In this January Term study abroad course, students will consider the ghosts of history that haunt, yet continue to shape, the spaces and places of France's majestic capital city. For Paris is like a massive palimpsest, made up of multiple layers of memories. Our itinerary will include a number of places that reveal traces of these layers and provide a deeper, more complete, and decidedly more panoramic understanding of the city. We will begin by learning why central Paris looks the way it does today. Over the course of two weeks we will study what made Paris a modern metropolis - what Walter Benjamin referred to as the "capital of the 19th century" - how it flourished, at times struggled, and eventually evolved over the course of the 20th, and how it continues to renew itself at the dawn of the 21st.
Our analysis of readings in fiction, poetry, history, ethnography, and urban studies, along with discussions of photographs, painting and films, will permit us to read the city "between the lines" and ponder how Paris' storied (and sometimes traumatic) past continue to emanate from the city's twenty-first-century streets. Daily walking tours and site visits will strive to make visible the tale of Paris' incredible march toward modernity.
At the Pompidou Museum
Paris is a city of many faces. It has been likened at once to a battlefield, a beehive, a lion, a ship, an ocean, a volcano, a furnace, a sewer, a paradise, a brothel, a labyrinth, a beacon and a star. Over the course of two weeks, students will consider these metaphors and be invited to invent their own. To that end, we will explore some of Paris' most popular and oft-visited sites - like the Musée d'Orsay, the Garnier Opera, Montmartre, and the Centre Pompidou - as well as a number of places off the beaten path. Other notable visits include the streets of the Left Bank that exploded during the riots of May 1968, and the site where one of the world's first department stores was born on the right, to neighborhoods marked by the horrors of the Nazi Occupation, historically working class and immigrant areas like Belleville and the Goutte d'Or, and the new residential and business quarter that has recently begun to emerge parallel to the Seine. Participants will also descend those spaces that provide access to the hidden, yet historically significant, underbelly of Paris underground (the catacombs, sewers and metro lines). In their free time, students will have frequent opportunities to explore those places that they might find most relevant to their own scholarly and professional interests. They will also be invited to stop, look and listen closely as the world goes by in a place where, as in most modern metropolises today, the increasingly harried pace of life often prevents its own inhabitants, and most visitors, from ever doing so.
with the Eiffel Tower in distance
Our home base for the duration of our stay will be the FIAP Jean Monnet, an international student center conveniently located in a safe and quiet neighborhood in Paris' 14th arrondissement, just a short walk from Montparnasse and the Jardin du Luxembourg. Students will share double rooms, each with en-suite bathrooms. Daily buffet breakfast and dinner are included in the program fee.
Info session TBA.
Making Paris Modern:
A Secret History of the City of Lights
(FRTR 2553/FREN 3553; 3 credits)
Course and Credit Information
FRTR 2553 (3 credits) will be taught in English; there are no prerequisites. Students from all schools of the University are encouraged to apply.
French majors and minors:
Students wishing to receive 3 credits toward their major or minor in French will need to enroll in FREN 3553 (instead of FRTR 2553). While the primary language of instruction will be English, students receiving credit toward the major or minor will complete all required work in French. Students will also make daily use of their French language skills in small group discussion sections.
Syllabus & Itinerary
2014 January Term: FRTR 2553/FREN 3553 syllabus & itinerary (For reference)
Study Abroad Policies
Education Abroad Workshop
Students must view and complete the online Education Abroad Workshop prior to starting the U.Va. Study Abroad application. Please refer to the Education Abroad Workshop homepage for more information.
Passport and Visa Information
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.
Withdrawal and Refund Policy
No refund or credit will be given to students who are suspended and/or dismissed from any U.Va. study abroad programs for conduct and/or academic violations reasons.
Walking through Paris
The program costs and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. In addition to these, students are responsible for the following expenses:
- International Airfare
- Some meals
- Some local transportation costs
- Personal expenses.
Program Director Ari Blatt, firstname.lastname@example.org, Associate Professor of French at the University of Virginia, teaches courses on modern and contemporary French literature, film and culture. He spent a study abroad year in Paris as an undergraduate, and has lived and worked in France, on and off, for an additional 5 years. He is excited to share his knowledge of the city during what will surely be an intense and rewarding few weeks.