AFCA 295 - Black Writers and the Allure of Paris

4 credits
2 weeks in France
Professor Lena Hill and Professor Michael Hill 

During the 1920s and 1950s, why did so many African American writers look to Paris for inspiration? How do they represent the City of Light in their poetry, short stories, and novels? Why does the transatlantic experience become a touchpoint for exploring questions of race, equality, and artistic experimentation? To begin answering these questions, this course asks students to spend two weeks at W&L immersed in the literary works of black writers of the Harlem Renaissance and the mid-twentieth-century period. We will travel to Paris and dedicate two weeks to exploring the city that spurred black writers to examine modern racial identity. We will focus on writers like Jessie Fauset, Gwendolyn Bennett, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Chester Himes. By the end of spring term, we will have gained a rich understanding of the significance of Paris in the black literary imagination.

Program Fee (Paid to W&L): $3,302

Estimated Additional Costs: Airfare (estimated $1,300) some meals, cell phone, passport, visa (if applicable) and spending money.

For further details please contact Prof. Lena Hill at and Prof. Michael Hill at