AFCA/ENGL 286 – Black Writers and the Allure of Paris

Four credits

Three weeks in France, one week on campus
Professors Lena Hill and 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.

For further details, please contact Professor Michael Hill ( or Professor Lena Hill (

Program fee (Paid to W&L): $4083
Includes programming, room, a few meals, fees, ground transportation.

Additional costs: airfare, books, most meals, cell phone, spending money, COVID-19 testing, passport, and visa fees (if applicable)

Please click the "Start New Application" button to start an application. Please click the "Resume Application" button to access an application you've already started. Please do not open multiple applications for the same program. 


 Applications open October 9th, 2021