21G.322J | Fall 2016 | Undergraduate

Frenchness in an Era of Globalization


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session.


One intermediate subject in French or permission of instructor.

Course Overview

This course asks what it means to be French in today’s era of globalization. It asks what is French culture, what does it mean to be French? It will look at how policies at home protect French ideals, products, and language. It also asks how French culture – through the smart power of cultural diplomacy as well as market forces – is exported throughout the world. At the same time, it looks at how cultural products from other places have been absorbed, adapted, and negotiated in France – successfully or not. How has French history, both at home and abroad, been mobilized to promote a certain vision of France? This class will familiarize students with different periods of globalization within French history – from empire to today’s concerns about Europeanization. And it explores how and when protecting and challenging French culture becomes a global issue.

This course satisfies the MIT HASS-H ”” undergraduate requirement.


Class Participation

Evaluated based on student’s attendance, the demonstration of adequate preparation, and the quality (not just quantity) of oral participation.


You will regularly be quizzed on assigned materials, but only your 5 highest scores will count.

Weekly Responses

Each week students will submit a short paper that responds to a question about the week’s theme/materials.


Students will select a presentation topic from the list, and be responsible for a short presentation.

Research Projects

Students will define a topic that engages with the major themes of the class, research this topic, and then produce a final paper or some other sort of project that presents and analyses this research.


Late assignments will lose one full letter grade for each day past the deadline. Assignments handed in a week late will automatically receive no credit. No extensions will be granted after an assignment’s due date has passed.

Class Participation 15%
Quizzes 5%
Weekly Responses 20%
Presentations 20%
Research Projects 40%


Cell phones must be silenced (not just placed in vibrate mode) during class time. You may use laptops/tablets/phones, but only to take notes or access information relevant to the topic at hand. If used for other purposes, laptops/tablets/phones will be banned.

Enrollment Limits

Limited to 18 for pedagogical purposes. Priority will be given to pre-registered students, including pre-registered undergraduates who were cut from the same class the previous semester due to the enrollment cap. In case of over enrollment, preference given to pre-registered declared French majors, minors and concentrators, followed by juniors, seniors, sophomores, continuing students, and freshmen (in that order), who attend the first day of class.

Academic Integrity at MIT

Students are expected to adhere to MIT’s Academic Integrity policies. All work (research papers, weekly papers, presentations) must be completed independently. Students are encouraged to discuss the readings and their projects with each other (they may, for example, want to practice their presentations for their classmates or have a classmate read a draft), but they are individually responsible for all written work.

Violating the Academic Integrity policy in any way (e.g., plagiarism) will result in official Institute sanction. Possible sanctions include receiving a failing grade on the assignment, being assigned a failing grade in the course, having a formal notation of disciplinary action placed on your MIT record, suspension from the Institute, and expulsion from the Institute for very serious cases.

Please review the Academic Integrity policy and related resources (e.g., working under pressure; how to paraphrase, summarize, and quote; etc.) and contact me if you have any questions about appropriate citation methods, the degree of collaboration that is permitted, or anything else related to the Academic Integrity of this course.

Vanessa Schwartz. Modern France: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2011. ISBN: 978-0195389418. [Preview with Google Books].

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2016
Learning Resource Types
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments