Paris: Social Sciences - Urbanism

Social Sciences students visited the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery, in Nantes, with Prof. Leora Auslander
Early App Deadline: 
Monday, April 20, 2020
Final App Deadline: 
Friday, October 23, 2020
Language Requirement: 
None
Coordinator: 
Kylie Poulin
Quarter(s): 
Winter

The College’s new Urbanism sequence in Paris provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to conduct a multidisciplinary study of the dynamism of cities.

Cities have long been an object of study, from artistic inquiry, to historical interpretation, to scientific exploration. Cities and their components are also the subjects of normative theorizing: proposals for how cities ought to be designed. Most recently, cities have become intertwined with concepts of equity and sustainability—that cities should function as places of resiliency, social diversity, and local economic strength. These explorations and design ideals are reflective of broader social, cultural, and political movements that have long yearned for an urbanism that sustains a high quality of life.

The Urbanism sequence integrates three disciplinary approaches: the history of cities, the theoretical basis of urban dynamics, and the normative understanding of cities as objects of planning and design. These three approaches—history, theory, design—will make use of a range of conceptual frameworks and methodologies important to the study of cities.

Apart from classroom work, the Urbanism 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—the local urban context will offer a grounded exploration of urban historical, theoretical, and normative context. Students will be expected to make full use of the city’s cultural resources.

WINTER 2021 FACULTY & COURSES

Urban History – Professor Leora Auslander, Professor of European Social History, Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor in Western Civilization in the College

This course is both an introduction to how historians think about cities and a history of cities from the Middle Ages through the Cold War. Most of the examples are drawn from Europe, with a special focus for the version of the course taught in Paris on that city, but significant attention is given to Africa and the United States. The course is chronological in organization, but each class also focusses on a different theme—the place of politics, industrial development, migration, culture, and commerce in the transformation of urban forms and experiences. 

Social Theory of the City – Professor Alan Kolata, Bernard E. and Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences in the College

This course explores various historical, sociological and anthropological theories of cities. The course analyzes major theoretical frameworks concerned with urban forms, institutions, economic structures and social experiences as well as particular instances of city development from early modern to contemporary periods. We conclude with a reflection on the future and fate of cities. The course will consist of initial orienting lectures, class discussion of selected texts concerned with social theories of the city, and presentation of research projects by class participants.

Cities by Design – Professor Emily Talen, Professor in the Division of the Social Sciences, Director of the Urbanism Lab

This course examines the theory and practice of city design—how, throughout history, people have sought to mold and shape cities in pre-determined ways. The form of the city is the result of myriad factors, but in this course we will hone in on the purposeful act of designing cities according to normative thinking—ideas about how cities ought to be.  Using examples from all time periods and places around the globe, we will examine how cities are purposefully designed and what impact those designs have had. Where and when has city design been successful, and where has it resulted in more harm than good?

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 Urbanism 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 Urbanism program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They receive one credit for each of the four courses offered through the program. The non-language courses have been pre-approved for use in their respective majors. 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.

Please note that these courses may not be used to satisfy the general education social sciences requirement.

Finances

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 Urbanism program during the 2020-21 year are listed below:

Winter tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $675

Paris Social Sciences program fee: $4,950

 

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.

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 Urbanism 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 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, 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 Urbanism program and the possibility of participating, please contact Kylie Poulin.

Learn more about the
Center in Paris.

What you’ll see: 

Social Sciences students visited the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery, in Nantes, with Prof. Leora AuslanderSocial Sciences students visited Nantes with Prof. Leora Auslander