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Graduate degree

Le département HSS participe au Graduate degree de l'Ecole polytechnique en proposant les séminaires suivants:


HFC552 - Aspects of comparative commercial law


Aspects of comparative commercial law

The aim of this course is to examine one or more areas of commercial law from a comparative perspective, that students can recognise comparative law issues when they arise in commercial law and are able to analyse those issues using the conceptual tools of comparative law. Based on a comparative analysis this course will  include aspects of corporate laws in civil and common law countries, international buisiness transactions, disputes resolution as well as the contract laws of different countries.



The course is an introduction to economic sociology. As a subfield that has grown extraordinarily over the past thirty years, economic sociology has proposed a sociological investigation of economic phenomena. It first seeks to critique the analytical assumptions and epistemology commonly shared within mainstream economics. But it also offers sociologically grounded of economic phenomena. It ultimately searches to formulate alternative accounts of economic behavior and economic processes. Economic sociology therefore claims that rational action hypothesis does not offer accurately represent individual economic actions, not more than perfect competition provides an understanding of concrete market mechanisms.


The aim of this class is twofold. The first one is to improve  your language skills, in both oral and written English. The second is to give you an initiation to philosophical and critical  thinking  through political philosophy. You will learn basic philosophical skills, such as defining and analyzing concepts, commenting a text to capture its author's thought process, building and criticizing an argument, question assumptions behind everyday life, and take part to a rational discussion.



HFC562 - Introduction to French Politics


The French political system and French politics in foreign affairs.

The purpose of this course is to make you familiar with the recent history of France, the French political system and the French position in international affairs. Our method to acquaint you with it, is to link analyses about France within a large point of view about the evolution of western democracies and also to link academic analysis with the day-to-day of current affairs.


Under the banner of "energy transition", energy-related stakes and issues stand high on the media and public policy agenda. But when it comes to the implementation of this transition,many debates and controversies arise. For instance, renewable energy production contributes to global challenges for the energy-climate issue, but can give rise to acute conflicts around local projects, which some researchers have characterized as "green on green" controversies (Warrenet al., 2005). More broadly, energy issues engage a wealth of different actors and sectors, far beyond the technical developments.

This seminar will enable students to consider energy issues with a sociological stance, resting on the contributions of Science and Technology Studies (STS), a branch of sociology and history devoted to the study of science and technology issues, as well as insights from opinion sociology and public policy analysis centred on energy issues.


In science fiction movies and texts, the explanation scene is a gender stereotype. This scene may be serious or funny, but it has invariably a strategic position : it’s the moment when the reader or the spectator has precisely to move on from science to fiction. Even in Countdown (Altman, 1967), a film that its director defines as « science fiction without fiction », this scene does exist and this movement does happen. A first way to figure out  how science fiction literature and cinema make us think  will be to study these scenes in the masterpieces that have marked the history of science fiction : Frankenstein (Shelley, 1818), Journey to the Center of the Earth (Verne, 1864), The Time Machine (Wells, 1895), 1984 (Orwell, 1949), 2001. A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968), Brazil (Gilliam, 1985), Matrix (Wachowski, 1999). It will be an opportunity to test the Deleuze’s idea that philosophy can be written as science fiction on « the extreme edge between our knowledge and our ignorance, where they pass within each other » (Difference and Repetition, 1968). But science fiction makes us think far beyond what it explains. How ? By dealing with everyday problems but in an extraordinary way. Consider for instance marital and filial relationships in Maybe (Klapish, 1999), environment but also handicap in Avatar (Cameron, 2009), justice in Minority Report (Spielberg, 2002) memory in The Jetty (Marquer, 1962). This second way to read and watch science fiction will allow us to question the more implicit and critical understanding of the world we live in which science fiction can offer.


HFC652 - Building the French Nation under conflicting identities. Religion, Politics and Culture from the Old Regime to Our Time


Building the French nation under conflicting identities, religion, politics and culture from the Old Regime to our time

The course is designed to study the national building of France in the Modern Times. An emphasis will be put on the conflicting identities between the old definition of a monarchical and catholic Nation and the new civil identity based on a secular state (the “republican model”). The course will specifically study the changing character of the French “laïcité” (secularism). The program also includes various examples taken from the history of the French colonial empire (especially the case of Algeria and of the French Antilles).


HFC662 - Foresight in business and society


Foresight in business and society

Foresight in business enables decision makers to spot emerging opportunities and threats early and develop innovative responses to serve changing needs. Foresight in Business & Society is a course that challenges students to engage in the process of identifying and evaluating major issues, trends and uncertainties impacting business and society in the future and to explore potential business...