These are momentous times for France and the Francophone world — between Emmanuel Macron’s labor reforms and the Gilets jaunes, between rising economic inequality and ecological crises, between the flow of migrants and an ever more potent extreme right. At NYU’s Institute of French Studies, scholars and graduate students tap multiple disciplines — history, sociology, political science, anthropology, literature, geography, and more —to explore such questions from multiple perspectives. Circulating between New York and France, we study imperial and post-colonial situations, welfare and discrimination, memory and forgetting, gender and race, religion and secularism, ecology and social movements, and other pressing matters in national and transnational contexts.
The IFS offers three Ph.D. degrees —in French Studies and French Literature, French Studies and History, and French Studies and Anthropology We also offer a one-year M.A. degree in French Studies, taught in both New York (fall and spring) and Paris (summer), as well as joint M.A. programs with Global Journalism, and the Law School. 100% of our students receive complete or partial financial aid, with no teaching or TA requirements.
The IFS provides students with a tight-knit community in lower Manhattan, lodged within a large, well-endowed research university. This entails:
Small seminars taught by leading scholars from the U.S. and the French-speaking world
NYU’s faculty includes experts on France and Europe, Africa and the Maghreb, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and South-East Asia. Each year, we also welcome four visiting professors from France. Recent visitors included political sociologist Choukri Hmed (Université Paris Dauphine, CNRS) on French foreign policy, historian Craig Lanier Allen on the history of African Americans in Paris, Christelle Avril (EHESS-INED) on social inequalities in health, and socio-demographer Patrick Simon (INED) on population sciences. In 2021-22, our visiting professors will include Jérôme Deauviau (ENS) on the sociology of education, Christine Détrez (ENS Lyon) on the sociology of emotions, Malika Rahal (CNRS) on contemporary Algeria, and Sarah Mazouz (CNRS) on the anthropology of race.
A strong research component
Whether they choose archival investigations, ethnographic fieldwork, or journalistic reportage, students conduct research in both New York and Paris. In the fall, our students take a course on 19th-century France and its Empire, which serves as a methodological introduction to history; they also have the option of taking a research seminar in sociology, “French-Speaking Migrants in New York City.” In the summer, each student enrolls in a Paris-taught research seminar and conducts research in France. In all of their courses on both sides of the Atlantic, our students receive close mentoring from our faculty.
Scholarly work in both English and French
By taking half of their courses in French, students perfect their oral and written command of the language and put it to analytical use. Our French Language Lab provides linguistic support as needed.
An unmatched program of talks and events with scholars, artists, writers, filmmakers, and activists.
Recent conferences have revolved around global populism, French decolonization in global perspective, race in French cinema, disability and accessible futures, and the Resistance in transnational perspective. In 2020, the IFS organized a major symposium bringing together scholars whose research revolves around their own kin. In addition, all IFS students and faculty come together for workshops that include a talk and a Q&A with a prominent academic or public figure. These workshops are a central component of our intellectual sociability.
We now offer all admitted M.A. students at least 50% tuition remission (and more for our top-ranked applicants). Admitted Ph.D. students receive full fellowships (tuition plus stipend) for at least five years. In addition, the IFS has entered into an agreement with the TAPIF teaching assistant program by which we reserve some of our most generous M.A. fellowships to top alumni of the program. These fellowships cover between 75% and 100% of tuition costs. Top former TAPIF alumni also receive a $3,000 summer scholarship during our program’s summer session in Paris.
Pre-professional training and service
In addition to acquiring analytical and writing skills in two languages, our students can obtain teaching credentials at the Lycée français de New York. Thanks to a new partnership, they are mentored by a Lycée teacher who guides them as they teach their own classes. We also have a teaching partnership with La Salle Academy, a boys’ school in the East Village whose mission is to “educate students of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds with special outreach to those most in need.”
Our Ph.D. students compete favorably for the best jobs in their disciplines while M.A. students go on to careers in a variety in fields that prize clear thinking, global understanding of the world, and analytical fluency in more than one language. These include Foreign Service, journalism, humanitarian assistance, immigration law, primary and secondary education, translation, and international business. Each year, some M.A. students parlay their research and relationships with IFS faculty into offers from leading Ph.D. programs in history, anthropology, literature, linguistics, or politics.
I hope you will drop by the IFS next time you find yourself in Greenwich Village. In the meantime, feel free to contact me (email@example.com).
Director, Institute of French Studies