Introduction to French Culture

A Muslim woman dressed as Marianne wearing a phrygian cap. Text below reads 'I'm afraid Marianne today is in danger'.

Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS), "Neither Whores nor Submissives," is a French feminist movement set up in response to acts of violence against women, particularly in Islamic neighborhoods. In 2003, NPNS staged a march through more that 20 cities of France. Their message was incorporated into the official Bastille Day celebrations later that year in Paris, when 14 posters of modern woman of different ethnicities dressed as Marianne were displayed on the columns of the Palais Bourbon, the home of the Assemblée nationale. (Image of Safia as a modern Marianne. Source: Les symboles et les valeurs del la République. License: CC BY-NC-SA.)


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As Taught In

Spring 2014



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Course Description

This course examines major social and political trends, events, debates and personalities which help place aspects of contemporary French culture in their historical perspective through fiction, films, essays, newspaper articles, and television. Topics include the heritage of the French Revolution, the growth and consequences of colonialism, the role of intellectuals in public debates, the impact of the Occupation, the modernization of the economy and of social structures. The sources and meanings of national symbols, monuments, myths and manifestoes are also studied. Recommended for students planning to study abroad. Taught in French.

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Catherine Clark. 21F.311 Introduction to French Culture, Spring 2014. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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