Thursday, March 23, 2017

Studying popular music

If some of you are particularly interested in studying popular music, or are even thinking of doing research for your master's degree on some aspect of popular music, there are two books in French which are essential reading.

One is "De la Culture Rock" by Claude Chastagner

(There is a review about the book, here https://transatlantica.revues.org/5721 )

The other is "Pour une esthétique du rap" by Christophe Rubin

(There is a short article about this book here https://www.scienceshumaines.com/pour-une-esthetique-du-rap_fr_4533.html )

Declaration o fthe Stop the War coalition on the Westminster attack


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

L3 Popular culture: popular music videos

L3 Popular culture Popular musicvideos

Sometimes the video can add something, so here are some videos connected to musical genres we looked at last week.

Music whose high point was in the 1950s

Winifred Atwell


British invasion





Monday, March 20, 2017

A little English geography

Just for fun: where are England's steepest streets?

see here


Sunday, March 19, 2017

L3 popular culture : reggae

Popular music is not just about lyrics and music, stardom and fans. It is also about identities, cultures, mass activities and communities. For example, reggae had enormous meaning for the generation of Black British born in Britain from Caribbean parents, but living in a society which would not treat them equally.

This documentary from the BBC , available on youtube, looks at the history of reggae in Britain. Watch at least some of it:

Part one

Part two (incomplete)

Part three


A virtual tour of the British Houses of Parliament

Click here to see this amazing 360° tour:


Thursday, March 16, 2017

L3 civilisation correction DST effective and efficient

It will take me a long time to correct your scripts, because there are a lot of other things going on.

Instead of just giving corrections on individual scripts, I will also be explaining here on the blog some popular errors, so everyone can learn a bit from them. This is the twenty first century after all.

 Sometimes, it is a matter of language difficulties, and sometimes of how to do a text commentary. Of course this is assuming that you remember things about British popular culture so you have something to say.

Many students get confused between "efficient" and "effective". Of course, they both frequently translate as "efficace", but they are very different in English. Look at efficient here (you need to read the entire page)

And look at effective here (you need to read the entire page)


In general, effective means it works. Efficient  means it works AND it takes a smaller amount of energy than most other methods.

For example, if you have a mouse in your kitchen... if you explode a nuclear bomb in the kitchen, the mouse will no longer be there. Nuclear bombs are an effective solution to the problem of mice in kitchens. They are NOT however an efficient solution, because they also destroy the entire city.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Colles civilisation britannique agrégation externe

Comme vous le savez, il y a quatre TD/Colles en Civilisation GB pour la préparation de l'agrégation interne (mais les candidats pour l'externe sont les bienvenus).

Il y aura également quelques colles en civilisation britannique pour les candidats à l'agrégation externe (qu'ils passent également l'interne ou non). Il s'agit, en fait, d'examen blanc.

Si vous voulez passer une colle pour l'externe (en commentaire ou en leçon), vous devez m'envoyer un mail. Nous fixerons une date et une salle, et vos camarades auront le droit d'assister aussi.

Je recommande de tenter le coup!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

MASTER 1 LEA article US Women

Women and workWhat's holding women back?
Americans think highly of women, but remain reluctant to promote them to leadership roles
Jan 23rd 2015
by E.W. The Economist.
IN 2015 the promise of gender equality seems closer than ever. A new report by the Pew Research Centre shows that the majority of Americans think women are just as capable of being good political and business leaders as men. They are perceived as indistinguishable from their male peers when it comes to leadership qualities such as intelligence and capacity for innovation. On other qualities—honesty, fairness, compassion and willingness to compromise—many Americans actually judge women as superior.
It’s tempting to read the report as a sign of progress. After all, the 114th Congress includes a record number of women (104) serving in the House and Senate. On the corporate front, 26 women now lead as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies; that’s up from zero in 1995. But, in fact, the 104 congresswomen only make up 19% of Congress and the female CEOs are only 5% of all Fortune 500 CEOs. 
In short, the numbers are creeping along, but they’re still staggeringly low. The success of a Hillary Clinton or a Mary Barra is encouraging—but these women are exceptions to the rule. What is holding women back from leadership positions in 21st-century America? According to Pew, the problem is that women still have to do more than men to prove themselves. This finding suggests a troubling assumption—that we still don’t expect women to be able to do what men can do. We allow that it’s possible, but our baseline expectations are that men are more capable. This puts women in the position of having to go above and beyond the standards to which men are held in order to demonstrate their competence.
Even then, women’s efforts are unlikely to be rewarded. As Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant pointed out in a recent New York Times op-ed, when male executives speak up, they receive 10% higher competence ratings; when female executives do the same, their ratings from their peers are 14% lower. Similarly, when male employees offer ideas, they receive higher performance evaluations; when women offer the same ideas, managers’ perceptions of their performance remain unchanged.  
Then there are the structural problems involved with women having children. In Brigid Schulte’s fine book “Overwhelmed”, she describes some of the double-standards mothers face in the workplace. Research has found that pregnant women are perceived as “less authoritative and more irrational, regardless of their actual performance”. Mothers are often seen as less committed to work than non-mothers. Fathers, meanwhile, are not only viewed as equally competent as men without children, but also significantly more committed to work. As a result, while mothers are often penalised for their family commitments, fathers tend to be “recommended for management training more than men without children.” Researchers describe this phenomenon as a “motherhood penalty” and “fatherhood bonus”. And this is without considering some of the complications of parental leave and child care, which disproportionately affect female workers.
In light of the numbers and research, how is it possible that most Americans still express such positive views of female leadership? It’s hard to account for the discrepancy between the Pew report and the realities of the American workplace. Plain sexism isn’t a satisfying answer since people actually seem to think women are competent leaders. Perhaps it’s a matter of biases so ingrained that our actions still haven’t caught up with our enlightened views. Americans claim to hold equitable views—they know these are the right views to have, much like most people will certainly say they are not racist. But converting such views into practice is another matter entirely.
This is a loss for women, of course. But it’s also a social and economic loss for people and businesses generally. Research shows that everyone does better when women share the reins of power. Ms Sandberg and Mr Grant hammer this in: “Start-ups led by women are more likely to succeed; innovative firms with more women in top management are more profitable; and companies with more gender diversity have more revenue, customers, market share and profits.”
Such results seem to support gender equity, but clearly numbers aren’t enough to change corporate behaviour. Viscerally, Americans resist letting femininity and power go hand-in-hand; a female leader still strikes us as unnatural on an emotional level. At the end of the day, we simply lack enough compelling models for what female power should look like. This should change as more women manage to break into leadership roles. Soon, perhaps, a powerful woman won’t appear threatening or aspirational, but simply normal.