Declaration Project


John William Bailly ■

France has a long history of human rights advocacy: the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, the abolition of monarchy, the separation of religion from the public realm, the end of noble privileges, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the abolition of slavery, and a social support structure that includes universal healthcare. These revolutionary advances, however, are contrasted by the brutal and hypocritical repression of elements of society: the Reign of Terror, Colonialism, torture in the Algerian war, La Rafle during WW2, police brutality in the banlieues, and racial tensions in contemporary France. The perfect embodiment of this contrast is WW2: on one side are French Collaborators serving the Germans, on the other are the French Resistance fighting underground in alliance with the Allies.

“The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, unalienable, and sacred rights of man…” – Declaration of the Rights of Man, 1789

This project aims to foster student reflection on individual freedom. How has the history of human rights in France (from the French Revolution to World War 2) impacted contemporary life? Students are to select one historical figure and to reflect on how this has impacted their personal status in society or their life in a broader sense. The figure can be an advocate or opponent of human rights.

Below is a list of figures to select from. If the student wishes to select another, that choice needs to be approved by the professor. Each character may only be selected by one student.

Marie Antoinette (1755-1793)
Lucie Aubrac (1912 – 2007) and Raymond Aubrac (1914 – 2012)
Josephine Baker (1906-1975)
Marc Bloch (1886 – 1944)
Jean-Jacques-Regis de Cambaceres (1753-1824)
Nicolas de Condorcet (1743-1794)
Georges Danton (1759 – 1794)
Jacques-Louis David (1748 – 1825)
Camille Desmoulins (1760 – 1794)
Marie-Madeleine Fourcade (1909 – 1989)
Charles de Gaulle (1890 – 1970)
Olympe de Gouges (1748 – 1793)
Joseph-Ignace Guillotin (1738-1814)
Francois Jacob (1920 – 2013)
Marquis de La Fayette (1757-1834)
Pauline Léon (1768 – 1838)
Louis XVI (1754 – 1793)
Tom Morel (1915 – 1944)
Jean Moulin (1899 – 1943)
Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794)
Rose Valland (1899-1980)
Simone Annie Liline Veil (1927-2017)

This is the major project for the semester. It must be a minimum of 2,000 words.

Similar to a research paper, all sources must be cited for all project formats. If you utilize an existing film for inspiration or incorporate clips or pictures from someone else, you must cite those. Failure to do is plagiarism.

These following factors will be considered in determining the project grade.

1. Research! The student must demonstrate a thoroughly researched knowledge of subjects.
2. The student must tackle Big Ideas-culture, history, religion, philosophy, economic disparity, sexuality, gender, race, to name a few.
3. The student should not shy away from controversial subjects or opinions.
4. The student should explain the nature of her/his connection to the subject.
5. Subjects should be discussed in a broader cultural and historical context. Others should be able to relate to the points made in the project.
6. Students should aim for originality in text and in the photo.
7. The student is not expected to be a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Writing nor Photography. S/he is only expected to put forth maximum effort.

Directory for Declaration Projects

Stephanie Sepúlveda & John William Bailly  19 January 2019

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