Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 37: Slavery and empire

This podcast from the BBC looks at the views of some historians on slavery and empire, especially in the 18th century. very useful context. 

It seems to me that the historian who wants to put transatlantic slavery in a specific place in history is rather badly treated by the others, but the podcast is nevertheless well worth a listen.

MEEF .... Britishness

There are many opinions about Britishness and British identity. It is a subject which the juries like! Here is one opinion from a few Years ago.


Saturday, December 28, 2019



[1] Although it sometimes seems that the day of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, and the annual “Burns’ night” every January are more important than Saint Andrew’s day
[2] Note that the implication, in French, of the verb « expliquer » may not be the implication, in English, of the word « explain ».

Captain Cook agrégation anglais option civilisation post 36: aboriginal agriculture

Here you will find a short, left-wing book review of a book about aboriginal society in Australia before the arrival of Cook.


Pour préparer le CAPES

Si vous avez tendance à paraphraser les documents, plutôt que les expliquer dans leur contexte, voici le livre qu’il vous faut sur le Royaume Uni.


Friday, December 20, 2019

MEEF M1 end of semester

I have begun looking at your homework assignments. I will be posting here in a week's time a very long set of comments (many things I didn't have time to say in class).

The marking will take some time. Note that the mark you receive is not supposed to reflect the mark I think a CAPES jury would give you - their marks are considerably lower.

It only remains for me to wish you, in order,  Happy Hannukah, Happy Christmas and Happy New Year (in Britain you can wish Happy New Year beforehand, often saying 'Happy New Year if I don't see you').

L3 Popular Culture end of semester

I am sure you remember that the DST counts for a small portion of the semester's mark, and the exam in January counts for much more. I wll be putting on this blog at the very end of December  remarks and advice concerning the DST, which will help you with the exam.

You still have time to fill in this anonymous questionnaire:

Wishing you, in order, Happy Hannukah, Happy Christmas, Happy New Year. (In English you can wish Happy New Year beforehand).

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Devoir maison MEEF

Hope to see most of you in class in half an hour. I have received homework assignments - some of them very good - from the following people. If you thought you had sent me one and your name is not below, please send me another email so I can check spam folders etc.

Devoirs maison reçus

Alice D

Alice P

Andrea JP

Anna Leigh D

Axelle S

Basile G

Chloe M

Clémence A

Clément P

Daphne G

Elisa B

Emy L

Florent L

Georgia D

Guillaume L

Gwendoline B

Jérémy P

Léa B

Léa B (there are two Léa Bs, I received the two exercises).

Ludivine D

Marina T

Maxime A

Melissa Y

Mina O

Priscilla C

Rene K

Romane L

Sam T

Sarah N

Thibaut L

Valentin D

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Merci de vos mails. Notre cours de demain est à l'heure habituelle, et aussi dans la salle habituelle (A515).

Monday, December 16, 2019

Rappel salles pour DST

Groupe C,  salle A411 . 

Puis  Groupe A, salle A107 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Devoir maison MEEF

Jusqu’à mardi midi c’est bon! Je sais que vous êtes débordés.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 35: the musket

It is often forgotten that Cook was a military man. This was his favourite weapon.


Friday, December 13, 2019

Evaluation UE L3 Culture populaire au Royaume-Uni depuis 1945

Chers étudiant e s de mon cours de L3 à Rouen. Pour m'aider dans la préparation de cette UE pour l'année suivante, voulez vous bien remplir ce sondage, entièrement anonyme. 


L3 Popular Culture Popular music

You will find here the last class I gave on popular music, in Mp3 form.

This article will also help with some key ideas:

M1 seminar First World War Commemoration

You will find here recordings of the seminars on commemoration!

Part one is here

Part two is here

The PowerPoint is here

This article covers the same ground.

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 34: Maori commemorations

This short article gives a Maori perspective on the first encounter with Cook, and on the commemoration 250 years later.


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Commenting on the UK election

On m'invite ce soir autour de 23h sur France 24 (français) pour commenter les élections britanniques.

UK election

How has the Uk election been seen on social media?


