Monday, November 30, 2015

Master research seminar: multiculturalism

This week we will again have three text commentaries from students.
After that we will be looking at different explanations proposed for urban revolts ("riots") in Britain in recent decades.

We will be working from this article, so please read it :

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Séminaire franco-britannique d'histoire | Actualités du séminaire franco-britannique d'histoire

Students planning to do research on the history of Britain, or just interested, will find a fascinating series of podcasts at the following link:

Séminaire franco-britannique d'histoire | Actualités du séminaire franco-britannique d'histoire

LEA MASTER Statistics graphs etc

Of course we can only spend a little time in class on such subjects, but talking about numbers is essential if you're going to work in.... universities or hospitals or banks or advertising companies or the media or... well, just about everywhere.

You will find here extra practice 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thème agrégation : emphatic forms

People still have difficulties with the differences between "I like Picasso" and "I do like Picasso".
This search on the British National Corpus should help, if you spend fifteen minutes on it.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thème agrégation : "contrary to"

People have difficulty with the expression "contrary to". As a general rule, it is not used to contrast two things, but to contrast one thing with its representation. 

CORRECT : Contrary to popular opinion, England has a rich tradition of folk music.

INCORRECT:  Contrary to English folk music, Scottish folk music uses mostly wind instruments.

CORRECT: In contrast with English folk music, Scottish folk music uses mainly wind instruments.

There are a couple of further nuances. Here is what I found in the British National Corpus:

Here is a random selection of solutions from the 1316 found.
A2M 230 Contrary to reports in Paris last week, government investigators working at the central police laboratory here have ruled out the presence of the Czechoslovak-made explosive Semtex, which caused the Lockerbie disaster.
A6D 246 The second reason why the homosexual is involved with difference is because, contrary to what the foregoing theory implies, she or he has, in historical actuality, embraced both cultural and racial difference.
A7F 642 Planning consent for a Center Parc at Longleat, Wiltshire, has yet to be gained, contrary to a report in Caterer (11–17 July).
AE9 763 In 1323 the Justices of the Forest were ordered to recall all the royal demesne woods which had been disafforested contrary to the Charter of the Forest: Henry Scrope, appointed Justice of the Forest north of Trent on 10 September, reafforested thirty-three townships in the Forest of Galtres alone.
AJC 5 The three women say this is contrary to the wishes of thousands of people who contributed about £3 million to help troops and their families who suffered in the war.
AKE 1183 Contrary to opinion, Gooch is a thoroughly happy man.
CB1 256 Submitting to ‘Be aware’, he attends closely to his situation and to his own reactions, and instead of trying to infer from principles how he ought to respond, discovers how when most aware he does respond, and perhaps surprises himself by an impulse contrary to social convention or to his own self-image.
CBT 2778 This would, however, be contrary to SSAP 24, which requires gradual rather than immediate recognition of experience differences, and does not discriminate between surpluses and deficiencies.
CKR 1060 His violent defence of the primacy, though it was contrary to all the forward-looking governmental ideals and interests of the Church as a whole during his later years, is his nearest approach to a consistent political policy as archbishop.
E9R 1061 Contrary to some critical comment, he believes that credit for obtaining substantial funding for the scheme should go to the Minister himself, for having taken a personal interest in the scheme.

Another short quiz on the history of the Irish republic

A short quiz on Irish history, to help you revise.
Only one answer is correct.
All the answers to these questions are avilable in the powerpoints which I posted a little while back.
1 Partition in Ireland left the following towns inside the United Kingdom
a) Belfast and Limerick
b) Dublin and Belfast
c) Cork and Belfast
d) Derry and Limerick
e) None of these answers

2. During the Second World War
a) Ireland  remained officially neutral but unofficially helped Germany
b) Ireland remained officially neutral but unofficially helped Britain
c) Ireland declared war on Germany and Japan in 1941
d) None of these answers
e) Ireland lived through a terrible economic crisis

3. The civil war in Ireland took place
a) None of these answers
b) immediately after partition
c) on the declaration of the Irish Republic
d) in the 1930s
e) between 1998 and 2008

4 British troops were officially sent in large numbers to Northern Ireland
a) in 1972 to stop civil rights demonstrations
b) in 1969 to protect Catholics
c) in 1969 to protect protestants
d) in 1998 to protect the borders of the UK.
e) None of these answers.

5 On « Bloody Sunday »
a) protestant demonstrators killed British soldiers.
b) British soldiers killed catholics
c) protestant police killed Republicans
d) the IRA destroyed the British embassy in Dublin
e) None of these answers

6 The « Good Friday Agreement »
a) won overwhelming support at the time in the Republic of Ireland
b) involved the British government finally accepting that Ireland should be united.
c) was initially proposed by the Irish Republican Army
d) was a religious agreement between catholc and protestant churches.
e) None of these answers

7 In 2005, the Irish gaelic language
a) became a compulsory subject in schools in the Republic
b) had an Irish grammar book published for the first time in history
c) could be officially used in European Union institutions
d) was for the first time spoken fluently by more than half of the population of the Republic
e) None of these answers.

