Accueil > The French Revolution: Violence, Ideology, and the Construction of modern France, 1789-1799

DHIS 2370A - The French Revolution: Violence, Ideology, and the Construction of Modern France, 1789-1799

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Strong reading and writing competency in the English language. A knowledge of some European and French history is desirable, but not indispensable.

Course Description

The French Revolution changed France, and much of the world, forever. Heralded as the dawn of a new era and at the same time, condemned as an incarnation of chaos, anarchy, and carnage, the Revolution has left few left few observers indifferent. This course offers a narrative history of the French Revolution from 1789 to 1799. It explores the major events, personalities, places, and ideals, in addition to the origins and outcomes that made up this complex and, in many ways, contradictory era. The class will examine the nature and significance of the different phases of the Revolution, as well as many of the historiographical debates these successive periods have generated over the last two hundred years, reflecting the diverse interpretations that have sought to explain this highly contentious era. The major themes of the course include the emergence of constitutional ideals and practice; the development of a new political culture including symbols, language, songs, clubs; the dynamics of electoral politics; the role of political groups; the establishment of democratic institutions and practices; the challenges of war, insurrection, counterrevolution, espionage and corruption to the stablility of a newly created State; the multiple forms of Revolutionary violence from State Terror to political assassination---all topics that have sparked passionate polemics for the last two centuries.


CLAY, Stephen (Professeur)

Course validation

The final grade in this course is calculated by combining the grades on two take-home essays (mid-term and final); two in-class quizzes; and class participation.

Required reading

The readings for this course consist of a series of downloaded journal articles, book chapters, and a general collection of primary documents. Additional recommended readings will be announced in class The iconographic representation of the Revolution in engravings, paintings, and symbols will be used to illustrate aspects of the period, and to help define the political culture of the era.

Additional required reading

This class will offer a walking tour of Revolutionary Paris