Please note: This program is a unique offering in Autumn 2023.
The College is pleased to announce a unique offering in Paris during the 2023 Autumn quarter. Paris: Music in Western Civilization is devoted to a study of music in Euro-American history from the ninth century to modern day with a distinct emphasis on France.
- student support
- program excursions
- emergency travel insurance (ISOS)
- round-trip airfare to and from the program site
- transportation on site
- course materials
- personal entertainment and travel
- communications (including cell phone usage)
- health insurance and upfront payments for care
- other miscellaneous expenses
At the core of this program is the two-course “Music in Western Civilization” sequence plus a third Arts Core course connected to opera in Paris, compressed into the ten weeks of Autumn quarter. Program participants also take a French language course, which runs at a normal pace through the quarter and is designed to help students connect with French (and Parisian) culture.
In addition to classroom instruction, the program features a number of excursions to sites of considerable historic and cultural interest both within and in the vicinity of Paris. The French capital and its environs offer numerous opportunities to connect readings, discussions, and lectures with the surviving monuments of France’s past, and it is assumed that students will use their free time to explore this remarkable city apart from program-organized outings.
Music in Western Civilization I – Professor Anne Walters Robertson, Dean of the Division of the Humanities, Claire Dux Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Music and the College, 2023–24 Center in Paris Academic Director
This course, part of the Social Sciences Civ core, looks at musics in different moments of Euro-American history and the social contexts in which they originated, with particular emphasis on music in Paris at some critical moments. It aims to help students develop: a better understanding of the social contexts of European music over this period; tools for the basic sound structures of pieces from these different moments; and convincing writing in response to prompts based on source readings or music pieces. Among the many topics we will cover, our first quarter (MUS 12100 etc.) begins with the period between Charlemagne’s coronation as Holy Roman Emperor (800 CE), passes through the first polyphonic music that appeared in Notre Dame Cathedral (12th c), the beginnings of opera in Italy and in the Versailles court of Le Roi Soleil (17th c), and the music of Handel, Bach, and Mozart; and ends with the dissolution of the Empire (1806) and the triumph of Napoleon across Western Europe. Music reading is not required.
Music in Western Civilization II – Professor Robert L. Kendrick, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Music and Romance Languages and Literatures, and the College
This course, part of the Social Sciences Civ core, looks at musics in different moments of Euro-American history and the social contexts in which they originated, with particular emphasis on music in Paris at some critical moments. It aims to help students develop: a better understanding of the social contexts of European music over this period; tools for the basic sound structures of pieces from these different moments; and convincing writing in response to prompts based on source readings or music pieces. Our second quarter (MUS 12200 etc.) runs from the beginning of European Romanticism around 1800 to the turn of the 21st century. Music reading is not required.
Going to the Opera in Paris, 1650–1848 – Professor Robert L. Kendrick, Robert O. Anderson Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Music and Romance Languages and Literatures, and the College
For political, cultural, and social reasons, opera has played a central role in Parisian life over the centuries. In this course, we examine in greater details the economics, scenography, libretti (i.e. lyrics) and music for operas heard in Paris from the time of Louis XIV to the 1848 Revolution. Materials include texts; videos; several live performances; and basic musical features (learned already in MUS 121-22) of about ten representative works during our period. We will also visit the operatic museum of the Palais Garnier. Students will largely write papers reflective of these materials and experiences.
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 Music in Western Civilization 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 Music in Western Civilization program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They take and receive credit for four courses: two Civilization courses, one Arts Core course, and a French language class. If not counted toward Core requirements, these courses are also cross-listed and approved as credits in the Departments of Music and History. The use of any of these courses in another major is subject to the approval of the undergraduate chair of the respective department. All courses are usable, without further approval, as general electives. 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 Music in Western Civilization program during the 2023–2024 year are listed below:
Autumn tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office
Study abroad administrative fee: TBD
Paris: Music in Western Civilization program fee: TBD
Program fee includes:
Out-of-pocket expenses include:
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 Music in Western Civilization 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 program courses (aside from the French class) are taught in English, there is no language prerequisite, although students are encouraged to take French on campus before the program begins.
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: Music in Western Civilization program and the possibility of participating, please contact Kylie Poulin.