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Harvard Summer Program- Arab and European Literary and Cultural Encounters, Aix-en-Provence, France

Publish Date: Sep 29, 2015

Deadline: Jan 28, 2016

This unique program, situated in the picturesque town of Aix-en-Provence, brings together students of Arabic and French language and culture to examine historical, literary, and cultural aspects of Arab and European interactions in the colonial and postcolonial (contemporary) eras. Themes include cross-cultural perceptions, tradition versus modernityBINARIES, travel, exile, immigration, gender, and family. Field trips and lectures on topics related to the area supplement class time.

The program will be of particular interest to those who focus on Arabic and French language and area studies. There are two courses, taught by faculty from Harvard:

  • An intensive upper-level language class (Arabic or French) introducing you to literary and cultural texts that treat Arab-European encounters
  • A literary and cultural criticism course (in English) covering seminal works of contemporary literary and cultural theories on postcoloniality (i.e., negritude, orientalism) and Mediterraneanism as ways of understanding the primary texts

Course of study

You must take COMP S-136 and then choose either the Arabic or French track of COMP S-134.

COMP S-134 Study Abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France: The Arab World and France, Textual Encounters (33280)

William Granara
Sebastien Llorca
Khaled Al-Masri
(4 credits: UN, GR) Limited enrollment.

This course introduces students to a variety of writings, in Arabic or in French, including travel accounts, ethnographies, memoirs, essays, short stories, and novels. The central themes unifying the readings are a shared interest in imperialism, nationalism, modernity, and the complex nature of identity. The readings explore anti-colonial resistance, decolonization, and the interconnectedness of economic, political, and cultural phenomena in recent Mediterranean history. The syllabus additionally features texts that treat labor migration, musical culture, and the interplay of religion and language in the construction of national cultures.

Prerequisite: 3 years of Modern Standard Arabic or 2 years of French, or the equivalent level of proficiency.

COMP S-136 Study Abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France: The Arab and European Mediterranean from Colonial to Postcolonial (33281)

William Granara
(4 credits: UN, GR) Limited enrollment.

This course introduces students to contemporary theoretical, critical, and political debates that inform Franco-Arab (read: East-West) relations throughout the recent history of the Mediterranean.

Prerequisite: none.

Course credit

See Study Abroad Credit Information.


William Granara, PhD, Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment, Harvard University
Sebastien Llorca, PhD, Professor of Law and Political Science, University Paul Cezanne of Aix en Provence
Khaled Al-Masri, PhD, Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature, Swarthmore College


Before applying, review the Admission and Policies and FAQs pages.

You must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student in good academic standing to apply.

The application materials, outlined below, are due January 28, 2016:

  • A completed online application (available in early December) that includes:
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A statement of interest in the program, including information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
    • Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students)
  • Two confidential letters of recommendation e-mailed (PDF format) directly from the recommender to William Granara at granara@fas.harvard.edu:
    • One from a current or most recent language teacher addressing language-learning skills and achievement
    • One from someone of substantially longer acquaintance (but not a relative) who can attest to personal qualities pertinent to participation in an intensive study abroad program

You will be notified of admission decisions by mid-February.


There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The program cost includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • Room and some meals
  • Field trips

In addition to the program fee, you are responsible for:

  • A health insurance fee (waived if you have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
  • Transportation to and from France
  • Independent excursions
  • The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed)
  • Any immunizations

How to pay and funding options

See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.


Students are placed in homes with local families, chosen by the experienced staff of our local host institution, the Institute for American Universities.

Additional information

Contact William Granara, granara@fas.harvard.edu.

Students with disabilities

Contact the disability services coordinator as soon as possible. See Students with Disabilities for more information.

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