Saturday, December 31, 2022

M2 1970s mini dossiers

 I have received and approved the following subjects

Morgane - Fashion in Spare Rib in the 1970s

Zacharie - Mind your language - TV series

Meriem - TV series "Love thy neighbour" - the relationship between the women

Josephine -1970s board games and society

Candeur - 1970s musical revolution in Spare rib

Alice - "The representation of 1970s teenage girls in Jackie and Fabulous 208."

Dominik - "How the right, embodied by Margaret Thatcher was represented through iconographic documents and texts by the women's liberation magazine Women's Voice in the late 1970s?" 

Edouard -TV series "The Good Life" and the Rat Race

Léonor: representation of mental illness in 1970s women's movement magazines.


Alexis L Contraception in "Spare Rib"  in the 1970s

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Agrégation concours blanc: thème

 I have received scripts from

Nathalie Y

Ludivine K

Caroline F

Victoria R

Gilles S

Claire B

Adeline B 


Nathalie F

If you did this exam but you are not listed here, please send me an email.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

L3 James Cook exam, and second chance


L3 James Cook: Exam feedback

 If you did not get the marks you needed you will get a « second chance » in January, when there will be an exam.

 If you do not know enough about Cook’s expeditions, you can search on this blog. You will also find quite a lot of half-hour videos about Cook on my YouTube channel « The History Fellow ».


 Here are a few notable mistakes people made on their text commentary on Cook.


Errors of fact

The transit of Venus happens twice a century and so will not help you if you are lost at sea.

 Cook was NOT able to determine that scurvy was a problem caused by a lack of vitamin C. Vitamins were discovered centuries later. In Cook’s time, there were many proposed solutions to scurvy – some of them worked, many of them did not.

 The Royal Society did not write these « additional instructions ». In fact the Royal Society was not involved in these instructions in any way. Military authorities are not in the habit of asking other people’s opinions before writing their commands to their subordinates. The Royal Society in fact sent another, different document to Cook, including  hints about what they thought he should do on his expedition.


 There is some contrast between the Royal Society’s hints and the admiralty’s official instructions. In particular the Royal Society document seems to be more worried about the possibility that first nations will be badly treated.




 You must not use contractions in written university work. Do not, not don’t, could not have not couldn’t’ve etc. Contractions are almost always necessary in speech and almost always inappropriate in writing.

 One sentence is not enough to make a paragraph in University work. Journalists sometimes use just one sentence for a paragraph : you should not.

 There are quite a lot more capital letters in English than there are in French : Capital letters for Royal Navy and Royal Society and so on.


*as it is shown in the document,...

* as I have mentioned it earlier

This is French. In English we write « as is shown in the document » and « as I mentioned  earlier ». This is similar to « Je le crois » - « I think so », and so on


 Be careful not to write excessively naive statements like « James Cook was not alone on the ship ».



You must structure around the document. You should question what the intentions of the writers were. Many students took at face value everything in the document. This is unreasonable -the military authorities who ordered Cook to take possession of lands « with the consent of the natives » must have known,  from the experience in North America and in India, that no real consent was possible or necessary.


It is better to use line numbers to refer to the document rather than long quotes. It is not necessary to copy out many sentences from the document. Those students who did this were often in danger of paraphrase.

 Very Frequently the question which was omitted was « why ? » Why collect seeds? Why make maps? And so on. This is what you should be writing about.

 For some people, the key question was « did Cook follow these instructions or not ? » However, it would be much better to interrogate the intentions of the authors. Must we absolutely believe that they only wanted to Cook to take possession with the consent of the natives? What signs are there in the instructions of the colonial intentions of the authors? Are there any signs that the authors saw local peoples as inferior?

 It may be that when looking at a historical document one needs to analyze closely the language in order to reveal something unexpected. However you must not waste time closely analyzing the language in order to reveal things which everybody knew.

 Cook is a military man. This document is entitled “instructions”. Therefore it is a mistake to point out that there are a number of imperative forms in the document. 

* the imperative form “you are to” is used nine times.

 Because the context makes absolutely clear that Cook is a military inferior, this analysis is a mistake.

 When should you quote from the document ?


It is an unnecessary waste of time to quote “individual words, unless the words are particularly surprising or controversial. Quoting words like « navigation » « observing » « arrive », which are words which inevitably occur in naval instructions, is not interesting and uses up a lot of time.

 * the document contains the words latitude and longitude seven times

 But it is correct to quote and explain « additional instructions ». These words occur in the title and so absolutely must be *explained*.

 If you quote words which may be difficult, you must then show that you understand them.

  Some people quoted “genius temper disposition and number”. These are words which did not have the same meaning in the 18th century, or which are not completely easy to understand. But students did not show that they knew the meaning, which you must do. Genius means specific character. Temper means character in the sense of whether people are warlike. Disposition means what attitude they show to people outside. If in fact you do not understand the words, you certainly should not quote them.

