Tuesday, November 30, 2021

L3 DST remplacement

 J'ai envoyé un mail à tous ceux qui étaient absents pour des raisons médicales lors du DST, en leur donnant les instructions pour un devoir maison de remplacement. Si jamais vous êtes une de ces quatre personnes et vous ne l'avez pas reçu, contactez moi immédiatement.

Sunday, November 28, 2021


You will find here the Mp3 file of our first class on inclusion and diversity


and here are the slides


I mentioned in class this series about the lives of religious Jews in one part of the UK.


And this series speaks about the Irish in Britain 


I recommend them.

L3 Popular music in Britain : Progressive rock / Blues

 We are racing through the different genres in class , but if you want to spend a little more time on certain genres, here are some good documentaries.

This one on progressive rock 


This one (which we saw a little of in class) on blues


Agrégation BBC 1922-1995. TV Theory/diversity, inclusion, racism and the BBC


Agrégation BBC 1922-1995 Podcast et Powerpoint

A look at TV theory/ Diversity inclusion and racism

This two hour class was mostly taken up with a look at theory of TV : half a dozen key concepts which help us understand what the BBC might have done for people and/or to people. The final part, however, looks at racism, antiracism and the BBC : did the BBC, over the decades, defend colonialism and  promote racism, or work for tolerance and combat racism ?

The MP3 recording is here


And the slides are here


Your work on the BBC

 A number of people have sent me their essays on the BBC. I will send you back comments. However, if  more than three weeks go past without you receiving my comments, do feel free to remind me by email.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

First World War historiography M1

 This week in our seminar I got to the end of the question of the historiography of the First World War, which I hope gave you ideas about historiography in general. Next week I will be looking at commemoration. 

Last year during the closure of the university, I did these classes on video, and they may be useful to you for revision purposes. My YouTube channel is the place to browse, here https://youtube.com/c/JohnMullenTheHistoryFellow 

The videos are by no means identical to the classes you followed, although they follow generally the same topic.

We watched extracts from two historians’ lectures in class. The full videos can be found at these links:

Christopher Clark, speaking about the first day of the war 


Margaret Macmillan asking whether the war was inevitable https://youtu.be/G_bJSXyO78M

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

L3 Popular Culture: Feedback on classroom test, Part One


L3 civilisation britannique Popular Culture since 1945 : DST


I will be putting feedback here over the next few weeks concerning your classroom test. You will remember that it was worth 15% of the course mark, so one might say its main aim is to get you to absorb what our expectations are.

I will add to this post a few times, so do keep coming back to it once a week.

The morning class were given the following question :

How have British artists and artistic institutions tried to make sure that visual art speaks to a wider section of the population ?

Answer the question giving a number of examples of approaches by British artists or artistic programmes or institutions.


I will concentrate on this question for the time being. The afternoon class were given a subject about elitism, which was fairly similar in many ways.



Your answer needs a structure, so as to avoid you simply saying everything you know about visual art since the impressionists. It is probably best to use a simple structure. Here is an example.

Introduction : define some of the terms of the question : what is “a wider audience” in this case (an audience which is not wholly drawn from a cultural elite).


1.    Artistic programmes and institutions (the Tate Gallery, the Fourth Plinth, the Turner Prize…)

a.    What they have done to widen their audience (free galleries, use of internet, use of popular participation)

b.    What has made it hard to widen their audience (entrenched social codes, but also the obscure and avant-garde nature of much of the Turner prize work, for example).


2.    Artists

a.    What they have done to widen their audiences

i Bringing art to the people – street art in particular, but also Anthony Gormley’s beach sculptures or Andy Goldsworthy’s arch, or the outdoor sculptures of Henry Moore.

ii Treating subjects which matter to ordinary people (Lowry, Martin Parr…)

iii Public participation (Banksy’s Dismaland, Jeremy Deller)


b.    What has made it harder for artists to widen their audience?




This is just one example of a possible structure – there are many more possible. The most important thing to notice is that every paragraph is linked to the original question – you do not add things you remember from the class unless you have linked them to the idea of widening, or failing to widen, the audience.


Secondly, although the question asks “how did they widen their audiences?” it is a very good idea to also include the opposite – how did they NOT widen their audiences.


There will be many more comments here, as I go on marking your scripts.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

M1 MEEF Rouen Homework assignment date

 I have been told that there are a lot of assignments due at the same time in December. It is in my interests to give you a little more time and so read better assignments. The assignment is therefore now due for the 18th December (john.mullen@univ-rouen.fr). I will confirm receipt a week later on this blog, and most of the feedback will be collective, on this blog.

World War One: additional material

 Here is a short YouTube video  about First World War propaganda


From time to time historians het asked to produce a more popular, less intellectual account of what they have found in their research, without detailed justifications oe much hedging. Here is an example:


M1 MEEF Diversity, inclusion etc

I hope that you enjoyed Steve Bell's presentation. All my British friends are jealous I got to work with him!