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Thème agrégation

  1. We were to have worked on the passage from Slimani in class today. A few people have sent me their translation, but I am myself behind schedule and have not yet corrected them. You may, if you have time, send me your translation of Slimani over the next few days. I will correct and return the translations and post my suggested translation on the blog.
  2. Next Thursday, I believe, you have your mock exam in translation. I know not everyone will be able to make it, given this busy time of year. If you wish to do the translation into English at home (without a dictionary and within the same time limit applied in the real exam) simply send me an email on the Thursday evening and I will send you the passage to translate. It will not be quite like in the exam because you will be typing your translation.
  3. Our next class is on the 8th January and we will be working on Montherlant.
  4. Happy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Dernières nouvelles

La situation concernant les transports se clarifie. Je ne pourrai pas être présent pour mon cours à 9h.  Je mettrai des informations supplémentaires ici pour le groupe en question.

Par contre, il semble certain que j’y arrive pour les cours de l’après-midi.
À 15h séminaire ww1
A 17h MEEF M1.

History of migration

A fascinating story from the very beginning of the 20th century.


Monday, December 09, 2019

Classes on Wednesday

I have been able to get a train ticket from Paris to Rouen, but it is unclear if I can get from here to Saint Lazare tomorrow Morning.

L3 Important - changement de salles pour DST 17 décembre

Le mardi 17/12, pour la Civilisation GB groupe C, nous serons en salle A411 de 11h à 12h30. 

Puis en salle A107 avec le groupe A de Civilisation GB de 15h30 à 17h.

L3 Popular music: slides on music

1) Make sure you read yesterday's post!
2) You will find here the Powerpoint concerning "Studying popular music".
3) The Mp3 recording of the second class on music will be posted soon
4) Thanks to the person who reminded me.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation 2020 option civilisation britannique post 32: plants

The implications and effects of British colonization are more wide-ranging than we suspect, frequently.

Read this article about plants in Australia


Les cours de cette semaine

Mardi, je resterai en région parisienne afin de rejoindre la grève pour défendre les retraites.

Les DST de mes deux groupes de L3 sont reportés d'une semaine.

En ce qui concerne les cours de mercredi, tout dépendra des trains.

Il y aura en tout cas, sur ce blog, des informations et travaux éventuels.

Faites circuler ces informations s'il vous plaît.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Thème agrégation

The report from 2011 including a long commentary on the passage we worked on is Here. http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/agreg_ext/70/4/r_agreg_ext_anglais_2011_194704.pdf

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Women in British popular music

I was speaking yesterday about male domination in Uk popular music. There are of course a number of exceptions: see here


Monday, December 02, 2019

Thème agrégation Amette

On Wednesday, we will be going through the passage from Amette. I think I have sent back everyone's work, but my organization has been breaking up of late, so if I have not returned your translation of Amette, please send me a mail with your translation again.

Actualité à Londres

L'attentat de vendredi dernier s'est vite politisé


La campagne électorale au Royaume-Uni

Campagne électorale? antisémitisme? islamophobie? On m'a interviewé pendant dix minutes à la radio suisse hier sur ces sujets. Le résultat se trouve en ligne ici:



This article will interest both L3 students thinking about popular music and legitimacy, and MEEF students thinking about "the past in the present".


Third seminar on historiography

(Note the link to the important article, which I have given you in a separate post, below).

You will find here the Mp3 recording of the third seminar, where the subject was social history, cultural history, and recent trends in history writing, all concerning the First World War.

The recording is here

And the entire powerpoint for the three seminars is here.

Seminar M1 Introduction to historiography and to memory studies: article

In our Wednesday seminar this week, we will begin by looking at this article in some detail. Please read it first.

A view of world war one historiography

L3 Evaluation - How it works

Someone asked me for more information about the final exam in January. Since you do not know, until you arrive in the exam room, whether the question is on the British programme or on the US programme, this can be a little stressful. Naturally, different lecturers emphasize different priorities, though you should remember that we are not out to trap you and all examiners are looking for a good level of English, a grasp of essential facts and the capacity to structure those facts into an argument which replies fairly precisely to the question.

