Your language studies will be consolidated and developed to prepare you for the year abroad. You will study a choice of modules aimed at developing your knowledge in some or all of the fields mentioned in the course description above.
You have to successfully pass year 2 and it is weighted at 33% of your final degree classification.
Art and Contemporary Visual Culture in France
The course explores contemporary art and media production in France and beyond, looking at how recent French art and ideas feature in and contribute to a cultural world-system. We will be looking at pioneering artworks from the late 20th century and the 21st century, examining work in film, visual art of many genres, photography, music and also media technology.
Beginning with key foundational artists from the 1960s and 1970s, we move on to consider works across artistic media, mostly from the 21st century, and this will form the principal course content. We will be looking at the work of individual artists in detail, both for the value of the work, but also to explore how contemporary cultural production reflects and reacts to the world in which it is made. Visual art is particularly useful in this context as it necessarily contains a reflective element, and this is often critical of existing situations. We will also incorporate key readings by theorists who have reflected on the themes, media, technology and politics of both art and culture in the broader sense.
Enlightenment Literature: An Introduction
This module is an introduction to the study of eighteenth-century French literature, through a variety of texts chosen to offer an accessible approach to the period’s main literary genres and movements of thought. Alongside an investigation of how literature developed during this era, you will consider key questions that thinkers and writers grappled with:
- What is like to fall in love?
- What is happiness and how do we find it?
- How important is personal freedom?
- Are people naturally good?
- How do we live well with others?
- How do we learn about the world and make sense of our experiences?
French Cinema: The New Wave
The module is designed to introduce you to a particular period of French cinema by offering a detailed study of the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, focusing in particular on the films of Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Chabrol.
As the module will show, New Wave film-makers often employed a variety of new and challenging formal techniques in order to make films that reflected an emergent, modern, iconoclastic sensibility in post-war France. For these reasons, the module combines a contextual approach with introductory teaching in film analysis.
Huit Tableaux: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)
Huit Tableaux examines the course of French history from the Consulate (1799) to the Paris Commune (1871). On this module you will trace how a succession of regimes struggled and ultimately failed to move on from the preoccupations of the Revolution.
Eight more or less well-known works of art (principally painting but also sculpture) are used as a platform for exploring the period, focusing on the way in which these works tackle issues of national identity, religion and political culture.
Among the Huit tableaux dealt with are David's Sacre de Napoléon, Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple, and Meissonier's Le Siège de Paris.
Literature and Politics in Modern France
This module looks at various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. Through the study of key authors of what is often referred to as ‘committed’ literature the module will analyse how the tension between literature and politics has shaped these texts. Through an analysis of this committed literature the module will trace the emergence of the ‘intellectual’ as an important figure in modern French culture and society.
On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France
This module offers students an opportunity to explore actual cultural, economic and social differences within modern France through its representations in contemporary filmmaking. Beyond narrative themes, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers engage the formal resources of cinema, both fiction and documentary, to capture the specificities of diverse spaces and places and to invite reflection on larger questions of identity and community, nation and citizenship, mobility and belonging.
Sociolinguistics: An Introduction
This module provides you with an introduction to the rich field of study known as sociolinguistics, which investigates the relationship between language and society through an exploration of the social contexts of language use.
Particular areas of focus in any one year of the module could include:
- intercultural communication
- politeness and face
- linguistic determinism
- power and solidarity
- language choice
- speech act theory
- the ethnography of communication
- language and gender
- approaches to the study of discourse/talk
Contemporary Francophone Cinema and Social Issues
This module engages in a detailed analysis of four recent Francophone films that deal with contemporary social issues and institutions: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant (2005); Jacques Audiard, Un prophète (2009); Thomas Lilti, Hippocrate (2014); Stéphane Brizé, La loi du marché (2015). It focuses on the way in which the films present characters in a social context. The module looks at the ways in which these characters are subject to economic forces, interact with institutions, and function as members of social groups. The films are analysed from a formal perspective, considering the ways in which they all draw on the resources of cinematic realism in order to provide a representation of contemporary life that is both compelling and challenging for viewers.
English Literature in Modern Languages contexts
This is a comparative literature module that considers key authors and works of English literature in European and American contexts, and with a particular emphasis on the language studied for which it will count as 10 credits non-subsid. module.
The module integrates the study of canonical British/Irish literature with an international resonance – such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Othello or The Tempest, British Romantic poetry, or selected novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte – into the analysis of its international reception across the Americas and Europe.
At the same time it also explores international literary responses to these canonical English works from the eighteenth century to the present, including postcolonial authors ‘writing back’, along with transnational writing in English by authors such as James Joyce, Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov.
Discussing English literature from international perspectives and using current comparative methodology, it covers North American literature and literature in the European languages (French, German, Russian and others) that is available in English translation.
European Silent Cinema
This module will examine the development of cinema during the silent era, from its invention in the 1890s through to the early 1930s, in France, Germany and the Russian Empire/Soviet Union. Because silent cinema was easy to translate and export from one country to another, it was highly transnational, and the module will enable you to see how filmmakers in different countries entered into dialogue with one another. You will be able to compare and contrast the themes and preoccupations of films produced in these countries, and consider how these reflected distinct political and cultural agendas.
The first part of the module will introduce students to the history of early film, primarily as it developed in France, looking at short actualité films produced by the Lumière brothers and others. It will consider the practices of display of ‘silent’ film (looking especially at how it was accompanied by music, speech and sound effects), and look at its appeal to popular audiences as well as its broader critical reception. We will then go on to consider a range of films made during the silent era, which represent two main tendencies:
- a tendency towards realism and the examination of everyday life
- a tendency towards fantasy and the creation of spectacular new realitie
You will be introduced to the fundamentals of film language and will be encouraged to engage in close analysis of short extracts from the films.
Films will include (but will not be limited to):
- Georges Méliès, Voyage to the Moon (1902)
- Louis Feuillade, Fantômas serial (1913)
- Paul Wegener, The Golem (1920)
Nineteenth Century French Narrative
This module provides an introduction to short narrative in the nineteenth century. It invites students to consider how texts combine literary craftsmanship with an effort to represent, understand and engage with the political, cultural and physical world beyond the page. The module takes in a range of different short narrative genres and themes: the crowd-written character sketches Les Francais peints par eux-memes (1840-1842); nostalgic and impressionistics stories from Emile Zola's Contes à Ninon (1864); lyrical, colonialist depictions of the Orient by Maupassant (1880s); and fin-de-siécle decadent writing by Rachilde (1900). Through these texts, you will also be introduced to a range of reading techniques and critical theory relating to each of these textual forms, whilst exploring the ever-changing landscape of a nation shaken by ongoing revolution and social change.
Introduction to Modern French Poetry
This module provides an introduction to three major figures in modern French poetry (Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Apollinaire), and to the major formal developments in poetry in the period 1850-1914, including the prose poem and free verse. Students will learn to analyse, interpret and write commentaries on poetry, and individual poems will be considered in relation to broad themes such as the representations of self, and notions of modernism.
Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction
Focusing on texts ranging from the novels of Jules Verne through to Élisabeth Vonarburg, this module will engage with key themes in French science fiction writing. Whether it deals with the discoveries of new worlds or the confrontation with new technologies, science fiction as a genre expresses the anxieties and hopes specific to the contemporary era. Science fiction is political in that it deals with questions of power, ecology and science. It is also philosophical, since it calls into question boundaries between cultures, times, genres and species. Drawing on these political and philosophical dimensions, the module will look in particular at how science fiction explores the ways in which identity is constructed and reconfigured by material and technological forces.