What is the course about?
Was La Belle Epoque really a “golden age”? Socio-economic conditions remained appalling for many and deep tensions over issues such as religion and workers' rights divided society. Yet a sense of optimism prevailed, fostered by a flamboyant cultural life, greater access to leisure and scientific and technical progress.
What will we cover?
”La Belle Epoque”, the origins of the expression: a nostalgic view of the past?
Politics during La Belle Epoque: actors, tensions and threats
- The acceptance of the institutions of the Third Republic after the initial uncertainties (the monarchy / republic debate; the Boulanger crisis; the anarchist threat; the Dreyfus Affair)
- The key political forces
- Policies, tensions and challenges
- The conflict with the Church and the French notion of laïcité (secularism)
- The fight against the revolutionary threat
- International tensions and their answers
French society in the early 20th century
- A divided society
- A stagnating population
The intense cultural life of La Belle Epoque
- The challenges to academism
- The rise of the avant-gardes
- Popular culture and entertainment.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Explain the origins of the expression “La Belle Epoque”
Give the name of at least two of the main political parties that dominated the period
Discuss the origins and consequences of the conflict with the Church
Explain how the government responded to the wave of strikes of 1906-1910
List the three objectives of the Grande politique of minister of Foreign Affairs Théophile Delcassé
Explain how artists challenged the academism of the Third Republic
List at least ten important artists associated with the period (from the world of literature, theatre and ballet, sculpture and painting)
List at least three different forms of entertainment enjoyed by the lower-middle and working classes.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an 'introductory' level course. No specific knowledge needed, although some background information on and interest in Latin America in general, would be helpful, and a good understanding of English is essential. As with most of our history and current affairs courses, intellectual curiosity and an open mind are more important than specific previous knowledge.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be a combination of lectures and group discussions. Classes will be supported by
PowerPoint presentations and handouts. Learners will be asked to read a couple of articles at home to
prepare the discussions in class. These will be available on the website for the course.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring a pen and some paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Further information can be found on the Build website with information of upcoming courses in the Humanities Department for the 2018/19 academic year.
General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details