Thursday, September 12, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 22: mariner's instruments

When in Alaska, Cook makes a present to one of the Russian fur traders of a "Hadley's octant". In today's times of GPS satellites, this kind of instrument is of course long forgotten, but at the time could be a matter of life and death for sailors. This eight minute video shows how an octant works.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Thème agrégation septembre 2019

Some students have been sending in their translation for the first passage in the booklet, an extract from one of Anna Gavalda's novels (see blog post below, September 4th). I will try to get them back to people before the class: I generally manage this, but  it is not absolutely guaranteed.

If you receive your work back, you will see that it is marked by a system of negative points (points faute) in which you lose more for more serious mistakes, with grammar problems generally counting as worse than vocabulary problems, in turn count as worse than register problems.

Someone asked me what the marking scale represents. It is of necessity rather approximate. When the agrégation translation papers are marked a whole team of markers get together and discuss in detail how many points should be taken off for (almost) every conceivable mistake. This takes a long time and a whole team of people and is obviously not possible for our practice translations. So all I can say is 1) the most important thing is to never make the same mistake twice, and in thecase of grammar mistakes in particular make sure that the grammar book is thoroughly consulted and that you are sure you have absorbed the grammar point in question (grammar is hard). 2) The students who passed the agrégation with very little difficulty were, by the end of the year, getting around 30 negative points on a translated passage. Over 95 is definitely getting to be problematic.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation: post 21: crash course

This ten-minute video has a rather particular tone, but is far from being without merit.


And, while we are on short videos, here is a very short one on ... 18th century cooking!


Sunday, September 08, 2019

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Thème (préparation agrégation, M2)

Bienvenue à la préparation de l'agrégation. Les cours de thème pour la préparation à l'agrégation ont lieu les mercredi matin à 9h. Les six premières semaines, des étudiants M2 recherche suivent également ces cours.

Vous trouverez ici la brochure des textes à traduire, et les instructions sur comment faire. Vous pouvez me poser des questions par mail si besoin.

Apportez le premier texte et votre traduction à la première classe, le 18 septembre.

Captain Cook, agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation, post 20, controversy

In the Southern hemisphere, Cook is quite frequently in the news. Here is a short article about  a very recent example.

This longer article does not speak of Cook, but of the subsequent massacres.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

France 24

Demain j’interviendrai quelques minutes à la télévision pour parler de la situation politique britannique.  À 14h sur France 24 français et à14h30 sur France 24 anglais ...

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Culture, heritage, post-colonial policy

All of these questions are involved in this facsinating political and cultural heritage article about the possible return of the Parthenon marbles from London to Greece.


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Captain cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation. Post 19: recreating Cook's expedition

In the 1990s, a replica of Cook's ship Endeavour was built. It is in fully working order, and can be visited in Sydney. In keeping with a rising trend over recent decades of the interest in "experience" as an object of historical study, a recreation of a part of Cook's first expedition was undertaken a few years later, with a crew of volunteers. This series followed the example of a large number of "historical reality television series" such as "The 1900 House" or "Victorian Slum", which have turned out to be far more popular than had been expected.

The series on Cook's ship is entertaining, as well as having high quality historical content. It opens up a large number of key questions, which you will be looking at in more detail in class and in your reading. Episode 1 is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qo73ByQFoE&t=7s

All the episodes are worth a look, but as you are probably short of time, I do recommend you use one of the many sites which will convert YouTube videos to MP3 files. In this way you can listen to the episodes while knitting  a victory scarf in preparation for your success in the agrégation (for example).

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Constitutional crisis

Britain is living through the most severe political and constitutional crisis for many decades, perhaps even centuries. Here is one historical approach to the present situation:


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Captain cook agrégation 2020 option civilisation, post 18: history of the Royal Navy

Frequently, insufficient emphasis is put on the fact that Cook was a military man. This video is episode 3 of an excellent documentary broadcast by the BBC, on the history of the Royal Navy. It shows how horrific eighteenth century wars were, and their importance in transforming the economy and kick starting the industrial revolution. The first part of this episode deals with Cook, and the politics of his expeditions, but the whole episode is well worth watching. Episode 2 of the series is good, too, but deals with an earlier period.
You will find the video here:

Although the video has good visuals, if you do like I do and use one of the many websites which converts youtube videos to MP3 files, you can listen to it while jogging in the early morning.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation. Post seventeen: questions

Some questions to be thinking about. Some can easily be solved with a quick internet search? Some have no generally agreed answer ...

Why did Cook and his crew have an enormous technological advantage over the native peoples of Tahiti, Hawaii, New Holland etc?

Why did the different peoples die from European diseases, and not the Europeans from their diseases?

Why were Cook’s instructions secret both for the first and the third voyages?

Why did he have just one ship on the first expedition, and two on the second and third expeditions?

Why were there soldiers on board all the expeditions?

What light does Captain Cook’s story throw on the question of the role of the individual in history?

What would you make an axe with if you didn’t have any metal? What about an arrow?