Sunday, December 30, 2018

Préparation de l'agrégation : cours de thème

Unless I am mistaken, we have seven classes after the Christmas break. Here is the programme:

8 january :  passage from Beckett (please do send it me, before the 5th).

15 january: we will go through BOTH the classroom test (Tout le monde parlait du livre ...)  and the concours blanc (Ceci ne doit étonner personne ...). I will put my suggested translations for these passage up here on the blog beforehand, so you can prepare questions etc.

22 january and onwards: we will work on passages from the new booklet, which will go up here on the blog in PDF format over the next few days.

Otherwise, I hope the holidays are going well for you, that Father Christmas was generous, and that 2019 brings you both the agrégation and joy and peace.


If listening to podcasts is a good way for you to revise British history, you will find a lot of them on this blog. Just click here then scroll down and choose the ones that might help you.


memory, heritage, servants

This fascinating BBC documentary looks at what life was like as a servant in the grand stately homes which are so popular with tourists and TV viewers today.


Royal Family

This is an anti-monarchy documentary, not attempting to be neutral. It explores the position of the Royal Family in the UK today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Memory, slavery, television

Fictional représentations of slavery on TV are usually about the US, where slavery is more recent. But not this one . https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/the-long-song-tv-review-episode-one-hayley-atwell-lenny-henry-a8688416.html

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The idea of progress

There are a number of key moments in the history of scientific progress over the last few hundred years. We often hear about new factories and Fordism, or about transport and railways. Communications though are just as important, and here is one highlight from communication history : the first transatlantic cable, allowing for the very first time instantaneous communication across the world, by telegraph. Before you click on the link to the documentary, guess the date of the first transatlantic cable.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Thème agrégation : grammar time

You have got through about two thirds of your translation classes. You need to find a few hours ot go through them again, with your Grammaire explicative de la langue anglaise, look at the grammar mistakes you made, and study the grammar book until you are confident you would not make that particular mistake again.

The most dangerous attitude is to think that translating is a matter of feeling, and that if you practice it your feeling will solve the different problems.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Home rule in Ireland - an important debate

On the hundredth anniversary of the 1914 Home Rule Act, an Irish television station organized this debate. Should the Home Rule Act be celebrated as a constitutional advance which could have worked out, or seen as a dead end policy which was fortunately soon replaced by a more radical strategy? Our guests do not agree; there is nothing like a consensus; and if you can measure and describe their differing reasons, that is a great start.


MEEF More on the British Empire in India

A much more establishment view of the British Empire is available in this documentary. The images are very impressive.


M1 LEA last class

In the last class, I spoke of the history of racism and antiracism. My recording device did not work, so here is last year's class on (almost) exactly the same topic

Just click here for the Mp3

And the slides for all the multiculturalism classes are here as a Powerpoint slideshow

Here are a couple more links on the subject

A documentary on Cable Street

A documentary on Rock against Racism

Finding time to study when you don't have time to study

Especially for the concours, it's hard to find enough time to read and to revise. Here is a tool which i find extremely useful. Most of us have a few hours a week when we are cooking, shopping, cleaning, driving or on the bus, when we could listen to an MP3, but when it is not possible to read seriously. The website zamzar will convert a document file (word etc, not pdf) into an Mp3 for you to listen to. All the wikipedia articles you need or articles from the Revue française de civilisation britannique, etc.

The site is here https://www.zamzar.com/

It only works in English.

Here is an example of the resulting Mp3 just click here

That is just a short example, but it works for documents which are many pages long.

Monday, December 03, 2018

mémoire, héritage, ruptures - India

Obviously for Britain, one aspect of remembering heritage is commected with the British Empire. How should it be remembered and taught, in particular in England today where an important minority are descendants of Indians? This discussion between two Indian intellectuals about the history of British India opens up some of these questions.


Introduction to research

If there are any MEEF students who, for their "mémoire" in M2 would be interested in looking at some aspect of historical reality TV shows in Britain, do get in touch.

Here is some info https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Historical_reality_television_series

Here is an example (but there are dozens, from different centuries and with differing approaches). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9B1qevOK8U

I would think it was a subject which it would be easy to use subsequently in collège.

Today in the UK


Friday, November 30, 2018

M1 recherche/ MEEF First world war revising/extending etc

As you know, we have one last seminar, on Wednesday the 19th December 15h A202. Then your exam is in January.

For revision, naturally you can listen to some of the classes again - just scroll back through the blog.  There are also two articles here on the historiography.

My article in French here


And a completely different view of the same historiography here :

For the question of commemoration my article in English here, on which the first few classes were based:


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thème agrégation: où en sommes-nous?

If anyone besides myself is confused...

I will be marking the DST and giving you back your scripts in the fullness of time.

On 5th December we will be working in class on the passage from Victor Hugo.
On12th December, the passage from Vargas.
On 19th December, there is no class - this is the week of the mock exam, which I then intend to mark over the holidays.

On the 9th of January, we will work on the passage from Beckett, the last passage in the booklet.

On Christmas Day I will post here another booklet, including passages for the remaining classes we have together.

