One of the primary study abroad opportunities is the African Civilizations in Paris program, which alternates every year with a program on Colonizations. In addition, the College of the University of Chicago works with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), to sponsor programs in Tanzania and Botswana.

University of Chicago Study Abroad Programs

Dakar: African Civilizations

The College’s Winter Dakar program is built upon a three-course African Civilizations sequence, taught in English. Program participants also take a French or Wolof language course, which runs at a normal pace through the quarter and is designed to help students live in and move around the city. Dakar is an impressive metropolis, a booming and modern multicultural city. Senegal’s intellectual life shines; the country has produced global thinkers and politicians, as well as scholars of literature, the humanities, and the social sciences. The country is also home to an array of museums, monuments, and marketplaces, as well as a wealth of culinary, musical, athletic and artisanal traditions. Possible extra-curricular activities for students include attending a live music venue, visiting galleries and street fairs that feature original art, watching a wrestling match, learning to cook ceb bu jën, Senegal’s national dish, or taking part in a pick-up game of soccer.

The Dakar program is operated in partnership with the West African Research Center, a non-profit educational organization located in the Fann neighborhood of Dakar. Students will have access to the resources and activities at WARC, including the library and café. Please note: Offered in alternating years. The next program will be Winter 2025.

More information can be found here. 

Dakar: Colonizations

The College’s Spring Quarter Colonizations program in Dakar meets the general education requirement in Civilization studies by providing credit for a full three-course sequence (Colonizations I, II, III), taught in English.

This three-quarter sequence critically unsettles the concept of ‘civilization’ by focusing on the histories and discourses of power, resistance, and political possibility that have given shape to the modern world. We explore modern forms of colonialism across the globe: their dynamics of dispossession, exploitation and domination; their contradictions and unforeseen consequences; their relationships with processes of resistance, revolution, freedom and independence; and their legacies in the present. The sequence also centers colonialism’s fundamental entanglement with capitalism and with the histories of race/racialization, labor/class, gender, and sexuality that have come to configure political identities today. We will pay particular attention to the historical and contemporary expressions of these processes in the context of Senegal, and the African continent, more generally.

Participants will also take a Wolof or French language course, which runs at a normal pace throughout the quarter and is designed to help students connect with local life and people in Dakar.

In addition to classroom instruction, the program features a number of excursions to sites of historic and cultural interest both in and around Dakar, and in other parts of coastal Senegal. The Senegalese capital and its environs offer numerous opportunities to connect readings, discussions, and lectures with Senegal’s colonial past, its vibrant present, and its dynamic future. It is assumed that students will use their free time to explore this remarkable city apart from program-organized outings. Please note: Offered in alternating years. The next program will be Spring 2025.

More information can be found here.

Paris (and Beyond): Migration, Colonization, and Diaspora Civilization

The College’s Migration, Colonization, and Diaspora in Paris program is a three-course sequence that fulfills the Core’s Civilization requirement. It is taught in English. Program participants also take a French language course, which runs at a normal pace through the quarter and is designed to help students connect with French (and Parisian) culture. This sequence is designed to give students the historical context for understanding contemporary debates on postcolonial immigration and multiculturalism as well conceptual frameworks for analyzing issues of race, otherness, and the legacies of the colonial encounter—in France and elsewhere. We will explore the histories, definitions, and connotations of “Frenchness,” as well as consider how colonized peoples have helped to create those meanings. However, this course will not simply treat the inhabitants of former French colonies as a window onto France. We will also investigate how various colonized peoples directed, shaped and contributed to the worlds in which they lived, and how they actively made and maintained relations with other peoples, such as the French. Those processes and interchanges, as we will learn, often produced unintended consequences, with which both the inhabitants of France and the inhabitants of the former French empire continue to grapple today. Our goal is for students to emerge from the class with a better understanding of the legacies of French imperialism, and of the history and theories that animate contemporary debates on multicultural France. Students will have an opportunity to learn about Paris beyond its standard hallmarks—the museums and sites that are the mainstay of typical tourist guides—to explore the ways in which France’s former empire and its peoples has made and remade the city.

Overall, the course proceeds through a combination of general theoretical texts and case studies and also makes ample use of novels, poems, and films. The precise case studies and areas of the world we engage will vary from year to year. In Autumn, 2024, the course content will largely focus the legacy of France’s colonial empire in Africa, North Africa, and the Caribbean. Please note: Offered in alternating years. Following the Autumn 2024 program, the next program will run in Autumn 2026.

More information can be found here.

Going to Africa?

You can update your immunizations and find out more information about the health requirements of traveling abroad at the University of Chicago’s Travel Clinic.