4. A Nation? Peasants, Language, and French Identity

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France Since 1871 (HIST 276)

The problematic question of when people in France began to consider themselves part of a French nation, with a specifically French national identity, has often been explained in terms of the modernizing progress of the French language at the expense of regional dialects. In fact, the development of French identity in rural France can be seen to have taken place alongside a continued tradition of local cultural practices, particularly in the form of patois. French identity must be understood in terms of the relationship between the official discourse of the metropolitan center and the unique practices of the country’s regions, rather than in terms of the unambiguous triumph of the former over the latter.

00:00 – Chapter 1. The Birth of National Identity and Agents of Modernization
06:44 – Chapter 2. Regional Languages of France
15:20 – Chapter 3. Modernization of Transportation: Roads, Railways and Identity-Formation
25:42 – Chapter 4. Schoolteachers and Schoolhouses: Education, the State, and Identity
38:59 – Chapter 5. French Schools and Regional Identity Today

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2007.