Module Catalogue 2020/21

FRE2009 : Paris: Aspects of History and Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Kathryn Robson
  • Lecturer: Professor Guy Austin, Dr Hugh Dauncey, 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 contains three weeks of introductory lectures plus a seminar and then covers four topics which may include, for example: Modernisation and Alienation, Marginality, Flanerie, 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 in French and the seminars in English.
The module will be thematically organised into an introductory overview block followed by four sections comprising four lectures and two seminars each. 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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture231:0023:00Includes two essay planning workshops (one per semester) and a module round-up session.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading1164:00164:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Includes a feedback session.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00Surgery hours
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 will provide the essential historical background to Paris and introduce students to theoretical ideas associated with urban experience, planning and modernization. Students will also be given demonstrations in the application of this historical and theoretical knowledge to the study of specific periods, events and texts. In seminars, students will apply historical and theoretical information to the close analysis of texts from a variety of different media (historical, literary, filmic, visual).
The essay planning workshops are designed to counsel students on how to research material, analyse sources critically, and plan, structure and present their arguments. The feedback session (in semester 2) intends to give students additional insight into their semester 1 performance to enable them to prepare for the semester 2 assessment.
The surgery hours are designed for students to seek feedback on practice essays/advice on essay-writing/get clarification on questions raised either by classes or independent study.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A50Essay written in English of 2000 words
Essay2A50Essay written in French of 2000 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MFormative feedback on the essay will be provided to students individually by the Lecturer. (in week 4). Practice essay (optional).
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will assess students’ ability to apply knowledge about the historical context of a period of Parisian history, as well as theories of urban experience, to the detailed analysis of a selection of materials studied centred around the representation of Paris. Essays should show evidence of personal research and reading and either draw upon evidence from more than one unit or from supplementary materials.

Essays should show evidence of personal research and reading and should either draw on supplementary materials beyond those studied in seminars or be comparative, linking or contrasting materials from the introduction more than one of the four units plus introduction within the module.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 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 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.