Why You Might Want to Consider the Newly Reopened Paris Noir Program


main Paris, France, is arguably the most famous and romantic city in the world (sorry, New York). It’s a city that has influenced us since the 18th century with its clothes, music, and leaders (shout out to Napoleon). But have you ever thought about the many other people influenced by the “City of Lights?” Allow me to reintroduce the Paris Noir study aboard program. African-American Studies Professor Janis Mayes started the program 14 years ago – it’s a five-week deal meant to teach students about the influence of black culture in Paris and around the world.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about influential writers such as James Baldwin, Sally Hemings, or Frederick Douglass, then this is the program for you. It's worth six credits (*fist pump*) and one of the required courses is “Paris Noir: Literature, Art and Contemporary Life in the Diaspora.” The class is essentially an overview of the “historical, political and social forces in the United States and the Caribbean, and larger global events in Europe and Africa that generated African-American presence in Paris over the past three centuries.” Sounds way more interesting than the American history class you’re going to take for the 8th time (jk… but seriously).

It’s an opportunity to learn about people who you’ve maybe heard of or never really knew, and the chance to see how they’ve influenced not only African-American culture, but also Parisian culture. It's interesting to learn about writers, artists, and other thinkers that aren't always covered in other courses. After all, college is after all an educational experience for everyone, and I can think of a few people who might need this (ahem, White Culture Club).

But don’t let the fact that you’re going to be in Paris for six-weeks distract you (easier said than done). Sure, you might go to the Lourve or other touristy sights, but this isn’t a Kim and Kanye walk in the park. The program is academic in nature, so except to spend some time in the Paris version of Club Bird — but at least you’re getting six redits and a new educational perspective.

Though there was a brief hiatus because of low enrollment, the deadline has been extended to Friday, April 17.