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    PH205: French Philosophy

    Course Description: This course explores the development of French philosophy from the interwar period to the present. Using the city of Paris as its context, the course examines how dramatic social and political challenges influenced the paths of French philosophical reflection, moving thinkers to question the foundations of knowledge, morals, and politics, leading ultimately to what might be called a “decentered” cosmopolitanism. Topics covered include existentialism and the dramatic events of the interwar and Second World War periods; feminist and postcolonial theories and the liberation struggles of colonial Indochina, Algeria, and the “Third World” more generally; structuralism and the ideological and practical battles of the Cold War; poststructuralism and the 1968 student and worker uprisings; and contemporary multicultural and cosmopolitan philosophies and the developments associated with globalization, postcolonial immigration, populism, and terrorism. Taking full advantage of all that Paris has to offer—countless museums, a diverse cultural life, streets marked by historical events, and an ongoing intellectual tradition in which philosophy is expected to have a direct impact on how people live and in which philosophers themselves often become cultural “stars”—this course will survey the intertwining of 20th and 21st century French philosophy with the recent social, political, and cultural history of Paris.

    Program Fee: $3850 (does not include meals or airfare).

    Airfare: TBD.

    Outside Expenses: Students should budget about $1500 for meals and incidentals. Students who have a Bon Appetit meal plan during the semester in which they enroll in a block off-campus will receive a one-block meal plan refund which can be used for meals abroad. The amount of the refund depends on the meal plan they chose for the semester. All students who have a meal plan and enroll in a course off-campus will receive the refund, even if the program fee includes some meals.

    All-College Requirements: This course does not satisfy any all-college requirements.

    Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

    Other Information: The course is taught in English.

    For more information, contact Professor Jonathan Lee at or Professor Dennis McEnnerney at