Directors:  Marie-Christine Massé and Muriel Placet-Kouassi.

Paris, as a cosmopolitan and multicultural urban mosaic, will provide the cultural context of our intensive French language DIS program. Paris combines an exceptional variety of cultures, museums, music, cuisines, and colors from all over the world.   This diversity found within the City of Lights will inspire the students to appreciate the evolving linguistic as well as cultural fabric of contemporary France.

We invite students to experience the depth of this cultural mosaic by offering them the opportunity for intensive language study while immersing themselves in the richness of French language and culture.  We invite them to stroll along Little India, walk around the numerous African markets, or look up at the Egyptian facades, and appreciate the many other cultures that are now part of the French capital. From the Luxor Obelisk (Place de la Concorde), to the very recently inaugurated Quai Branly Museum, Paris is a testimony of the rich and complex history between France and its former colonies.  Today Paris is a cultural mosaic rich with diversity, a diversity that constitutes an integral part of the fabric of the identity of the country itself.



Mandatory enrollment in a French class:  Students will be required to enroll in a regular French language course during the spring preceding departure (French 30 or anything more advanced course). This class will constitute the minimum linguistic preparation we require for this DIS.Pre-departure sessions:  In addition, students will have to attend a series of meetings, scheduled as a no-credit recitation, in preparation for our theme and our stay in Paris.  Lectures, discussions of readings and journals will prepare students for taking full advantage of the activities planned on site.
Dates of the program May 17th-June 7th 2008
Courses The French Conversation/ Civilization course:  The group will be divided in two linguistic levels (French Intermediate/High Intermediate).  Classes will meet Monday through Friday mornings and provide language practice as well as discussions of cultural issues.  The course work will be reinforced by meeting with local speakers who will talk on multiculturalism in France.
Tutors Studerts will meet with their French tutors twice a week.  The tutors are French students who will take Drew students to various events going on in Paris.
Independent time Students will also have independent time to stroll around Paris and to interview people in various neighborhoods.
Homestay Students will live with a French host family, eat French food, and share the lives of the people living in Paris. Families only speak French to students and are supposed to make them feel part of the family.  Students have breakfast and dinner with their families during the week and they can arrange to eat meals with their families on Sundays.





  • Visits in different sites marked by past or present immigration : La Goutte-d’Or and Belleville (North-African immigration) neighborhoods, Chinatown and Belleville (Chinese), Faubourg St-Denis (Sri-Lanka), Opéra neighborhood  (Japanese), Rue des Petites-Écuries (Turkish and Kurd) as well as Rue du Faubourg St-Denis (Indo-Pakistanese). All these areas in Paris represent sites of arrivals, transits and integrations which will help us understand France’s national identity.
  • Visits of monuments, statues, collections of colonialist and ethnographic art, museums and other material traces that constitute lieux de mémoire (‘sites of memory’) in Paris.  Paris sites include the “Cité Nationale de l’Histoire de l’Immigration” (located at the Palais de la Porte Dorée) which deals with the necessity to recognize that today a fifth of the French population has at least one foreign-born grand-parent. Other visits of sites which can be viewed as repositories of contested history and memory will include Palais de la Porte Dorée (the former colonial museum), the Salle des Martyres at the Société des Missions Etrangères, the former Jardin Botanique Colonial, the Grande Mosquée de Paris, collections at the Musée de l’Homme and the Musée des Années Trente, the vestiges of the Colonial Expo in May 1931 in the Bois de Vincennes, and buildings with Orientalist and exotic architectural motifs. These sites are constant reminders of the importance of colonialism in French life, past and present.
  • In addition, one weekend trip will be organized by the program in Normandy, another region rich with history and commemorative places such as the American cemetery.  It will be an interesting way for students to replace issues of collective memory within a closer to home context.
Required assignments
  • For all participants, a daily linguistic journal/log will be required.  Students will keep a journal of their linguistic progress (new words or expressions learned, topics studied in class, what they understood from articles they read, movies, or plays they saw, etc.).  They will also identify and discuss cultural differences, things that surprise them, delight them, that challenge their expectations, etc.
  • Students will select a topic for investigation  relating to the topic of our DIS, either metalinguistic or cultural.  They can still submit a travel-journal, photo-reportage, or video-reportage, but the focus will be more on the issue of diversity and French identity.  They should visit sites, make observations, collect newspaper articles, interview people, and speakers in particular, and reflect on what they discover.  Here are a few examples of possible topics:

o   Black-blanc-beur, (black, white, and Arab in the verlan language) the slogan of the 1998 victorious French soccer team and the implications of multiculturalism, assimilation and cultural diversity.  Would also include a discussion of the concept of “l’homme universel” from the French Revolution.

o   “La rigueur” and the notion of pure French.  Role of the Académie Française in monitoring the French language.  Teachers alarmed at the poor spelling in young French students, and their increasing use of “borrowed” words.   How do French people in general feel towards this issue?

o   French rap:  Analyze the language and the themes found in many of today’s French rap songs.  French rap as an expression of multiculturalism.  Relation to mainstream population.

o   Representation of diversity in the media: a look at how ethnic diversity is represented on television, in TV series, commercials, etc.  in light of the fact that this year, for the first time in the history of television, a Black TV journalist is anchoring the news.

o   Commemorating French colonial history:  students will be asked to look at the monuments dispersed throughout Paris that commemorate colonial events.  They will ask questions regarding the commemorating process: who decides what gets to be commemorated, what get commemorated and what does not; etc.

o   The colonized in French history:  The recent French film Indigenes which just won the Oscar for best actors in Cannes this year re-ignited the debate whether to acknowledge the role of the colonized soldiers in France’s wars. How do French people in general feel towards this issue?

o   The History debate:  Just recently Jacques Chirac reaffirmed the need to teach colonial history while stressing the good it has had on the colonies.  Revisionists have responded very passionately against that.  Students should find out French people in general towards this issue.

Re-entry We will have one large meeting with the whole group in mid-October where students will present their projects In PowerPoint or other media to Drew in French.  It will be open to the public and we will particularly encourage students taking French to attend.