Why does the figure of the flâneur appear in literature and art in the first decades of the 19th century? What changes (political, economic, social, urban, technological, asethetic, and poetic) occur that facilitate this new type of urban wanderer? What’s the difference between the 17th & 18th century promeneur and the flâneur? Why is the concept of the flâneur impossible until the 19th century? And why does the flâneur disappear as Walter Benjamin argues toward the end of the 19th century? Why is the flâneur predominantly a male category? And is there a descendant of the flâneur in 20th and 21st centuries? In this course we examine the figure of the urban wanderer and flâneur from the last years of the 18th century to the first decade of the 21st century. We examine this figure in the literary and aesthetic works of Mercier, Rétif de la Bretonne, Balzac, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Zola, Colette, Apollinaire, Debord, Roubaud, Calle as well as in the philosophical works of Benjamin and other critical texts and films. Beyond the detailed analysis and discussion of these texts, we visit the city and its art and architecture museums extensively in order to understand the physical space of these works, the urban wanderer protagonists that inhabit these spaces, and the various urban as well as socio-political changes that occur in Paris as it was transformed from a medieval city to a modern metropolis. In addition, we consider what it means to walk, to observe, to find (« trouver »), to flâner. How does one negotiate an urban space? How do we walk today? What and how do we see now? Some of our walks will be devoted to urban experiments performed in the laboratory of the streets and motivated by the texts we read while others will be more historically based.
Class is divided between a lecture/seminar and a walk/museum visit each day and meets four days a week. Students keep a daily “flâneur journal.” In addition to the classes there are multiple cultural visits (Versailles, Comédie Française, Opéra Garnier, Louvre, D’Orsay) in the evenings and weekends as well as guests lectures and guided visits by French art historians and sociologists. An additional elective-course in animation taught in French twice a week by the artist Richard Nègre can also be added for a fee.
||dates06/30/2013 — 08/01/2013
costs $2,800 + tuition
Includes Housing, most meals, local transportation, course activities, supplementary insurance
housing Students live with host families.
apply Please visit our Short-Term page for more information about our online application.
Non-Fordham applicants must include an official transcript from all colleges or universities to date and a institutional approval form.
deadlines Final Action:
March 21st at 5pm
Applications will not be reviewed until all supporting submissions have been received.
The Flâneur in Paris is open to students from all universities who have completed 5 semesters of French or the equivalent. Fordham students must have completed FREN 2001. The Fordham in Paris program has been in operation since 2004 and alumni of the program include students from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in addition to Fordham.