Shining the spotlight on inquiry in the City of Light

“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.”
—Thomas Jefferson
For more than a century, UChicago has engaged students and explored research opportunities around the world, letting the intellectual inquiry inherent to the University cross borders. UChicago has programs, initiatives, and partnerships—including travel programs, fellowships, internships, career treks, and centers abroad—in more than 38 nations and on every continent.
The University of Chicago Center in Paris, which opened in 2004, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this September. Holding true to the vision of its founders, it remains the research and teaching headquarters for UChicago’s European community. With more than 200 undergraduate students each year, in addition to graduate students and visiting faculty, the center has been home to more than 3,000 UChicago students. Located between the University of Paris VII and the French National Library, the center attracts students and faculty interested in French studies to participate in classes, lectures, and workshops, such as the Alain Chartier: Politics, Poetics, and Authority at the Medieval French Court program held in 2012 or any of the numerous events throughout the years investigating French thinkers like Michel Foucault, George Bataille, or Émile Durkheim.
Hosting recurring events such as the Chicago-Paris Workshop on Ancient Religions, the Center in Paris has become a nexus for American-European scholarly collaboration. As an American institution with a French connection, the center provides rich opportunities for American and European scholars to collaborate and debate on topics from American-European intellectual relationships in the 20th century to the French-American Atlantic in the age of revolution. Additionally, the UChicago Center in Paris supports scholars through its partnerships with French institutions, including the Sorbonne, Institut d’etudes politique, Université Paris Diderot, and Ecole normale supérieure.
Throughout the past ten years, the Center in Paris has become much more than a hub for the intellectual exploration of European issues and intelligentsia. It is becoming UChicago’s portal to the Middle East. During the winter of 2014, the center brought together Egyptian, French, and American scholars and hosted panel discussions and events on economic and political issues in the Arab world, with titles such as “The Arab World: Where from? Where to?” and the First Sawiris Symposium on Political Economy in Egypt. In November 2013, the center hosted Worldwide Literature: Jāmī in the Dār al-Islām and Beyond, a conference exploring literary connections from Europe, to the Middle East, and on to Asia. Among the many scholars present was UChicago assistant professor Thibaut d’Hubert, an expert in Indian Literature with many research connections in France, thus opening the door to future collaboration between the new UChicago Center in Delhi and the Center in Paris.
Most broadly, though, the Center in Paris serves as a site for global collaboration and thought advancement. Just this summer, the center hosted a workshop on economy and language that brought together thought leaders in linguistics, sociology, and economics from Germany, France, Brussels, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, and the United States. Earlier this year the University, in collaboration with Université Paris Diderot and Sorbonne Paris Cité, hosted a roundtable addressing globalization and higher education. The panel, consisting of several international participants, also included University of Chicago president Robert J. Zimmer.
Follow in the footsteps of many of the great scholars, such as Astrophysicist Angela Olinto, PhD'87, who have contributed to the academic rigor of the UChicago Center in Paris, and join us on September 5–6 for the 10th anniversary celebration. Come fete all that has transpired in the past ten years and ring in a new decade of letting “knowledge grow from more to more.”