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Avignon – Tours – Paris
Taught by: Dr. Norval L. Bard & Dr. Sally Fowler
2 credit hours

November 27 – December 12, 2006

Few countries evoke as strong a reaction as France. Respected as a bastion of architectural, linguistic and culinary excellence, we often find their actions on the contemporary political stage difficult to understand. This course will give the participants a chance to learn about the importance of French history to the French themselves, through an exploration of her history and culture, with a particular focus on her architectural monuments. Related themes will include how people lived in and around those structures, with attention paid to the role of women throughout French history.

The course will begin in Avignon where we will explore the Gallo-Roman and medieval structures that have survived, in Avignon, Arles, Nîmes and the surrounding countryside. We then travel to Tours where Renaissance France awaits us in the form of several famous chateaux including Chenonceau, Blois and Langeais. We will also visit Angers, where we will spend some time at Université Catholique de l'Ouest, with whom North Central has an exchange program. 

The course will end in Paris where, in one glorious city, the France of the past and the France of the future are brought together. Site tours and lectures will bring the historical and architectural themes of our journey into focus, from the first settlers on an island in the Seine to the most recent immigrants living in the concrete suburbs. 

Course Description: 
Students will spend 14 days in France during which they will attend lectures and other events, visit and explore historical sites and reflect on their experience in order to understand the role of history in French life. The interdisciplinary nature of the course will concentrate on three periods of French history: 

  • The Gallo-Roman and Medieval Periods [based in Avignon]; 
  • The French Renaissance [based in Tours]; 
  • Contemporary France [based in Paris
General Course Components
  • Before Departure: Selected readings, 2 required meetings & 2 online quizzes
  • During the Trip: Selected readings & worksheets for the sites we will visit.
  • After the Trip: The timeline & integrative paper due
Course Readings
  • TBA
Course Requirements
  • Quizzes: (10%)
  • Participation: (35%)
  • Students will be required to participate in all of the activities of this course.  Active participation will be marked by evidence of personal engagement with the readings, course material, discussions, and visits.
  • Worksheets and Timeline: (40)% Worksheets are to be turned in after each day and then again with the timeline.
  • Integrative (final) Paper: (15%)
    The final paper for this course will be an integrative assignment in which students are asked to reflect upon how this trip has contributed to their understanding of the “presence of the past” for French culture.  This paper will need to include factual or actual observations from the trip, written to support an interpretative approach to those sites/visits.  This paper will be due the first week of Winter term 2007.  Length = approx. 3,000 words.
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