France, 1789-1914: Nation, Revolution, and Empire. HIST4211

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course explores the history of France in the 'long nineteenth century'. The first half provides a chronological framework by discussing the political regimes that rose and fell in this period, while the second half examines specific themes such as gender, the urban experience (particularly the place of Paris in French politics and culture), the integration of the peasantry into a 'French' identity, and the overseas empire: overarching them all is the search for a French identity.


10 x 1 hour lectures and 5 x 2 hour seminars. This is one of the honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.  

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes.

Excluded Courses






Examination, two questions from a choice (120 minute duration) - 50%

Course essay - (3,000 words) - 30%

Report, identifying and commenting on source material (including non-textual sources) from the period

(1,000 words) - 10%

Oral Assessment and presentation (8 minutes) - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ To prepare students for independent and original analysis of a complex range of evidence, including source materials, thereby developing intellectual skills that will be of benefit in a wide range of careers.  Students' research capacity will be enriched by their introduction to diverse source materials and their oral and written communication skills enhanced in ways designed to address employers' expectations for highly literate and highly articulate graduates who are fully cognisant of a range of research tools.

■ To show students how a professional historian works.  By supporting students in the production of their essay and seminar presentation, students will gain first-hand experience of the scoping and shaping of research projects and the challenges faced by historians in the pursuit of advances in knowledge.

■ To familiarise students, through source-criticism, with a wide-range of problems of interpretation arising from different usages of language, underlying meanings and intentions, differing standards of objectivity, and the variety of purpose and intent associated with historical evidence (written, visual or other).  The critical interpretation of key historiographical and theoretical debates relating to this subject will inform the close reading of sources. Provenance, perspective, context, intent and audience will be core considerations in students' interpretation of sources.

■ To ensure, through student-led discussion, that the relative validity of alternative historical interpretations is fully recognised. The seminars aim to encourage student-led learning and the facilitation of rigorous and informed debate.

■ To encourage students to develop imagination, skills and self-discipline required to master a similarly demanding brief in the future, whether in historical research or in any sphere or employment where these qualities are valuable. Students will be encouraged to reflect on the range of generic research and communication skills they are developing over the course of this course in order to align their academic and professional aspirations and competencies and encourage reflective practice.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Define in-depth knowledge and understanding of French history from the Revolution to the outbreak of the First World War.

■ Set French domestic developments into a wider context, both European and global, with special reference to the experience of empire.

■ Understand the key historical debates on such issues as the legacy of the French Revolution and the search for a stable social and political order, national identity, gender and imperialism.

■ Apply such skills as an awareness of the problematic nature of historical evidence and a capacity to evaluate and, where possible, resolve, conflicting interpretations, with special reference to nineteenth-century France.

■ Critically-examine, assess and comment upon a variety of sources from the French or French imperial context during the period being explored - such sources may include non-textual material.

■ Express and use such skills both orally and in writing.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.