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Religion in France after the Revolution can be understood in terms of two forms of de-Christianization. The first of these is political, and takes place in the de jure separation of church and state. The second is a decline in religious practice among individual citizens. While the history of the former change is well documented, the latter is a more ambiguous phenomenon. Despite the statistical decline in religious participation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Catholicism in particular continues to play a significant role in the cultural imagination, or imaginaire, of many French people.
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.