. In lectures, students will be given historical background and introduced to theoretical work which they will be encouraged to apply to the study of texts from a variety of different media. The module will be assessed by two essays, one to be written in English and one in French.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

- knowledge of the social history and geography of Paris
- sense of the cultural importance of Paris to French national identity
- familiarity with a range of texts from various media representing the city of Paris
- understanding of theoretical ideas associated with notions of social geography, cultural memory and urban topography
- knowledge of politics of local government in the capital city

Intended Skill Outcomes

- ability to apply contextual knowledge about the historical situation of Paris to the study of cultural texts
- ability to apply theoretical notions about the experience of urban space to the study of texts
- improved ability for individual research and project organisation
- improved communication skills in French
- ability to apply contextual knowledge about local government institutions of Paris to other political situations

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials160:308:00Recorded lecture videos each teaching week for students to listen to and respond to before each PIP
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities201:3030:00Key reading tasks with questions to prepare each week.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching201:0020:0020 hours of PIP seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:004 hours of drop in surgery offered both PIP and on Zoom
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study851:0085:00Free reading on topic with peers. Student-led discussion. Other independent research and study
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study221:0022:00Guided independent study themed to the week’s lecture and seminar topic.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk11:001:00Introductory recorded module talk (40 mins).
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
FRE2109Paris: Aspects of History and Culture - Part 1
FRE2209Paris: Aspects of History and Culture - Part 2
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures (in the form of video recordings) will provide the essential historical context and introduce students to theoretical ideas around urban experience, marginality, modernisation, and Paris-based social and cultural movements amongst others. Lecture materials will also model the application of this historical and
theoretical knowledge to the study of specific periods, events and texts. Students will be expected to work through the lecture materials and accompanying directed reading/viewing which will be clearly signposted on Canvas.
Evaluation from last year showed that a majority of students appreciated the online elements as part of the module contact hours and the blended learning mode of teaching showed to be very effective as it allowed students time to reflect in their own time.

In seminars, students will analyse a range of materials (including, potentially, art, photography, film, poetry, essays, maps/plans) in detail, working through the issues raised by the lectures with support and added
clarifications or examples where needed. Students will be expected to carry out guided independent reading and to prepare questions – of a simple but also more extensive nature – in advance of seminars.

The module talk will provide an introduction to and benchmark of the module and its teaching methods (that students can refer back to) and the Q&A will facilitate debate around the key topics and issues in the module.

The drop in sessions will be mainly to go through assessment queries in person.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502000 word essay in English
Essay2M502000 word essay in French
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MAn essay plan in English of 1000 words (optional)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The summative essay assesses students’ ability to apply knowledge about a period of Parisian history, as well as
theories of urban experience and cultural histories, in order to carry out detailed analysis of a selection of materials representing Paris (these vary depending on the topic chosen). The first summative essay is written in English and the second in French, but the formative essay plan in semester 1 is written in English, so that students can practise essay-writing skill and receive feedback before going on to write the first essay in English in semester 1, and then get feedback on that ready to progress to writing in French in semester 2. They will also be given guidance on writing in French in semester 2 and essay writing classes in semester 1, too.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.