Paris: Colonizations

The group poses for a photo by the river front.

Program Term:


Language Requirement:



 Michaela Foreman

Application Deadline:


Please note: The Colonizations program will take place in Paris in Winter 2024 and in Dakar in Spring 2025.

The College’s Winter Quarter Colonizations program in Paris meets the general education requirement in Civilization studies by providing credit for a full three-course sequence (Colonizations I, II, III), taught in English.

    This three-quarter sequence critically unsettles the concept of ‘civilization’ by focusing on the histories and discourses of power, resistance, and political possibility that have given shape to the modern world. We explore modern forms of colonialism across the globe: their dynamics of dispossession, exploitation and domination; their contradictions and unforeseen consequences; their relationships with processes of resistance, revolution, freedom and independence; and their legacies in the present. The sequence also centers colonialism’s fundamental entanglement with capitalism and with the histories of race/racialization, labor/class, gender, and sexuality that have come to configure political identities today. We will pay particular attention to the historical and contemporary expressions of these processes in the context of France, and its former empire, more generally.

    Participants will also take a French language course, which runs at a normal pace throughout the quarter and is designed to help students connect with local life and people in Paris.

    In addition to classroom instruction, the program features a number of excursions to sites of historic and cultural interest both in and around Paris, and occasionally elsewhere in France. The French capital and its environs offer numerous opportunities to connect readings, discussions, and lectures with France’s colonial past and its legacies in the present, and it is assumed that students will use their free time to explore this remarkable city apart from program-organized outings.

    Headquarters for the College’s study abroad programs in Paris is the University of Chicago Center in Paris, the University’s research and teaching arm in Europe. Situated in the thirteenth arrondissement, the Center in Paris is part of an ambitious intellectual project along the river Seine, including the Bibliothèque Nationale and a new home for Université Paris Cité. The Center in Paris features classrooms, offices for faculty and graduate students, computer facilities, a small library, and an apartment for the faculty director. For participants in Chicago’s programs, the Center in Paris provides a focus for academic activities, a central meeting place, and a continuing Chicago presence within one of the major capitals of Europe.

    Students in the Paris: Colonizations program are housed in a residence hall within the Cité Internationale Universitaire (Cité). The Cité, a park-like residential complex in the fourteenth arrondissement, is the international student campus in Paris, though French students also live there. Students reside in single rooms with a private bath and have access to Cité facilities, including a library, theater, laundry, and athletic facilities. Students will have access to common kitchens in the residence halls and can purchase inexpensive meals at the Cité’s restaurant universitaire.

    It is important to recognize the cultural context of student housing in France and understand that the amenities of dormitory facilities may vary. Although some of these differences may take some getting used to, remember that cultural differences extend to all aspects of your experience abroad. Having realistic expectations for your term in Paris will help you approach the study abroad experience with a positive attitude.

    Participants in the Paris: Colonizations program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: three courses in the Colonizations sequence and a French language class. The Colonizations sequence meets the College’s general education Civilization requirement. Students who have already met this requirement may use these courses as electives. Their use, partial or total, in a program of study (major) must be approved by the undergraduate chair of the respective department. The language course will normally count as an elective. Course titles, units of credit, and grades are placed on the College transcript.

    Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Paris: Colonizations program during the 2024–2025 year are listed below:

    Winter tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Paris: Colonizations program fee: $5,960

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • meals
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (including cell phone usage)
    • health insurance and upfront payments for care
    • other miscellaneous expenses 

    Previous program participants report spending in the range of $200 to $250 per week on meals and incidentals while on the program, though frugal students may spend less, and others could spend much more. Bear in mind that the cost of living in Paris is relatively high and that, while it is possible to live frugally, it is also possible to run short of money if you are unwary. It is therefore essential that you budget your funds prudently, apportioning your resources so that they last for the duration of the program. If you are planning to travel before or after the program or on weekends, you should budget accordingly.

    Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

    The Paris: Colonizations program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

    The program is designed for undergraduates in good academic and disciplinary standing who are beyond their first year in the College. While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity. Because the civilization sequence is taught in English, there is no language prerequisite.

    Because of the considerable demand for the Chicago Civilization programs abroad, no student may participate in more than one of these programs. Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record and personal statement. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

    To discuss the Paris: Colonizations program and the possibility of participating, please contact Michaela Foreman.