La Marianne: la diversité et la représentation

La Marianne: la diversité et la représentation

Lesson plan created by Jen Bouchard

French/Social Justice Lesson (intermediate/advanced) 

Note: The language level (French) of this lesson can be adapted according to the levels of students in your class. Components of this lesson can be done in English (research, for example) depending on French level. This lesson can be used in conjunction with the Néné Ly Diallo film.

Social Justice Takeaways:

  • Students will understand the importance of representation in creating a sense of belonging and equity.
  • Students will understand that the images used to represent nationhood are tied to identity and have the potential to exclude/include.

World Readiness Standards:

  • Cultures – Relating Cultural Products to Perspectives
  • Connections – Acquiring Information and Diverse Perspectives
  • Communication – Interpersonal, Interpretive, Presentational

21st Century Skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Media Literacy
  • Technology Literacy

Content Learning Objectives:

  • Students will understand how national images/icons promote a sense of who belongs and who doesn’t.
  • Students will be able to analyze images and their relationship to identity and belonging.
  • Students will be able to describe the connections between representation and social issues.

Language Learning Objectives:

Note: Language learning objectives can be customized depending on level. Potential topics include vocabulary related to nationhood/citizenship, adjectives/description, present/past tense, forming/responding to questions, etc.

Multimodal Learning Objectives: 

  • Students will be able to analyze images for content and meaning.
  • Students will be able to combine visual and alphabetic elements to present information using Prezi.

Integrated Performance Assessment:

Interpretive: Each student will analyze a different image/interpretation of La Marianne to understand who is being represented.

Interpersonal: In groups, students will discuss each other’s interpretations of La Marianne photos and how each image relates to the idea of belonging.

Presentational: Students will create a Prezi that connects the image of La Marianne to social issues in Paris.


Warm-up: Ask students to bring in an image that represents America. Show photos to the class. Discuss:

  • Qui/Qu’est-ce qui est dans chaque photo?
  • Qui/Qu’est-ce qui n’est pas dans chaque photo?
  • Qu’est-ce que ces photos disent en ce qui concèrne l’inclusion (qui est inclu et qui est exclu)?

Introduction: Introduce La Marianne (French): Show photo of Délacroix’s La Marianne and other white versions of La Marianne who have been used on French currency, governmental materials, etc. Have students discuss images in small groups (Pourquoi est-ce qu’elle représente la France? Comment est-elle physiquement? Qu’est-ce qu’elle porte? Pourquoi?).

Presentation of Key Concepts: What is representation? Why is representation important? How does representation relate to social issues?

Relate to images of Marianne as a white woman: Why does it matter that the Marianne is typically depicted as a white woman? What is she wearing? Why is that important?

Video: Show overview video of Goutte d’Or neighborhood for socio-historical context.

Have students discuss the video in small groups: Given what we know about changing demographics in France, is La Marianne depicted as a white woman still an accurate reflection of French identity?

Visual Analysis: Show re-imaged versions of La Marianne from Les Gouttes d’Or de la Mode et du Design.

Assign each student group one of the 4 images of la Marianne from this site and have them analyze the images according to components of visual rhetoric (author, audience, genre, purpose, context, content).

Marianne d’Amira Sliman – Tunisia

Marianne de Marcia de Carvalho – Brazil

Marianne de Néné Ly Diallo – Guinea

Marianne de Dognin/Diker – Turkey

Multimodal Presentation: Students will collaboratively research a social issue (poverty, racism, unemployment, etc.) related to belonging in France experienced by the ethnic group/immigrant community represented by their Marianne. They will use Prezi to create a presentation for the class that includes their Marianne image analysis and presentation of the social issue of their choosing.

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