M1 LEA multiculturalism

If you liked "Back in time for Brixton", episode two is available on Youtube here


M1 LEA reminder

Let me repeat then: contrary to what I told you a month ago, there will be an ordinary class on the 4th December. The exam, which is worth 100% of your semester mark, will be on the 18th December.

Thème agrégation; about Victor Hugo

Je sais que vous êtes occupé ( e ) s , conseils de classe etc. J'accepterai jusqu'à samedi soir minuit vos traductions du texte de Victor Hugo.

Brexit today

The Brexit situation changes every day and can be hard to follow, not least because spreading panic is part of the strategy of some forced. This articles helps to clarify what is likely to happen in parliament.


Monday, November 26, 2018

M1 LEA pas de cours mardi 27

Je suis souffrant et je ne ferai pas le cours M1 LEA  Ce mardi de 11h à 13h . Faites circuler le message svp.

Thème reminder

We will be looking at the passage from Ben Jelloun in class this week. Marking of the DST will be a little longer.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Journée d'etude 25 janvier Home Rule Rouen

My colleague has managed to put together a team of star speakers on the issue for this day conference, and we want a lot of people in the audience to listen to them. The date, of course, was fixed long before the dates of the agrégation interne were announced. Still, tell everyone you know - the conference is open to anyone interested.

Symposium on The Home Rule Issue, 1870-1914

Friday 25 January 2019 (9 am- 5.30 pm)

 Salle des conférences, Maison de l’Université, University of Rouen Normandie

9h00                  Welcome Note

9h10-9h30       Introduction by Dr Anne-Catherine de Bouvier (Eribia, Université Caen Normandie)
Chair: Dr Geraldine Vaughan (GRhis, IUF, University of Rouen)

9h30-10h30     Professor Alvin Jackson (Sir Richard Lodge Professor of History, University of Edinburgh)
                           “Understanding Home Rule and Its Opponents: Ireland and Britain, 1870-1914”

10h30-11h00 Pause

Chair: Dr Marie Ruiz (Corpus, University Picardie Jules Verne)

11h00-11h45  Dr Catriona McDonald (Reader, University of Glasgow)
                            “The Scottish Home Rule movement from 1870 to 1914”

12h00-12h45  Professor Paul B. O’Leary (Aberystwyth University)
                            “The Home Rule Issue in Wales, 1870-1914”

12h45-14h15 Déjeuner

Chair: Professor John Mullen (ERIAC, University of Rouen)

14h15-15h00 Dr Colin Reid   (University of Sheffield)
                            “Isaac Butt’s conception of Home Rule during the 1870s”

15h15-15h30 Pause

15h30-16h15 Dr Conor Mulvagh (University College Dublin)
                            “The Irish Parliamentary Party and Partition”

16h30-17h15 Dr Pauline Collombier-Lakeman (Search, University of Strasburg)
                            “Butt and Redmond: a Comparison”

17h30                Concluding Remarks – End of Symposium

Thème agrégation

There will be a short delay in putting the latest suggested translation online, because I seem to have mislaid it. With a bit of luck, it is on my office computer, and I will find it there on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

M1 LEA Recordings -Multiculturalism

You will find here two more recordings of classes on multiculturalism - the slides will follow.

Class two part one

Class two part two

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Comment la chanson populaire communique-t-elle?

Video de mon intervention dans le colloque.


Music is one important vector of multiculturalism. Here is an article I wrote, in French, about the Notting Hill festival.


Home Rule

For the case of Ireland, the question of Home Rule brings up the whole issue of sovereignty on the island of Ireland, an issue which cannot be said to have been solved even today, as debates about the border in the context of Brexit show us.

This is a talk given on the hundredth anniversary of the passing of Home Rule in the UK parliament. The view one most hears about 1914 to 1916 is that the revolt in Dublin 1916 was carried out by national heroes, who laid the groundwork for the independence of  Southern Ireland, and for the future reunification of the island. This speaker, a conservative historian and previously Taoiseach gives a minority view which says that 1916 was a mistake.


M1 LEA exam important

I gave you this information in class two days ago, but I am putting it on the blog since some people may have been absent.

The exam is not on the 4th December, it is on the 18th December.
I said there would also be a marked piece of homework: there will not be.

Monday, November 19, 2018

M1 LEA Multiculturalism in the UK

Our new theme is multiculturalism in the UK. In the first class I went through some definitions and statistics, and began on short histories of some of the most important immigrant groups - Jewish, Irish, West Indian and South East Asian.

The first part, in Mp3, is here.

The second part is here.

Keywords: UK, multiculturalism, podcast, introduction

Sunday, November 18, 2018

M1 LEA INDIA Powerpoint

As promised, here is the slide show we used in class.

mémoire héritage rupture and the Rosetta Stone

Important debates here:


History on television

Many of my classes speak of how we produce history.  Then there is the question of how to communicate history, in a world where not everyone loves reading history books. Museums, novels, TV series all attempt, with strong points and weak points. Reality television has given it a try too, especially in the UK. Have a look at this:

M1 LEA multiculturalism in the UK

The national BBC radio network runs two radio stations which might to be considered to be a reflection of multicultural policy. One is BBC Radion one xtra, which you can listen to here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_1xtra

The other  is BBC Asian Network, which is here 

World war one commemoration

Historians, social psychologists, and other researchers, have tried to understand precisely, and analyze thoroughly, remembrance activities. This has given rise to a series of different understandings. 