You will have seen ( a few posts back) your homework assignment. This will help you revise and study the theme of inclusion and diversity, which is on the programme. You need to read about this. The appropriate sections in the volume edited by Pauline Schnapper et al (see below*) is the best place to start. Sarah Pickard's introductory volume on civilisation britannique is also useful. The last four articles in this review will help too: https://journals.openedition.org/rfcb/655

I will no doubt be marking your work over the Christmas break: most of the feedback will be on this blog, collective feedback. I am hoping you have read last year's feedback before starting your assignment (most years, the mistakes are similar). https://johncmullen.blogspot.com/2021/01/m1-meef-comments-on-homework.html 

The remaining Thursday classes before Christmas will be devoted to this general theme.

* Pauline Scnapper et al Le Royaume-Uni au XXI siècle : mutations d'un modèle

Saturday, November 20, 2021

The BBC and the Enchantment of everyday life

Here is a two hour class on the BBC I gave for students at Amiens, but other people might be interested.

In the first part I look at the question "Was the BBC part of the Welfare State?" and compare the BBC with the National Health Service. 

In the second part I look at two kinds of radio and TV programme - firstly those concerning music, especially popular music, and secondly documentary series. For each case I try to evaluate what the contribution of public service was - that is to say, can we be sure that the BBC was providing something which commercial television coud not provide?

You will find the MP3 recording here


And the accompanying slides here


BBC history agrégation podcast PowerPoint

Agrégation Rouen timetable for second semester

 Vous trouverez ici l'emploi du temps du deuxième semestre.


Il y a encore quelques cours (une dizaine d'heures de cours pour l'agrégation interne) que je dois rajouter.

Il ets mieux de ne pas télécharger l'emploi du temps, mais le consulter en ligne, car la toute dernière version se trouvera toujours au lien ci-dessus.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

L3 Popular Culture Folk music


The history of folk music in Britain

was the subject of a documentary series on the BBC. You can find the first episode here, and the other are easy to find on YouTube :



Here are a few classic English folk songs

Sandy Denny 



Fairport Convention


Mr Fox



The Chieftains (Irish)



And here is an article I wrote about popular music during the two world wars.



PS You will see feedback on this blog soon, concerning your classroom test  

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Devoir maison M1 MASTER MEEF civilisation britannique pour 10 décembre

 Comme vous le savez, l'évaluation du semestre se fait par devoir maison. L'exercice se trouve ici


Faites passer le message. Je suis convaincu que PRESQUE tous les étudiant e s consultent régulièrement ce blog, mais il pourrait y avoir un e ou deux qui ne le font pas.

La fête de Neuilly


Friday, November 12, 2021

BBC and classical music

 The history of the BBC Symphony Orchestra is interesting:


Thursday, November 11, 2021

Agrégation BBC: Students at Rouen

 In class I did not get to the end of the timeline. There are now videos of mine online which take you up to 1995:

After 1980  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqMdu17EfJ0

The BBC under Thatcher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky_UIk8EtRQ

Previous decades we covered in class IRL. However, I have put online, on my YouTube channel, the videos I made last year during lockdown. You may find these useful for revising. Also note that they are broadly the same classes, but not identical at all : I present a certain number of questions differently. I will leave you to find the videos on my YouTube channel, which is here :


Each video is around 30 minutes. You will find

Seven videos covering the BBC since the Second World War

Three videos covering the BBC before the Second World War

Three videos on the Commissions of Enquiry

Two videos on the Director-Generals

Three videos making up a general introduction

And one dense video in French

There is a certain amateurism in the channel: in particular don't take any notice of the first few seconds of the videos, in which I give the chapters numbers according to a rather bizarre numbering system.

There will be a couple more videos on other BBC subjects over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

First World War historiography seminar

 The aim of the seminar is to look at what historians do and why. In the case of university historians, the products we are expected to produce include

 - books (300 to 500 pages). These take a long time so we do not do many.

- articles  or chapters (4000 to 6000 words) Here is an example about humour in First World War song 


 - papers (that is to say, speeches) at university conferences. These generally last twenty minutes, and should be quite concentrated. Hre is an example I gave in Greece


M1 MEEF More revision of aspects of British history


As you know, the programme for the CAPES exam changes regularly. For 2022 it is as follows :

Thème des programmes de collège

- Rencontres avec d’autres cultures

Axes d’étude des programmes de lycée

- Art et contestation
- Diversité et inclusion
- Fiction et réalité
- Relation entre l’individu et le groupe


We will be working a lot on diversity and inclusion in November and December. For the topic « Art et contestation », the work many of you did with me in L3 on high culture and popular culture, both in the visual arts and in music will be helpful for you : I hope you have not thrown your notes away. Those of you who did not have this class with me in L3 will find useful material by searching on this blog, or on my Youtube channel



Last year, one of the themes was « le passé dans le présent ». This theme is no longer on the programme. However, I do recommend that you watch the videos I made last year during lockdown, because they deal with many aspects of British history, including diversity and inclusion, and the relation between the individual and the group. There are six half-hour videos, and you will find them here :

1  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RkxtVGKdtE

2  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv_zAJqSLK0

3  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00rVfOC8w2w

4  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq-MSR6CsSo

5  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9sGnbE2MGE

6  https://studio.youtube.com/video/DaPcFDppmHo/edit