Professors Heidi Kraus (art and art history) and Lauren Janes (history) launched the Paris May Term in 2016. The course, “Art, History, and Memory in Contemporary Global Paris,” included seven instruction days on Hope’s campus and two weeks in Paris. Instruction on campus focussed on Revolutionary France, eighteenth and nineteenth-century French art, twentieth-century French imperialism, and the religious and ethnic diversity of contemporary Paris. In Paris we held a seminar on the development of French painting from Rococo through abstract expressionism in the Louvre, Orsay, Orangerie, and Pompidou museums. We also explored historic sites and monuments, shopped in local food markets, attended the ballet at the Paris Opera house, toured Versailles, the Mosque de Paris, and the Immigration Museum. Our pedagogy emphasizes structured self-exploration of the city, helping students learn to navigate the Paris Metro and engage with and reflect upon the places that interest them the most. While in Paris, students created blogs on Tumblr documenting their explorations, observations, and experiences.
Twelve students participated in the course in 2016 and sixteen students participated in 2017.
For 2018, we are revamping the Paris May Term with the support of the Mellon Grand Challenges Initiative. This coming year, the program, retitled “Art, History, and Global Citizenship in Paris,” will have a more direct focus on questions of identity and citizenship, while still placing these explorations in the context of French history and art history since the French Revolution. In 2018, we are adding a senior seminar to the course offerings. Students on the Paris May Term may take either the combined history/art history course (fulfilling Fine Arts 1 or Cultural Heritage II within Hope’s general education curriculum) or senior seminar. While senior seminar students will still explore history and art history, their readings, discussions, and life-view papers will reflect on the intersection of faith, identity, and citizenship in a pluralistic and often secular Parisian community. Through funding from the Mellon Grand Challenges Initiative, Natalie Dykstra (English), Chuck Green (psychology), and Marissa Doshi (communication) will contribute interdisciplinary perspectives to this exploration of faith, identity, and citizenship.