Carnegie Mellon University

Topics in French & Francophone Studies

Course Number: 82-415/416

FALL 2024: Alternative Histories of 1789

Alternative Histories of 1789 Alternative Histories of 1789 Who writes the history that is passed down from generation to generation? Who decides which voices should be heard, which voices should be ignored, and which version of history is the 'right' one? In this course, we will consider 'alternative' histories of 1789, which is not to say, necessarily, that the officialized and accepted accounts of 1789 are wrong; the question is whether they are complete. When historical accounts and the voices that tell them are marginalized, we may perhaps not see the fullest version possible. In order to explore other, alternative accounts of France and the Revolution of 1789, we will rely on texts that recount versions of the revolution from different perspectives. Some voices to be investigated, besides a sampling of the most famous ones (Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Philippe d'Orléans, Marat, Danton, Robespierre...) are those of Tussaud, Corday, de Gouges, de Staël, Sieyès, and of the Girondins and the Montagnards in their civil war. We will examine pamphlets, posters, speeches, newspaper articles, satirical cartoons, memoires, art depicting the revolution, and literary works, with the goal of understanding multiple aspects of this seemingly larger than life historical event. Lastly, we will examine a supranatural telling of 1789, as another 'alternative' history. All work will be in French.

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Units: 9
Prerequisite(s): 82303 and 82304