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Harvard Summer Program in Aix-en-Provence, France

  • Apply By

    February 3, 2022

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Aix-en-Provence, France

Explore Arab and European literary and cultural encounters in southern France.

Program Directors:

William Granara

About the Program

Situated in the picturesque town of Aix-en-Provence, this unique program 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. You investigate cross-cultural perceptions, tradition versus modernity binaries, travel, exile, immigration, gender, and family. Field trips and lectures on topics related to the area supplement class time.

Program Structure

The program will be of particular interest to those who focus on Arabic and French language and area studies. You take two courses:

  • 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

This program counts as two semester-long courses (4 credits each) of degree credit. You must take COMP S-136 and then choose either the Arabic or French track of COMP S-134. COMP S-134 counts as one 4-credit courses towards a language citation in either French or Arabic.



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

William Granara, PhD, Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment, Harvard University

Gregory D. Halaby, PhD, Teaching Assistant in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
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, popular culture, and the interplay of religion and language in the construction of national cultures.

Prerequisite: Three years of Modern Standard Arabic or two 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

William Granara, PhD, Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment, Harvard University
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.

Where You'll Live & Study

Aix-en-Provence is a small town in southern France that is home to several important universities and educational centers. It is an ideal place to explore the interaction of Arab and European history, languages, literature, and cultures.


You stay with local families, chosen by the experienced staff of our local host institution, the Institute for American Universities.


The online application will open in early December. Each program has unique requirements included in the online application. Beginning your application early is the best way to ensure that you have sufficient time to review and complete the application requirements by the deadline.

You may apply to no more than two programs. If applying to two programs, you will be asked to rank your two applications in order of preference (first and second choice). Any applications submitted in excess of the maximum of two will be automatically withdrawn. You will be notified of your admissions status in each program by late February.

A complete online application includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • A statement of interest
  • Your most recent transcript
  • Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, etc.)

Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.

Harvard College students applying for funding from the Office of Career Services (OCS): Please note that the OCS funding application is separate. OCS funding awards are tied to a specific program, and cannot be transferred to another program.

If you have questions about the application, please contact the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Office by email at

Cost & Expenses

The program fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodations
  • Scheduled program activities
  • Some meals (the program will provide further details)

You will also need to budget for a number of expenses not covered by the program fee. The amounts listed below for these out-of-pocket expenses are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not noted here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including personal spending habits and currency exchange rates. Note that expense categories–especially airfare–may be subject to significant fluctuations.

  • International airfare ($1,300 – $1,600)
  • Ground transportation ($200)
  • Meals ($1300)
  • Personal expenditures, communications, course materials, and miscellaneous ($400)

If you have specific questions about personal budgeting, please contact the program directly.

See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options.

Additional Information