Pr Nicolas Roussellier
Major Issues in Today’s World and the Place of France
The course is designed to give a broad and comprehensive view of the political and social place of France in today’s globalized world. It introduces to the basics of international economics and relations paying special attention to the place of France, both from an institutional and « balance of power » point of view. French political system and society are compared, through their recent history and current events, to the countries interacting with them, especially within the European Union. This course aims to enable students to confront today’s changing world and to become themselves agents of change.
For a good understanding of the today’s issues, the course will propose an historical perspective in its first part, and a more current analysis in its second part. Two themes will shape the course: 1/ the quest for the ideal republic; 2/ the quest for the « Grandeur »: France as a World Power.
Principle of the course
- 1 session of General Introduction (session # 1)
- 9 ‘normal’ sessions (Lecture + oral intervention with discussion)
- 4 interactive sessions (three presentations by students’ groups)
The oral interventions in the normal sessions
For each “normal” session, there will be one individual oral intervention (topics are listed below in the detailed syllabus). This intervention is prepared individually by 8 students. The Professor asks only one student to perform the intervention (sometimes two students depending on the timing of the session). All the 8 students give their written version of the intervention (no more than 2 pages)
The oral presentations
The presentations are made by groups students during the 4 interactive sessions. There will be 3 presentations for each interactive session. Groups will number between 5 and 6 students. The length of the presentation should be around 20 minutes with equal participation of the group members
The final exam
A written exam will conclude the semester (06/19). This exam will propose 3 questions related to different parts of the course
50% of the final mark: the written exam
25% for the individual intervention
25% for the presentation
Session # 1 (02/13): General Introduction
Part I/ Quest for an Ideal Democracy
Session # 2 (02/20): Revolutions!
The Revolution of 1789, the « sister » revolutions in the 19th century, the revolutionary spirit and « culture » from the Commune (1871) to our day, Mai 68, seduction of the idea of a “Revolution” in our time
Oral intervention: Portrait of Robespierre
no class on 02/27, Winter Break
Session # 3 (03/06): Interactive Session I
Presentations by groups students:
1/ Success and Failure of the Revolutionary Cults (1789-1799)
2/ Bonaparte: a “Jacobin” or a new Monarch. Modernity or archaism?
3/ The Church (catholic) and the Monarchy in the 19th century
Session # 4 (03/13): Monarchy: Failure and Legacy
Monarchical tradition and monarchical feelings in Modern France. The failure of Monarchy and monarchists in the 19th century: explanations. The strange success of the Monarchical legacy in France today
Oral intervention: French Liberalism and French liberals in the first 19th century (1815-1848)
Session # 5 (03/20): Republics!
The Republican ideology since the Revolution. The success of the Republicans: politicization of the masses. Republican legacy today and the problem of “Parliament Sovereignty”
Oral intervention: The Dreyfus Case: history and legacy
Session # 6 (03/27): Interactive Session II
1/ Romantics and romanticism: intellectual, artistic and political evolution (1800-1848)
2/ Success and Failure of Léon Gambetta
3/ Anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists in pre-War France (before 1914)
Session # 7 (04/03): Dictatorships!
How a Democracy can fall apart? The Third Republic, its decline, its final fall. The Vichy’s Regime (1940-1944). Was it a French version of Fascism? Legacy: the extreme right since 1945: decline and renewal
Oral intervention: How the Defeat of 1940 can be explained?
Session # 8 (04/10): The “Republican Monarchy”
Why a « republican monarchy » in 1958? New leadership, new type of legitimacy attached to De Gaulle since 1940. The impact of the “Résistance”. What are the main characteristics of the 5th Republic? Crisis and adaptation of the Fifth Republic
Oral intervention: François Mitterrand: a portrait
Session # 9 (04/17): Interactive Session III
1/ Philippe Pétain: a portrait
2/ Communism in France: how to explain its strength?
3/ François Mitterrand: a portrait
No class on 04/24 ; 05/01 and 05/08, Easter Break
Part II/ Quest for « Grandeur ». France as a World Power
Session # 10 (05/15): Grandeur! State Building and Power Building under the Monarchy
Origins of the French « Grandeur ». The nature of the French state. Building of the First French Colonial Empire
Oral intervention: Toussaint-Louverture: a portrait
Session # 11 (05/22): Ghost of Empire: the Republican colonialism
How to explain the Republican colonialism? The Case of French Algeria. Post-colonialism: the changing character of the French population and society since the 1960s
Oral intervention: Why the French Antilles are still French?
Session # 12 (05/29): Interactive Session IV
1/ War(s) in Algeria after WWII (from 1945 to 1962)
2/ French policies in Africa after the independence in the 1960s: the ghost of “Françafrique”
3/ France and Islam from the time of the Colonial Empire to our day
Session # 13 (06/05) Wars and World Power
France as a military power in the 20th century. The impact of WWI and WWII. The reconstruction of the French Army after WWII. Nuclear power. France and its military interventions, “small wars”, the end of the universal military service
Session # 14 (06/12): Europe! Europe! A New Horizon?
Political basis of a United Europe: since 1929, stop the “civil war”, unification of the economies. Moral basis of Europe: after 1945, against Nazism and fascism, protection of human rights. France as the leading actor in the European construction: from Monnet to Delors. The meaning of the European construction in the Aftermath of WWII. What is the definition of the EU? Problems of a democratic deficit. Disillusionment of public opinions
Oral intervention: The Referendum of 2005: victory of the “no”
Session # 15 (06/19): Final Exam (3 questions)
Format des notesNumérique sur 20Littérale/grade européen
Pour les étudiants du diplôme Bachelor of Science de l'Ecole polytechniqueLe rattrapage est autorisé (Note de rattrapage conservée écrêtée à une note seuil)
- Crédits ECTS acquis : 2 ECTS
La note obtenue rentre dans le calcul de votre GPA.