Monday, April 16, 2018

Vocabulary question

Students often get confused between the two words, “safety” and “security”. Some explanation here: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-difference-between-safety-and-security

Friday, April 13, 2018

Master LEA QES Partiel suggested translation

I have begun marking your exams. Here is my suggested translation for the first section of the exam.

Des ouvrières américaines du textile en grève,  8 mars 1909
La première « Journée nationale de la femme » est célébrée à l’initiative du Parti socialiste américain. Elle a lieu le 28 février sur tout le territoire américain. Aux États-Unis, les femmes continuent de célébrer cette journée le dernier dimanche de février, jusqu’en 1913.
Au début du siècle la participation des femmes aux luttes ouvrières est importante partout en Europe. Aux États-Unis, une série de grèves très dures ont lieu dans le textile en 1909.
Le 8 mars 1909, 15 000 travailleuses manifestent dans les rues de New York pour demander de travailler de moins longues heures et pour obtenir de meilleures conditions de travail, l’abolition du travail des enfants, un salaire égal à celui des hommes et le droit de vote. La police s’attaque violemment à la foule pour essayer de la disperser.
Les manifestantes demandaient « du pain et des roses » : le pain symbolisant la sécurité économique, et les roses, une meilleure qualité de vie.
En France, la même année a vu l’institution d’un congé maternité de 8 semaines, sans compensation, pourtant, de la perte de revenus.

American women textile workers go on strike    8th March 1909

The first “National Women’s Day” was celebrated on the initiative of the American Socialist Party. It occurred on the 28th February across the United States. In the USA women continued celebrating this day on the last Sunday in February, up until 1913.

At the beginning of the century, women were very much involved in workers’ struggles across Europe. In the USA, a series of very hard strikes took place in the textile industry in 1909.

On the 8th of March 1909, 15 000 women workers demonstrated in the streets of New York, demanding a shorter working week and better working conditions, the end of child labour, equal pay with men, and the right to vote. The police launched a violent attack on the crowd in an attempt to disperse them.

The demonstrators were demanding “Bread and Roses”, the bread symbolizing economic security and the roses an improved quality of life.

In France, in the same year, a right to eight weeks’ maternity leave was established, although there was no compensation for lost wages

Thursday, April 12, 2018

L3 popular culture last class

April 24 16h30 salle L 102

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cours agreg civi


Women in British popular music

I was speaking yesterday about the fact that UK popular music was dominated by men, and indeed still is. This does not mean, of course, that some women did not make important contributions. Here are a few examples, genre by genre

Sandy Denny

Maddy Prior

Susi Quatro


Polly Styrene

The Raincoats

RAP/ hip hop
Lady Sovereign

Ms Dynamite

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Changement de salle cours L3


Monday, April 09, 2018

Grime music today

I spend a lot of time in class on music from 1960-1990. This is partly because I know this music better, but also because this period set into motion modes of consuming and producing popular music which have shaped the rest of the period up until today.

Still, to compensate, here is a video about grime in Blackpool : rude and young rappers in a small town in the North of London. (warning: lots of insults and bad language)


[Of course not all British music today is so transgressive! here is Ed Sheeran https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZUrQIZbkfk ]

L3 popular culture

This week we are in room T009.
I will be giving you back the scripts from the classroom test. the class average is 10.17.

Recent history of housing in the UK

In the Guardian today


Sunday, April 08, 2018

Using "one" in English

One should always check one's bags oneself.

I want green ones, not red ones.

I would go to the Monday film not the Tuesday one.

Students of all levels have difficulty with the structures around "one".

Here is a good place to start


Friday, April 06, 2018

The winners! UK popular music

FOLK   The album voted in the music press best UK folk album was Liege and Lief, and this song, Matty Groves, is one of the best known of its tracks


SKIFFLE   Folk rocker Billy Bragg chose "Rock Island Line" as his favourite skiffle track of all time


PUNK The newspaper "The Independent" considered that "Anarchy in the UK was the best ever UK punk song.


GLAM ROCK The newspaper "The Guardian" considered that the best UK Glam rock track was "Hot Love"


HEAVY METAL US magazine Rolling Stone considered that the best heavy metal album of all time was UK band Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" Here is the title track


PROGRESSIVE ROCK Website "Pop matters" considered "In the court of the crimson king" the best ever progressive rock album


More soon

L'histoire culturelle, où en sommes-nous?

Quelle est l'histoire de l'histoire culturelle?

D'où vient-elle? Quels sont ses points forts et faibles?

Peut-on la distinguer de l'histoire sociale et politique?

Quelles approches historiques sont dominantes aujourd'hui à l'université, dans les librairies, dans les manuels scolaires, à la télévision?

Ecoutez ici mon intervention au séminaire ERIAC le 5 avril 2018 (MP3)

L'histoire culturelle - où en sommes-nous? (50 minutes)

Vous trouverez ici le powerpoint accompagnant l'intervention (pps).

Powerpoint ici 

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Capes interne

Je n’ai pas pu me rendre à Rouen, il n y aura donc pas cours aujourd’hui.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Monday, April 02, 2018

L3 Culture populaire

Les trains étant annulés pour demain mardi, il n'y aura pas cours. Je mettrai ici bientôt des liens vers un article à lire et un vidéo à regarder. Ces éléments constituent une partie indispensable du cours et doivent être assimilés par tous les étudiants.