If the question turns out to be on the British programme, it will be in the form of an essay - that is to say a fairly open question. Of course, you need to be able to mobilize appropriate examples to illustrate your answer, but you are free to choose what examples you use. So, naturally, the problem is not to be sure you have memorized every artist we have studied, or every musician. To help, here is an example from last year . The question was as follows:

"Write an essay in English.

“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. 

There are many different ways of answering this question well. It was essential to be able to explain that "what people want" is complicated, because (as Bourdieu said) people's social origins define what they will probably want and even it has been said that (as Adorno alleged) the industry can make people want things). But otherwise, it is a very open question which allows you to show the three qualities mentioned in the first question above. Here is the feedback I put on the blog after this test.

“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. 

This was in fact the classroom test - the principle for the final exam is exactly the same, but it is longer. For the classroom test above, two thirds of students got a mark of ten or over.

I hope this helps!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

L3 popular culture - resources on popular music

Here is an article on British popular music in the 1970s. It is entitled

"What Has Popular Music Ever Done for Us? Pleasure, Identity and Role Play in UK Pop Music in the 1970s" and tries to examine some questions which are not easy.  If we look at the history, we know that punk arrived in the 1970s, rap arrived in Britain 15 years or so later. But is it possible to say why?


And this very important documentary traces the history of the genre "progressive rock" in Britain. This is an important genre because it tended to challenge the distinction between popular culture and high culture. (About 15% of the documentary is not visible on Youtube, but you can see enough to follow the main points).


Finally, a note about the links I put on this blog. Over the semester I have put about fifteen links to articles and videos. these will be useful for you to find examples to illustrate your answers in the exam. To repeat what I said about tests and exams - both the classroom test in December, and the January exam (if it turns out to be about British civilisation) will ask very general questions,  so that you have quite a bit of freedom as to how to illustrate and justify your answer. Of course, if you have more and better examples than everyone else, you will get a good mark.

L3 Popular culture - first class on 20th century British popular music

You will find here the MP3 recording of the first class on 20th century popular music genres.

The slides will be available on this blog later, when I have got through more of them in class.

There will be more popular music reading and links later today on this blog.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The past in the present

Every single day there seems to be an example in the https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/nov/27/bronze-cockerel-to-be-returned-to-nigeria-by-cambridge-college

réunion d'information

Pour les étudiants de L3,  Master, agrégation:

Partir à l'étranger pour travailler en tant que lecteur:

Réunion d'information

Mercredi 4 décembre 2019 à 12h30 en salle A316

Contact: cecile.fouache@univ-rouen.fr

Monday, November 25, 2019


1) Attention. A l’approche de l’hiver il y a de très méchantes gastros qui se promènent.
2) A cause de 1) je serai absent demain et mercredi.
3) Pour qu’on continue à avancer, Je mettrai sur ce blog de la lecture etc concernant chacun des cours.
4) Faites passer l’information.

Friday, November 22, 2019

A little more contemporary UK art

In this article from a few years back


Le passé dans le présent... et la campagne éléctorale actuelle

"The past in the present" is not an abstract concern: it is entering into the present electoral campaign. How will Indians living in Britain vote? Might they be influenced by the attitude of party leaders to past massacres ? This article is from an Indian newspaper:


And this is the 1919 event they are referring to 


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Devoir maison deadline MEEF M1

I know you are busy people, but I will have to be inflexible with the 15th December deadline for the homework assignment.

This is because I want to go over the dossier and discuss suggestions about it in the class on the 18th  December. Obviously I can't accept homework assignements after that!

L3 Popular Culture: Reggae Britannia

In class I have concentrated on genre values and constraints. Here is a very good documentary staking out the history of one particular musical  genre : Reggae in the UK


Document préparation m e e f

Some of you have not got the document (DM). It is here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019


I thought I would start this afternoon's  class with some information about the upcoming election. So do prepare questions.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 31 Timewatch: Cook the Man

Quite a number of the videos  and articles I have been recommending deal with quite specific aspects of Cook, his history and the commemorations. This is a much more general one, a summary of Cook's voyage from a fairly traditional point if view, but very well put together:


The video opens up a whole series of historical and historiographical questions, but also is a clear summary of part of Cook' s life.

Thème agrégation: This week's translation

We'll just end at the word "palais".

