European Summer School


Paris Summer School

’To be able to study authors, painters and theorists in Paris while walking the streets that they walked and visiting the places they visited was amazing and so inspiring’’

Saga Rad, European Summer School, Paris 2016

The University of Kent centre in Paris offers a unique selection of innovative and cross-disciplinary postgraduate degrees in the Humanities. These two-centre MA’s offer students an exceptional opportunity to study film, art, creative writing, literature, history and architecture, following in the footsteps of eminent intellectuals and artists who lived in, and took inspiration from, Canterbury and Paris.  Students’ experience in these two cities is further enhanced by the cultural and linguistic immersion in Paris, the capital of European culture and knowledge.

‘Very engaging experience which is difficult to put into words – an amazing opportunity and an academic and inspirational boost’’

Yasmeen Soudani, European Summer School, Paris 2016




The Paris Summer School is focused on the theme of ‘Revolutions’. This allows students to explore how French culture has long been at the centre of innovation in the fields of architecture, film, literature, art, philosophy and drama. Students will spend two weeks in Paris in an interdisciplinary environment, attending seminars given by academics from the University of Kent and visiting important sites and museums related to the programme. This will give students an experience of living and studying in one of Europe’s major capital cities and provide an insight into a wide variety of subject areas. Students will gain expertise, skills and intercultural awareness which will be attractive to potential employers.

Programme content

Below is a sample of some of the courses we expect to run during at the Paris Summer School. We encourage you to check the website regularly for updates to the schedule and programme content.

'Paris Boulversé: from Royal squares, circles and triangles to Haussmann's boulevards, and beyond...'

The lecture deals with Parisian urbanism from the seventeenth century until, broadly, the late nineteenth. The consequences for contemporary Paris are explored, and techniques for reading Paris, through its topography and planned developments, are utilised in order to build upon more orthodox ‘readings’ of Parisian culture. Followed by an Architectural walking tour of the left bank and Ile de la Cité. Beginning in (Rive Gauche) Luxembourg Gardens, Place and Theatre de l’Odeon, Cour du Commerce St André, Pont Neuf; then (Ile de la Cité) Place Dauphine, Notre Dame, Monument de la Deportation.

Copernican Revolutions and philosophical debates at La Belle Hortense

What is the difference between breaking new ground and breaking the mould?  Why is it important, for scientists and non-scientists alike, to have an understanding of how science progresses?  In this session we shall look at philosophical revolutions and philosophical accounts of scientific revolutions. Philosophical discussion initiated in the morning, will continue at ‘philosophical cafes’ in the afternoon.

Could There Be a Right to Revolution?

While expressing his support for the French Revolution, Kant famously denied that there could be a right to revolution. We explore the philosophical interest of this apprant paradox and some of the solutions suggested in recent political philosophy. By using this conceptual framwork we are able to address some of the most exciting questions posed by Kant's view, such as: Is political violence ever justified? Can individual autonomy and state authoritybe effectively reconciled? How does politics relate to morality? We also visit the Panthéon and La Conciergerie.

From Futurism to Concrete Poetry: Typographical Revolutions in Italy, France and the UK

Modern and contemporary poets have experimented with collage, layout and typography to add new visual dimensions to the effects and resources of the written word. These new forms of expression seek to achieve for literature the impact that was previously the prerogative of painting, drawing, posters and photography.  Peter Read will present Italian Futurist "words in liberty", "lyrical ideograms" by Guillaume Apollinaire and picture poems by Ian Hamilton Finlay. This will include a visit to the Musée Rodin and sculpture garden, to see works by Rodin, often inspired by literary subjects, and by Camille Claudel.

Honour into Merit? France’s changing elites in an age of Revolution 1715-1870

The Museum of the Legion of Honour is situated, next door to the musée d’Orsay, and is housed in the former residence of the German Prince de Salm-Kyrburg which was confiscated during the French Revolution. Its collection of medals and other artefacts charts through material culture evolving notions of honour and merit during France’s troubled history. Students will learn how to understand the dynamic interrelation between power, hierarchy and symbolism. Includes a visit to Palais de Salm, Musée de la Légion d’Honneur, 1 rue de Solférino

Immigration and Integration and visit to Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration

The French Revolution focused on equality and giving more political, civil and socio-economic rights to the masses. France developed a major colonial empire from the 19th to the mid-20th century and has welcomed migrants persecuted in their own countries. But how are immigrants represented in museum space?

Picasso in Paris: Reinventing the Visual Arts,

Pablo Picasso moved from Barcelona to Paris in May 1901 and a month later opened an exhibition of 64 of his recent paintings at Ambroise Vollard’s well-respected art gallery. Picasso was then 19 years old. We will look at some of the best works from his early years in Paris, including selections from the city’s Picasso Museum, in order to see how he dramatically reinvented the arts of painting and sculpture. Includes a visit to Picasso Museum to view the works discussed.

Rising Up and Rising Down: Revolution and Bloodshed

Students will be taken on a tour of the haunted tunnels of the Paris catacombs, into caverns that hold the bones of more than six million people. The visit will be used as the inspiration for a piece of creative writing that responds to some of the darker chapters of Paris's history. Students will be taken through a range of literary responses to violence, before finding their own voice, their own way of representing the wreckage of history. Includes a visit to the Catacombs.

Queer Revolutions? James Baldwin in Paris

Giovanni had awakened an itch, had released a gnaw in me. I realized it one afternoon, when I was taking him to work via the boulevard Montparnasse. We had bought a kilo of cherries and we were eating them as we walked along. we were both insufferable childish and high-spirited that afternoon and the spectacle we presented, two grown men, jostling each other on the sidewalk, and aiming spitballs, into each other’s faces, must have been outrageous
—James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room (1956)
James Baldwin’s second novel, Giovanni’s Room, narrates the story of a young American traveller, David, who becomes immersed in the heady and sensuous queer subculture of 1950s Paris. Since its publication the novel has become a foundational text for gay writing, yet its appeal, as Caryl Phillips has argued, is much broader. In many ways, Giovanni’s Room provides its readers with a Modern account of the ways in which the city, as a space, both generates and frustrates the formation of sexual identities. In this seminar, we will examine the ways in which Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room presents Paris as a city where sexual revolution can signal both a rupture from norms and a revolving normativity.




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Last Updated: 30/09/2016