Paris: Humanities

Photo of Professor Pavel at the Louvre
Early App Deadline: 
Monday, April 24, 2017
Final App Deadline: 
Monday, November 6, 2017
Language Requirement: 
None
Coordinator: 
Dana Currier
Quarter(s): 
Spring
Core Credits: 
Arts Core

The College’s Spring Humanities program in Paris provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to devote themselves intensively to the humanities at the University of Chicago’s Center in Paris. This is a broadly conceived program, designed not for students from specific majors, but for all students, regardless of major, with an interest in the humanities and a desire to pursue this interest in the capital of France, a city rich in cultural resources and artistic traditions. This program normally includes upper-level courses in philosophy, art history and another humanistic discipline such as literature, music or linguistics. Program participants will 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.

Apart from classroom work, the spring Humanities program offers a series of excursions to sites of artistic and historic interest within and in the vicinity of Paris. Indeed Paris itself, with its wealth of museums, libraries and theaters, its lively art and literary scene, its rich traditions of creation and critique, plays a central role in the program and students will be expected to make full use of its cultural resources.

SPRING 2017 FACULTY & COURSES

D. N. Rodowick (Cinema and Media Studies) – Contemporary Art in Paris
In this class, we will explore important institutions and contexts for exhibiting contemporary international art in the city of Paris. Our approach will be ethnographic as well as aesthetic and take place at various scales: from national museums to arts foundations, galleries, artist studios, and alternative spaces and artists’ “squats.” Of special interest will be how different architectures and spaces of installation affect our reception and understanding of art. Video and moving image installation will be a special emphasis where possible. Class work will include presentations and weekly contributions to a public blog. Possible field trips could include the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris, la Cinémathèque Française, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Galerie Marion Goodman, Les Frigos, and the Paris Art Fair at the Grand Palais.

Kevin Davey (Philosophy) – Merleau-Ponty and the scientific view of the human
A major theme in modern philosophy is to try and understand the relationship between our view of ourselves as thinking, feeling creatures experiencing the world with our more scientific view of ourselves as mere biological creatures responding to environmental stimuli in accordance with the laws of physiology, physics and chemistry. Are these two views of human life at odds with each other? If not, why not? We will explore the views of the 20th century French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty on these and related questions, focusing on his seminal work, ‘The Structure of Behavior’.

Charles Cohen (Art History) – Leonardo da Vinci in France*
The central focus of this course will be on the small, damaged and disputed body of paintings that Leonardo has left to us, the wealth of his drawings that help us make sense of that problematic heritage and provide the most direct route into his creative thinking, and the hundreds of pages of text in the form of notes in mirror-image handwriting that comment on art and so many other subjects. Paris is the best single place to directly engage the artist and his oeuvre since the Louvre contains by far the most important collection of his pictures and a major collection of his drawings. The Louvre’s holdings will also permit us to study the context of Leonardo’s artistic career through the examination of original works, including his sources (Verrocchio, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio), contemporaries (Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael) and the many artists of succeeding generations who were influenced by him (Giorgione, the Milanese School, Sarto, Pontormo, Rosso). *This art history course may count toward the general education requirement in the arts.

Center in Paris

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 Denis Diderot (University of Paris VII). 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.

Housing

Students in the Paris Humanities 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.

Credits and Registration

Participants in the Paris Humanities program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They receive one credit for each of the four courses offered through this program. If one of the humanities courses falls within a student’s major subject, he or she may use this course in their major without special petition. The use of these courses in related or interdisciplinary majors is also frequently possible, though for this students will have to submit a specific petition to the appropriate program chair. The art history course offered through this program is often accepted as a credit toward the general education requirement in the arts. The language course will normally count as an elective. Course titles, units of credit and grades are placed on the College transcript.

Finances

Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee and a non-refundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the non-refundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Paris Humanities program during the 2017-18 year are listed below:

Spring tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $650

Paris Humanities program fee: $4,700
 

Program fee includes: Out-of-pocket expenses include:
accommodation round-trip airfare to and from the program site
instruction transportation on site
student support meals
program excursions course materials
cell phone (device only) personal entertainment and travel
  communications (including cell phone usage)
emergency travel insurance (ISOS) 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. 

Eligibility and Application

The Paris Humanities 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 standing, including first-year students. 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 humanities courses 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, personal statement and academic recommendation. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

Further Information

To discuss the Paris: Humanities program and the possibility of participating in it, please contact Dana Currier.

Learn more about the
Center in Paris.

What you’ll see: 

Photo of students on lawn by the CitéPhoto of musicians, dancers, and audience by the SeinePhoto of VersaillesPhoto of Professor Pavel at the Louvre