Sunday, November 17, 2019

More news about Banksy

This week, news about one of Banksy's works is again provoking reflectiion about what art does, and what the art market is for. See here:


Saturday, November 16, 2019

La Revue française de civilisation britannique

The main journal for British Studies in France (although there are others which are almost as good) can be found here 


L3 popular culture- visual art

You will find here the MP3 recording of the second class on visual art in Britain since 1945.

All the visual art slides  are here.

M1 seminar week 2 of writing the history of the First World War

You will find here a recording in MP3 of the second class.

The slides  will come later, when I have got to the end of the PowerPoint.

Here you will find an article about the role and activities of the Church of England during the First World War.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

M1 MEEF scheduling

Remember there will be a class on Wednesday 18th December. This will be at the same time as you rusual weekly class, but not in the same room. It will be in A400.

L3 popular culture - scheduling

Remember there will be a class on Tuesday  17th December. This will be at the same time as your class is every week, but in a different room : it will be in A400.

MEEF Utopies etc

Voici des videos. Documentaires, conférences etc.



Chartism again

MEEF migrations

Thank you to the person who reminded me that I had forgotten to put on line resources connected with the history of migration to Britain, after the classes I gave on this in October.

The PowerPoint is here.

You can find here recordings of a generally similar class I gave last year (history of immigration)

And here recordings of a class on the history of racism and antiracism.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Industrial revolution

An excellent BBC documentary on the Industrial revolution. Indispensable, and very interesting.


Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 29: online journal

The journal of Cook's first expedition is available online.
You can find it here: http://southseas.nla.gov.au/journals/cook/contents.html 

Although you need the Penguin edition, which is shorter, and which is the version which will be used for the agrégation exam, the online version is very useful because you can seach for any key word you wish, and this makes a thematic exploration of the journal far easier.

MEEF M1 Devoir maison

I will be giving you at this afternoon's class (remember it begins at 5.30 pm) your "devoir maison". You have until 15th December to send it to me by mail to john.mullen [:/at:/]  univ-rouen.fr . No handwritten work, please.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation 2020 option civilisation post 28 .

This website https://www.bl.uk/the-voyages-of-captain-james-cook/articles

Is on the British Library website, and gives you plenty of reading matter, from a number of points of view.

L3 Visual Art in Britain since 1945

You will find here the recording of the first class on visual art.

Keywords: lecture, podcast, visual art, United Kingdom,  Lowry, Emin, Moore, Hepworth, Bacon, Freud

M1 Writing the history of the First World War: introduction to historiography

You will find here (in PDF) an example of a historical article on the cultural history of the First World War. Not the sources, the corpus, the questions, the assumptions, the objectives, the methods etc.

Just click here

You will find here the recording of the first seminar on writing the history of the First World War - useful for revision purposes.

Just click here

The accompanying slides are here.

M1 MEEF Some British scientists

Isaac Newton Charles Darwin Caroline Herschel Mary Anning Francis Crick Rosalind Franklin Stephen Hawking.

The slides are here

And the MP3 podcast of the class is here

Friday, November 08, 2019

MEEF Revising British history

One of my colleagues has put online  a list of podcasts which might be useful to revise your British history and civilization (although you can also scroll back months and years on this blog to listen to past classes on different centuries which I have given).

Dr Brailowsky's list is here


Agrégation : cours restitution mardi matin

Le cours de M Morel sera en A409.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

The Shock of the New

For L3, or indeed anyone who is interested. I don't know how much you all learned in school or at home about modern art and the history of modern art, but this TV series from 20 years or so ago is a very accessible introduction to the subject. Here is episode one

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 27: Controversy in New Zealand

Captain Cook is in the news, as a replica of his original ship tours New Zealand exactly 250 years after his first visit there.

This short news video shows people who are pleased with the commemoration, and others who are protesting against it, partly because of the people who were killed when Cook first arrived. This video also allows you to hear splendid New Zealand accents.


Notes for MEEF M1 students

First of all an administrative question. I have been informed that next week on the 13th , some of you have to go to a lecture at the ESPE. Because of this, the British civilisation class will last only one hour - from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. If you are also in my First World War seminar, I am afraid that this will go ahead without you, and you will have to find out, from my MP3 recording on the blog for example, what was said.