Master's research seminar "Multiculturalism and Diversity". Text commentaries

You will find here a supplementary booklet, with two further documents. please read it.
These will be analyzed by Lucie V and by Lucile C in the last class before Christmas.
According to my records, these are the only two students without a document to analyze. If there are more, please contact me immediately by email. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Updated instructions LEA master second homework assignment

Because you have a lot of exams in the coming weeks, I am changing the date at which you must hand in the homework. You can hand it in until the 14th of December, by email. Your RTF file should be named "johnsmithhomework2.rtf" if your name is John smith. Send it by email to  john point mullen a t wanadoo dot france.

The assignment is not a long one for a master level course. However, if you find it difficult to summarize  the whole video, you may summarize the parts which you think are the most important. Re-read your work with extreme care before handing it in.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Racisme et antiracisme au Royaume Uni

Les syndicats ont été un endroit important pour le développement de tactiques et stratégies antiracistes. Cet article, en français, explique l'histoire de l'antiracisme dans un syndicat britannique:


LEA Master

We are going to be working a bit on statistics this week, and your test on 1st December will include some work on statistics.
Here is a link I recommend for a little more practice


Monday, November 16, 2015

LEA Economic and social questions in the English-speaking world: Revision

To help you revise for your test, here are the powerpoints on Irish history and the Irish economy, with audio.

On each slide there is an audio symbol, and you have to click on here to hear my voice. Each audio on a slide is shorter than one minute.

Celtic tiger Part one
Celtic tiger Part two
Celtic tiger Part three
Celtic tiger Part four 

Key words: Ireland, economy, Celtic Tiger, Powerpoint, podcast, history

Sunday, November 15, 2015

“later that night
i held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered

Master LEA

So, for your test on the first of December, you will need to have a good knowledge of the two themes we have been looking at, and be extremely rigorous with your English.

Here is a first quiz to check where you are at. There will be another one next week, no doubt. 

Celtic tiger quiz 1

1 The population of the Irish public today is
a) Four and a half million
b) One and a half million
c) Just over six million
d) Around eight million
e) None of the above

2 Ireland no longer has a monarch
a) since the partition of the island
b) since 1968
c) since the rebellion of 1798
d) since shortly after World War Two
e) None of the above

3 The percentage of people in the Irish Republic living in towns
a) is slightly higher than in France
b) is much lower than in France
c) is about the same as in Britain
d) has not changed over the last twenty years
e) None of the above.

4 The second largest city in the Republic is
a) Belfast
b) Derry
c) Limerick
d) Cork
e) None of the above

5 One cathedral in Dublin is called a « pro-cathedral » because
a) Catholics dream of getting back their original cathedral some day
b) It is a protestant cathedral
c) It will only be a cathedral for a short time
d) It is an ecumenical institution
e) none of the above

6 Irish gaelic is
a) Spoken by 83% of the population of the Republic
b) Used every day by less than a thirtieth of the people
c) The obligatory language in all public services
d) Almost the same as Welsh
e) None of the above.

7 The Irish president
a) Has little real political power.
b) Has only once been a woman
c) Lives in official residence in Cork
d) Is going to be abolished soon.
e) None of the above

8 The government of the Republic
a) tends to alternate between the two biggest parties.
b) must have its laws approved by the British government in Westminster
c) is most frequently a coalition between two or more parties
d) is not directly elected by the Irish people
e) None of the above

Friday, November 13, 2015

Leeward Islands

As I'm sure you will have noticed, I made a little mistake in class last week. The Leeward Islands which Voltaire was worried about were not the Leeward Islands in Polynesia, but were the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. See here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Leeward_Islands

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Multiculturalisme au Royaume Uni... et festivals de musique

La musique populaire a toujours mobilisé l'identité, que ce soit identité de classe, de genre ou ethnique. Cet article sur les festivals de musique "ethniques" au Royaume-Uni examine les liens.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Monday, November 09, 2015

Master's research seminar: multiculturalism and diversity

We are going to start tomorrow's seminar by looking at some key concepts, and how they can be defined. Quite a few of these concepts are defined differently by different people, and their meaning is contested. This is unsurprising, as in all debates about how society should be run, certain terms are defined diversely. "Freedom" does not mean the same thing for everybody...

If you look at the concepts before the seminar, and think about them, that will help start us off.


