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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FREN3620 Mémoires de guerre: France and the First World War

20 creditsClass Size: 24

Module manager: Dr Philippa Read

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

Pre-requisite qualifications

Successful completion of Level 2 French language or equivalent

This module is mutually exclusive with

FREN3621French Culture and the First World War

Module replaces

This is a 2 semester equivalent module to the 1 semester FREN3621 (which will be kept on the books to allow flexibility in years in which the module leader is on sabbatical leave).

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will introduce students, via the study of primary texts, to the evolving ways in which French men and women have represented and remembered the experiences of the First World War.


On completion of this module, students should:
(i) demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the social and cultural history of the First World War in France
(ii) be able to engage critically with primary and secondary sources
(iii) demonstrate an ability to carry out individual research in preparing essays and presentations
(iv) demonstrate increased confidence and ability in the handling of complex written French texts.

Learning outcomes
(i) Knowledge and understanding of the dominant critical and historiographical frameworks used to analyse primary WW1 texts
(ii) Improved French language skills
(iii) Improved research skills
(iv) Knowledge and understanding of the social and cultural history of the First World War in France

Skills outcomes
Improved French written and oral communication, and reading and listening skills


SEMESTER 1 1914-18
Weeks 1-2 Introduction to history of WW1
Weeks 3-4 Nationalist propaganda
Weeks 5-8 Henri Barbusse, Le Feu
Weeks 9-11 Les Femmes et la guerre

SEMESTER 2 Case-study: L'Hôpital Temporaire d’Arc-en-barrois
Weeks 16-17 Introduction to WW1 medical care, to primary source material and to assessment methods
Weeks 18-21 4-5 groups devise research questions and carry out research with consultations with Prof Fell
Weeks 22-23 Presentations of research: powerpoints to French audience via skype and submission of written reports

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Group learning41.004.00
Private study hours179.00
Total Contact hours21.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Private study: reading of both primary and secondary sources in preparation for seminars and assessments. Group meetings to arrange, research and carry out research on case-study in semester 2.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive tailored feedback on their oral presentations.
Students will have the opportunity to hand in a practice commentary in preparation for the examination.
Students will be able to bring plans for their reports and presentations to a consultation meeting with the module leader.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Group Project3000 words40.00
PresentationPowerpoint in French10.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 15 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

I have been given access to a whole set of primary sources on a temporary hospital in WW1 France by descendants of the women who ran it. These include: an album of photographs; official correspondence; boxes of letters between French patients/soldiers and nurses; correspondence of doctors re: treatment of soldiers. I therefore would like to use this primary material as the basis of small group research projects in Semester 2. The students will be asked to identify a research question based on the material, carry out independent research, and then (i) present it to French residents of the village where the hospital was located (via Skype or similar) and (ii) write a joint group report reflecting on their research methods and analysing their findings.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 13/09/2017


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