Secondly, I will be preparing your homework assignement and you will have all the information about it over the next week or so.

Thirdly, I was rather concerned that many of you do not know key dates in British history (in particular in connection with immigration). The 12 or so dates in the PowerPoint I showed you a few weeks are the absolute minimum, on this issue, which you need to know. Make some lists of dates and learn them!

Monday, November 04, 2019

Agrégation externe rapport

Le rapport du jury de l'agrégation externe d'anglais vient de paraître. Vous pouvez le trouver sur le site de la SAES


Most of the comments, and in particular the essay on the text commentary, will be also very useful indeed for those who are only taking the agrégation interne.

Thème class Wednesday morning

Since I understand you have an even more dense timetable this week than usual, we will finish my class on Wednesday 15 minutes earlier, just to allow you to breathe.

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 27

If you are on Facebook why not follow or join the Captain Cook society page?


L3 popular culture - theory part two

You will find here the recording of the second class on the theory of popular culture, including a discussion of some of the ideas of Bourdieu, Williams and Hebdige.

And you will find the slides here.

These  are complex ideas, and listening to the class again is probably a good idea. If there is anyone out there thinking of doing a master's dissertation (research or MEEF) on some aspect of popular culture, they would particularly need to understand this stuff.


L'UTLC (Université de toutes les cultures) accueillera le mardi 12 novembre à 18h Sylvie Octobre pour une conférence intitulée "Les transformations des rapports à la culture des jeunes".
Sylvie Octobre est sociologue, chargée d’études au Département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques du ministère de la Culture.

La conférence se déroulera à la Maison de l'Université. Entrée libre et gratuite.

L3 Popular Culture the rest of the semester

As we begin  this week looking at visual art in Britain since 1945, watch this short video which I will refer to in class.

(Just click here)

Here is what will probably be the programme for the rest of the semester:

5 nov visual art 1
12 nov visual art 2
19 nov music 1
26 nov music 2
6 décembre music 3
10 décembre: Devoir sur table.

17 décembre: summing up and indispensable information for the January exam.

Note on the classroom test 10 décembre. The subject will be either a short text commentary or an essay (une mini-dissertation en fait). You have only 90 minutes.
Because of the large number of people in the two L3 groups I am teaching, there are always one or two people who are absent at the classroom test, for good reasons. The only solution if you are absent for whatever reason, is to take the second session exam in June.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Thème agrégation

It is a good time to revise those structures where one person is involved in another person's action. Make sure you have grasped the difference between these random sentences.

Her boss made her have her hair cut.
Her boss had her have her hair cut.
Her boss got her to have her hair cut.

Some of the following are more likely than others:
I'll have my secretary phone them.
I'll make my secretary phone them.
I'll get my secretary to phone them.

He had his team have the flat repapered...

Monday, October 28, 2019


If you are at home and you have OCS, fabulous film about Gandhi right now.

M1 MEEF - the rest of the semester

In the next class I will be talking about some British scientists, since science is on the programme. If I have time, I will look at how to tackle the other two dossiers in the booklet I gave you. Otherwise I will do this in the following class. So 1) Please bring the booklet to class and 2) prepare these subjects with the help of the internet, so that you can compare the suggestions I give with what you found by yourself.  The class will be much less useful if you have not prepared.

Fairly soon, I will give you (here on this blog) your assignments, which count for 50% of the semester's mark (for M1). You will have one month to complete them, and you will send the resulting work to me by email (no handwritten work, please).


Do you use contractions when you translate literary English?  No.
What do you do with contractions when you have translated into literary English? You do not use them.
Is there anything you do not use, when translating into literary English? Yes, there is : contractions.

(This is inspired from my dear departed French teacher, Joe Carrington,  who used to say the same thing, mutatis mutandis, to dissuade us from pronouncing consonants at the ends of words in French).

Cook and the birds

When Cook and his men got to Australia, they were impressed with the https://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2019/oct/27/australian-bird-of-the-year-2019-vote-for-your-favourite

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Friday, October 25, 2019

Ten British scientists - MEEF

Scientific innovation is on the programme - here is a very short video about ten British scientists who changed the world!


