African Americans in Paris
Paris, France and online
3 credits in African American Studies
Spring semester online course with travel dates: 4 March – 11 March 2018
$1,800 + airfare + VCU tuition. Find full details on the Budget Sheet!
Dr. Brandi Summers
1 November 2017
The Global Education Office and the Department of African American Studies are pleased to offer a unique opportunity for students to engage in an exploration of the experiences and a literal retracing of the footsteps of African Americans who moved to Paris to live and work throughout the last 200 years. The study abroad spring break component forms part of a 3 credit spring 2018 course. Students will be required to participate in the course, which will be offered online, in order to participate in the Paris travel component.
Course and Credit Options
- AFAM 491: African Americans in Paris (3 credits)
The Education Abroad Office will enroll students in the courses upon their acceptance to the program.
This course will explore the importance of Paris in the history of African Americans. This will be achieved through an exploration of the experiences, and a literal retracing of footsteps of African Americans who visited, lived and worked in Paris. The course aims to introduce students to the movement of African Americans to Paris, and the impact of this relocation on their lives and work. In addition, this course will increase the ability to communicate ideas verbally and in written work.
Upon completion of the program, a successful student is expected to be able to do the following:
- Understand the historical context of the movement of African Americans to Paris
- Identify, describe, and explain the variation in Paris-related perceptions and experiences
- Compare and contrast the differences in the subset of the African Diaspora related to this class
- Generate oral products for assessment using independent work and collaboration
A minimum 2.0 GPA is required. Students must be interested in African American studies. There are no course prerequisites and an academic letter of reference is not required. Students must be able to walk for lengths of time across uneven, sidewalks, cobblestone and other ground surfaces of Paris.
Accommodations and Meals
Students will be housed in a hostel. Daily breakfast is included. Students will be provided a public transportation pass for the week in Paris.
Brandi Thompson Summers received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2014. Dr. Summers joins Virginia Commonwealth University as an Assistant Professor of African American Studies. This will be her first time leading the Paris program.
Dr. Summers’ research and teaching interests include aesthetics, cultural politics, social theory, and visual culture. Her research explores the broad range of meanings ascribed to black bodies in urban environments as well as the spatial production of blackness as a way to understand race and political economy. Her new project explores the way that competing notions of blackness structure efforts to raise capital and develop land in Washington, D.C., as well as practices and policies concerned with re-shaping prevailing narratives about progress in US race relations.
A valid passport is required to leave the US. If a student does not already have a passport, they are advised to begin the application process as soon as they are accepted into the program. The processing time for new passport applicants can be as long as 8 weeks. For students who already have passports, they will need to verify that the passport’s validity dates extend 6 months past their return date. For more information about passports and the application/renewal process, please consult the State Department's website
Payment of fees
In order to complete the application, students are required to submit a $250 registration fee and deposit. The $250 registration fee and deposit is refundable in two cases: if the program is cancelled, or if a student is rejected by the faculty member based on their qualifications to participate in the program. Reasons for rejection could include, but are not limited to, GPA, lack of a pre-requisite, unacceptable or inappropriate statement of interest, etc. and are at the discretion of the faculty program director. However, if a student pays the fee and is not given final acceptance to the program based on failing to complete application requirements, as determined by the Education Abroad office or faculty director, the $250 is non-refundable.
Students will receive two separate charges to their student accounts for this program. One charge will reflect the balance of the program fee (minus the $250 deposit and application fee); the other charge is for VCU tuition costs (based on the number and type of credits being taken by the student). These bills will be charged through VCU Student Accounting and should appear in spring 2018.
While these charges may post to the student’s account simultaneously or separately, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure the account balance is paid before the billing due date.
Withdrawal procedures and financial commitment policy
All withdrawals must be made formally in writing and submitted to the Director of Education Abroad. Otherwise, the program fee will not be refunded. After committing to the program, students deciding to withdraw will be held accountable for a portion of or the entire program fee based on the following schedule:
- Formal withdrawal submitted later than 30 days before the first day of the program abroad: 100% of the program fee will be charged,
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 30-60 days before the first day of the program abroad: 75% of the program fee will be charged,
- Formal withdrawal submitted within 60-90 days before the first day of the program abroad: 50% of the program fee will be charged.
In the event an unexpected emergency occurs within 30 days before the first day of the program abroad, students must provide a physician’s certification that his/her condition prohibits participation. In this case, refunds will be limited to only those funds VCU is able to recover or that have not already been spent on behalf of the student.
See above for refund policy on $250 registration fee and deposit.
Students should schedule an appointment with their physician or at a travel clinic (such as VCU Student Health) at least 4 to 8 weeks before the program to inquire about recommended and/or required vaccines/immunizations. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all routine and travel immunizations are up-to-date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on recommended and required immunizations for travelers. To view the health risks and requirements for the country to which you will be traveling, please visit the CDC's website
Health Alert: Zika Virus
The CDC has issued a travel alert for countries where the Zika virus is prevalent. Check the CDC’s travel notices
regularly as new countries are being added to this list. Check VCU Student Health
to stay updated as well.
VCU Student Health offers in-depth pre-travel consultation with a health care provider as well as most of the vaccines recommended for safe travel. Prescriptions for recommended medicines are also available. Please visit their website
for full details.
Every effort is made to provide updated and accurate information at the time of publication. The sponsors reserve the right to make necessary changes to the programs and costs. The university reserves the right to revise or alter all fees, regulations pertaining to student fees, and fee collection procedures at any time.