Harvard Summer Program in Aix-en-Provence, France

June 3, 2018 to July 28, 2018
Apply by: 
January 25, 2018

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

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. 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-136 fulfills the General Education requirement for Societies of the World.

COMP S-134 Study Abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France: The Arab World and France, Textual Encounters (34090)

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: 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 (34091)

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.

Where you Live and 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.

How to Apply

Review How to Apply before submitting your application.

Application materials include: 

  1. A statement of interest in the program
    • Include information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad (previous travel is not a prerequisite)
  2. Transcripts

    • Harvard College applicants: You may submit an unofficial transcript accessed from my.harvard.edu

    • Non-Harvard applicants: Submit an official transcript from your university

  3. Two letters of recommendation emailed (PDF format) directly 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

  4. A $50 nonrefundable application fee

Note: Interviews may be requested.

Applications are now closed. You will be notified of admission decisions by mid- to late-February.


The program fee includes tuition, accommodation, scheduled excursions and activities, and some meals.

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

Student budget

Student budget

In addition to the program fee, you will need to budget for a number of personal expenses: 

  • International airfare ($1,300 to $1,600)
  • Local transportation ($150)
  • Some meals ($1,200)
  • Course materials ($50)
  • Personal expenditures, laundry, communications, and miscellaneous ($300)

Note: The amounts are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not listed here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including your personal spending habits and currency exchange rates. If you have specific questions about budgeting, please contact the program directly.

Additional information

Program director

William Granara


  • Khaled Al-Masri, PhD, Assistant Professor of Arabic Literature, Swarthmore College
  • William Granara, PhD, Professor of the Practice of Arabic on the Gordon Gray Endowment, Harvard University
  • Sebastien Llorca, PhD, Professor of Law and Political Sceince, Aix Marseille Universite and IAU College