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Brexit : saison deux. Séminaire Eriac 22 octobre 2019

Vous trouverez ici l'enregistrement MP3 de mon intervention lors du séminaire Eriac du 22 octobre.

Et vous pouvez cliquer sur ce lien pour télécharger le PowerPoint qui illustrait mes propos.

Mots clé: Brexit, séminaire, Johnson, Corbyn, podcast universitaire, partis politiques, identités, 2019, politique britannique

Monday, October 21, 2019

Understanding Brexit and the long-term trends involved

If you are on Academia (and it is free to join),  you can find a few previous talks I gave about Brexit.


You will also find here a class I gave last October on the question.


The talk I am giving tomorrow will end up on this blog in a week or two.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Agrégation: conférence sur Howard's End

Changement de salle
La conférence de Catherine Bernard sur Howards End aura lieu ce jeudi 24 octobre, de 10 h à 12h, en L206.

Friday, October 18, 2019

L3 popular culture : British cinema

We will be looking at the history of British cinema in a few weeks' time, but this article about Ken Loach's films just came out today. The style is rather annoying and supercilious, but still.


Contractions? No!
Si ce que vous traduisez n'est pas entre guillemets, faisant partie d'un dialogue, et le texte ne contient pas le mot "wesh" en français, ne mettez pas des contractions en anglais.

L3 Popular culture - scheduling

Next Tuesday, 22nd October,  everything is back to normal for the first group (11-12.30).

For the second group (3.30pm -5pm) everything is not quite back to normal. Tuesday's class will last only one hour (because then I have to go do my seminar on Brexit). We will finish at 4.30pm then. After that, back to normal.  Remember both groups have a class on 17 December, at the normal time.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Brexit spoilers

If you are among those trying to understand what might happen next concerning the UK and Brexit, check out this handy chart.

Ecrits agrégation externe

Les écrits de l'agrégation externe ont lieu début mars.

Les cours d'agrégation externe (option) de cette semaine-là  seront déplacés. Pour ce qui est des cours d'agrégation interne, les enseignants décideront ce qu'il convient de faire (mais il n'est pas sûr qu'il y ait d'autres plages disponibles).

Brexit- Saison deux (attention - spoilers)

Si vous êtes disponibles ( et pas trop fatigués après une longue journée) venez à notre séminaire. L'enregistrement MP3 sera disponible sur ce blog par la suite.

M1 MEEF - the rest of October

I have put on the blog some elements to help you revise aspects of British history, and I will continue to do this.

There is no class on October 16.

On October 23, I will be going through some practice exam subjects. You will find these here. Have a look at them first and take notes on how you would deal with them in the CAPES. I will give you some suggested approaches in class.

You will find here (to give you some ideas on the method) the devoir maison I gave last year, along with my suggestions for approaches and also pitfalls to avoid. If I were you, I would read it all twice. this subject wa sbased on the theme of "mémoire,héritage, ruptures" which was on the curriculum last year, but we are really not very far from "le passé dans le présent".

keywords: capes anglais 2020, le passé dans le présent, exercices d'entraînement.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

M1 MEEF migration (or indeed anyone else)

Short news video: what's it like to be a muslim in Britain?


Understanding Brexit: "Disunited Kingdom" podcast

This set of podcasts from the BBC is probably generally pro-remain, but does give a taste of the complexity of the question, and is very well made.


Captain Cook classes in January

In the classes for the civilisation option on the agrégation, which start in January, I will not have the time to tell you the story of Captain Cook's life and voyages - I will be concentrating on the debates, interpretations, contexts etc. Although I know you are busy people, this means you have to have a fair knowledge of the events and the journal he wrote before the classes begin.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

L3 Popular Culture : photography

Martin Parr is one of the best known British photographers.
Here is a documentary about his work:


What are its links with high culture and with popular culture ? 

To hyphenate or not to hyphenate

Native speakers often make these mistakes. Breakup or break-up ?

