Tuesday, October 31, 2023

BBC Classes next week - important

 In our next BBC class we will be jumping ahead, and looking at the passage from 1968 by Tony Benn, which is on page sixteen of your BBC documents booklet. Please tell people.

Monday, October 30, 2023

M2 seminar Social and Cultural Changes in the 1970s

You will find here, exceptionally, the Mp3 recording of part of the week one seminar. These recordings will not be available each week.


You will find here the accompanying slides. At the beginning of the slides is some information about the research article ("mini-dossier" which you are to hand in in January (exact dates follow). More information will be available as the weeks go by.

Just click here for the slides

M2 seminar 1970s - change of room

Le séminaire aura lieu dans  la L 311 à partir du mercredi 8 novembre, à l’exception du mercredi 22 novembre (en salle L306).

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The BBC 1965-75, Podcast, slides and further reading

 Last week we looked at the BBC from 1965 to the mid 1970s. In particular we saw the radical reorganization of BBC radio in 1967, after the closing of the pirate radios, we saw the invention and development of some new kinds of programme, and we saw the implication of the BBC in general changes in British society, such as the very slow advance of the idea that women’s place is everywhere, and the gradual rise of multiculturalism.

You will find the MP3 recording of the class here.

Just click here :

And you will find the accompanying slides here

Further reading : I recommend this article by a colleague, in French, about the way the BBC presented the conflict in Northern Ireland over the decades. Just click here.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Contemporary Art in Britain

 If you are interested, you can watch this video of a lecture I gave, in French, in Paris, a couple of weeks ago. It is an introduction to British contemporary art, from Moore to Banksy.

Just click here

(You need to download the file and then open it afterwards. The file is quite big and may take some time to download).

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Translating into the present or the preterite

 La guerre contre la Prusse commence en 1870. Il durera trois ans.

In French, writing stories which happen in the past, in the present tense is normal, not surprising, not avant-garde, completely standard.

In English this is not the case. Although there are quite a few modern novelists who choose to write in the present, this is to give a specific, exceptional effect. This present tense is so suprising that some newspapers have written articles about its use.

This article from The Guardian is a good example


Nobody would write a newspaper article in French about the use of the present in narratives, because it is completely standard.

The article from The Guardian exaggerates : the standard is still absolutely the preterite in English. It is a risk to translate into the present, and, as everyone knows, exams are not the right time for risky behaviour .

Saturday, October 21, 2023

M1 MEEF podcast slides etc. Britain since 1945


Meef 1  the twentieth century and … the programme.


You wil find here the Mp3 recording of the class on Britain since 1945 (although we only got as far as the sixties).

Just click here


The accompanying slides are here.


We need to start keeping in mind the programme . This is what is on the SAES site for « CAPES externe programme 2024 » (I think this is your programme but I am checking).

Thème des programmes de collège :

École et société

Axes d’étude des programmes de lycée :

Sauver la planète, penser les futurs possibles

Faire entendre sa voix : représentation et participation

Territoire et mémoire

Mise en scène de soi


Agrégation deuxième semestre

 J'ai vu que l'emploi du temps a été affiché au 5ème étage.

Il y a eu quelques petits rajouts depuis, et la version en ligne sera toujours plus à jour.

Just click here.

Friday, October 20, 2023

First world war history and memory: many video links


Here is the link to the video of the debate of which we watched part in class


Here is a link to the lecture of Christopher Clarke, of which we saw the beginning in class.



Your examination will be in January. It will be in the form of an essay about historiography or commemoration or both.

For revision purposes, you will find these videos I made for YouTube helpful. You need to find the YouTube channel named « John Mullen the history fellow », and search among the videos. You can start here https://www.youtube.com/@JohnMullenTheHistoryFellow/search?query=war

The BBC in the 1960s: further reading, podcast, slides


BBC classes : further reading, podcasts and slides

I recommend this article by Laura Carter on BBC radio and education


You will find here the MP3 of lecture number 5 on the history of the BBC- the story begins in 1955.

Just click here.

The accompanying PowerPoint is here


I looked in class at the newspaper article, the obituary of Olive Shapley. As I mentioned, there are many ways of doing a good commentary on such a document, but in class I gave you some hints on how to approach this document. Here is the Mp3 of that part of the class

Just click here.

And here is the document I was commenting on :

Olive Shapley obituary

Letting the people speak

By Anne Karpf

The Guardian Mon 15 Mar 1999 03.39 GMT


Olive Shapley, who has died aged 88, was a pioneering radio producer, one of the first to midwife the voices of ordinary people onto the airwaves. In a career spanning 40 years, which reads like an ordnance survey of British broadcasting, she also worked as a prominent presenter in radio and television. Her private experiences - of two nervous breakdowns, of psychoanalysis, as a socialist, professional woman and single parent - anticipated current concerns by 50 years.

Paddy Scannell, the historian of early radio, has argued that Shapley was one of the first British programme-makers not to seek to impose their own vision on their subject but to allow the subject to define themselves. To help her, she seized on the mobile recording van, a seven-ton vehicle, whose creative possibilities Shapley immediately recognised and which she used to develop her own broadcasting style.

Born in Peckham into a lower-middle-class Unitarian family, she was named after Olive Schreiner, author of Story of an African Farm. Like so many of her contemporaries she was radicalised at Oxford, where she read history at St Hugh's. (Her fleeting membership of the Communist Party was to dog her for the rest of her institutional life.) Shapley got a job as Children's Hour organiser in Manchester. In 1934 it was a crucible of creative, radical programming, initiated by Archie Harding, a Marxist intellectual whom Reith had banished from London to where he couldn't 'do so much damage'.

