We are a team of Hope College faculty members, from several departments, teaching a series of linked courses on identity, the rise of nationalism, and the complicated relations between cultural insiders and outsiders. We draw from texts, images, and stories of history, literature, art, psychology and communication studies to understand more fully the uses and meaning of citizenship.
Our focus is the multifarious city of Paris: heart of the French Revolution; birthplace of universalism; capital of a global imperial power; Catholic by tradition, secular by law, and largely Muslim in practice. Paris, a cosmopolitan city that is home to people from around the world, long has been a refuge for writers and artists seeking intellectual and cultural freedom. But it is also a place where women were denied suffrage until 1945 and where citizens of North African heritage are largely segregated to the outskirts of the city.
As we confront the complexity of French national identity, we hope to gain insight into what we wrestle with in the American context. Perennial questions persist: who is American; who belongs and why; what do we believe in; how do we make meaning; and how do we make change?
We are examining another community to better understand our own. In asking these questions, we hope our students develop a richer appreciation of themselves, their faith commitments, their role as citizens of a nation, and their obligations in a global community. Join us to see what we discover!
For more about who were are, please see the ABOUT page. Stay tuned for more posts on Fridays, starting in September. We will highlight our research and teaching, student work, and anything else that catches our interest related to Paris stories. Follow us on Twitter @GCParisstories.
~Lauren Janes, Heidi Kraus, and Natalie Dykstra