This guide works 95% of the time:


Friday, October 11, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 26 : précision importante

12/9/19 : Précision apportée par Christophe Gillissen, président du jury de l’agrégation, au texte de cadrage du sujet de civilisation à l’option (Les Voyages de Cook) :
Pour la question d’option au programme de civilisation de 2020 (« Les voyages du capitaine James Cook, 1768-1779 »), les candidats se verront proposer dans le cadre de l’épreuve du commentaire uniquement un extrait de l’édition de Philip Edwards, parue chez Penguin Classics, à l’exclusion de tout autre document textuel ou iconographique.
S’agissant de l’épreuve de la leçon, les citations et notions porteront sur la question dans son ensemble, telle qu’elle est définie dans le texte de cadrage. Les citations pourront provenir d’autres textes de la période étudiée (tel celui de John Hawkesworth, An Account of the Voyages Undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere, 1773) ainsi que de textes postérieurs (ouvrages d’historiens, etc.).

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation Post 26: Hogarth

Eighteenth century England was a place full of movement emotion and injustice. This review of a Hogarth exhibition in London right now gives you some idea of what people were discussing and thinking at the time.


Translation je devais devenir le paria

I spoke briefly about the use of the structure "to be to". (The president is to visit London next May/ The war was to last for five long years).  Quite a few people seemed unsure. Have a look at these examples (click on the image).

Immigration, anti-racism and popular culture in Britain

Students preparing the CAPES (in connection with the subject of immigration) and L3 students following my class on popular culture may be interested in these two articles, both in French, by a distinguished scholar.

Chansons antiracistes au Royaume-Uni

Festivals de musique, à Notting Hill et ailleurs.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Calendrier agrégation externe


- Dissertation en français sur un sujet de littérature ou de civilisation dans le cadre d'un programme : mardi 3 mars 2020 de 9 heures à 16 heures.

- Commentaire de texte en anglais sur un sujet de civilisation ou de littérature dans le cadre d'un programme : mercredi 4 mars 2020 de 9 heures à 15 heures.

- Composition de linguistique : jeudi 5 mars 2020 de 9 heures à 15 heures.

- Épreuve de traduction (thème et version) : vendredi 6 mars 2020 de 9 heures à 15 heures.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

M1 MEEF schedule for NEXT WEEK

Exceptionally I will not be able to give my MEEF M1 class on Wed 16th October at 5pm. I have to go back home after lunch.
However there *will* be a class in week thirteen, on Wed 18th December at 5pm.
See you tomorrow.

Monday, October 07, 2019

MEEF le passé dans le présent: everything I had to say

Note (septembre 2020). Thèse classes will shortly be available On a YouTube Channel run by The History Fellow.

L3 Popular culture - introduction to the theory

Here you will find the MP3 recording and the PowerPoint of the first class on the theory of popular culture. We looked at how we define popular culture, the tensions and overlaps between popular culture and high culture, and the theories of Theodor Adorno.

The recording can be found here.

And the slides can be found here.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

The centrality of pop music L3 Popular culture

How important is popular music to people ? See here:


Emploi du temps agrégation mis à jour

Voici l’emploi du temps de l’année entière, pour ceux et celles qui doivent s’organiser à l’avance. Il reste une dizaine d’heures à placer et l’EDT sera mis à jour dès que c’est fait. JM  Cliquez ici pour l’emploi du temps: 

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Thème M2/ Thème agrégation

Be careful not to make the same mistakes two weeks in a row! In a list, in English, you need to put "and" before the final item.

AND two sentences with main clauses may not normally be joined by a comma. A semi-colon is the minimum

Friday, October 04, 2019

L3 Popular culture and high culture: opera in the UK

Watch this video about an attempt to introduce opera to non-elite populations. The video is 25 minutes long.

The story is interesting, but try to get beneath it: what does it show about the dominant ideas in society? Nobody is standing outside opera houses trying to persuade people that they need to discover hiphop!

The video is here 

L3 Popular culture : social and political background

You will find below the PowerPoint of the first two classes, which dealt with social and political background.

Over the next few days there will be more posts, with things to read and do before we next see each other.

The PowerPoint is here.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Information L3 anglais-allemand

Quelqu'un m'a posé la question sur l'examen. Les étudiants en L3 anglais-allemand auront bien un sujet séparé, différent, lors de l'examen de janvier, traitant, bien sûr, de civilisation britannique.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Le passé dans le présent, mais aussi Captain Cook


Inlcuded in this article is the answer to the question: when did the British authorities in Nez Zealand recruit their first advisor on Maori affairs?

