Course Descriptions

Paris Courses - Spring 2018

174. (Un)Veiling the Republic:  France in the Muslim World and the Muslim World in France

Mariam Habibi

While Charles Martel is said to have heroically “saved” France from invading Muslims in 732, today, France has the highest percentage of Muslims in Europe. This interdisciplinary course draws from the fields of history, political science, sociology, and international studies to examine the fraught relations between France and the Muslim world over the centuries. The class will be broken up into two sections. In the first section, it will look at France’s historical presence in the Arab world and the consequent Muslim presence in France. In the second section, it will focus on French society today and evaluate the socio-political integration process of French Muslims. Topics covered include colonization and decolonization, Islamic heritage and its clash with the French secularizing mission, and political policies on Muslims in France such as the heated issue over the veil. Students will investigate these topics from a variety of sources, ranging from historical documents and cultural criticism to journalistic and cinematic expressions. 4.5 UC quarter units. Suggested subject areas for this course: History/Political Science/Sociology

177. Documenting the Periphery:  Identity & Citizenship in the "Other" Part of Paris

Carole Viers-Andronico

This interdisciplinary course will examine the socioeconomic and political disenfranchisement experienced by residents of the "other France" – a France comprised of working-class citizens often of immigrant origin and from France’s former colonies. It will introduce students to urban sociology by requiring that they focus on the particular problems experienced by social actors who live in economically and socially disfavored parts of Paris. Topics covered include urban sociological theories, de-facto segregation, poverty, crime, schooling, public policy, national identity, the negotiation of bi-culturality, and the French secularizing mission. Students will investigate these topics from a variety of sources, ranging from documentary film and photojournalism to literary and cinematic expressions. Via these sources, they will become familiar with a vibrant urban "vernacular" culture that contests issues pertaining to citizenship, racialization and representation. 4.5 UC quarter units. Suggested subject areas for this course: Urban Studies/Sociology/Comparative Literature

178. Nation and Identity in Modern France:  A Series of Great Ideas

Note:  this course is not on offer to Paris 2nd city Quarter and Semester with Internship students

Justin E.H. Smith

In this course we will seek to understand the concepts of nation and identity in modern France via its cultural, political, and intellectual history. We will focus on key ideas developed by some of the most influential modern French thinkers. Each week we will consider a single idea, contained in a short slogan or quotation, and developed more fully in a short accompanying text. During class we will discuss the ideas developed in these texts, attempting to relate them to the broader questions that are guiding us, and also to relate them to our own experience in contemporary Paris. 4.5 UC quarter units. Suggested subject areas for this course: Philosophy/Political Science/History

179. Food in a Global City: Food Cultures and Food Politics

Cynthia Tolentino

This course explores the intersection between food cultures and food politics, with an eye towards arguments and debates that have animated French culinary culture. How is food a portal for studying the changing dynamics of cities, global systems, and national identity? In what ways has food been employed to construct notions of community and belonging? Through discussions of interdisciplinary course readings, reporting and writing assignments, and excursions around the city of Paris, we will consider how food structures our identities, everyday practices, and political lives. 4.5 UC quarter units. Suggested subject areas to which this course transfers over: Anthropology/Sociology

 80.  City and Language Quarter Program

Christina von Koehler, Claudia Fontu, Sabrina Petitjean, and Fredrik Rönnbäck

Paris, the most visited city in the world, is both an historical city and a modern global capital that fashionably wears the old and the new on its sleeve. It is also home to Parisians, whose clichéd image has been shaped in cultural imaginaries from around the globe, but whose identities and cultures are increasingly plural. The city and language course poses this two-fold question: just who is this city for, and how does one unlock its levels? More than a picturesque concentration of streets and buildings, Paris’s urban landscape provides a tableau upon which people have inscribed meaning, message, and significance to state, nation, and culture. To decipher these messages and gain an understanding of Paris’s history and the French culture that has shaped it, we will look at the histories of the conception, construction, and public perception of Parisian sites and place their stories within the larger context of the development of French identity.

The city and language course introduces students to French history, culture, and language through team-taught instruction. In the “Pursuing Paris” sessions, you will learn about French history and culture by visiting sites important to the evolution of the capital city—these sessions will be taught in English. In the “Unlocking French” sessions, you will learn targeted language skills through situational communication, so you will have the opportunity to use everything you learn as you go about your daily activities. 3.0 UC quarter units. Suggested subject areas for this course: French/History/Urban Studies

81.  City and Language Semester Programs

Christina von Koehler and Sabrina Petitjean

Paris, the most visited city in the world, is both an historical city and a modern global capital that fashionably wears the old and the new on its sleeve. It is also home to Parisians, whose clichéd image has been shaped in cultural imaginaries from around the globe, but whose identities and cultures are increasingly plural. The city and language course poses this two-fold question: just who is this city for, and how does one unlock its levels? More than a picturesque concentration of streets and buildings, Paris’s urban landscape provides a tableau upon which people have inscribed meaning, message, and significance to state, nation, and culture. To decipher these messages and gain an understanding of Paris’s history and the French culture that has shaped it, we will look at the histories of the conception, construction, and public perception of Parisian sites and place their stories within the larger context of the development of French identity.

The city and language course introduces students to French history, culture, and language through team-taught instruction. In the “Pursuing Paris” sessions, you will learn about French history and culture by visiting sites important to the evolution of the capital city—these sessions will be taught in English. In the “Unlocking French” sessions, you will learn targeted language skills through situational communication, so you will have the opportunity to use everything you learn as you go about your daily activities. 6.0 UC quarter units. Suggested subject areas for this course: French/History/Urban Studies

187.  Internship and Workforce Course

Tim Carlson

The purpose of this course is to provide the framework necessary for students to accomplish a successful inter-cultural internship. This framework includes both theoretical and practical elements, with both types of elements focused on helping students achieve the inter-cultural outcomes of a direct experience of the French workplace. Such outcomes are certainly feasible but are by no means automatic.


The course is split between two different types of sessions:
1. Sessions with practitioners and/or specialists of the French professional world. These representatives from specific sectors will come to speak about their field; general state of the field, specificities in France, recent developments, and their perspectives.
2. Participatory workshops. The practical portion of the course draws on IFE's experience in accompanying US university students on their exploration of French society via the professional world. As in any inter-cultural setting, and especially given the pressures inherent in work environments, examining and decoding behavior and interpersonal communication are important for avoiding misunderstandings and opening the way to real understanding. A series of workshop sessions draws on students' actual experiences and perceptions for role playing, small-group discussions, briefings/debriefings as a form of accompaniment of each student-intern throughout the internship period.


Students will be assigned an ongoing reflective exercise to be conducted over the course of their 6 week internship. At the beginning of the session, each student will choose their preferred medium; an internship journal, photo essay, or digital story-telling. During the internship period they will present their work in progress, and at the end give a short oral presentation of their final project. 4.5 UC quarter units.  Suggested subject area for this course:  Economics