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French and the Arab World. Language, diplomacy, identification


Admission requirements

This course is available for students of the Humanities Lab
If you have received your propaedeutic diploma, or completed your first year, within one academic year, your academic results are good and you are a very motivated student, you may apply for a place in the Humanities Lab.


The Arab World cannot be fully understood without a Francophone perspective and vice versa, France cannot be fully understood without an Arab perspective, since Napoleon (alias ‘Ali Bonaparte’) dreamt of an Islamic Republic when arriving in Egypt in 1798. During this seminar and the trip to Paris (30 June – 2 July) students will gain insight into the multiple challenges and the connected cultural and linguistic history of Franco-Arab interactions (1880-2000). The lectures will examine the historical, cultural and political aspects of these interactions, the relationships between language, identity and diplomacy.
Stay in Paris - Practical details & Finances
The stay in Paris will be prepared by the series of lectures given in Leiden (conceptual and historical approaches; preparation of the interviews and visits in Paris).
The short trip to Paris (30 June – 2 July) is an integral (and hence compulsory) part of the course.

  • Accommodation and local excursion costst are covered by the university (hotel, entry fees and local travelling in Paris).

  • Students pay for and arrange the (train) tickets to and from Paris themselves, as well as personal expenses such as meals. offers relatively cheap fares when booking at least 3 months in advance. Students can independently decide to extend their stay in Paris.

  • Insurance: Each student will need a travel insurance; its number will be communicated to the Humanities International Office, Educational and Student Affairs.

  • Activities in Paris (a detailed program will be sent to participants after the first lecture) will include several visits, for ex. to the Institut du Monde arabe, Mosquée de Paris and to many other places around ‘Le Paris arabe’.

There is a maximum of 14 places available, interested students write a motivation letter to Deadline 1 March 2022, 23.59h.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have a thorough understanding of societal, linguistic and cultural relations between France and the the Arab World;

  • be able to put France/ Arab World debates into a historical perspective;

  • understand how this knowledge can be applied to linguistic and cultural policies;

  • present their findings, based on research, to varied types of audience.

Seminar leadership
In order to frame seminar discussions such that it is closely connected with assigned readings, as well as relevant to students’ interests and concerns, students will take turns introducing the readings for the week based upon the content of their reflection paper. Students should speak for approximately 10 minutes and be prepared to facilitate the ensuing discussion.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Courses of the Humanities Lab are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.30 to 17.00.

Mode of instruction

Seminar and excursion

Assessment method

40% active preparation and participation for the lectures (oral and written preparations)
40% final paper of 3 to 4000 words
20% oral preparation and presentations during the stay in Paris

Reading list

OA articles on Brightspace


Students of the Humanities Lab will be registered in uSis by the administration of the Humanities Lab. Students register for the Humanities Lab modules through an online form, more information will be provided by Umail.
General information about uSis is available on the website.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga


This course is part of the Humanities Lab programme, visit the website for more information.
Visit the Honours Academy website for more information about the Honours College.