 Concerning the language, it is essential to find time to reread slowly your answer at the end. At least 10 students including mistakes which they definitely knew about. Mistakes like it cook did went etc

 Thelanguage must not be too informal

 Here comes the second part of my commentary

Banks was a filthy rich botanist

First things first

James Cook was not clueless either



Notice the important difference in meaning between the word « historic » and the word « historical ».


It is generally  much better to say « well-known » rather than « famous ». Ed Sheeran is famous. Isaac newton is well known.


Propriety and property are two completely different words in English: check your dictionary.


You must write a Hawaiian tribe not an Hawaiian tribe.


The difference between A and An depends on the sound of the beginning of a word, not on the way it is written.


This is why the following are correct :


A university

An umbrella

 A European

An HSE regulation

An SOS message.



M2 les années 1970

 1) For your mini-dossier, several students have sent me an email to propose a subject (john dot mullen att univ hyphen rouen dot fr ). The others must do this  - I have to approve your subject before you start writing seriously.

2) You mini-dossier must not be a general essay using sources from many different places which do not constitute a structured corpus. The title of your mini- dossier must include a reference to your corpus. "The Representation of Pizzas in The Ecologist" is good."Pizza Ingredients and the Rise of  the Democratic Spirit" is not good.

3) As well as finding a series of articles from your main source (or finding a series of 1970s UK TV episodes, or 1970s board games or whatever), you should try to find what has already been written on the subject by searching Google Scholar, Academia, YouTube and Researchgate. You will put these articles in your bibliography, even though you will often read them quite quickly, or even read only the introduction and the conclusion.

4) You must include a bibliography, with all the usual details. You may choose the format, but it must be the same from beginning to end. Something like

Samantha Jones, Her Book, Anytown, Famous Press, 1986.

Samantha Jones, "Her Article", An Academic Journal, Vol 6 N°3, 1987.

I would like to receive them by 15 January.

5) My examination of the last few years of the 1970s and social and cultural changes can be found on video here (Thanks to COVID restrictions a couple of years back).

1975 on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXfm3OFK1ss&

1977 on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br5shryoXFw&

If you missed any previous sessions of the seminar, you will find more videos on the 1970s on my YouTube channel "The History Fellow" https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvLLgJ4sKK4397db6PiYuRQ 

These videos are not as good as this year's classes, but I hope will open up questions of social and cultural history.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Last class popular culture

 On Thursday we will have our last class (13h A507). I will be giving you back your homework assignment and commenting a little, and I will be continuing to talk about a few more genres of popular music.

A reminder of the precise question you were asked:

Homework assignment

Can visual art be popular culture? Can modern visual art be popular ? How have visual art practitioners and institutions tried to make their art more popular in the UK? Discuss these questions using both carefully chosen examples we have seen in class and examples which you have found yourselves.

Write 1200 -1500 words in English, and re-read very carefully.

Hand in your work before the 3rd December at midnight, by email to john.mullen {AT] univ-rouen.fr. Your work must be in the format Word or ODT or RTF.

DO do some of your own research so as to find different examples and problems.

DO hedge (Write “On might conclude that” or “many commentators consider that…” etc.  in order to nuance your statements).

DO give your own opinion, as well as showing you understand the different controversies.

DO NOT list every artist we have seen in class.

DO NOT plagiarise.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

M1 MEEF civilisation britannique: final class

I will be giving you each some individual feedback on your assignments, in the form of written comments (though I will not correct every manguage mistake). But in general, people had the same kinds of difficulties and weaknesses, so most of the feedback will be collective, in class next week, Thursday, 11 am A507.

I will not be seeing you in the second semester in class. Apart from the recordings here and there on this blog (they go back several years), you may also  find that, when preparing the CAPES, some of my videos on my YouTube channel, "The History Fellow", are useful to you: 



Friday, December 09, 2022

L3 Studying British Popular Music

 If you missed one of the classes or you need to revise, you will find here Mp3 recordings of the most important parts of three classes on Studying British Popular music:

Class one

Class one was about a whole series of key terms which can be useful in studying popular music, such as palimpseste, participatory theatre, industry, authenticity, legitimacy, affective alliances, genre values and genre constraints.

Class two

In Class two we looked at two genres to try to understand the values and activities attached, as well as some of their hstory in Britain: Folk, and Music Hall.

Class three

Class three went through a whole series of genres including big band, progressive rock, glam rock, rock n rol and skiffle.

Les salles de la semaine prochaine

 mercredi 14 décembre

Thème M2, 9h, A402

L3 Cook, 10h30, A208

M2 séminar 15h A402

Thursday 15 décembre

11h M1 MEEF civi A507

13h L3 Cultures populaires A507

M2 seminar 1970s

 I need all students to email me about their “mini dossier” subject. Try to make it on a question which is specific, and on a clearly defined corpus. I must approve your subject before you write your piece. Deadline for final handling in is mid-January.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Corrigé Amette


 Puisque le texte sur Hans Trow et son rêve est extrait de l'épreuve d'agrégation de 2011, je vous indique l'adresse où vous trouverez un corrigé ultra-détaillé.