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Wednesday morning

At 9am there are two classes. Traductology for the agreg interne, and thème in préfabriqué 1 for thé externe.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Captain Cook agrégation anglais 2020 option civilisation post 25: more on commemoration

250 years later, what kind of commemoration is possible ?

And as a bonus one of the most well known paintings made immediately after the first expedition.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Brexit, episode 16

There is a lot of confusing news articles around. This is clearer than most, and deals with what might happen in October. https://www.rte.ie/amp/1078626/

Thème Corrections

I am hoping that I have now corrected the translations of all the students who sent me one (of Sabatier). If I forgot yours, I will fix it next week. I understand that many of you have another class next Wednesday morning, so there will be fewer of us. Naturally, you may send me the next translation if you have the energy.

Monday, September 23, 2019

UK media

I just gave this general class for the M1 MEEF, but it might be useful for others.

The slides are here.

And the recording is here

Master MEEF Le passé dans le présent part one

You will find here a recording of this part of the first class.

Inscription préparation agrégation

Il faut passer à la scolarité compléter son inscription: il y a beaucoup d'étudiants qui ne s'en sont pas encore occupé!

Séminaire H G Wells

Ce mardi 24 septembre 2019, Maxim Shadurski (University of Siedcle, Poland), viendra présenter son ouvrage, The Nationality of Utopia: H. G. Wells, England and the World State (Routledge, 2019), au séminaire de l’ERIAC (programme 1: http://eriac.univ-rouen.fr/the-nationality-of-utopia-h-g-wells-england-and-the-world-state/).

Le séminaire a lieu à partir de 16h30 en salle du CETAS (A 506) mais la présentation aura lieu vers 17h et vous êtes les bienvenus.

Crucial translation tool

As you must be aware, the more complex the translation, the more one finds dictionaries to be insufficient. They need ot be supplemented with Google and with other such tools. One of these is the British National Corpus, which is a huge collection of varied texts in British English, so you can find how words and phrases are used. If you don't know whether to say "scientific committee" or "scientific board", you will find out here ...

Sunday, September 22, 2019

L3 popular culture : important scheduling questions!

On Tuesday 8th and on Tuesday 15th October, I will be participating in a selection jury for doctoral awards, so I will be absent and  there will be no class.

Note that there *will* be a class in week thirteen, on Tuesday 17th December.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Joke of the day

A I Say, I say, I say ... why don’t they have aspirin in the jungle?
B I don’t know: why don’t they have aspirin in the jungle ?
A Because the parrots ate ‘em all!

Captain Cook agrégation anglais option civilisation 2020 post 24 the eighteenth century

This video gives you a rapid, spectacular but well-done revision of the 18th century context.

Did you know which country was the richest in the world in the 18th century?

Find out here 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

UK supreme court

To keep up, in general terms, with the news, you need to know what the UK supreme court is. This will help : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supreme_Court_of_the_United_Kingdom

M1 MEEF civilisation GB changement de salle

A partir de la semaine prochaine, notre cours du mercredi, de 17h à 18h15, aura lieu en A515 . Faites passer le message svp.

Popular culture ... a comic sketch from 1931


L3 popular culture: reality TV and history

I will be putting up here most weeks links to videos or other content connected with our subject matter. This is an episode of a "historical reality TV show". The programme takes a Black British family from the 21st century, and asks them to live like a Black family might have lived in the Britain of the 1970s.

This is both a picture of social life in the 1970s, and an example of popular television today, in which many different kinds of reality TV attract large audiences, and historical reality TV is one important strand.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Le cours aura lieu dans la salle A408.

Toutes les salles agrégation

MOREL Julien
Linguistique TC
Littérature TC (Melville)
Préfabriqué 1
Littérature TC (Webster)
CABARET Florence
TISSUT Anne-Laure
Littérature TC (Ashbery)
A409 sauf S42 : A510
Littérature TC (Forster)
A409 sauf S47 : L213 et S50 : A401
Civilisation TC (Home rule)
VAUGHAN Géraldine
Civilisation TC (Obama)