Menu Search

Get updates on Healthy at Transy, our campus reopening plan.

International Destinations

May Term International Courses

Upcoming Travel Courses for 2021

Upcoming travel courses are potentially subject to change based on student interest.


The Idea of Modern Paris: Questioning the Belle Epoque

IDS 2294, FRN 2294, FRN 3504, ARTH 2294 

Course Instructors: Dr. Brian Arganbright & Dr. Emily Goodman

Location: France

Course Description: The Belle Epoque is synonymous with prosperity and progress. In Paris, the turn of the century ushered in an era of optimism, hope and confidence in the future. The industrial revolution was in full swing and technological advances promised to take away the drudgery of everyday life. Using the complicated histories and mythologies surrounding the Belle Epoque, this course will consider the idea of Modern Paris from a variety of perspectives. In particular, we will examine the emergence of new forms of artistic expression that repeatedly questioned and challenged the past while confronting the idea of the modern. For example, who is included in this dream of a modern city and whose voices and experiences are overlooked or omitted by this narrative? We will also analyze the culture of revolt and the use of public spaces as the emblematic site of counter narratives. We will consider how art, literature, architecture, and urban planning of Paris reflects the social changes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries (including the rural exodus, immigration, nationalism and citizenship). We will also consider what the idea of a “golden age” means for those living after it while investigating the role of nostalgia and a constant search for lost time (Proust). Drawing on our readings, discussions and experiences in France, both in Paris and in Provence/Normandy, we will consider how narrative and the idea of modern Paris (mis)informs our perception of the past in relation to the present.

For more information, please visit the course website.

Prerequisites: None