So far, I have received work from 32 students.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Master LEA

Your homeworks are now flooding in: thank you. Writing professional emails (even to teachers) is not so easy. If you used "tu" in an email to a business client in French, you know this could be taken very badly. If you are too informal in English, it's the same thing.

Some guidelines here:


Friday, March 30, 2018

Information in advance L3 civilisation

Note that there will be no class on 17 April ( I have a meeting in Brest). But there will be a replacement class on 24 April.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

L3 Popular culture since 1945 the recordings

Here are recordings of recent lectures:

Television class one
Television class two

Popular music class one
Popular music class two

key words: British history, podcasts, popular culture, popular music, television

M1 LEA Questions économiques et sociales- pays anglophones

You still have a few days left to send in your homework assignment: don't forget!

L3 Notes on the classroom test, part two.

Notes on your classroom test, part two.

As I explained, the classroom test does not count for very much in your general semester mark, but it is very important in that my notes will allow you better to understand how to answer this kind of question, and how to deal some of the complex issues thrown up in the study of popular culture.

“The power of products of popular culture is that they give the people what they want.”
Discuss this quotation, examining what different thinkers have said concerning the demand for popular culture, and looking in particular at how visual artists have found a wide audience for their work.

« Discuss this quotation ». This means you must say how far it appears to be true or false, but also what other similar questions are relevant concerning popular culture.

There are many ways to answer the question, while showing the knowledge you have acquired about British culture specifically. Here are some initial notes, which I will add to as I mark your work.

1)   You should note that this is a controversial quotation and you should be able to show that some might tend to agree and some to disagree.
2)   Some of the terms need dismantling. a) who are « the people » (note the importance of the definite article: « le peuple » not « les gens »). Is there a homogeneous « people » in modern society, or are we divided into « generations » or social classes or « affective alliances »? b) Is it possible to know « what the people want »? This is not a simple idea. Why do people want what they want? Etc.
3)   Which thinkers can you write about in connection with the quotation? Adorno is obviously one. Several students summarized quite accurately the introduction to Adorno’s ideas which I presented in class, but the exercise is not to write a summary. His ideas must be compared with the quotation. Adorno was generally opposed to products of popular culture. Far from believing that people (or the people) were being given what they wanted, he maintained that people were being told what they should want, were being almost obliged to want what the market wanted to sell to them. What is more, he believed that people were being given experiences which were bad for them, which made them into children again and stopped them from becoming fully human.
4)   Several other thinkers could be mentioned, but one obvious one is Hebdige and his work on the meaning of style. He looked at what was provided for young people by rock and roll, punk or reggae subcultures. He does not exactly say that they give people what they want, but that they are useful in people’s lives, because they help to structure (sometimes imaginary) resistance to official capitalist, elitist views of the world. Jyst to tale one example, the lover of reggae, living in a world where white bourgeois or nationalistic thought is taught and valued can with others create a small community where black language and music, peace loving ideas and back to Africa dreams can be put at the centre of life.
You might also want to mention Grossberg, and his idea that people use popular culture to build affective alliances, imagined communities which allow them to deal with the world. This approach again emphasizes mass participation in popular culture, and does not present popular culture as simply something produced for passive consumers by a market hoping to make a profit.

For the second part on visual art we are still looking at the same question: are people receiving « what they want », but there is an added complication : visual art is not necessarily popular culture. Artists are often trained at elite institutions, for example. This is not always the case: one might term street art as popular culture: anyone can do it, and people can become well known without the intervention of established museums and galleries (often with a little help from the internet), in the way that pop stars might. Banksy is the obvious example, producing accessible, thought provoking work available to everyone, even those who do not feel art galleries are for them. Other artists such as L. S. Lowry have become tremendously popular ( he even has a pop song about him). Photographers such as Martin Parr also seem to be trying to make their work accessible, and land artists such as Goldsworthy take their work out of the galleries and out of the towns. [each time you mention, an artist, it is good to give one example of their work, which I am not doing here]. Public sculpture projects such as the fourth plinth are also placed in contexts which make them open to everyone.
On the other hand, a lot of visual art remains reserved to the initiated. Recent winners of the prestigious Turner prize cannot be said to be producing art for everyone.
The question of publicly funded art galleries is linked to the idea of giving people what they want. The fact that galleries are free in the UK, are no longer concentrated only in London, and receive millions of visitors, are vectors of popularity, yet the dynamic is mostly top-down, and the galleries do not correspond to most criteria of popular culture.

Because popular culture is ever changing and extremely heterogeneous, it is very difficult to make strong affirmative statements about it. This means you need to know how to hedge, and this more difficult in a foreign language.
For example, it is better not to say “popular culture is just to entertain people and have fun”. You should say one of the following:

Many commentators feel that popular culture is only concerned with entertainment and fun.
Popular culture may be seen as mainly a question of entertainment and fun.
And then you can give some counter example which adds nuance. For example, if pop music is very much concerned with fun, it seems clear that it can sometimes be aiming at making people think, expressing political demands or denouncing injustice. (See this link for a talk in French on British anti racist songs).