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Because drinking is such an integral part of French culture, alcohol abuse has been historically ignored. Although there have been celebrated attempts to address this problem, such as Zola's L'Assomoir, it is only in the past five or ten years that the government has seriously tried to tackle the problem of alcoholism. One of the major ways in which alcohol is embedded in the cultural identity of the country is the close association of certain wines and liquors with their regions of production. Likewise, different types of bars serve as loci for social interaction, and have always played a central role in rural as well as urban life.
This course covers the emergence of modern France. Topics include the social, economic, and political transformation of France; the impact of France's revolutionary heritage, of industrialization, and of the dislocation wrought by two world wars; and the political response of the Left and the Right to changing French society.