J-Term in Paris - Applications are due Oct. 1, 2019.
*This course is open to undergraduate students from ALL schools across grounds (College, Engineering, Architecture, SCPS, Nursing, Commerce etc.).
*The course can be taken for general, elective credit (at the FRTR 2000-level) OR for credit toward the French major or minor (at the FREN 3000-level).
*KNOWLEDGE OF FRENCH IS NOT REQUIRED (the course will be taught in English, with small group work in French for those taking the course for credit toward the major/minor).
*Budget information and logistical details should be available now on the ISO website.
The program fee includes lodging, most meals, a two-week metro card, and entry to all the sites included on the syllabus. Travel to and from Paris, is not included
Making Paris Modern: A Secret History of the City of Light
J-Term in Paris
Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019 (Arrival) – Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 (Departure)
In this J-Term study abroad course, students will consider the ghosts of history that haunt yet still continue to shape the spaces and places of France’s majestic capital city. We will explore some of Paris’ most popular and oft-visited sites—like the Garnier Opera, Montmartre, and the Centre Pompidou—but we will do so with an eye toward unearthing the past. For Paris is like a massive palimpsest, made up of multiple layers of faintly visible memories. To that end, our itinerary will include a number of other places that reveal traces of these layers and provide a deeper, more complete, and decidedly more panoramic understanding of the city today: from 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 Bank, 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 emerged 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). We will begin by learning about the layout of the city to understand 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 continued to flourish, at times struggle, and eventually evolve over the course of the 20th, and how it continues to renew itself at the dawn of 21st.
Our analysis of readings in fiction, poetry, history, art history, cultural studies, ethnography, and urban studies, along with discussions of photographs, paintings, and films, will permit us to read the city “between the lines” and ponder how Paris’ storied (and sometimes traumatic) past continues 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.
Course goals include developing inter-cultural competency, encouraging students to take responsibility for their own deeper understanding of a foreign culture, and fostering an awareness of how the past contributes to the consistent reinvention of Paris in an increasingly globalized world. The course will also invite participants to craft an experience of the city that is more meaningful than a purely “touristic” approach would allow. To that end, students will have frequent opportunities to explore sites 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 hurried pace of life often prevents its own inhabitants, and most visitors, from ever doing so. Your guide in this endeavor, Ari Blatt (Associate Professor of French at UVa), has lived, worked, taught, and studied in Paris for over 20 years. He looks forward to sharing his passion for, and knowledge of the city over what will certainly be an intense and rewarding two weeks.