Paris Pre-Orientation Program

On August 28, the Center in Paris welcomed 14 students in the Class of 2020 for a two-week Paris Pre-Orientation Program.

The 2016 program will focus on the city of Paris—from an academic appreciation of its place in French civilization to an exploration of Enlightenment ideals through Montesquieu’s Persian Letters. The participants will study with Professor Stephen Sawyer of the American University of Paris and Professor Robert Morrissey, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago and Academic Director of the Center in Paris. Professor Sawyer will teach “The Powers of Paris: the City, the Capital, and the Center,” in which students will learn about the history and culture of the city playing host to them; Professor Morrissey will offer a course titled “The Powers of Paris: the Enlightenment and its Other,” which will focus on an important 18th century text, The Persian Letters by Montesquieu. Excursions in and around Paris will bring classroom discussions to life.

Read course descriptions below:

“The Powers of Paris: the City, the Capital, and the Center”
Professor Stephen Sawyer

August 29–September 2, 2016

The aim of this course is to trace the history of Paris from ancient times to the present. We reconsider the notion of the “history of the city” by suggesting that such an approach overlooks the complexity inherent in an historical inquiry into Paris. Rather, “Paris,” in this course, is understood as a place which refers to the geographic scales of the local (city), the national (capital), and the international (center). The history of “Paris,” then, cannot be told as the history of any one of these definitions but must be understood as the relationship between them.

“The Powers of Paris: the Enlightenment and its Other”
Professor Robert Morrissey

September 5–9, 2016

In this course we will read one of the masterpieces of French literature: The Persian Letters by Montesquieu. This delightful work casts a critical gaze on Parisian society, that of the Monarchy, Versailles and the culture of the court as well as on the Enlightenment and its aspirations. We will take an excursion to Bordeaux to visit his home, the beautiful Château de la Brède, and will tour Versailles where Louis XIV reigned as the most powerful monarch in Europe.

All photos by Yuliya Tsutserova