Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
"...ISMES" Cultural and Artistic Movements in 20th c. France
Academic Year
Semester 2
Eligibility for entry to Level 3 French
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 4 x 1 Hour Seminars
Lecture 10 x 1 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Attendance and participation in class discussions (5%), in-class oral presentation (10%)  15%
Semester Assessment End of term oral examination (ca 10/15 minutes) based on an artistic artifact (text extract, painting, film scene, piece of music, etc.)  35%
Semester Assessment Essay or dossier (2000-2,500)  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Understand the aesthetic, cultural and ideological context of a given artistic work, and develop a personal interpretation of its meaning and value.
2. Conduct advance level research in the field of literature, history of art and film studies, locating source information and secondary literatures; reading critically secondary literature beyond the scope of the bibliography provided in the course descriptive.
3. Show a good awareness of the relationship between the different art forms within the same artistic movement and be able to provide an in-depth overview of the French cultural movements of the 20th c.
4. Express key ideas clearly both in speaking and writing through the medium of English.


Academic rationale:
The aim of this module is to study the diverse intellectual, cultural and artistic movements of the twentieth century in France and explain their influence worldwide. A variety of art forms like literature, painting, cinema, music, comics, etc. will be examined and called upon to achieve a global and in-depth understanding of French civilization in that century.
The objective of the module is thus to provide the students with a thorough and broader historical knowledge, but also to endow them with advance critical interpretative tools and analyzing skills related to these art forms, as means to build a critically well-informed discourse about their own social environment and the world in general, with a good awareness of the French theoretical and philosophical discourses of the time.

Module aims:
Providing students with background knowledge, analytical and critical skills in order to develop better informed and more original interpretations of cultural artistic artifacts such as texts, films, paintings, pieces of music or any other means of expression considered as relevant to the period studied.

Brief description

This module, mainly taught in French, but flexible as far as the language used is concerned and open to debates in English, will approach the various forms of artistic artefacts as products of intellectual tendencies, ideologies and subversive movements of the French twentieth century. A large part of the content will be devoted to the iconography of the time. The students will be asked to engage actively and critically with the different representative process of these movements. Through lectures, seminars, presentations and dossiers, they will be made more aware of and assimilate what forms a large part of their own cultural inheritance. It will then allow them to establish links with their own artistic and ideologically post-modern contemporaneity.


This 10 week / 14 hours course will be divided into 3 sections covering 3 broad historical periods and cultural movements: I. "L'entre-deux-guerres", the 20's and 30's, with Dadaism, Surrealism and around Bataille's College de Sociology; II. The Post-war Period, "La Liberation", Existentialism, the "Nouveau Roman" and the "Nouvelle Vague"; III. The 1968 cultural revolution and its counter-cultural ideologies, Situationism, Structuralism, Tel Quel and the New French Theory.
Session 1. Presentation of the course / Introduction
Block I. L'Entre-deux-guerres
Sess. 2. Lecture: The socio-historical context of the 20's. Marxism, Freudism, Pacifism.
Sess. 3. Seminar: Dadaism, Surrealism, the writers and the poets, Breton, Apollinaire, Soupault, Eluard, Aragon.
Sess. 4. Seminar: Painters and Cineastes, Dali, Ersnt, Chagal, Chirico, Bunuel.
Sess. 5. Presentations.
Block II. La Liberation
Sess. 6. Lecture: The impact of the Second World War on intellectuals and artists.
Sess. 7. Seminar: Existentialism and the College of Sociologie, Sartre, Camus, Bataille.
Sess. 8. Seminar: "Le Nouveau Roman" and "La Nouvelle Vague". Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Simon, Sarraute, Godard, Truffaut, Malle.
Sess. 9. Presentations.
Block III. Mai 68
Sess. 10. Lecture: The cultural revolution of the 60's, the New French Theory and the dawn of Post-modernism.
Sess. 11. Seminar: Barthes, Tel Quel, Structuralism and Situationism.
Sess. 12. Seminar: Subversion in the arts, "B.D." "Actuel", "Hara-Kiri" and "Charlie Hebdo"
Sess.13. Presentations.
Sess. 14. Round-up discussion. Conclusion

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Development of clear and accurate expression in speaking and writing.
Improving own Learning and Performance The essay assignment is based on independent research with consultation possibilities with the module convener. The quality of the independent thinking and depth of newly acquired knowledge will be assessed in both essay and presentation and the student will be expected to provide a high level of self-reflection
Information Technology Power point can be used in presentation. Only resources are widely available on the taught topics.
Personal Development and Career planning A certain amount of transferable skills is built in the coursework
Problem solving Students have to identify and chose artistic artifacts; they need to develop criteria to assess the relevance of the chosen material to the course
Research skills Students have to perform independent research in preparation for their essays, including localizing source material
Subject Specific Skills The study and interpretation of iconography or film extracts require skills different from the analysis of a text.
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6