The Catholic University of America

History 674: The French Revolution

This course will examine the attempt by the French Revolution to remake society and government.  The interactions between culture, politics, events, and ideas will be highlighted throughout the course, which will focus on the Enlightenment, public opinion, religion, and the creation of conservative resistance. 

Each week we will read one major recent monograph with accompanying articles.  But we will also trace the development of the historiography of the revolution over the course of the semester, reading one classic account of the French Revolution each week.  Hence, the reading for each week will follow two tracks: one of recent monographs on specialized subjects and the other of classic works from Carlyle to Furet.  The topics between these two tracks will only sometimes coincide, and so our seminar discussions will tend to bifurcate.


Assignments

Each student will be assigned three sections of Carlyle's classic but overwhelmingly erudite The French Revolution (1837).  Throughout the semester, students will develop introductions and annotations for their assigned portions, while peer reviewing each other's work.  At the end of the semester, the new, annotated web edition of Carlyle will go live, with each student receiving credit for his or her work. 


Grading

Annotation Project: 70%
Participation: 30% 

 

Schedule

Week One: Overview

Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution

Classic: Carlyle, The French Revolution

 

Week Two: Desacralization

Farge and Revel, The Vanishing Children of Paris
Chartier, "The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution" (from Schechter, The French Revolution: The    Essential Readings)

Classic: Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the French Revolution

Carlyle: Students should bring in a copy of their section with highlights placed on portions they believe should be annotated.  These will be returned to the students with suggestions.

 

Week Three: Enlightenment

Blum, Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue
Darnton, “The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France” (Schechter)
Baker, “On the Problem of the Ideological Origins of the French Revolution” (Schechter)
   
Classic: Taine, The French Revolution

 

Week Four: Revolutionary Transformations

Tackett, Becoming a Revolutionary: The Deputies of the French National Assembly and the Emergence of a Revolutionary Culture

Classic: Aulard, The French Revolution, A Political History

Carlyle: Students should bring to class three copies of their draft of the first section of annotations.  Two of these will be given to other students who will "peer review" them.

 

Week Five: Money

Aftalion, The French Revolution: An Economic Interpretation
Maza, "Luxury, Morality, and Social Change: Why There Was No Middle-Class Consciousness in Pre-Revolutionary France" (Schechter)
Jones, "The Great Chain of Buying: Medical Advertisement, the Bourgeois Public Sphere, and the Origins of the French Revolution" (Schechter)

Classic: Mathiez, The French Revolution

Carlyle: Students should bring to class their peer reviews of the first annotations.

 

Week Six: Religion

Van Kley, The Religious Origins of the French Revolution
Van Kley, "Church, State, and the Ideological Origins of the French Revolution" (Schechter)

Classic: Cochin, Organizing the Revolution: Selections from Cochin

Carlyle: Students should bring to class three copies of their introduction for the first section.  Two of these copies will be given to the same students who peer reviewed the annotations.

 

Week Seven: Political Action

Hunt, Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution
Hunt, "The Band of Brothers" (Schechter)

Classic: Gaxotte, The French Revolution

Carlyle: Students should bring to class their peer reviews of the first introductions.

 

Week Eight: Women and the Family

Desan, The Family on Trial in the French Revolution
Scott, "French Feminists and the Rights of 'Man': Olympe de Gouges's Declarations" (Schechter)
Hunt, "The Many Bodies of Marie-Antoinette: Political Pornography and the Problem of the Feminine in the French Revolution"

Classic: Lefebvre, The Coming of the French Revolution

Carlyle: Three copies of annotations for the second section.

 

Week Nine: Jacobin Culture

Higonnet, Goodness Beyond Virtue
Ozouf, "A Revolutionary Festival: A Transfer of Sacrality" (Schechter)

Classic: Palmer, Twelve Who Ruled

Carlyle: Peer reviews of second section annotations.

 

Week Ten: Terror

Edelstein, The Terror of Natural Right
Lucas, "Revolutionary Violence, the People and the Terror"

Classic: Soboul, The Sans-Culottes

Carlyle: Three copies of the introduction to the second section.

 

Week Eleven: Biography as a Revolutionary Genre

Jordan, The Revolutionary Career of Maximilien Robespierre

Classic: Rudé, The Crowd in the French Revolution

Carlyle: Peer reviews of introductions to the second section.

 

Week Twelve: Against the Revolution

Godechot, The Counter-Revolution: Doctrine and Action, 1789-1804
McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightenment, chapters 2-3

Classic: Cobban, The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution

Carlyle: Three copies of the introduction to the final section.

 

Week Thirteen: Violence and the State

Brown, Ending the French Revolution: Violence, Justice, and Repression from the Terror to Napoleon

Classic: Brinton, The Anatomy of Revolution

Carlyle: Peer reviews of introductions to the final section.

 

Week Fourteen: Napoleon

Woloch, Napoleon and His Collaborators
   
Classic: Furet, Interpreting the French Revolution

 

All final revisions to your sections of the Carlyle project are due: Tuesday, December 21st.

 

For the Spring 2008 syllabus of Hist 674, click here.