"Philosophy in Paris" is a transformative study abroad program offered by the Philosophy Department at the University of Kansas. We are excited to share our mission and invite you to be part of this incredible journey that merges philosophy, history, cultural exploration, and personal growth. Your support can make a meaningful difference in the lives of aspiring students who dream of studying abroad.
This program had its first iteration in the summer of 2023, and we are keen on turning it into an annual tradition, starting with the summer of 2024 when we will cross-list the course with the History Department. Since this is a new program, it has no dedicated financial aid or scholarship funding yet. While accessible for students from middle-class families, the current cost is challenging for students without significant financial support from their families, leading to withdrawals in the first iteration.
Our course delves into a philosophical exploration of the moral justification of political and social violence, set in the historical and cultural context of France between the end of WWII and the civil unrest of May '68. We critically analyze mid-century philosophical arguments on the justification of violence by Franz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre, comparing them to more recent arguments by Jacques Derrida and Judith Butler. We also discuss terrorism as a contemporary example of political violence.
In Paris, we spend our mornings studying in libraries, and afternoons walking through the city's historic streets, visiting landmarks like the Louvre, the Versailles Castle, and the Pompidou Center. Themed tours, including one focused on May '68, provide insight into the topics we study. We also take time to explore cozy bookstores, and centuries-old cathedrals, and immerse ourselves in French daily life and cuisine.
The success of our program relies on generous individuals like you. Currently, "Philosophy in Paris" lacks dedicated financial aid or scholarship funding, making it financially challenging for students with limited means to participate. By contributing to our campaign, you can help alleviate the financial burden for these students, ensuring that their dreams of studying abroad in Paris become a reality. Even a small donation of $10 can make a significant impact on their lives.
You can find further info about Philosophy in Paris here.
Questions? Contact Dr. Irina Symons at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 785-917-8188, or visit with her in person at Wescoe Hall 3073.
"My experience in Paris was the highlight of my time at KU... In addition to seeing the many tourist sites, we toured the libraries, stopping to read French Philosophy where it was composed... I learned about the history of France and the significance of Paris as a cultural center... This was an enriching experience because we got to witness how different life is, even in other Western countries. One example is their vast public transportation infrastructure. We got from Paris to Versailles in 40 minutes in a city with 12 million people, you'd be lucky to sniff an hour in less dense areas here!"
— Logan Edmondson: Behavioral Neuroscience, BS
"What I learned during my program is utterly incomparable to anything I could have learned during a typical 3-hour course. The immersion, intensity, and focus made possible by living in another country engendered learning at all times, not only during established study periods... The most rewarding aspect of the Philosophy in Paris program was being steeped in the culture. I went into the program with the intent of feeling less like I'd visited Paris and more like I'd lived there for an extremely short period of time. I made daily decisions that aligned with this goal and as a result, had as authentically Parisian an experience as possible."
— Julia Radley: Philosophy, BA
"Studying Philosophy in Paris is exactly what it sounds like engaging with life’s deepest questions, surrounded by the world’s most beautiful places, all done in the company of great thinkers and great friends... Overall, my time studying philosophy in Paris opened a new horizon of thought, friendship, and cultural appreciation deep within me. As I heard one French woman say to another walking along the seine, “After all… it is Paris, where else?” Why not give the City of Light a try? "
— Weston Curnow: English, BA/Philosophy, BA
"Paris was legitimately a life-changing experience for me. I loved every bit of it; the readings that we studied, as well as all the sites that we visited, were absolutely amazing, and on top of it all the magic of the unplanned. I learned new things about myself and the world. Meeting international students on the campus where we were housed, seeing random events in the streets of Paris, and bonding with my classmates were all sublime."
— Rodderick Williams: Psychology, BA
"My experience in Paris was one that I’ll always remember. Landing in a city of such immense historical, cultural, and intellectual gravity evokes a rather indescribable feeling of awe and curiosity... The Paris program is a wonderful opportunity to experience Paris as a critical historical nexus for all manner of sciences and forms of knowledge, but also for Parisian culture: art, music, and most of all the food—as well as polish your skills with the language."
—Aidan Raine: Anthropology, BA/Classics, BA (Minor in Linguistics, Minor in Philosophy)
"The Philosophy in Paris program was a wonderful experience for me. It gave me the opportunity to study an area of philosophy I wasn't familiar with in a city central to the ideas we were discussing. For those seeking philosophical exploration without committing to an entire semester abroad, this is an invaluable opportunity. For those seeking philosophical exploration without committing to an entire semester abroad, this is an invaluable opportunity."
— Vanna Legler: Philosophy, BA/Psychology, BA (Minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)