French Imperialism

Charles Keith + Follow

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Lecture Description

France's colonial properties were thought of in the latter half of the nineteenth century as consolation for the bitter loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. As civilian administrators came to replace military personnel in the colonies, and as more and more French settlers arrived, empire and colonialism came to play an important function in France's cultural self-presentation. World War I heralded the eventual decline of the French empire, a decline realized at the hands of the colonized subjects themselves.

Course Description

This course covers the emergence of modern France. Topics include the social, economic, and political transformation of France; the impact of France's revolutionary heritage, of industrialization, and of the dislocation wrought by two world wars; and the political response of the Left and the Right to changing French society.


  1. Introduction to France Since 1871
  2. The Paris Commune and Its Legacy
  3. Centralized State and Republic
  4. A Nation? Peasants, Language, and French Identity
  5. Workshop and Factory
  6. The Waning of Religious Authority
  7. Mass Politics and the Political Challenge from the Left
  8. Dynamite Club: The Anarchists
  9. General Boulanger and Captain Dreyfus
  10. Cafes and the Culture of Drink
  11. Paris and the Belle Epoque
  12. French Imperialism
  13. The Origins of World War I
  14. Trench Warfare
  15. The Home Front
  16. The Great War, Grief, and Memory
  17. The Popular Front
  18. The Dark Years: Vichy France
  19. Resistance
  20. Battles For and Against Americanization
  21. Vietnam and Algeria
  22. Charles De Gaulle
  23. May 1968
  24. Immigration

Lecture Details




Related Resources

  1. Lecture Transcript and Reading Assignment

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