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Paris and Modernity

Module Code: FR323
Module Name: Paris and Modernity
Module Credits: 30

Module Description

  • Paris is arguably the city of modernity. For two centuries it has been the site of innovative architecture and planning which seeks to be at the cutting edge internationally. More generally, its pioneering creativity combines the rationality of the Enlightenment with an aesthetic confidence developed over many years.
  • As well as being a prime example of the creative aspects of modernity, Paris at the same time exemplifies modernity’s ruthlessness and destruction, as traditional ways of life are swept aside, and as individuals become victims of the greater and grander plan.
  • Paris is thus a place of hardship and revolt as well as confidence and beauty. Inspired in part by David Harvey’s book, Paris, Capital of Modernity (2003), this module will allow us to explore the city with appropriate ambition and breadth.
  • In the Autumn term we will look at Paris in the 19th century and in the Spring term we will look at the city in the 20th century. Our approach will be resolutely interdisciplinary - encompassing developments in socio-economics; architecture and planning; politics; art; and literature – but there will be a continuous, anchoring theme of developments in the Parisian political economy.

Reading List

  • Marcel Berman, All that is Solid Melts into Air, London, Verso, 1983.
  • Jean-Pierre Bernard, Les Deux Paris: Les Représentations de Paris dans la Seconde Moitié du XIXème Siècle, Paris, Champ Vallon, 2001.
  • Evelyne Cohen, Paris dans l'imaginaire national de l'entre-deux-guerres. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 1999.
  • David Harvey, Paris, Capital of Modernity, Routledge, 2003. Recommended for purchase.
  • Nick Hewlett, Democracy in Modern France, London, Continuum, 2003.
  • Alisdair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris: Portrait of a City, London, Pan, 2003. (new edn.)
  • Rodney Kedward, La Vie en Bleu: France and the French since 1900, London, Penguin, 2005.
  • Le Corbusier, The City of Tomorrow and its Planning, London, Dover Publications, 1987.
  • Richard D. Marshall, Paris 1900: The Great World’s Fair, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1967.
  • William H. Sewell, Work and Revolution in France, Cambridge, CUP, 1980.
  • Emile Zola, Au Bonheur des Dames, 1883

Assessment Method:

Essay and/or exam