FREN 111A Intro video


This video features one image with voice over.      

Image: [Professor Michael Randall sits in front of the camera and speaks to us.]      


[Hi, my name is Professor Randall, and I am here to introduce a course called French 111 or The Republic.

This course basically looks at the French tradition of the republic in which the key element is the citoyen or the citizen.  This political identity basically means that all other kinds of cultural identities based on ethnicity, race, religion are either eliminated or given much less importance. So, we’re going to look at how this tradition of a political rather than a cultural identity fares in our modern, multicultural world.  Um, so basically, we're going to look at how the notion of the citoyen was developed in the French system. We`ll try to understand what the notion of laicity or French secularism means today.  And try to understand it in the context of a cultural world today, a multicultural world today, in which these things have much more importance than they perhaps did in the French tradition.  

We'll begin by looking at France, and we’ll start by understanding the French political structures that will look at things like l'assemblée nationale, the senate, the presidency, and try to understand how the French political system is put together. And we'll look at articles and books and films sometimes about how cultural identity comes into conflict sometimes with political identity, and we'll look at how the different players Interpret and defend their different positions.

Then we'll then turn to the Ivory Coast, which was a French colony, which became independent in 1960, and we'll look at how the Ivory Coast political system, which was very similar to the French system developed in the post-colonial period. We'll be particularly interested in what is known as the notion of ivoirité, which was a kind of cultural identity, which was developed in Ivory Coast in the 1990s. 

And then we'll turn to Canada, and Canada is very interesting for us because obviously Québec is a Francophone  province and very much influenced by the French tradition, and we look at how Québec functions within the French, the larger Canadian  political context, which is much more  multicultural in many ways than the French  system based on laïcité and then finally  we're going to look at perhaps how  the European Union functions in this  because the European Union is is obviously a super national political entity in which the notion of laïcité or that kind of friend secularism is completely absent.  And we'll try to understand what it means to have a sort of continental or European identity as opposed to a national identity, which could be more related to cultural issues such as language or just different kinds of cultural behaviors.

So, in any case, this is a great class. It usually gives rise to many discussions. It's a discussion-based class. If it's just me talking, it’s not very interesting, and I hope to see you next semester.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  It's  Thank very much. Bye bye.]