Paris: Law, Letters, and Society (September Course)

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Final App Deadline: 
Sunday, March 15, 2020
Language Requirement: 
Kylie Poulin

The College’s new September Law, Letters, and Society (LLSO) course in Paris provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to earn an upper-level LLSO credit by exploring European perspectives and institutions focused on economy, law, and globalization. In September 2019, the course will be co-led by Clifford Ando, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics, History, and Law and in the College, and Kimberly Kay Hoang, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the College.

The first section of this course, led by Professor Kimberly Kay Hoang, will cover economic perspectives. Economists, legal scholars, and humanists take different approaches to studying global capital flows. The standard economic approach involves quantitative analysis of cross-national data on such variables as net or gross capital flows, international reserves, and foreign direct investments. Capital is assumed to tear around the globe like a natural force, irrespective of social context, place, or culture. Legal scholars focus on how various national and international laws enable or constrain the movement of money across borders. Humanist approaches, in contrast, tend to treat capital in an abstract and reified manner. Rather than observing the flow of capital directly, humanists focus on its devastating consequences. As such, disciplinary boundaries have precluded scholars from asking important questions about how real people move money around the world and the complex set of challenges they face when navigating institutionally diverse contexts. This seminar examines the world economy in the context of greater interdependence. As the legal system becomes more integrated as part of globalization this course will examine how economic transactions, legal contracts, and social relationships align and conflict. We will focus on the competing models across different national jurisdictions drawing on readings that use a mix of qualitative and quantitate research methods.

The second section of this course, led by Professor Clifford Ando, will focus on historical and theoretical issues in the emergence of European legal history. We will commence with the study of two preclassical law-codes, those of Hammurabi and archaic Rome, to discuss what we might diagnose about the nature of ancient states from the study of the language of the law. A second stage will examine significant features of classical Roman law that prove influential in later legal history: doctrines of the autonomy of law, features of legal argument, and doctrines of legal pluralism in a context of empire. We will turn then to late medieval and early modern legal theory, considering texts in both the civil and common law tradition.

Apart from classroom work, the September LLSO program offers a series of excursions to sites of academic and cultural interest within and around Paris. Indeed, Paris itself plays a central role in components of the curriculum as detailed above and students will be expected to make full use of its cultural resources.

This program will run from September 2, 2019 through September 20, 2019.

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.


Students in the September LLSO course 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 program will take and receive credit for one Law, Letters, and Society course (100 units). This course is considered part of the students’ Autumn Quarter course load and is recorded as a course enrollment on their Autumn Quarter registration. The course credit is an upper-level credit for LLSO majors. The course title, unit of credit, and grade is placed on the College transcript.


Provided students enroll in no more than four (4) additional 100-unit courses in the Autumn Quarter of the Paris program, the tuition cost of the September LLSO course will be part of students’ regular College tuition for the quarter. Students then also pay a study abroad program fee and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and Paris program fee are paid via myUChicago in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in the program. Precise figures for the 2019-20 academic year are listed below:

Autumn tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $675

Paris September LLSO program fee: $3,500

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
emergency travel insurance (ISOS) 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.

Since participants remain fully registered in the College, they retain financial aid eligibility for Autumn Quarter tuition while participating in this course. Need-based scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 may be available to assist with the program fee. In order to determine your eligibility for a need-based grant, students should complete their regular university Financial Aid application (through the office of Financial Aid) with all supporting documentation by April 15th.

Eligibility and Application

While the Paris September LLSO program is open to all University of Chicago undergraduate students, priority consideration is given to Law, Letters, and Society majors. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

The program is designed for undergraduates in good 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 course is taught in English, there is no language prerequisite.

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 Law, Letters, and Society September program and the possibility of participating, please contact Kylie Poulin.

Learn more about the
Center in Paris.

What you’ll see: 

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