21G.053 | Spring 2014 | Undergraduate

Understanding Contemporary French Politics

Instructor Insights

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 21G.053 Understanding Contemporary French Politics as it was taught by Professor Bruno Perreau in Spring 2014.

The course examines contemporary French politics, culture and social life from 1958 to the present. Students give speeches and participate in debates and a mock presidential election.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

Students may take the course in order to

  • discover French institutions and understand the impact of political issues in contemporary France;
  • grow in terms of public speech, develop their ability to synthesize and argue in writing;
  • learn how to develop a network of supporters and allies.

The class attracts students who

  • want to learn more about French society and culture in preparation for a visit or internship;
  • are interested in learning more about politics, especially to acquire another understanding of the American regime through the study of a different governmental system.

Curriculum Information


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Requirements Satisfied

HASS Social Sciences CI-M


Taught during the spring semester, this course is not offered regularly.


The students’ grades were based on the following activities:

  • 20% One ten-minute speech
  • 30% Three historical notes
  • 40% Six-page political statement
  • 10% One-hour presidential debate

Student Information


About 12 students

Breakdown by Year

Mainly juniors and seniors, but varies from year to year.

Typical Student Background

Many students who have taken the course were interested in public speech, debate, influencing others, French society and culture, or who returned or will travel to France, and those interested in studying a different political system.

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class

  • Met 1 time per week for 3 hours per session
  • Sessions were divided between student speeches related to weekly issues, film screenings, and debates

Out of Class

Student work included readings, research, writing historical notes, a political statement, preparing speeches and for debates.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2014
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments
Presentation Assignments
Instructor Insights