FR211-Introduction to the Francophone Literature of the Maghreb

Module Provider: Modern Languages
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Pre-requisites: FR1L3 Advanced French Language I
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Miss Maria Tomlinson


Summary module description:


The aim of this module is for students to discover, study and evaluate, by means of four representative texts, the Maghrebian novel in French. The novels will span the colonial and postcolonial eras of the Maghreb and the module seeks to place these novels within their socio-historical and cultural context. The module aims to take a thematic approach to the novels through the exploration of key themes including education, war, violence, religion, and the female condition. Students will also develop an understanding of postcolonial theory to aid their interpretation of the novels.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module students will be expected to:

•    Analyse and compare a range of francophone novels from the Maghreb 

•    Situate the Maghrebian novel in French within its cultural, historical, and religious context

•    With reference to postcolonial theory, students are expected to develop an understanding of the terms ‘francophone’ and ‘Postcolonial’ 

•    Comprehend the relationship between identity and language in the literature of the Maghreb and the theoretical debates that surround this issue

•    Engage critically with the ideas presented in lectures, seminars, or secondary materials

•    Organise and articulate a coherent written argument in a coursework essay and under examination conditions


Additional outcomes:

This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and pair/group presentation skills, as well as enabling students to analyse and contextualise literary texts in French.

Outline content:

Primary texts to be studied are: Le Fils du pauvre (Mouloud Feraoun), La Statue de sel (Albert Memmi), Bleu Blanc Vert (Maïssa Bey) and La Jeune fille et la mère (Leïla Marouane). Secondary works to support the reading of primary novels include extracts from Albert Memmi’s Portrait du colonisé, précédé du portrait du colonisateur, Assia Djebar’s Ces Voix qui m’assiègent, Derrida’s Le Monolinguisme de l’autre and Frantz Fanon’s Les Damnés de la Terre.

Global context:

The module will begin with a history of colonisation and decolonisation in Algeria and Tunisia to contextualise the novels within the history of the Maghreb. The novels will then be treated separately, introductory lectures on each being followed by student presentations on topics established in consultation with the convenor. The lectures and seminars will consider how the novels reflect national, regional, feminist, or religious preoccupations. They will also explore the following key themes: education, war, violence, childhood, the role of women in Algerian society, and religion. The final sessions will be concerned to establish parallels and contrasts between the novels as arising from the readings and discussions of the group.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The course will be taught in the Autumn and Spring term. There will be a series of seven 2-hour sessions per term. These will incorporate lectures, seminars, and student-prepared presentations. The lectures will provide students with historical, political, and religious context as well as introducing the novels and the secondary texts to be studied. Selected sessions will be devoted to an overview of work in progress and require that students concentrate on themes common to all texts studied up to that point. In the Summer term there will a revision session incorporating feedback on the assignment.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7 7
Seminars 7 7 2
Guided independent study 57 57 56
Total hours by term 71.00 71.00 58.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 40
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Class test administered by School 50

Other information on summative assessment:


Students will write one 2000-2,500-word essay to be handed in on the Tuesday of the first week of the Summer term. The essay is subject to scrutiny by a second internal examiner. 

Relative percentage of coursework: 40%

Class test:

Students will sit one two hour class test, to consist of one commentary exercise and one essay question. Relative Percentage of class test 50%

Formative assessment methods:

The lecturer will give students weekly assignments and advice on how to complete them in order to guide their independent study of the novels and secondary texts. Guidance will also be provided on presentations. These only count for a small percentage (10%) but will provide an opportunity for students to develop ideas. Feedback will also be given on these presentations. 

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Re-examination in August, in the event of failure in this module and of failure in Part 2 as a whole. Coursework for reassessment must be resubmitted by 1PM on the third Friday of August or, if the University is closed on the third Friday of August, at 1PM on the next working day thereafter.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 28 June 2017

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