You can find here one feminist analysis, from a Welsh researcher. http://orca.cf.ac.uk/90329/1/CGPC-2014-0076%20R2%20Basham%20FINAL.pdf

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Mémoire/ héritage/ Première Guerre

Voici un très intéressant travail fait sur la mémoire de la Première Guerre:


What happens next for Brexit?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Just to be clear

You can send me your translations of Ben Jelloun until next Wednesday, the 21st.
If you don't have a linguistics class next Wednesday, or if you find time at another moment, the "secret" passage I have given to Diane is to be done in 90 minutes, without dictionaries or internet. When it is ready, hand it in to the secrétariat d'anglais. This will take me a little longer to mark, because I may not be in Rouen immediately.

PS if you have nothing else to do, I should be on France 24 on the news bulletin, at 22h tonight in French and at 22h30 in English, talking about the Brexit kind of deal.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Brexit - the agreement

The EU said that the last possible moment for an agreement which would allow the organizing of a summit this year was Wednesday night. An agreement was announced two hours ago.

Now Theresa May has to persuade her own ministers to support it, and then put it to the House of Commons for a vote. It is not clear that the Democratic Unionist Party leaders have seen it yet, and their support would no doubt be necessary for Theresa May to get a majority in the commons. If she does not get a majority in the commons, there could well be a general election, and it is very unclear who would win.

Follow live here

Brexit - an important article


Monday, November 12, 2018

Translation class

Everything is a bit later this week,  because of tourism. I hope to send you back your work on Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Commemorating the 11th November

... is causing political debate in both France and Britain.



Thème mail problems

The two students who did not previously receive their work back. I checked, and I had indeed sent it. I have just sent the two pieces of work again - one to an address at ac.rouen and the other to an address at gmail. If you don't get them, send me a mail from another email address.

Women in India

You can find here a lecture on women's issues in India, a rather personal view and occasionally surprising. Also a chance to improve your understanding of Indian English.


Sunday, November 04, 2018

M1 LEA exam

Note that your exam will be in class, on the 4th December.
There will  be a short translation into English, and an essay on one of the three subjects we will have looked at.

- Brexit
- India
- Multiculturalism in the UK.

There will  also be a written homework, which I will give you soon, and which you will have to hand in by the 18th December.

New book published

Including a chapter by myself about antiracist songs in Britain

Identity, memory, heritage, symbols...

An opinion article from the Guardian


More Irish history

The Fenians

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Home rule MPs

Holidays is time for me to study Home Rule.

How many of the MPs elected for Irish constituencies belonged to the Irish Parliamentary Party?

So, where were the other MPs for Irish constituencies from?

Héritage et rupture


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Master LEA. India!

Here are recordings of the classes on "An introduction to India" so far.

Part one (6 minutes!)

Part two (56 minutes)

Part three (29 minutes)

Part four (26 minutes)

Commemorating 1914 a hundred years later

Seminar people,
Here is a recording of classes about commemoration

Part one

Part two

And here are the slides associated. 


There may be one or two slides out of order.

Keywords: Centenary, powerpoint, First World War, podcast, university 

As you know your final seminar is on the last Wednesday before Christmas. I will be posting here some materials between now and then for you to read or look at .  The January exam will consist of an essay on a general question (Last year it was "How cultural is cultural history?"). You must give plenty of examples, and show you have thought about some of the complicated questions involved, but the question will be very open, allowing you to show what you know.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Home rule : background video

This video explains the background  to the Home rule debate: what happened in the decades before. It is not really neutral (documentaries usually are not) but it explains many things. In particular it reminds us that the debate on home Rule came from a history of hunger, eviction, poverty and oppression, and was not at the time felt to be a technical debate about organizing the constitution.


LEA, India, Gandhi

In 1982, Richard Attenborough produced a film about the impressive leader of the movement for Indian Independence (some details about the film here).

Although it was no doubt an uncritical film, it does explain a large number of historical events very well. Also, it seems to be available in full (in French) on Youtube. Just click here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmi4ca5kn-c&app=desktop

a mug you might need

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Roubaix in the news in Britain

Because of their art museum https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/oct/21/france-art-deco-jewel-swimming-pool-art-gallery-reopens

Thème agrégation

Just to make sure everyone is up to speed, here is the programme for the next few weeks.

6 Jacques Pierre Amette 24/10/2018
Half term break
7 Jacques Prévert 07/11/2018
8 Thierry Pfister 14/11/2018
9 Devoir sur table entraînement 21/11/2018
10 Tahar Ben Jelloun 28/11/2018
11 Victor Hugo 05/12/2018

On the 21st November I will be at Rennes for a doctoral jury. I believe that some of you have another class on that Wednesday morning early. For the rest  of you I will leave a passage for you to translate, and leave at the secretary's office for me.