Lesson 1: What Is France? Who Are the French?
After completing this lesson, you should be able to accomplish the following:
- Define “civilization” and “nation.”
- Explain French exceptionalism.
- Describe the relationship between the French language and French national identity.
- Explain the character of the state in France.
- Explain the anxieties and conflicts expressed by French people over their participation in the European Union.
Contemporary French Cultural Studies
- pages 111–125, "French Political Culture: Homogeneous or Fragmented?" by Brian Jenkins
- pages 129– 139, "If It Isn't Clear, It Isn't French: Language and Identity" by James Munro
- Define "French exceptionalism."
- Why did the French vote against the European Union in 2005?
- Describe the "French State" as discussed in this lesson commentary.
Preparing for the Progress Evaluation
When you can accomplish the learning objectives for this lesson, you should begin work on your essay. You may use any assigned readings, notes, and other course-related materials to complete this assignment.
This essay has three goals: (1) to encourage you to explore independently an aspect of French culture, society, or civilization that interests you; (2) to require you to read, summarize, and think critically about an article; and (3) to require you to think critically about French national identity (and exceptionalism) within the scheme of globalization, or the "new Europe." Later assignments will return to these concepts and also require that you engage critically with the readings and hone your analytical skills. To prepare, do the following:
- Go to EurActiv.com. From the left-hand menu, choose a topic area that interests you (for example, "climate change," "languages and culture," or "sports").
- Type "France" in the search window. Choose at least two articles that result from the search. Read the first article, and then summarize it in one paragraph.
- Discuss the information reported in the article in terms of what you've learned about French involvement in the European Union. Somewhere in the second paragraph, define your understanding of French identity.
- Define your understanding of the European Union.
- As you write your review of the article, address the following questions:
- Does the event/policy reported upon suggest French enthusiasm or skepticism about the new Europe?
- Does it seem to suggest the French public's desire for integration into the EU, or rather a tendency towards separation?
- Finally, do any of the events or policies in question suggest that the French are attempting to maintain their "exceptionalism," all the while becoming part of the new Europe?
- Once you have summarized the first article and responded to the issues listed above, follow the same process for the second article you selected. Be sure to quote specific passages from the articles to illustrate your ideas. The two reviews together should total two to three pages in length.
1 essay, 125 points
- Write a two- to three-page essay, double-spaced, on the topic of France and the European Union, following the guidelines above.
Your essay should include all the elements discussed in preparing for the progress evaluation. You will need to demonstrate a knowledge of French national identity and, especially, of French exceptionalism. You must be able to define the European Union. Successful papers will describe or quote sections of the articles and then analyze how the material offers an example of French exceptionalism, separatism, or integration. Organization of the paper is also important: you should structure the essay around your ideas. The best papers will state up front a single argument or thesis and stick to supporting that thesis throughout the paper. Use the MLA style for citing sources.
You are about to turn in your first written assignment for this course. Make sure you can answer "yes" to the following questions before you upload your work:
- Is the work my own? Learning is up to you, and the MU community takes academic integrity seriously.
- Did I credit words or ideas to the people who published or shared them on the Web? Plagiarism is using someone else's words or ideas without crediting or "citing" their work. Students who plagiarize will be penalized depending on their instructor and the situation. Don't be afraid to use sources when you write, just make sure you "give credit where credit is due."
Need help figuring out when you should cite other people's words or ideas? Read about "Avoiding Plagiarism"
from Purdue University or contact Mizzou Online
with questions for your instructor.
Uploads to prepare: 1 (.doc or .rtf format)