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Module LXF-3014:
France and the Mediterranean

Module Facts

Run by School of Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Media

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Jonathan Lewis

Overall aims and purpose

Perhaps no other sea has seen as much conflict and cultural exchange than the Mediterranean, also referred to sometimes as the ‘middle sea’ or the ‘in-between sea’. Focusing on France's long and complex relationship with the Mediterranean, this module provides an overview of the Mediterranean as a site of contestation, looking specifically at the period from the 19th century to the present day. The module is interdisciplinary, drawing on the fields of history, visual cultures, film and literature, and encourages students to view the Mediterranean as a connecting and transcultural space.

Course content

This module will introduce students to a variety of historical and cultural issues raised by francophone representations of the Mediterranean from the early 19th century to the present day. The module exposes students to a range of forms of representation, including painting, film and autobiographical fiction, enabling them to draw meaningful comparisons between these through detailed critical analysis. The module will also introduce students to the notion of the Mediterranean as a connecting and transnational space, and encourage them to look beyond western conceptions of ‘ownership’ of this diverse and plural space. Specifically, students will study and analyse 19th century Orientalist paintings by French artists, a contemporary novel by French-Algerian writer Nina Bouraoui, Garçon manqué (2000), and a film by francophone Lebanese directors Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Je veux voir (2008).

Assessment Criteria


A- - A*: Students attaining the highest grades will have produced innovative and individual interpretations of the works studied, while synthesizing their analysis with a demonstrable grasp of the relevant historical context. They will have been able to demonstrate excellent referencing skills and will display an aptitude for critically engaging with and evaluating both the core texts and secondary reading.


D- - D+: In order to merit the award of credit, students will have demonstrated a basic comprehension and knowledge of the works studied and will be able to situate a work in its historical context.


C- - B+: Students attaining higher grades will not only have understood the content of the works studied, but will also have been able to interpret these works through the application of secondary sources. They will have produced well-structured and coherently argued essays and presentations, and will also have engaged with the concept of the Mediterranean as a connecting and transcultural space.

Learning outcomes

  1. To analyse a range of forms of representation, demonstrating specific knowledge about the contexts in which these forms were produced (considering in particular issues of power, identity, colonialism and historical migratory movements)

  2. To evaluate critical approaches to representations of the Mediterranean as a connecting and transcultural space

  3. To be able to analyse in significant detail primary sources with regard to their broad themes, and socio-cultural and historical context, making cross-comparisons between authors and contexts.

  4. To demonstrate an awareness of the intercultural sensitivity required for a successful understanding of the material and themes under consideration

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Image commentary

The commentary will be on a 19th century painting

ESSAY Essay 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


One film screening to be timetabled outside main lecture/seminar slots


1-hour lecture per week for 11 weeks

Private study 176

1-hour seminar per week for 11 weeks


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • The ability to comprehend and interact with critical assessments of the primary sources considered (incl. films and/or literature and/or other media in the target language) and their contexts. (Benchmark statement 5.3, 5.4, 5.10, 5.11. 5.13)
  • The ability to comprehend aspects of French history, culture and language. (Benchmark statement 5.7)
  • The ability to critically understand cultural studies concepts on representation, the nation and identity, and their application to core texts (incl. filmic and/or literary and/or other sources). (Benchmark statement 5.7, 5.10)
  • The ability to comprehend and critically engage with issues related to national and cultural identity and to develop an understanding of these in relation to ideas of representation. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to engage with issues of form, style, content and target audience, thus coming to a wider understanding of the role of literature and/or film and/or other media in wider cultural contexts. (Benchmark statement 5.10)
  • The ability to critically understand a specific aspect of French or Francophone culture and its relationship to other cultures. (Benchmark statement 5.7)


Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: