The French Revolution

Subject HIST20068 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 29 hours - 12 x 1.5 hour lectures and 11 x 1 hour tutorials
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Prof Peter Mcphee



Subject Overview:

In 1789 huge numbers of French peasants, urban workers and middle-class people successfully rebelled against absolute monarchy and the privileges of the nobility. But the struggle over what social and political system should replace the 'Old Regime' was to divide French people and finally the whole of Europe. This subject examines the history of the French Revolution from its origins to 1795. It then examines its significance. Was this really a revolutionary age? What were its consequences for ethnic minorities, women, and slaves in French colonies?

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  • be able to understand the origins, nature and significance of the French Revolution;
  • make critical comparative judgements about the nature of the French Revolution;
  • be able to understand the international significance of the French Revolution;
  • make informed judgements about the reasons for the increasing violence of the Revolution.

  • A short exercise, 500 words, due week 5 (10%)
  • A 2000 word research essay due week 10 (40%)
  • A 1500 word reflective essay due during the examination period (40%)
  • Tutorial participation throughout the semester (10%)

Hurdle requirement:

  • Students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject.
  • All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Note: Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. After five days late assessment will not be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked.

Prescribed Texts:

Peter McPhee, The French Revolution, Melbourne University Press, 2016. E-book available at

Recommended Texts:

The French Revolution (P McPhee) Oxford 2002

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: European Studies
Graduate Certificate in Arts - History
Graduate Diploma in Arts - History

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