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HIS3364 : May 1968: All Power to the Imagination (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Matt Perry
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The events of May 1968 were a profound psychological shock to de Gaulle’s Presidency and the
Fifth Republic. A student rebellion at Paris’s prestigious Sorbonne University sparked a general strike
of roughly ten million workers. Scenes of factory and university occupations as well as mass
demonstrations and street-fighting suggested a profound political radicalisation of both the labour and
students’ movements and the events are widely seen as the catalyst of the French women’s
movement. This module will examine the events and the political, social and intellectual context
through the use of primary documents. This module will consider how the events pitted activists,
union and party leaders, the government, and the police against one another in complex and fast-changing ways. The module will analyse the rich variety of primary documents and representations
associated with May 1968.
The aims of this module are:
•To examine the social upheaval of the events of May 1968 in France in terms of political, social and
intellectual history.
•To identify a range of primary sources and contemporary literature.
•To examine and evaluate a range of historiographical perspectives.
•To provide an opportunity to acquire sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and
critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and develop the capacity for
independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

Intended as a guide only; week by week topics may be slightly different from the following:
Social origins: expansion of higher education and economic modernisation
Intellectual origins: Sartre and situationalism
French labour movement in 1960s
Student rebellion
General Strike
Workplace occupations
Revolutionaries and labour leaders
De Gaulle, CRS and the Government
Contradictory legacies of May 68

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion541:0054:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading581:0058:00reading lists structured by topic in the module materials/module guide
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching103:0030:00seminars combining discussion of primary documents and essential secondary reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery31:003:00drop-ins for the two assessments
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:00independent investigation is encouraged and used during in-class discussions regarding both primary sources and the secondary reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem-solving skills and adaptability.

Drop-ins allow students to engage in dialogue about historiography and sources in relation to their assessments.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14401A7524 hour take home exam. Essay based question. Students advised to spend no more than 2 hours in the 24 hour period on this exam.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M25Essay/documentary commentary of 1000 words plus or minus 10% (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1M750 word oral presentation in class on a document identified from the module document booklet.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the
module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and
criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, under pressure of time.

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. Submitted work
tests knowledge outcomes and develops skills in research, reading and writing.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. Where an exam is present, an alternative form of assessment will be set and where coursework is present, an alternative deadline will be set. Details of the alternative assessment will be provided by the module leader

Reading Lists