Philosophy in Paris

Paris Louvre

Philosophy in Paris

Walk in the footsteps of some of the most notable philosophers of the mid 20th century. Study their writing and explore philosophical arguments while living in the place where these ideas were formed, Paris.
Location: Paris, France
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Academic Disciplines: All Majors
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Spend 17 days of summer in Paris!
  • Study the work of philosophers such as Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre in the city and spaces in which their work was penned. 
  • Explore the Louvre, Versailles, and other cultural icons of France.

The Philosophy in Paris Study Abroad Program is designed for students who have an interest in French philosophy, history, politics, or culture. Knowledge of the French language is not necessary for enrolling in this program. However, students studying French will have the opportunity to practice their French language skills while there. This course will give students the opportunity to explore the seminal philosophical works of major French philosophers, along with ideas that are of high concern for us today. We will do so by actually exploring Parisian libraries that were frequented by the philosophers that we are going to read; by discussing the work of these philosophers while walking through Paris following their steps; by taking themed guided tours of Paris; and by visiting culturally relevant museums and sites in Paris.

Paris, France Paris is a major cultural metropolis. The philosophical, cultural and political events that happened in Paris after WWII created a shift in the way we think of oneself and of human relationships in general. The philosophical and cultural events taking place in mid-century Paris made possible the current understanding of what it is to be a human being and what are the fundamental moral requirements for human relationships. That is what this course aims at exploring.

All participants will enroll in Phil 500 – Philosophy in Paris, France for 3 credits.

The course will be comprised of 17 days in Paris according to a pre-established study- and activity-schedule. Within a month after the return to the U.S., students will submit a research paper on the subjects studied in Paris.

The purpose of this study abroad program is to explore politically and socially relevant philosophical debates outside of the Unites States, tracing their particular historical and cultural context. The goal of the program is to explore the development of the philosophical arguments shaping contemporary debates concerning gender, race, and colonialism. We will study authors and historical moments seminal to the current thinking around these issues.

The first iteration of the program will focus the philosophical debates regarding the condition of the human being and human rights, in the context of political and cultural events in France, between the end of WWII with the German occupation of France, and the civil unrest of May 1968. The main topic of this class will be the relationship between power and violence, and its expression in different aspects of daily life. In the contemporary world, we are still encountering various kinds of violence motivated by racism, sexism, homophobia, and the will to power. Some of the questions that will be addressed by this class are:

  • What is violence? How do mid-century French philosophers define it, and how is it defined now?
  • Did the kinds of violence that we bring upon each other change between mid-century and contemporary France/Europe and the U.S.?
  • What are some of the philosophical explanations for the source of violence then and now?
  • Is violence ever justified? Is violence ever the solution?

In post WWII and mid-century France, racism, feminism, and sexual identity begin to be systematically discussed in the history of philosophy, with authors like Jean-Paul Sartre, Franz Fanon, Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Derrida.

During the program, students will stay in Paris. Housing will be double or triple occupancy in either a shared apartment or student residence.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

    Sexual and Gender Diversity
    Students of Color Abroad
    Visible and Invisible Disabilities
    Religious, Spiritual, and Non-Religious Students
    Adult Learners and Non-Traditional Students
    First Generation Students
    Students with Children
    Students with Financial Need
    Veterans, Active Duty, and ROTC

Open to undergraduate and graduate students, second-semester freshmen and above, from any accredited US college or university who have a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Program Cost for Philosophy in Paris

Irina Symons

3073 Wescoe
University of Kansas
1445 Jayhawk Blvd.
Lawrence, KS 66045


John Symons

3074 Wescoe Hall