At a time when 'the regions' mattered much more in the BBC than they do today, the North Region under Harding had its own distinct culture: members included Wilfred Pickles, Joan Littlewood, the singer Ewan McColl, documentary producer, Geoffrey Bridson, and Shapley. In 1939 Shapley was promoted to assistant producer, and so began a stream of remarkable documentaries which, for the first time in British broadcasting, made imaginative use of recorded actuality.

Her first, presented by Wilfred Pickles, was on shopping. It was followed by features on canal workers, long distance lorry drivers, homeless people, miners' wives, and 24 hours in the life of a big hotel from the staff's point of view (so much for the 'innovation' of the recent TV docu-soap Hotel). Apart from the introductions and links, they were unscripted and unrehearsed, with ordinary people speaking about their lives to an extent previously unheard on British radio.

Her most famous feature, the 1939 The Classic Soil, was one of the most radical programmes the BBC had ever broadcast. Scripted by Joan Littlewood and produced by Shapley, it opened with a plummy BBC voice announcing a programme inspired by the book The Condition of the Working-Class in 1844 by Friedrich Engels and proceeded to put in question a century's social progress. Even now it stands in striking contrast to BBC notions of 'balance'.

At the end of an evening of GPO Film Unit documentaries at the Academy Cinema in London, Alberto Cavalcanti played Shapley's Homeless People and invited her to collaborate with them on a film and radio project, Health of the Nation. She did so, and worked alongside Humphrey Jennings for a time during the war.

In the meantime Shapley had met John Salt, the BBC's north region programme director. In June 1939 the Daily Mail and Daily Dispatch leaked his engagement to 'the girl whose voice is known to millions of radio listeners'. There was considerable opposition then to married women working, and BBC policy was not to employ staff married to each other. After their marriage in July 1939, Shapley resigned and worked for the BBC on a contract basis, producing documentaries about ordinary people's experience of the war. In 1941 Salt was posted to New York as deputy North American director of the BBC.

America energised them. They lived for a time in the stylish Fifth Avenue apartment of Alistair Cooke, and employed Mabel, Cooke's part-time Harlem maid. Through their friendship, Shapley gained access to the black community, enabling her to send back programmes about black people in America. She also sent a vivid fortnightly newsletter to Children's Hour which included memorable interviews with Eleanor Roosevelt and Paul Robeson. They were the precursor of Cooke's version for adults, initiated four years later.

In 1949 Shapley became the presenter (sometimes called 'commere') of the daily Woman's Hour. She brought formerly taboo subjects, like menopause and women without men, onto the air. When domestic crises occurred, she brought her children into work with her; they learned to sit quietly and draw on the back of old scripts and became expert cutters of tape.

By now the family was living in Hampstead and Shapley was writing articles for Modern Woman magazine. In 1950 she began working in television, presenting the Women of Today series, and narrating tales for very young children in Olive Shapley Tells a Story. In 1952 she married Manchester businessman Christopher Gorton, and the following year they moved back to Manchester, into Rose Hill, an enormous Victorian Gothic house in Didsbury. By the late 1950s Shapley decided to shift to TV production rather than presentation and devised an innovative books programme, Something to Read. She had to fight the BBC to get Guardian journalist Brian Redhead as the presenter - they objected to his supposedly incomprehensible Geordie accent.


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Stuff you can do with Chat GPT

 Although for history, Chatgpt can be shaky ( although useful for brainstorming, if you then check what it comes up with), it is very useful for language work. It will easily modify your writing to make it sound more natural, for example. Here is another thing it can do, which could make fun exercises for lycée students.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Room change for translation class

 From 25 October, that is to say in 9 days' time, our translation classes will be in F508 and not in A402. Take careful note.

From 25 October, for six weeks, the (rest of the) M2 students will be joining the class. Those M2 people who have already been attending, perhaps you could explain to the others this week how the class works and show them this link

Just click here

and tell them which passage we are up to etc. Thank you

Billy Bob Thornton


Thursday, October 12, 2023


 Pour chacun de mes cours

BBC L2 exam 1st December text commentary

BBC L3 exam 8th december text commentary

Thème M2 examen janvier

Thème agreg concours blanc décembre

Séminaire WW1 - examen janvier

Séminaire 1970s - mini dossier

MEEF - devoir maison à donner mi novembre, un mois pour faire

Monday, October 09, 2023

Historiography and Memory Studies – World War I class

Historiography and Memory Studies – World War I class

Here are some videos you need to watch this week.

« Reinforcing war priorities in song in Britain and France 1914-1918 : why were the French and British repertoires so radically different ? »

This was a 20 minutes research paper I gave a few years back : as you will see, research papers are quite dense and there is a lot of information. The talk takes what appears to be a fairly straightforward source – songs will sell well – and shows how the differences which we find may not be due to the most obvious reasons.

Just click here

This one is also 20 minutes long and is entitled « The many and varied uses of wartime popular song ».

Just click here

Finally, watch at least part of this lecture, which is longer. It is by Jay Winter, one of the foremost historians working on World War One

Just click here

BBC classes this week


BBC Classes


Here are  two videos . you need to watch this week.

This one asks « What Questions Should Historians Study about the History of the BBC ? » It is in French.

Just click here


This one gives a brief overview of the whole history of the BBC, in French

Cent ans de la BBC - YouTube


You will find here the MP3 recording of last week’s class :

Just click here

And the accompanying slides are here.


Sunday, October 08, 2023

M1 MEEF, The Age of Empire and the Age of Extremes

 You will find here the MP3 recording of what I said about the British Empire

Just click here

The accompanying slides are here 

You will find here the talk on the first half of the twentieth century

Just click here

The accompanying slides are here


 Marking for translations will be a couple of days later this week.

Videos for BBC classes, and for World War 1 class will go up here soon, as well as slides and recordings from last week.

Monday, October 02, 2023

Look here next week for videos etc.

 Look here next week for videos etc