Republicanism and France

Institut Catholique de Paris

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Republicanism and France

  • Host University

    Institut Catholique de Paris

  • Location

    Paris, France

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The French Revolution followed on the American Revolution in the tradition of the Enlightenment but
    France is a very different society today to that of the United States. The legacy of the French Revolution of
    1789 can be seen in the prime place given to the Republic and Republican values that have impermeated
    French politics and society for more than two centuries but today France is faced with a number of
    contradictions that challenge many of its founding myths.
    The course will present past history and present society by tracing the place of the core values and beliefs
    in the creation of the French nation-state and the idea of French exceptionalism. This will involve looking at
    the central role of the state in society, the system of education, the economic model and social policies. The
    issue of gender, particularly women's rights, will be considered within a historical perspective as will French
    colonialism and the consequent issue of immigration. France's relations with external actors - the European
    Union and the United States – also warrant attention as it still sees itself as exceptional and a “great
    power”, celebrating the nation with a military parade every year on July 14, Bastille Day.

    The main objective of this course is to give students specific insight into the historical background and
    development of the concept of the French Republic and its continuing influence in France today. Students
    will acquire the knowledge and anaytical skills enabling them to better understand but also have a critical
    view of the peculiarities endogenous to French culture and society.

    Students have to complete the given assignments:
    • In-class comment on the week's topic based on the core readings.
    • 10-minute presentation in class on a topic of their choice within the scope of the course.
    • Term paper. The topics for this paper will be distributed in class.

    The final grade for the course will be based on student performance on the following tasks:
    A mid-term test (25%)
    A written term paper (25%)
    A presentation (25%)
    Attendance/Participation (25%)
    Students are required to be present for tests and to hand in their papers at the scheduled time. Late
    papers are penalized.
    Plagiarism : Academic integrity is required for this course. Any unacknowledged use of another’s ideas
    constitutes plagiarism, including the use of papers written by other students, interviews, radio or TV
    broadcasts, and any published or unpublished materials. The normal sanction for dishonesty will be failure
    for the assignment and possibly the course.

    ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance is essential and checked on a weekly basis. Only two unjustified
    absences will be accepted, and all ‘justified’ absences must be documented.


    The making of modern France:
    Political heritage: an overview of the French
    Revolution and subsequent regimes

    The French Republic and core Republican values :
    Liberty, Equality and Fraternity; Universalism; Laïcité

    The Republican State and the nation:
    The French state as the guardian of the Republic
    The central role of the state in society

    The Republican education system:
    Creating Republican citizens
    Equality and meritocracy

    French economic exceptionalism:
    Dirigisme versus liberalization
    France and globalization

    The Social Republic:
    The right to universal health care
    The French welfare model

    Gender and the French Republic:
    Women's fight for rights
    The situation of LGBTQ+ rights

    Mid-Term Test

    The French Empire:
    Colonization in the name of the Republic
    The agonies of decolonization

    Remnants of Empire:
    Overseas departments and territories
    The French language and the Francophonie

    Republicanism and Multiculturalism:
    Immigration and “assimilation”
    Race and Nation

    France in Europe:
    The antagonism between France and Germany
    France: Mastermind of the European ideal

    France and the USA:
    Brothers in revolutionary arms?
    Competing exceptionalisms

    Republican France today
    Defending the French Republic and exceptionalism

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.


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