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DHUM 1440A - Americans in Paris from WW1 to the Cold WAR: a history of cultural and artistic encounters

Type d'enseignement : Elective

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English


Only basic historical knowledge is required for this class. More important is an eagerness to engage with a multifaceted art scene as we will read, watch and discuss extracts of films and novels, paintings and photographs. First hand testimonies will also be part of the material studied in class.

Course Description

The course aims to understand the complex relation of American artists and intellectuals to the French capital as well as their involvement in its cultural life throughout the XXth century. Among them, many are now celebrated for their contribution to American visual arts and literature : Man Ray, Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin are probably among the most famous of them. The course draws on recent approaches in cultural and international art history so as to better understand the itineraries of these artists and writers. Students will thus gain a general knowledge of major French and American artistic movements. The course also seeks to help them develop a critical approach to historical documents and narratives.


CAPDEVILA, Elisa (Professeur agrégé)

Course validation

The grade will be based on: - an individual presentation - participation to teamwork and discussion in class - a research paper (topic to be determined with the instructor)

Required reading

  • Brooke L. BLOWER, Becoming Americans in Paris : transatlantic politics and culture between the World Wars, Oxford University Press, 2011
  • Sophie LÉVY (dir.) Paris, capitale de l'Amérique : l'avant-garde américaine à Paris, 1918-1939, Paris, A. Biro ; Giverny, Musée d'art américain, 2003 (translation: A Transatlantic
  • Avant-Garde: American Artists in Paris, 1918-1939, Berkeley, University of California Press; Giverny, France, Musée d'art américain Giverny, Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2003)
  • Tyler STOVALL, Paris Noir: African-Americans in the City of Light, Boston, New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1996
  • Christopher SAWYER-LAUÇANNO, The Continual Pilgrimage, American Writers in Paris, 1944-1960, New York, Grove Weidenfeld, 1992

Additional required reading

  • Rashida K. BRAGGS, Jazz Diasporas. Race, Music and Migration in post-World War II Paris, Oakland, University of California Press, 2016
  • James CAMPBELL, Exiled in Paris: Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Samuel Beckett and Others on the Left Bank, New York, Scribner, 1995
  • Nelcya DELANOË, Le Raspail Vert. L'American Center à Paris. Une histoire des avant-gardes franco-américaines, Paris, Seghers, 1994
  • Michel FABRE, From Harlem to Paris: Black American Writers in France, 1840-1980, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1996; Paris Noir, La rive noire : les écrivains noirs américains à Paris, 1830-1995, Marseille, A. Dimanche, 1999
  • Adam GOPNIK, Americans in Paris: a literary anthology, Library of America, 2004
  • Nancy GREEN, Les Américains de Paris : hommes d'affaires, comtesses et jeunes oisifs : 1880-1941, Paris, Belin, 2014 (translation: The Other Americans in Paris: Businessmen, Countesses, Wayward Youth, 1880-1941, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2014)
  • David MCCULLOUG, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, New York, Simon & Schuster, 2001 (translation: Le voyage à Paris : les Américains à l'école de la France, 1830-1900, Paris, La librairie Vuibert, 2014)
  • Philippe-Alain MICHAUD, Beat Generation : New York, San Francisco, Paris, Paris, Centre Pompidou, 2016
  • Barry MILES, The Beat Hotel. Ginsberg, Burroughs and Corso in Paris, 1957-1963, New York, Grove Press, 2000
  • Rebecca PRIME, Hollywood Exiles in Europe. The Blacklist and Cold War Film Culture, New