HS3SBR-Becoming a Revolutionary: the Old Regime and the French Revolution, 1787-1794

Module Provider: History
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Prof Joël Félix

Email: j.m.felix@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

In 1789 the French people brought to an end to the political, economic and social system known as the Old Regime, which had proved unable to face up to the societal challenges of the time and which they had come to despise. Almost overnight, the obedient subjects of an absolute monarch constituted themselves as a nation of sovereign citizens. They endeavoured to create a new order based on the principles enshrined in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. From its outset, the Revolution raised, and continues to produce, many historiographical debates about its long-term origins and more immediate causes, as well as its legacies. The module will explore these debates by considering two key questions. Why did the French become revolutionaries in 1789? How did the process of building a new society promote a new genre of revolutionaries associated with a new political culture, radicalism and the rule of Terror?


Aims:

Specials aim to provide 'hands-on' experience of the historian's task through close examination and evaluation of primary sources and the light they shed on issues and problems.


Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:




  • undertake detailed textual analysis and comment on the primary materials

  • achieve a detailed command of varying historical interpretations of the primary materials and subject as a whole

  • organise material and articulate arguments effectively in writing under timed conditions

  • recognise and interpret a wide range of different primary materials


Additional outcomes:

This module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student’s effectiveness in group situations. Students will also develop their IT skills by use of relevant web resources.


Outline content:

The module will examine the ways in which various social groups and actors became revolutionaries in 1789, and how the meaning of being a revolutionary evolved in the process of building a new society. Using a variety of primary sources (political and legal, cultural and literary, visual), it will explore the major societal debates that arose in the eighteenth century and in the course of the Revolution. Themes covered will include the Enlightenment, the Old Regime’s institutions, the grievances of the French in 1789, the conflicts over the Estates General, the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the political divisions and alignments in the new regime, the creation of a new political culture (newspapers, political clubs, popular societies), war and the fall of the Monarchy, gender and women’s rights, and the abolition of slavery.


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The teaching for this module involves weekly two-hour discussion seminars. Students will gain ‘hands-on’ experience of the historian’s task through the detailed evaluations of key texts, and the light they shed on the issues and problems being investigated. Students will be required to prepare for seminars through reading from both the primary sources and the secondary literature. Students are expected to carry out self-directed revision in the summer term. Staff will be available for consultation as necessary.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 22 22
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study: 176 178
       
Total hours by term 198 202
       
Total hours for module 400

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 60

Summative assessment- Examinations:

A two-hour paper involving detailed commentary on extracts from the sources studied.


Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will write two essays (each constituting 30% of the overall mark for the module) to be submitted electronically, the first by 12 noon on the Monday of Week 1 in the spring term, the second by 12 noon on the Wednesday of Week 11 in the spring term. Each essay shall not exceed 3,000 words, excluding footnotes and bibliography. Essays which exceed the word limit by more than 5% will incur a penalty of five marks. Candidates will be rewarded for making appropriate use of the prescribed texts.


Formative assessment methods:

Formative work, for instance seminar presentations, book reviews, posters, practice source commentaries, will be required for this Special Subject over the two terms.



Practice commentaries on the sources will be required for formative assessment.


Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late: 



·  where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf

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.


Assessment requirements for a pass:

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-assessment will be by the same method as the module’s original requirement, subject to variation by the Examination Board where appropriate.


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 10 September 2019

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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