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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FREN1020 Introduction to French Studies (Resistance and Desire)

20 creditsClass Size: 168

Module manager: Dr Andy Stafford

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

A level French or equivalent at the discretion of the Module Convenor

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module, taught primarily in English and through a combination of weekly lectures and fortnightly seminars, uses the guiding themes of resistance and desire to introduce you to the study of the culture, history and society of France from the French Revolution in the eighteenth century to the present day. Topics and texts studied will include: the 1789 Revolution, with its principles of liberté, égalité, fraternité; the complex relationships between France and its former colonies via a short story by French Guadeloupean writer Gisèle Pineau, 'Paroles de terre en larmes'; contemporary French cinema, which we look at through Claire Denis’s critically acclaimed Beau Travail (1999); the acclaimed bande dessinée of 2000, Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi about a young Iranian exile in France; and Emile Zola’s short novel Thérèse Raquin, a story of deadly desire, crime and 19th-century city life. We also offer 'skills workshops' designed to help you analyse French culture and prepare you for the assessments. The module is designed to give a general introduction to the range of French Studies available at Leeds via the research interests of teaching staff.


On completion of this module, students will be able to:

- demonstrate a broader understanding of the development of French history and culture from the fifteenth century to the present, with particular reference to those periods studied in more detail;
- analyse a literary or filmic text coherently and with due attention to questions of context and form, both orally and in writiing;
- discuss aspects of French history and culture clearly and coherently in written form, showing awareness of the relationships between the two.

Learning outcomes
- knowledge of some key aspects of French history from C15th to the present
- knowledge of some key developments in French culture from C15th to the present
- in-depth knowledge of a number of French cultural texts
- in-depth knowledge of a number of key historical documents.

Skills outcomes
- Language skills in French (reading, writing, listening & speaking)
- Analysis of complex French texts.


The module adopts a theme-based approach, in the first instance using the potent and multi-faceted concepts of 'resistance' and 'desire' to make connections between different periods and between themes that weave through French culture. Other themes may be used to connect texts in the future.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

- Completion of self-study package
- Preparation for classes
- Background reading
- Preparation for assessment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress is monitored by
a) participation in seminars;
b) two practice essays, one in each semester and
c) the monitoring of the Independent Study Component at the end of semester 1.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or DissertationEssay 1: 1500 words in English20.00
Essay or DissertationCommentary: 1500 words in French20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)40.00

A choice of 3 essay/commentary questions for each semester, all made available in week 1. Written plan will be submitted to seminar tutor for feedback prior to essay completion. Submission date depends on the week in which student’s seminar takes place.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins60.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)60.00

Unseen exam consists of 10 questions (2 for each of the 5 units studied during the year), 2 (from 2 different units) of which must be answered in French or in English.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 04/10/2018


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