Melting pot

Institutional racism





Community cohesion




Black Power

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Master LEA Economic and Social Questions in the English speaking world

Your semester mark will be made up of three marks:

- The final classroom test on the 1st December (50%)
- The homework you have already done, on the Irish economy video (25%)
- The second homework assignment, which is below: (25%)

Watch this video documentary: it is episode four in a four-part documentary about Black people in Britain since the Windrush. Summarize its main points (try to synthesize) in 500 words. Then give your personal opinion in 300 words.

The video is here: 


Of course, you do not get marks for having the same opinion as me! Most of the marks are for good English and clear expression. Always use spell check and grammar check software. Always re-read carefully twice before sending me your work - just as you would do in a professional context.

Send your work in, in RTF format, by email to me by the 3rd December.

L'histoire n'est jamais bien loin


Master research seminars

This article brings together the topics of the two research seminars I am giving this semester: the First World War and Multiculturalism and Diversity.

Forgotten role of Indian soldiers who served in First World War marked at last | Home News | News | The Independent

Friday, November 06, 2015

Newspaper Headlines-English

Newspaper Headlines-English

BBC World News - The East India Company, Episode 1

BBC World News - The East India Company, Episode 1

Master's seminar: text commentaries

Master’s seminar: text commentaries

As I mentioned, every student will do a text commentary on a document or speech. This will be invaluable practice for the exam, which will include a short text to comment (as will the other exam on the other seminar). We will be going over again how to do a text commentary in British civilization, which is firstly not easy and secondly quite different from in literature.
Remember to revise this page

and this one
and this one

For the method of the text commentary.  The main pitfalls are always 1) paraphrasing the document instead of analysing it and 2) explaining  the history of the period without referring in any detail to what the person who produced the document is trying to do.
Your commentary should last fifteen minutes.
Here are the dates and documents for each student:

24 November
“The Wind of Change,”  Chloé G.
“Rivers of Blood,” Inès N.
Summary of Macpherson report, Marion C.

1 December
“Chicken Tikka Masala,” Geoffrey D.
“A Golden Thread,” Pierre P.
“State multiculturalism has failed,” Arielle F.

8 December
“Doreen Lawrence’s gain is Black Britain’s loss,” Laura D.
“Stand up to UKIP,” Mohamed Anis H.
Extract from TUC Black workers conference, David S.

15 December
Lucie V.
Lucile C
(You will each be provided with documents in a couple of week’s time)

Multiculturalism in Britain

Here is an interview with Black British poet Lemn Sissay


Thursday, November 05, 2015

Master's seminar Multiculturalism and diversity in the UK

You will find here the (slightly censored) recording of the lecture on Britain since 1960. This is meant to give you a general background of political history, in order to help us look at the events and debates around multiculturalism, diversity and racism in Britain since the 1960s.

Here is  the first part of the lecture, which takes us from the post-war boom up to the election of Margaret Thatcher.

Here is the second part of the lecture, which takes us through the Thatcher, Blair and Cameron years, as far as the 2015 election.

Keywords: British history, podcast, lecture, Wilson, Thatcher, Blair, Cameron, political history, United Kingdom.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Seminar master follow-up

I explained in the seminar that, since the 1970s, two issues - public services and trade union activity - have been at the centre of political conflict in Britain. Here are two articles to exemplify this:

You will find here an analysis of John Major's "Citizen's Charter" , a major new initiative of the Conservative government on public services, in the 1990.

And here an article in French which tries to assess the motivation, objectives and impact of trade union legislation from Thatcher to Brown. As you will see, it is one thing to make a law, and quite another to be sure of the effect it will have.

Master LEA Economic and social questions in the English-speaking world

You can watch here the interview we worked on in class. It is an interview of Diane Abbott, when she had decided to stand for the leadership of the Labour Party.

It is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v77hqOMxHrI

Racism and anti-racism in Britain . The United Kingdom Independence Party

The United Kingdom Independence Party is a far right party in Britain, which has considerable support and is mostly built on hostility to the European Union and to immigrants. They are generally considered to be a racist party. This (FICTIONAL) documentary tries to imagine what would happen if UKIP won an election in the UK!

Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZdP9FJvnDk

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Monday, November 02, 2015

The National health service

The British are very proud of the National health service: when you go to see a doctor, you can leave your cheque book at home. But what was life like before the NHS. Here is one view :


One more article on World War One


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Seminar multiculturalism and diversity Master research

You can download here the booklet of documents we will be using for the seminar.

Each student will give in class (from week three on) a text commentary on one of the documents (except documents 1 and 2). You will have a couple of weeks to prepare them. 

If there is a document which particularly appeals to you, be ready to tell me at class on Tuesday: otherwise I will choose for you. 

You will get this booklet on paper, too, no doubt in week two.

LEA : Black members of parliament

On Tuesday we will be listening to an interview of Diane Abbott, who became, in 1987, the first Black woman to enter the British parliament as an MP. To keep you up to date with the situation today, here is an article on last year's general election in the UK.